Once again, the nuclear talks with North Korea have stalled. Pyongyang is preparing to restart plutonium production. And our diplomat, after a hasty repair visit, has left the capital apparently empty-handed. President Bush, after starting out rejecting the Clinton “framework” for denuclearization of the Korean… Read More
    Republican presidential candidate John McCain appeared to offer a helping hand to homeowners struggling to make mortgage payments during Tuesday’s debate. His American Homeownership Resurgence Plan promises $300 billion to have the federal government buy bad mortgages and rewrite the terms so homeowners can avoid foreclosures. Read More
    As of Saturday, Bangor’s Husson College will officially become Husson University, with doctoral programs already in physical therapy and pharmacy and prospectively in ministry, law and medicine. President William H, Beardsley, in one of Husson’s business breakfasts last week, traced the institution’s growth in 110… Read More
    You probably heard the phrase “green-collar jobs” uttered at both party conventions. The speakers were not touting hemp shirts, but an economic sector that could provide the U.S. with its next boom. The potential is real, and Maine has a chance to get in on the action. Read More
    One of the more interesting yet mostly overlooked contrasts to come out of the first presidential debate was the times the candidates agreed on some issues. It was a contrast because it was Sen. Barack Obama agreeing with Sen. John McCain, and not vice versa. Read More
    If ever there was a reminder that the U.S. economy is too heavily tied to the ephemera of speculation, the current crisis is it. We’ve known for years that little seems to be made here any more; that durable – or not so durable – goods made from… Read More
    Which vice presidential candidate emerged victorious in the debate? What do you make of John Frary, the Republican challenging incumbent Mike Michaud in the 2nd congressional District? Should skinny-dipping be illegal? Can John McCain win in Maine’s 2nd congressional District? ClickBack, the BDN’s editorial page… Read More
    A new report presents a shockingly dismal picture of the health conditions in Washington County. Consider these highlights of the Community Health Status Report released by the Mane Center of Disease Control and Prevention: Highest overall cancer incidence and death rate in the state, with… Read More
    For those want to know more about Vice President Dick Cheney’s role in the troubled Bush administration, a gold mine awaits. It is a new book, “Angler,” by Barton Gellman, a Washington Post special projects reporter. It starts off with a bang, about how Mr. Read More
    Plum Creek has until Oct. 14 to decide whether to accept a generous offer from the Land Use Regulation Commission to endorse its application to rezone land around Moosehead Lake for development. The company must decide whether to accept modest changes to the plan recommended by LURC staff. Read More
    It was George W. Bush, oddly, who sold the idea of “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” He was talking about education and assumptions about the abilities of the disadvantaged. But the phrase now offers the only possible explanation for the scores of pundits who declared that Alaska… Read More
    Maine’s lobstermen, the key players in a $250 million-a-year industry, are in sorry shape. With herring bait selling at $35 a bushel – when they can get it – and diesel fuel at $4 a gallon, and lobster’s “boat price” down to $3 a pound, they often can’t… Read More
    When he won re-election in 2004, President Bush asserted that he had won a mandate from the voters and earned political capital. A short time later, Mr. Bush spent that capital on a proposal to privatize Social Security. The idea gained little traction with the public and even… Read More
    Vice presidential debates are usually afterthoughts, overshadowed by the matchups between those at the top of the ticket. This year, however, the debate between the vice presidential nominees, to be aired at 9 tonight, is expected to draw more viewers than last week’s first presidential debate. Read More
    The arc of Paul Newman’s life – who died at 83 on Friday – is like that elusive, flawless 90-mph drive around the race track, something Mr. Newman enjoyed doing competitively in his middle age. No sudden braking, no sudden swerves, just a smooth, hard-charging negotiation of the… Read More
    Getting children to play outside doesn’t seem like the type of problem that needs a government solution. Given how few children routinely spend any time out of doors and the growing number of children who are obese, however, the government had no choice but to try to reverse… Read More
    Here’s some perspective on Congress’s failure to pass a financial rescue plan: As soon as the House vote was announced Monday, the stock market plummeted, falling nearly 800 points and wiping out more than $1 trillion in assets. Many will point out that the market… Read More
