Category Archives: Legislation

12-year-olds should be as safe as armed extremists

Local, state and federal authorities confronting an armed insurrection in Oregon are right to approach the situation cautiously. To date, there’s no immediate and apparent risk to public safety, no one has been hurt, there are no hostages and a wildlife refuge isn’t critical infrastructure in the way a police station or reservoir is. Federal […]

For LePage and Fredette, the table gets lonely

Simply put, Maine cannot confront its heroin epidemic — or strengthen its rural economy, for that matter — without expanding access to affordable health care. Lack of health care for tens of thousands of Mainers is holding our state back, and people are dying as a result. But the impacts go much further than hurting […]

In Michigan, a real disaster can’t compete with the fear du jour

An American city of 99,000 people has been poisoned. And the country has largely shrugged, distracted by pink Christmas trees, insult-throwing politicians and worries about Hoverboards, which don’t actually hover, catching on fire. In Flint, Mich., a bad decision left the city with water too dangerous and noxious to drink for more than a year […]

How a grandmother, innocent of welfare fraud, almost ended up in jail

DavidFarmer

Justice finally caught up with Roberta Ishola. But probably not in the way you think. In October 2014, Ishola was arrested as part of a crackdown on welfare abuse. Someone she knew, either angry with her or without all the facts, called the police. Ishola, 51, a grandmother and Lewiston resident, was charged unlawful possession […]

Exclusive: Maine facing sanctions from feds over food program

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services is violating federal law and now ranks last among all states for its administration of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program, or food stamps. A sharply worded, Dec. 7 letter from the U.S. Department of Agriculture put DHHS on notice. “The State’s chronically poor performance in timeliness is […]

Bluster and big fights hide LePage’s day-to-day misdeeds

Gov. Paul LePage’s harsh view of the world is guided by anecdote, misinformation and half-truth. Basic, knowable information eludes him, or he can’t be bothered to get it right. He repeats information that’s incorrect over and over again. Somehow he’s immune from math and science. Visiting Portland Tuesday night, the governor continued an argument he’s […]

Stigma remains as biggest challenge in fight against HIV

When I was in high school in the 1980s AIDS was terrifying. Change your life scary, change your behavior scary, curse earlier generations scary. It was a life-ending plague, and we only knew enough about it to be scared. And some politicians and political leaders were even willfully ignorant or callous. That fear and lack […]

Sore losers in Lewiston want fewer young people to vote

The Republican Party — and conservatives in general — have a real problem with young people. Specifically, they don’t want them to vote. The same goes for minorities and people with low-income. In Maine and around the country, there is a concerted effort to change voting laws to make it harder to vote, with the […]

The Know-Nothings are reborn, fueled by an anti-immigrant fever

The flag of the Know-Nothing Party, circa 1850.

Every so often, a tide of bigotry, fear and xenophobia washes over our country. There’s always someone new to hate. Africans. Irish. Italians. Chinese. Jews. Japanese. Politicians point to the newcomers as threats, bent on our country’s destruction. Each time, they are proven wrong, the risk overstated for political gain. And each time, our country […]

Love trumps rhetoric in Christie’s speech on addiction

Gov. Paul LePage and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are often talked about for their similarities and their close ties. Christie spent millions in corporate dollars to re-elect LePage through the Republican Governors Association, and LePage was the first notable endorsement for Christie’s presidential run. They have similar bracing personalities, both like to yell and […]