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.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Sen. Collins' stance won't save Roe v Wade, experts say

President Donald Trump will announce his latest nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States in a few hours, a nominee who will need 51 votes to be confirmed by the Senate.

Those concerned that abortion rights will be overturned by the new court have been focused on two Republican senators who say they support reproductive rights: Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Maine's own Susan Collins.

Collins' position on Roe and the confirmation process has been consistent, but easily misunderstood for to those who don't follow her and the court closely. It's central tenant: she will judge the nominee based on their fidelity to precedent, with the assertion that this will protect Roe v Wade because it's "settled law."

In this week's Maine Sunday Telegram, I asked several of the country's leading legal scholars what they thought of this reasoning. Most were unimpressed. Find the details here.

For more on Collins' position on this issue, start here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Talking American Nations on Wisconsin Public Radio, July 4th

For those of you in the Badger State: I'll be your Independence Day guest on Wisconsin Public Radio's morning program from 7 to 8 Central.

Appropriately enough, I'm talking about the ideas in American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America, and their implications for our history, politics, and shared stability.

For those further afield, I'll post a link to the podcast here when it's available. [Update, 7/6/18: Here's the audio link.]

I've appeared on WPR a couple of times in the past, including to talk about my POLITICO Magazine story on Milwaukee's 21st century reindustraliztion drive, and another on the sequel to American Nations, American Character: A History of the Epic Struggle Between Individual Liberty and the Common Good.