    A dispute between the hospital in Ellsworth and the state’s largest health insurance company is a symptom of a much larger problem. Without adequate information on what health care costs, insurers, lawmakers and others have no real idea whether medical care in Maine is too expensive. Read More
    There’s no shortage of hot topics for BDN editorial page readers to discuss this week: the first presidential debate, the unsteady candidacy of Sarah Palin, the proposed federal bailout of mortgage-backed securities and the imminent LURC approval of the Plum Creek project. To participate, go to bangordailynews.com and… Read More
    The Federal Communications Commission is wisely looking at ways to reform subsidies for expanding telecommunications services and to use some of that money to provide fast Internet connections across the country. Its fixes so far, however, have penalized rural areas and mobile communications without reining in spending or… Read More
    Unless you can remember life before World War I, the United States you know has always towered over the rest of the world. Since 1920 or so, the U.S. has been the world’s economic engine, its productivity expanding steadily and consistently leading the way in technology. This nation’s… Read More
    The strong public opposition to the proposed $700 billion government bailout of the country’s financial markets is understandable. With a ballooning deficit, largely due to the war in Iraq and tax cuts, concerns about where the bailout money will come from remain unanswered. In addition, no one wants… Read More
    Maine government, like that in any state, spends a lot of money. Without knowing if those expenditures get the desired results, it is impossible to know if the money is well spent. That is the drawback of a new Web site unveiled this week by… Read More
    With dire warnings about the fragility of the U.S. economy, President Bush Wednesday pushed Congress to act quickly to pass legislation to rescue the financial sector. More important, without acknowledging he had done so, the president acquiesced on two important points, allowing progress on deciding a bailout plan. Read More
    Military deaths are a regrettable cost of waging war and can turn a nation against a war. Civilian deaths can turn an invaded nation against the invaders. That’s what is happening in Afghanistan. A rising toll of civilian dead and wounded in that sideshow war,… Read More
    The fastest-growing group of Maine tourists may be entering the state by a dock, not a highway. The cruise ship business, over the last 10 years, has given coastal communities a substantial influx of cash spent in restaurants, shops, galleries and boutiques. The only downside is that lodging… Read More
    House passage of a bill to allow more oil drilling off the U.S. coast is being hailed by some as a responsible way to address the country’s energy problems. The legislation has many drawbacks, which is part of the reason it has drawn a veto threat from the… Read More
    Maine’s former Sen. George Mitchell, who led a recent conference in Portland, is one of many who are pressing for a bipartisan solution to the nation’s mounting health care crisis. The time for action should come under a new Congress and a new president. The… Read More
    Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe says 20 percent of the lawyers who work in his office effectively spend their days working on child protection matters – trying to remove children from abusive, neglectful homes, or working to get parents back on track so they can keep their kids. Read More
    This week, ClickBack continues on a political path as we march toward Election Day, just six weeks away. We are seeking the thoughts of editorial page readers on the Susan Collins-Tom Allen race for the U.S. Senate, the fate of school consolidation votes in your community, and what… Read More
    The Bush administration has presented Congress with an outline of a $700 billion bailout package for Wall Street and told lawmakers to pass it fast. While a quick resolution is necessary to stabilize financial markets around the world, lawmakers must take their time in assessing, and if necessary,… Read More
    Among all the disputes in this year’s presidential race – Iraq, the economy, health care, global warming – one issue stands out as clearly decisive: abortion rights. For the first time, Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that guaranteed the right to choose abortion, faces possible… Read More
    There’s no denying that on a U.S. map, Maine looks like a sore thumb jutting up into the nether regions of the North. But on maps that are less U.S.-centric, maps that place the U.S. within the context of North America, Maine begins to look different. Instead of… Read More
