Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Talking American Nations with Maine Public radio's Maine Calling


I was the guest for yesterday's edition of "Maine Calling," the hour-long interview and call-in program of Maine Public radio, talking about the American Nations, their implications for US politics, and the ways in which the transcend the country's rural-vs-urban divide. (The latter the subject of this New York Times Opinion piece two weeks ago.)

The segment -- with some excellent questions from fellow Mainers calling in -- is now also available for online listening at this link.

Thanks again to Maine Public for having me on.

My next public talk in Maine is at the Colloquy Downeast in Blue Hill September 16 (on Lobster Coast themes).


Monday, August 13, 2018

Speaking on the Scots-Irish legacy in Maine and the nation, Aug. 14, Brunswick, Maine

This is the 300th anniversary of the coming of the Scots-Irish to New England and to mark the occasion, there's a multi-day conference taking place this week at Bowdoin College sponsored by the Maine Ulster Scots Project.

The 2018 Diaspora Conference and Reunion opens tomorrow morning, August 14 at Bowdoin's Kresge Hall and continues through Thursday, with presentations from scholars on both sides of the Atlantic.

I'm pleased to be giving the opening keynote Tuesday night on the impact of the Scots-Irish migration on both Maine and North America, issues I wrote about in some detail in The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier and American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America respectively. I'm preceded by Norman Houston, director of the Northern Ireland Bureau, the diplomatic mission of that part of the UK to the US and Canada.

Conference information can be found here.

At 1 pm tomorrow I'm also speaking about the political ramifications of American Nations in Maine Public radio's live interview and call-in program, "Maine Calling." Tune in if you can.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Is Pittsburgh in the Midlands?

In the seven years since American Nations was published, most readers have endorsed their county's placement among the eleven regional cultures I write about in the book. Two locations have generated some sustained pushback, however, both of them border cities on the Midland-Greater Appalachia frontier: Columbus, Ohio (assigned to Greater Appalachia in large part because of lingual evidence) and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (a clear-cut Midland city in my reading of history, but surrounded on three sides by Greater Appalachia.)

This week, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette staff columnist Brian O'Neill revisited his city's regional identity in this column, where he emphasizes its competing influences and seems to concede that calling it Appalachia might not be sufficient. It's a nice synopsis from the field, and represents a bit of a shift from our friendly debate in 2013, when O'Neill lamented the city's Midland designation (it's "the Paris of Appalachia" he insisted.)

As for Columbus, I've heard both pro and con arguments from readers there for its Appalachian designation, but nothing from the city's intelligentsia. Let's hope they weigh in one of these days -- the Cleveland Plain Dealer did in regards to the Western Reserve's Yankee character in comparison with southern Ohio's Appalachian one -- but not a word from the Dispatch.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Talking American Nations with CityLab, Sen. Collins' Roe position with CSPAN

I recently spoke with CityLab's Laura Bliss about the American Nations framework, where it came from, and how I came to create it. Here's her piece, which appeared last week. (The framework has been getting renewed attention on account of a New York Times OpEd that appeared July 26.)

With a Supreme Court nomination struggle looming, all eyes remain on Republican Senate centrists Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Last CSPAN's Washington Journal about Collins' position on Roe v Wade and the nomination, and what outside legal experts have to say about it. You can find the clip here.
month I spoke with

I last appeared on CSPAN last summer, talking about American Character and The Lobster Coast with their mobile crew on their visit to the Portland, Maine area. Previously, they broadcast my full American Nations talk at Iowa State.

And to round matters out, I appeared in the UK's Bristol Post recently discussing pirates, on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Blackbeard's death. (This the subject of my third book, The Republic of Pirates.)











Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A New York Times American Nations OpEd

The New York Times asked me to write an opinion piece on the political implications of American Nations recently and, to my great pleasure, accepted it and built a terrific graphics package to illustrate the paradigm.

The result was published yesterday at the Times and -- thank all of you -- shot up to be the most read piece on the entire site this morning. I've mentioned before the power of the colorized map in drawing people's attention on social media, and I'm doubly sure of it now.

Thanks to John Guida and Bill Marsh for their time and attention.

For those new to the paradigm -- and wanting to know more, a couple of quick links:

To really understand what this is all about: please do read the book.

To wade in a little deeper without the book: start with this Tufts Magazine piece, which unpacks the paradigm in more detail and uses it to analyze a public policy issue -- violence and gun control -- that isn't presented in the book at all. Or, conversely, look at this Washington Monthly article to see why the (libertarian-captured) Tea Party Movement fizzled in places candidate Trump (relatively communitarian on the stump) would make inroads.

To see more data on the rural vs urban issue: dig into this piece I did for Medium.

For more on Trump and the 2016 election: check out this at the Portland Press Herald.

To find out what's up with Alaska, Hawaii and South Florida: go here.

To see me present the whole thing in detail to an audience: CSPAN's got that.

To explore the central debate of our federal experience -- the proper balance between individual liberty and the common good -- consider reading American Nations' sequel, American Character.




Saturday, July 21, 2018

Mainer makes Putin's interrogation wish list

In today's Portland Press Herald, I have the story of how a guy from Maine wound up on Vladimir Putin's list of Americans he'd like turned over for interrogation, a request he made of President Trump at this week's summit in Helsinki and one that - to widespread horror - Trump appeared to entertain.

Kyle Parker, raised in Old Town, educated at the University of Maine, is a pretty big deal: the guy who by most accounts made the Magnitsky Act happen. If you don't know what that is and why Putin cares, please dig into the story, which includes an interview with Parker.

For a deeper dive into Magnitsky, Parker, and Putin, I recommend this November 2017 story from GQ.

Meanwhile, just to keep things strange, Maine Governor Paul LePage showed up in Montenegro earlier this month to meet with President Djukanovic, supposedly because of the Maine National Guard's 12 year old partnership with the Balkan country. LePage's office, as usual, is providing few details.



Thursday, July 19, 2018

What did pirates look like? My Business Insider interview

The folks at Business Insider recently called to talk about what the Golden Age pirates really looked and acted like because, well, why not?

The interview is up over at their website, with a produced video to illustrate the conversation.

They reached out to me on account of my being the author of a detailed history of this pirate gang, The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down, which is available in a bunch of foreign editions - UK, Poland, Spain, Hungary, China, Taiwan, Denmark, and Brazil, if you happen to live in one of those places.

Last week, Business Insider asked a bunch of Wall Street leaders what they recommended for summer reading, yielding a list of 22 books. Thanks to UBS Americas president Tom Naratil for including Republic of Pirates here as well.