• Our national debt

    The national debt of the United States, on Nov. 25, reached $18 trillion (that’s with 12 zeroes), an increase of $800 billion in just one year. That debt now exceeds the gross domestic product (GDP) of $17.1 trillion — the value of all the goods and services produced in a year, as determined by the

  • Fireworks in Ellsworth

    Over the next couple of weeks, members of the public will have one more opportunity to weigh in on the pros and cons of a consumer fireworks ordinance now before the Ellsworth City Council. A council vote on the ordinance, which would sharply reduce the days and hours when fireworks could be used and limit

  • A belligerent President

    If you’re President Barack Obama, why would you thumb your nose at Congress — figuratively, if not literally? That’s exactly what the President did last Thursday night when he announced that he will use his executive power to provide a measure of security — at least temporarily — for millions of immigrants illegally in the

  • Shameful turnout

    In a national election that saw the lowest voter turnout in 72 years, Maine was the rare exception. With sharply competitive gubernatorial and congressional races and a controversial referendum on bear hunting heading the ballot, an unofficial tally pegged the turnout in Maine at 59.3 percent, the highest in the nation. Hancock County did even

  • 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