Sunday, April 30, 2017

Amid criticism, Sens. Collins, King defend Senate probe of Trump-Russia ties

This past week saw multiple stories suggesting trouble afoot with the Senate intelligence committee's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, including its ties to the Trump campaign and his inner circle. Stories in Reuters, Yahoo News, and the Daily Beast cited committee staffers and members concerned it is delayed, understaffed, and stymied by partisanship.

In today's Maine Sunday Telegram, I ask Maine's senators -- both of whom sit on the committee -- what they think. Both are defending the probe. Details herein.

I've been covering the investigation with some regularity, including the senators' previous affirmations (after the House investigation's credibility collapsed under Rep. Nunes in early April), their concerns with chairman Sen. Burr's actions in March; their intention to include former National Security Advisor Flynn's contacts in their investigation in February.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Trump's tariffs on Canadian softwood please Maine sawmill owners

In today's Portland Press Herald, I report on how President Trump's imposition of punitive tariffs against imported Canadian softwood lumber are being seen in Maine, a state where two-fifths of the land area is a continuous softwood industrial forest bordering on Canada. It's a complex situation, but Maine sawmill owners are really happy, and its likely to benefit loggers who work for them too

I wrote about this issue back in December in the Maine Sunday Telegram, after the idea first surfaced.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

With rule repeal, how to keep your digital life private?

Earlier this month, President Trump signed into law a repeal of federal privacy rules preventing your internet service provider from exploiting a broad range of information about your online life without your permission. So what happens now?

My story in today's Maine Sunday Telegram looks at the way forward for privacy-minded consumers, for federal and state lawmakers, and for the internet providers themselves, which will each have to decide what they want to do or not do with data on users, now that there are operating in what one expert called a legal vacuum. For Mainers, a sidebar looks at what some of the state's internet providers are saying. (There's a fair bit of variation.)

I previously reported on the rule repeal when it was still a bill, passed by the Senate (with Sen. Collins' support and Sen. King's opposition) but not yet in the House (where Maine Second District Rep. Bruce Poloquin backed it, and Rep. Chellie Pingree rejected.)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Talking media in the Trump Age, Colby College, April 25

On Tuesday, April 25, I'll be joining Ali Watkins of BuzzFeed News and CNN's Steve Collinson at Colby College to talk about the press in the Trump age, with special reference to the 2016 election.

The event, hosted by Colby's Goldfarb Center, is ay 7pm at the Ostrove Auditorium in the Diamond Building. Should be fascinating, especially as Watkins and Collinson have been covering the administration up close in D.C. It's open the the public.

I'm also speaking on April 24 at St. Joseph's College in Sanford, Maine, where I'll be talking about the issues raised in American Character, like saving the Republic, and at the Q Ideas conference in Nashville April 27.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Speaking on American Character, St. Joseph's College, April 24

This coming Monday, April 24, I'll be speaking about my most recent book, American Character, at Saint Joseph's College in Standish, Maine, and the implications of the 2016 election. The title is "American Character: Maine and the Nation in the Aftermath of the 2016 Election."

The event, which kicks off at 3 pm, is free and open to the public. It's in the Viola George Auditorium. Look forward to meeting St. Joseph's students, faculty and staff and readers generally.

Do come if you can. My full event schedule, as always, can be found here. My next public event is a speaking panel at Colby College the following evening, April 25, followed by a keynote at the Q Ideas conference in Nashville Thursday, April 27.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Deeper EPA cuts threaten Maine's economy, environment

Late last month it became public that President Trump has proposed even deeper cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency than those initially reporter. In this past Sunday's Maine Sunday Telegram, I have a story on how three more proposed cuts and eliminations will play out in Maine, where they would end federal funding for beach water quality monitoring and the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership and cut back on funds to clean up Superfund sites like the Callahan Mine in Brockville.

