Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Big in Japan IV: Talking American Nations with Sekai

While in Tokyo, I spent an enjoyable morning at the offices of Iwanami Shoten, speaking with Rikkyo University historian Hiro Matsubara for Sekai, a leading Japanese political monthly. We covered a wide range of issues related to North American regionalism and American Nations.

Dr. Matsubara's article is in the current issue of the magazine, for those of you who both read Japanese and subscribe. If you're part of that cohort, consider the Japanese edition of American Nations, published by Iwanami.

I was in Japan to speak at the Asahi Forum, but also was able to speak to seminars at Tokyo University and Kyoto's Doshisha University, and wrote about Maine retailer L.L. Bean's success in Japan for the Portland Press Herald.



(Here, for search purposes, is the Japanese title:)

11の国のアメリカ史――分断と相克の400年(上)






Friday, December 7, 2018

Gulf of Maine sees 3rd warmest year on record as monitoring programs wither

The Gulf of Maine -- already the second fastest warming part of the world's oceans -- just saw the third warmest year on the 37-year long satellite record, with average sea surface temperatures reaching levels only seen in 2012 and 2016. As I reported in yesterday's Portland Press Herald, researchers saw unpleasant effects on puffin chicks, sea turtles, and the North Atlantic's biggest kelp forest.

Meanwhile, various federal and state initiatives to boost monitoring and research into the phenomenon have gone nowhere, while funding for several existing monitoring systems has withered, resulting in scientists having fewer means to track what is going on.

Details in the story, but for more background start with this six-part series on the warming crisis in the Gulf, and this piece from a year ago on the state of Maine's response.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

George HW Bush, 1924-2018, an obituary

President George HW Bush -- who had lifelong ties to southern Maine -- died late Friday night at age 94. My obituary for him, the first draft of which was written some six years ago, appears in today's Maine Sunday Telegram and online here.

A little appreciated fact of the Bush dynasty, the most successful political one in US history, is that it was forged on the shores of Kennebunkport, with a marriage that linked the Walkers and Bushes in a vehicle capable of launching its offspring to the White House more than once.

Bush died less than eight months after former First Lady Barbara Bush, whose obituary I also
prepared for the Portland Press Herald.

The couple identified themselves with Texas for political reasons, but through their lives Walker's Point in Kennebunkport was the only constant. They got engaged there, held weddings, family events, and high-level diplomatic events, and spent nearly every summer at the compound. It was their only home in the U.S. during the years they lived in Beijing and at the US Naval Observatory and White House. During World War II they also lived briefly in Lewiston-Auburn, while he was training at the naval air station there.

I hope you enjoy both pieces.