• Good news for consumers

    Hundreds of thousands of Mainers have been rejoicing at steadily falling prices of both gasoline and heating oil as petroleum supplies around the world continue to outweigh demand. Nobody can predict with accuracy how long the current situation will continue. Most analysts believe that higher prices will return over the long term. A week ago,

  • Make government work

    Recent surveys and interviews of voters — conducted both before and after last week’s elections — suggest that Americans finally may have had enough of partisan political gridlock. There were some indications that, in Washington, the political powers-that-be may have heard the message. President Barack Obama, the country’s chief Democrat, and Republicans Mitch McConnell, the

  • Quantitative easing

    To most Americans, the U.S. Federal Reserve System — known informally as the Fed — may be one of the least understood components of our government. We know that, in a broad sense, its dictates seem to have a significant impact on the nation’s economy and its monetary policy, but most of us have only

  • The flame of democracy

    The life of a democracy is happy but short, and the march of folly is well under way in America, former U.S. Sen. William S. Cohen observed in a recent opinion column. New York Times columnist David Brooks wrote recently that the faith in political institutions that culminated in the democratic triumphalism of the 1990s

  • Choosing a governor

    In electing a governor, Maine is very much in need of a runoff procedure. No matter how you slice it, support from fewer than 50 percent of those casting ballots cannot be considered a mandate. Only once in the last seven gubernatorial elections — independent Angus King’s re-election in 1998 — has a governor been

  • The politics of fear

    The state of Maine and its people have not been well served by the gubernatorial campaigns of incumbent Republican Paul LePage and Democrat Mike Michaud, which have been characterized largely by the politics of fear. Each of the candidates and his supporters have spent an inordinate amount of time and money pointing to all manner

  • Maine’s hunting heritage

    Whether Maine should ban baiting, hounding and leg-hold traps in the hunting of bear will come before voters, for the second time in a decade, in Question 1 of the Nov. 4 general election ballot.  In 2004, the same proposal was defeated — after emotional campaigns conducted by both proponents and opponents — in a

  • Bond issues

    Two bond issues among the six proposals totaling $50 million on November’s ballot will provide major economic boosts to Hancock County if they pass. But they also will do much more. While neither Question 4 or Question 5 spells out the beneficiary of the proposals, the money — a total of $13 million — is

  • Congress and war

    Are circumstances in the Middle East better now than they were prior to our declaration of a “war on terror” and subsequent U.S. military invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan? Has the sacrifice made by thousands upon thousands of U.S. military personnel and their families, and the squandering of trillions of dollars that never were included

  • Profound change

    Before the end of the year, most of the 570 employees of the Verso Paper Mill will be walking through the gate for the last time. After a history that has spanned nearly nine decades, the Bucksport landmark — known to generations of area residents simply as The Mill — will cease production of the