    As the Land Use Regulation Commission begins its deliberations next week on Plum Creek Timber Co.’s development plan for the Moosehead Lake area, three big questions should guide their consideration: Is the proposed development appropriate for the region? Is it in the right places? Is it appropriately offset… Read More
    The Republican Party has long been in favor of smaller government, a good stance given the expansion of the federal government and its expenditures. Under the Bush administration, however, a disdain for government has turned into a disdain for governing with embarrassing and dangerous consequences. To undo this,… Read More
    Members of Congress typically try to carve out a niche or two, choosing issues on which they can focus and become experts. Second Congressional District Rep. Mike Michaud has been a consistent voice on issues that relate to military veterans, and his steady work as chairman of the… Read More
    The fundamental reason for the turmoil on Wall Street is simple: American people, companies and investment banks borrowed far more money than they could afford. Undoing this, as we’ve seen in recent days, will be difficult, painful and expensive. The financial term for what is… Read More
    Remember the now-classic career advice offered to the Dustin Hoffman character in the 1967 film “The Graduate”? At a party his parents have thrown for him, the young grad is button-holed by a middle-age family friend, who says as if letting him in on the secret to success:… Read More
    Presdential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama have very different philosophies on how to fix the ailing U.S. economy. The highlights of the candidates’ plans reflect those differing values, assumptions and priorities. A deeper question to consider is what will actually result from the economic… Read More
    Two of the nation’s biggest financial banks have collapsed. Others are in trouble. Real estate markets keep dropping. Stock prices have been plummeting. And despite reassurances from President Bush and Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., an air of desperation has spread through the financial system. For an… Read More
    With the current focus on presidential politics – or personalities – and oil drilling, government contracting, never an exciting topic, has taken a back seat. But reforms are needed to save the taxpayers money and to ensure good-quality work is done. Congress has failed to… Read More
    This week, ClickBack seeks editorial page reader comments on how voters make up their minds on presidential candidates, punishment for Seamore’s kidnappers, how the federal government might better prepare for and respond to hurricanes, and banking bankruptcy. As always, readers should go to bangordailynews.com and pull down on… Read More
    In announcing a small withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq early next year, President Bush last week said the reduction was a sign of success. With more than 130,000 U.S. soldiers remaining in Iraq and no plan for their exit, with little progress on political reconciliation among the… Read More
    Democrats and Republicans each have had their week in the sun at their conventions, and either Barack Obama or John McCain will win the White House in November. But as in past elections, third party candidates may have a part to play in the electoral drama. Read More
    After many months of eating potatoes from Idaho, Florida, New York and other producers, you can now buy the new crop of Maine potatoes, fresh on the market. As the Maine Potato Board might put it, “This spud’s for you.” That was the Wall Street Journal’s recent report… Read More
    With energy a primary focus in Washington, a bipartisan group of 20 senators, including Susan Collins, have come together to offer a comprehensive new energy plan. Their policy, a mix of more energy production, conservation and a lot of government funding, offers a good starting point for an… Read More
    More than 100 people standing on one corner in Machias, demanding the community have a greater role in Down East Community Hospital, while 40 hospital staff and board members stand on the opposite corner in a counter protest, is not a symptom of a healthy relationship. But that… Read More
    There’s a sad irony that the hurricane which ravaged the Caribbean island nation of Cuba in recent days was named Ike. Cuba has been shunned by its superpower neighbor, the United States, since shortly after Ike – President Dwight Eisenhower – left office in January 1961. Read More
    The late Tim Russert, NBC Washington bureau chief and host of “Meet the Press,” earned his status as a pundit legend during the 2000 election. Early in the evening of Election Day, Mr. Russert said the race would turn on one thing. Picking up a dry erase board,… Read More
    As the nation marks the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, voters are considering who will take over from the administration whose tenure and policy was shaped by the destruction of the World Trade Center, the downing of a plane over Pennsylvania and the strike on… Read More
