In torturers we trust


Our military’s notorious SERE program was back in the news this month. Well, the national and international news, anyway. The media in Maine continue to act as if the Navy’s SERE “torture school” in the mountains northeast of Rangeley doesn’t exist — which is exactly how the spies and sadists involved in the program want […]

My un-opinionated observations for the week

This week, I’m taking a vacation from writing opinions. Instead, I’ll just list some recent observations from which you can draw your own opinionated conclusions… • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie makes a presidential campaign appearance in Portland, interrupting the breakfast of maybe a couple dozen people at Becky’s Diner. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders does the […]

America must stop torturing our troops

This Independence Day, as we gather to celebrate our freedom and honor the brave men and women who’ve dedicated their lives to defending it, I hope you’ll join me in demanding that we stop imprisoning and torturing our own troops. I realize this demand may sound strange to you. You’ve probably been unaware that deep […]

To Superintendent Caulk: You’re fired!

Donald Trump has so many despicable qualities that it’s easy to overlook the thing or two about him that’s admirable. Say what you will about his imperious management style, but I, for one, respect the decisiveness with which he jettisons underlings who’ve failed to meet his exacting standards. There’s no hemming or hawing, no passive […]

Marriage of Press Herald unions and owner on the rocks

The relationship between unionized workers and the management-and-ownership team is a lot like a marriage. Two weeks into the coupling of the unions at MaineToday Media (publisher of the Portland Press Herald and numerous other print and online news outlets) and new owner Reade Brower (a Camden businessman who owns several Maine weeklies and a […]

Cops OK “drunkenomics”? Only in Portland!

The topic of this week’s column is another in a long series that could be informally titled, “Only in Portland!” As in, “Four-thousand-dollar robotic trash cans? Only in Portland!” Or, “A strip-tease ‘artist’ got elected to the school board? Only in Portland!” Or, “Ten cents for a plastic Hannaford bag and $15 an hour for […]

Portland needs ‘no-barrier’ services for addicts

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about Tim Maia, a Brazilian bandleader renowned for both his prodigious creative gifts and his prodigious appetite for self-destruction. In the early ’70s, Maia achieved success with a string of albums melding American soul and funk with Brazilian music. Then, in 1974, Maia’s already crazy life took a truly […]

The mayor of Portland surrenders

Last month I predicted that, politically speaking, Portland Mayor Mike Brennan is toast. Earlier this week, Brennan all-but-officially abdicated his authority to lead Maine’s largest city, literally throwing up his hands in surrender during a City Council meeting when confronted with allegations he’d abused his authority and the trust of the people who elected him. […]

Light at the end of the drug tunnel

Dear reader, I write this week with wonderful news! The day is now in sight when Maine will save tens of millions of dollars every year and reap millions more in new revenue. Crime rates will plummet, especially in our cities. Thousands of sick and despairing Mainers will regain their health and hope. A cycle […]