• Sometimes the good guys win

    To its everlasting credit, the United States emerged victorious from World War II determined to do something different, something seminal. The normal historical pattern would have seen an American empire established on the defeated remnants of Imperial Japan in the Pacific and the Third Reich in Europe. Instead, Washington set about to create a postwar

  • Playing musical ‘chairs’ in Augusta

    The assigning of legislative committee seats took longer than usual this year, complicated by the math of a Republican Senate and a Democratic House. In brief, every committee would have a Democratic majority, despite having a Republican chair from the Senate side. Eventually, leadership reached agreement on Republican majorities for three of the sixteen joint

  • Governor’s wishful thinking

    Newly rechristened Governor Paul LePage has included on his new-term to-do list lowering energy costs in Maine. Good luck with that one. The cost of electricity in Maine — residential, commercial and industrial — is among the highest in the lower 48 United States. It’s a long-standing economic reality that undermines LePage’s tepid “Open for

  • The “Torture” Report

    “The truth shall make you free.”  [Inscription at the entrance to the CIA] The recent release of the 500-page summary of a much longer report from the majority staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee has predictably generated intense controversy. By any measure, the report is an impressive effort. Two staff members spent five years wading

  • Leaving a partisan aftertaste

    Wonder of wonders. The Senate District 25 election “investigation” went off without a hitch and showed off our valiant legislators to fine advantage. Dark mutterings of election fraud notwithstanding, the problem proved to be an error during the initial recount in the secretary of state’s office. The obsessive compulsives among us had the opportunity to

  • Americans are mostly corn

    Americans eat about eight ounces of meat a day. If the well-worn adage that “you are what you eat” is valid, Americans are mostly corn, as production of that eight ounces of meat requires almost three pounds of feed corn. And 1,000 gallons of fresh water. But that’s another story. Of the 80 million acres

  • It’s all a numbers game

    The 127th Legislature has convened, been sworn to duty and promptly blew out of town until the real action starts on Jan. 7. On their sole session day, they were introduced, as Speaker Mark Eves noted, to “legislative time.” A quibble in the House of Representatives over just who is constitutionally able to vote for

  • A defense secretary departs

    Last week’s forced resignation of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel could hardly have come at a worse time with security challenges mounting in the Middle East/Afghanistan, Russia/Eastern Europe and East/Southeast Asia. The damage is compounded by the fact that the White House staff cannot seem to provide any convincing reason why Hagel had to go