Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mr. King Goes to Washington

On January 4 Angus King, the two-term independent governor of Maine, will replace Olympia Snowe in the United States Senate. What's he got planned? Where does he stand on the pressing issues on The Hill? What's he have to say about his decision to caucus with the Democrats and the committee assignments he received as a result? And where's he going to live?

I sat down with King recently and posed these and other questions. The results are in today's Maine Sunday Telegram.

For more on King's background, readers may also be interested in this biographical piece I did as part of a series on the Senate candidates. And if you'd prefer an exit interview with Sen. Snowe, check out my colleague Kevin Miller's story today.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Some more on the Republican's Yankee Problem

For those with an interest in how regionalism is shaping U.S. politics, I have a new extended essay in today's Maine Sunday Telegram on how the G.O.P. has managed to make itself all-but extinct in the region of its birth.

The argument is built on the framework developed in my most recent book, American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America. If you're interested in examining the "nations map" more closely, there's a high-resolution PDF available here at World Wide Woodard.

Readers of the print edition will find it on the front of the Insight section today. My thanks to staff artist Michael Fisher for the excellent "elephant-in-the-boat"  illustration.

Regular readers will recall that I floated an initial version of this argument last month at Washington Monthly's Ten Miles Square.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Jane Smiley on American Nations, Hugh Laurie and Republic of Pirates

From the Department of Shameless Self-Promotion's Book Publishing Unit:

Jane Smiley's Favorite Book: Today, the Sacramento Bee asked some bestselling authors for their 2012 holiday book recommendations. Jane Smiley -- author of 22 books -- chose American Nations.  "It's my favorite book of the year," she wrote. Thank you!

Hugh Laurie meets Republic of Pirates: Media outlets around the world reported recently that Hugh Laurie of House is in negotiations to play Blackbeard in NBC's forthcoming drama Crossbones, which is based on my third book, The Republic of Pirates. The original story appears to have been carried by Hollywood Reporter, but it's lead to stories everywhere from Entertainment Weekly to London's Guardian to this website.

A Maine Sunday Telegram trifecta: This past week's Maine Sunday Telegram Bestseller List for Paperback Non-Fiction simultaneously included American Nations (#1), Lobster Coast (#3) and Republic of Pirates (#6). Thank you, Southern Maine readers, for your continued interest and support.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Speaking on the oceans on MPBN's Speaking in Maine, Dec. 5, 1pm

As some of you know, my first book and years of my reporting career focused on the problems facing the world's oceans. In May, I joined Graham Shimmield, director of the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, in a public discussion of the challenges facing the seas.

The talk is airing tomorrow, Dec. 5, on the radio stations of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network. It's part of their "Speaking in Maine" series, and starts at 1pm.

For those with further interest in this topic, my book is entitled Ocean's End: Travels Through Endangered Seas. Alas, it's the only one of my four titles not to make this week's Maine Sunday Telegram Paperback Non-Fiction Bestseller List, but that doesn't mean it isn't good!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Maine's War for the Shore

A trivia fact you may not know: Maine is one of the few states where private landowners -- not the state -- own the seabed exposed at low tide. And under a controversial 1989 court decision, public easements were defined as being limited to those delineated in a document adopted by the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1647: "fishing, fowling, and navigation."

The 1989 decision is regularly ignored in practice and has been condemned by legal scholars, the State of Maine, and even some high court justices themselves. Now there appears to be fresh motion toward redefining public trust rights in the intertidal zone, a topic I've written about in today's Maine Sunday Telegram.