    A proposal by a Saco legislator to give local schools the flexibility to schedule four-day weeks has the makings of a good idea even if the details change. Democratic Sen. Nancy Sullivan, a longtime seventh-grade social studies teacher, wants to change Maine rules so that… Read More
    As Congress begins its brief pre-election work session this week, there will be a lot of talk about energy. To be more than campaign slogans, the talk must address a core problem – the United States uses far more oil and gas than it produces. The solution is… Read More
    Almost everyone agrees that the federal government had to rescue the two tottering mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It headed off a likely plunge into global economic chaos. In its essentials, the Bush administration’s plan did what it had to do in what… Read More
    It was encouraging that John McCain, in accepting his party’s nomination for president last week, pledged to end the partisan rancor in Washington and to restore trust in the Republican Party. It is hard to know, however, which Republican ticket the public will consider on the November ballot. Read More
    After enjoying a Labor Day holiday break, ClickBack returns this week in high gear for the political season. The party conventions are over, the kids are back in school, there’s a nip in the air, and it’s less than 60 days until Election Day. Each week from now… Read More
    The Labor Day weekend is an end and a beginning. For many summer folks, it is time to leave for jobs and school. One might get a sense that Maine is closing down for the year. For the rest of us – and for the… Read More
    A federal lawsuit filed by a Maine state prisoner raises difficult questions about constitutional rights and the nature of incarceration. The prisoner, Deane Brown, was serving a 58-year sentence in the Maine State Prison in Warren for a series of burglaries, thefts and robberies. For… Read More
    With school back in full swing, educational leaders must refocus on consolidating administrative units so the twin goals of efficiency and excellence in education can be achieved. Gov. John Baldacci’s consolidation effort continues to have its critics, but the numbers reiterate the need for reducing… Read More
    As important as the news that the state will recoup all of a $20 million investment that quickly became almost worthless are the changes the state has made to its investment policies to ensure more independent oversight. This allows the state to gain the benefits of investment income… Read More
    The major party conventions have become prime time opportunities to create biographies – some would say mythologies – of the candidates, free of the media filter. Personal tragedy, adversity and humble origins are the currency in these staged productions. Personal wealth, if it exists, is ignored. It wasn’t… Read More
    The Bangor City Council is wise to formally respond to traffic concerns by adopting a policy that set parameters for applying measures to “calm” drivers who speed along residential streets. As appropriate as such action is, it resembles tossing a single sandbag on the levee a week after… Read More
    It’s the kind of decision that hardly seems like news: The Republican Party, in setting its platform last week, decided to call its opposition by its proper name, the Democratic Party. It is news, and good news at that, because the GOP for more than a decade has… Read More
    The federal government has loudly touted and helped to fund a historic project to remove dams on the Penobscot River. So it is an odd time for the government to move ahead with plans to expand the endangered species designation for Atlantic salmon to include the Penobscot, Kennebec… Read More
    Hurricane Gustav thankfully spared the Gulf Coast its full fury. Still, the storm was a crucial test of emergency preparedness in the region devastated by Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent inadequate government response. Government, at all levels, largely passed the test, although crucial weaknesses remain to be fixed… Read More
    That slice of pizza you had for lunch on that busy workday could have made you violently ill. If it had, it didn’t necessarily mean that the corner convenience store where the pizza was made was being recklessly negligent. It’s just that the store was a bit too… Read More
    Federal regulators are finally moving ahead on years late, watered-down rules requiring ocean vessels to slow down in some areas to avoid hitting right whales. One of the best aspects of the rules, released last week, is that they are meant to be studied to ensure they are… Read More
    A pending secret security agreement with Iraq is so full of conditions, uncertainties and disagreements that it is impossible to know what it means for the end of the U.S. occupation and the move to Iraqi control. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki now demands a fixed withdrawal date,… Read More