Critics say the cuts will hurt Maine's economy, and they are also getting a cold, unanimous reception from Maine's Congressional delegation, which consists of two Republicans, a Democrat, and an independent.

I've also written recently about the president's proposed budget cuts generally, his broader cuts to the EPA, the elimination of EPA programs protecting kids from lead paint, his cuts to NOAA and, the Wells Reserve and suggested dismantling of NASA Earth Sciences would effect Maine.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Why did Evangelicals support Trump?

One of the great mysteries of the 2016 presidential election is how it was that 80 percent of Evangelicals voted for Donald Trump, perhaps the most un-family values candidate ever to hold a major party nomination.

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Frances Fitzgerald has a whopping thick new history of the Evangelical movement out -- The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America -- and it's got a lot of clues to solving the problem. I outline them in my review of the book for the Washington Post. I think it runs in the Sunday print edition, but it's online now. [Update: 10/20/17: Sunday Outlook section, B6.)

Busy with the launch of my own book and a far-flung project for Politico, my last review for the Post was over a year ago: of Tim Marshall's book on geopolitics, Prisoners of Geography.

[Update: 10/20/17: For those in the Upper Hudson Valley, this review also ran in the Albany Times-Union today. And if you happen to live in the Brazilian state of Parana, I've got you covered in Gazeta do Povo (in Portuguese.)]

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Trump plan to nix programs protecting kids from lead paint gets chilly Maine reception

In this week's Maine Sunday Telegram, I have a story on how President Trump's proposed elimination of Environmental Protection Agency programs to reduce lead paint exposure in children will likely effect Maine.

As you'll see from the story, the proposal has gotten a frosty reception from Maine's Congressional delegation, which consists of two Republicans, a Democrat, and an independent.

I've also written recently about the president's proposed budget cuts generally, his broader cuts to the EPA, his cuts to NOAA and, the Wells Reserve and suggested dismantling of NASA Earth Sciences would effect Maine.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Sen. King says Gorsuch would return US jurisprudence to the early 1930s

In yesterday's Portland Press Herald, I reported on Sen. Angus King's announcement that he will oppose Neil Gorsuch's elevation to the Supreme Court.

The senator's statement was a long, detailed, and hard hitting brief against President Trump's nominee, who he believes will try to return American jurisprudence to its "pre-1935" state, when there were far fewer protections for ordinary people against what we would now call the one percent. Given that King is a pro-business Independent -- and a lawyer by profession -- it's a pretty strong rebuke. It also means Maine's Senators are splitting on the issue, as Republican Susan Collins is supporting the nominee.

Details in the story.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

As Russia probe pressures intensify, Sens. King and Collins remain confident in their committee

As the U.S House's investigation of Russia's interference in the 2016 election collapsed this week -- and new revelations shook those following closely -- Maine's senators Angus King (I) and Susan Collins (R) expressed renewed confidence that their Senate investigation will get to the bottom of the issues, including possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

I have the round-up in today's Maine Sunday Telegram.

You should really pick up the paper today, as the ongoing "Lost" series on the opioid epidemic in Maine continues, this time focusing on the repercussions in the lobstering community. Yesterday's installment focused on one hard hit southern Maine town, Sanford. Proud of my Press Herald colleagues for what they've put together.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Rep. Poliquin tries to help Trump reach out to Democrats

Since being elected to represent Maine's second Congressional district, Rep. Bruce Poliquin has had a pretty low profile in the media, largely because he avoids taking public positions on most issues, including even if he supported Donald Trump's candidacy for president, or the North Woods National Monument designation in the heart of his district, or if he would vote to repeal the nation's internet privacy rules on ISPs (he did.)

So it was a bit surprising to have him surface in stories this week in the Boston Globe and Politico discussing President Trump's failed outreach to Congressional Democrats. The news: Poliquin has been acting as a go between trying to broker meetings between at least one moderate Democrat and White House officials. Details in my short piece in today's Portland Press Herald.