Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Canada looks to Maine's governor to influence Trump on NAFTA

Governor Paul LePage may be seen as a lame duck here in Maine -- where he's alienated many of his legislative allies, betrayed the state's sacrifices in the Civil War, and attacked fellow Republican Sen. Susan Collins -- but in Canada, he's seen as a potential savior.

A savior if he can help convince President Trump not to ditch NAFTA, that is. As I reported in this week's Maine Sunday Telegram, Canadian officials -- and New Brunswick ones especially -- are hoping LePage has some pull with the mercurial president. Read on for details.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The (Almost) Civil War of 1789

My American Nations-powered series over at Medium, "Balkanized America," continues with a second installment on the deep divisions between our regional cultures in the colonial period, Revolutionary era, and early republic. The article, "The (Almost) Civil War of 1789," is available to subscribers and and is one of at least a half dozen monthly pieces rolling which will run the gamut from hidden history to electoral analysis.

The first part of the series -- an up-to-date overview of the American Nations model and its wide-ranging implications and utility -- published to the site last month. [Update, 9/22/18: the third installment, on new research showing a genetic legacy as well, is up now.]

Medium, the blog hosting site created by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, is developing a members only section, and invited me to create the series. I hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Talking US news of the week on Maine Public radio, Aug 22

Earlier this afternoon, I joined an in-studio conversation about the (extensive) news of the week at Maine Public radio for their live call-in show "Maine Calling."

The discussion -- including host Keith Shortall, University of Maine political scientist Jim Melcher, and the University of New England's dean of arts and sciences Jean Hey -- is now available online here. It also rebroadcasts tomorrow morning, Aug. 23, on the stations of Maine Public broadcasting.

I was last in the Maine Public studios to speak with Tom Ashbrook, who hosted his "On Point" program from Portland earlier this month.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

A catastrophic year for North Atlantic right whales

This has been a terrible year for one of the most endangered marine mammals on Earth, the North Atlantic right whale, which has a surviving population of just 500. As I reported in Wednesday's Portland Press Herald, at least a dozen of the rare whales had been found dead off New England and Atlantic Canada, most of them in waters they had not previously been known to frequent.

Another whale carcass has since been reported off Massachusetts.

Why is this happening? Scientists aren't certain, but food -- and therefore climate change -- is believed to be a driving factor. Read on to learn more.

I've reported extensively on the right whales in the past, when it appeared they had finally turned a corner. For more on this, start here.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Speaking on Blackbeard and the pirates, seacoast Georgia, Aug. 17

For those in and near the Georgia seacoast, I'll be speaking on Blackbeard and the golden age pirates this Thursday, August 17, at the Coastal Georgia Historical Society on St. Simons Island. It's the subject of my third book, The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down.

The event, part of their Chautauqua Lecture Series, kicks off at 6pm at the society's A.W Jones Event Center. The series has a subscription charge, details herein.

Hope to see you there.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Maine accidentally defunds its state digital mapping office

Belatedly, note that in Friday's Portland Press Herald I have the odd story of Maine having accidentally defunded its state GIS office, which provides geospatial data, maps, and services to a wide range of users, including other state agencies, the private sector, and -- yes -- outfits like Google Earth and Google Maps.

The governor's office and administration don't want to talk about it, and the Democratic chair of the appropriations committee says their explanation doesn't add up, so I suspect we;ll be hearing more about this.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Talking news of the week with NPR's On Point, August 4

NPR's "On Point" with Tom Ashbrook is in town this week, and tomorrow, August 4, I'll be joining them live in studio from 10 to 11 am Eastern to talk about the news and developments of the week. Hope you can take a listen. [Update, 16:07 ET: the audio of the program is online now.]

The second hour of the program will also come to you from Portland, Maine, featuring a conversation  being recorded tonight at the University of Southern Maine about a big issue in this little-but-popular city, gentrification pressures.

I was previously a guest on the program a few years back, talking about the golden age pirates.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Exploring the lasting legacy of early Maine and New Hampshire

Readers of The Lobster Coast and American Nations are aware of the lasting effects of Colonial Era events on the future trajectories and characteristics of North America's disparate regional cultures and subcultures. Maine, especially, is shaped by events in the 17th and early 18th centuries, when a distinctive Anglican/Royalist/West Country-influenced society was made a colony of Puritan/Anti-Royalist/East Anglia-domnated Massachusetts. Its a colonial legacy that continues to effect our development, attitudes, values, and economic performance, even though few Mainers today either know the history.

A new exhibit at a museum on the border of Maine and New Hampshire shines a light on this poorly understood period in the two colonies' history, then bound together by shared experience and resistance to Massachusetts overrule. "Forgotten Frontier" is showing at the Old Berwick Historical Society's Counting House Museum in South Berwick, Maine, and I visited and wrote about it in this week's Maine Sunday Telegram. Have a look and consider a visit.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Sinclair, "must run" commentary, and Maine's WGME

In this week's Maine Sunday Telegram, I write about the nation's largest owner of local television stations, Sinclair Broadcasting Group, and the "must run" pro-Trump editorials it requires Maine's WGME-13 to run in its newscasts. Check it out.

Sinclair is currently seeking approval from the Trump administration's FCC to acquire two dozen more stations, a move requiring a change in rules governing the market penetration "discounts" granted for UHF stations.