    This newspaper recorded the events of Labor Day 1904 with unusual enthusiasm, describing a parade of more than 2,000 union members in Bangor as “filled with good-fellowship and triumph … a potent example typified in thousands of silent, stalwart men, of the strength and force and dignity which… Read More
    Sen. John McCain shook up the political landscape Friday when he picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. At a time when the Republican’s biggest criticism of Democrat Barack Obama is that he lacks the experience necessary to run the country, it is a big risk… Read More
    There is some comfort in knowing that typically about half the 25 murders in Maine each year are at the hands of family or friends because it means Maine does not suffer the random violence seen in other states. But going deeper into that statistic, the reaction should… Read More
    New Orleans, as it was before Hurricane Katrina, remains a city of contrasts three years after the storm devastated it. While some neighborhoods are thriving and the city’s famed music and restaurant scene is once again vibrant, hundreds of National Guard troops still patrol the streets and thousands… Read More
    The University of New England in Biddeford is leading a growing trend among colleges around the country by encouraging – some might say bribing – incoming freshmen to leave their cars at home. UNE this fall will offer freshmen planning to live on campus a free bicycle if… Read More
    Preserving Frannie Mae and Freddy Mac is among the most important challenges that face this country. These two huge mortgage organizations have been the mainstay of the American tradition that every family should, within its means, buy its own home with a reasonable down payment and a mortgage… Read More
    When someone decides he or she finally wants to be free from the death-grip hold of substance addiction, there are – thankfully – places for them to turn in the community. Many of these support systems – Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and various counseling groups – were established… Read More
    Lawmakers shortchanged the public last week by quickly dismissing two qualified candidates for state boards based on narrow views of what nominees are supposed to look like. Rather than face a bruising fight in the Senate, the governor withdrew the nominations. Members of the Committee… Read More
    Vehicle crashes are the top killer of teens and young adults. Raising the driving age to 21 and launching new drivers by simply handing them the keys without prior instruction would be a grossly ineffective solution to the problem, yet that is the approach society uses in introducing… Read More
    This week, ClickBack focuses on the American Folk Festival, presidential politics and tidal power. To participate by posting your comments on the issues, go to the BDN’s newly redesigned Web site, bangordailynews.com, and use the Opinion pull down menu to find ClickBack. Readers also can post their own… Read More
    The choice of longtime Sen. Joe Biden as Sen. Barack Obama’s running mate sends a wide range of signals. Whether those signals harmonize with or are out of tune with the electorate remains to be seen. In what is shaping up as a very close contest between the… Read More
    Both Barack Obama or John McCain want to send many more American troops to Afghanistan to try to pacify the country and wipe out al-Qaida and the Taliban. Defense Secretary Robert Gates agrees, backing a $20 billion plan for major increases in the size of Afghanistan’s army and… Read More
    Tax reform is in the air and may actually take place after the election of a new president. Excessive executive compensation is also in the air, as many chief executive officers make hundreds of times as much as their employees while dragging their companies through bankruptcy, laying off… Read More
    The Employee Free Choice Act, a proposed federal law that would change the way unions can be formed in the private sector, is casting an odd and confusing shadow over the Tom Allen-Susan Collins Senate race. Rep. Allen, the Democratic challenger, is an original co-sponsor of the measure. Read More
    One military analyst expert says the Navy’s decision this week to pursue building a third Zumwalt destroyer is because of events in Georgia. Others attribute the change in direction to concerns about maintaining the country’s shipbuilding capacity. Whatever the reason, it is not certain that… Read More
    Ever since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, presidential candidates have been asked to take a position on the issue. Over the last 35 years, candidates often equivocated and tried to dodge efforts to pin them down on the abortion question. The lack of candor was… Read More
    The stages and tents are up. Performers have arrived. Food is cooking. Beginning this evening, it’s time for you to head down to the Bangor waterfront for the American Folk Festival. To continue its success, the festival needs you – to go enjoy the music, food and arts,… Read More
    The Endangered Species Act has rightly been criticized for being slow and cumbersome. Eliminating a key provision of the act – which requires agencies that promote development, such as the Department of Transportation and the Bureau of Reclamation, to consult with agencies charged with protecting wildlife – is… Read More
    With heightened concern over expected high heating bills this winter, many have looked to government for solutions. While increased funding from Washington for LIHEAP and state support for energy efficiency are important, community groups and individuals can step in now to help. It wouldn’t require… Read More
    John Frary’s colorful campaign for the 2nd Congressional District seat now held by Mike Michaud has been, by turns, amusing, confusing, frustrating – and finally, disappointing. The Republican candidate may have concluded from studying Maine electoral history that once someone wins re-election to statewide or… Read More
    The excitement over Monday’s resignation of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was short-lived. Just a day after he announced he was stepping down, the leaders of the country’s two main parties are already disagreeing and issuing ultimatums as violence continues. The difficulty for the United States and other western… Read More
    “Epic,” is how Mark Spitz described U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps’ winning eight gold medals in Beijing, breaking Mr. Spitz’s 36-year-old record for the most gold in one Olympics. “He just made the pressure putt at the U.S. Open to win it, just won the Tour… Read More
    This week, ClickBack solicits the comments of Editorial Page readers on the role of moral considerations in selecting a president, the revelation that former presidential candidate John Edwards had an extra-marital affair, and what it means if Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama choose running mates with views… Read More
    Tailgating is inconsiderate, hazardous and infuriating. It’s even worse in August, with the influx of tourists added to the unruly minority of Mainers who seem to be trying to climb into your back seat. Dealing with it requires some thought – and a cool head. Read More
    It may be time for an American version of the “truth and reconciliation” commissions that other countries have used to restore their reputations and boost national self-respect. Such a commission could bring closure to an era in which America’s good name has been tarnished and many Americans have… Read More
    With the public’s heightened concern about energy – especially its cost – and high expectation for government solutions, Gov. John Baldacci has proposed a modest short-term plan that sets the appropriate tone of using state resources wisely before moving to spend money the state isn’t likely to have. Read More
    While it is welcome news that Gov. John Baldacci wants to lower the state’s income taxes, many more details are needed before this becomes realistic. One of the biggest problems is that with the state already predicted to face a large shortfall in its next budget cycle, revenue… Read More
    When he was governor, Angus King often lamented the lack of value-added components in Maine’s economy. Wood chips and pulp should not be exported, he argued; instead, Maine should lead in paper, lumber and furniture making. A favorite line was that no fish should leave the state with… Read More
    Russia’s invasion of neighboring Georgia was clearly a disproportionate response to the situation there. But holding up Georgia as an innocent victim of Russian power run amok is an oversimplification of a complex problem. The cease-fire, brokered by the French, must be upheld. Then, with support from the… Read More
    The fact that the trial of Osama bin Laden’s former driver appears to have resulted in an appropriate verdict and sentence will be meaningless if the Bush administration does not release the Yemeni man after his sentence is served. A military jury last week convicted… Read More
    With the University of Maine System in the midst of an effort to reduce costs, especially by reducing administration and increasing collaboration, it has hired the right person to oversee this work. The system and governor’s office announced this week that Becky Wyke, the governor’s… Read More
    This month of rain, mist, humidity and fog is so miserable that one Maine lobsterman has coined the term “Fogust.” It has spoiled a lot of picnics, ball games and hikes, but one of its worst visible consequences is what it has done to the maple trees. Read More
    The revelation that Iraq’s government may enjoy a $79 billion surplus by the end of the year, while the U.S. government expects a $482 billion deficit, is a classic good news, bad news development. Iraq’s financial stability is evidence the fledgling government and economy are on the right… Read More