Polls show that most Americans view the Bush presidency as a dismal failure. Whether the president can redeem himself in the eyes of the public in his post-White House years remains to be seen. Of far more interest to Republicans seeking elected office is the way their party… Read More
    As the world’s athletes compete to stand atop a medal podium, Maine was knocked from its top tax perch. Let us know what you think about taxes, tumbling, seaweed and nuclear power by going to bangordailynews.com. Look for the ClickBack logo in the Opinion section. You can answer… Read More
    Sure, consumer spending is supposed to get us out of this economic mess. But as individuals, we have to figure how to make ends meet through what could be many months – maybe even several years – of job insecurity, sagging value of our homes and securities, and… Read More
    Forget what Mom said about cleanliness being next to godliness. A little dirt, and the bacteria that are in it, is actually critical to human health. The rise of anti-bacterial soaps in households and the quickness with which physicians prescribe antibiotics are serious threats to… Read More
    It has been taken as gospel for years that Maine’s tax burden is among the highest in the country. Turns out this isn’t true. This, of course, won’t end the debate over whether Maine’s taxes are too high and what should be done about it. It shouldn’t, but… Read More
    With three methadone clinics, Bangor has done more than its share to combat drug addiction in Maine. Without a comprehensive approach to new clinic siting from the state and other communities moving to ban or severely restrict such clinics, Bangor officials are right to be concerned. Read More
    In an era when reality shows are more popular than, well, reality, the Olympic games beginning today in Beijing are likely to offer more complaints about judging than “American Idol,” more unfettered emotion than “Big Brother” and the rivalry of “Survivor.” The biggest drama is likely to surround… Read More
    A recent report from the World Bank concluding that biofuels are a major contributor to rapidly rising food prices adds urgency to the need for a thorough analysis of alternative energy sources to ensure they don’t have unintended negative consequences. The report, by the bank’s… Read More
    As the Bush administration winds up its eighth year, the talks with North Korea about its nuclear weapons program stand as a piece of unfinished business and a challenge for the next administration. His position has taken a180-degree turn. He started off by listing North… Read More
    It is understandable that the public and some lawmakers want action on energy policy, at both the state and federal levels. Calls for special sessions of the Maine Legislature and Congress must be tempered by the realization that there are no quick fixes to the long-building problem of… Read More
    For decades, the words “public transit” and “Maine” rarely would be found in the same sentence. Other than in Portland, Lewiston-Auburn and Greater Bangor, most of Maine’s 1.3 million residents have settled sparsely across its many towns and villages or “sprawled” in the regions between them. Read More
    In a 1975 lecture, writer and Soviet Union critic Alexander Solzhenitsyn cited an old Russian proverb: “The yes man is your enemy, but your friend will argue with you.” By that definition Mr. Solzhenitsyn, who died Sunday at 89, was a friend to his native land and a… Read More
    Oil extraction on federal lands and off the coast has quickly become the continental divide of energy policy in this presidential election year. Congressional Democrats have, for the most part, opposed lifting the ban on offshore oil drilling. Republicans, for the most part, support it. Read More
    This week, ClickBack, the BDN’s interactive editorial page feature, solicits reader comments on the role of politics in the Olympics, negative political ads and Maine’s electric grid. To participate, go to bangordailynews.com and click on the ClickBack logo in the Opinion section of the home page. Participants must… Read More
    As worry spreads through the nation about how global warming threatens the planet, some committed environmentalists find themselves afflicted by two new annoyances: “green noise” and “greenwashing.” Together, they are causing a certain green fatigue that could endanger the growing national determination to do something about climate change. Read More
    As both John McCain and Barack Obama close in on their choice for a running mate, one name keeps popping up – Olympia Snowe. Her name isn’t bandied about by professional political pundits, but by bloggers and would-be wonks. Although she won’t be on the… Read More
    Calling the state “Vacationland” isn’t enough to sustain Maine’s largest industry. The Maine Office of Tourism tries to react to ever-changing trends in the business, and like a fisherman, must decide where to cast its net to bring in the biggest catch. The latest effort to respond to… Read More
    Of course you’ve seen them – drinking coffee and smoking a cigarette, reading, applying makeup, text messaging, eating and even dressing – while steering a 4,000-pound vehicle down the road at 50 mph. Here’s another: A state trooper recently observed a woman watching a TV show on her… Read More
    A second report has found political views were improperly considered, and in some cases the top consideration, in hiring decisions at the Department of Justice. While it is helpful that Attorney General Michael Mukasey wants to ensure such a situation doesn’t happen again, much more is needed. The… Read More
    With warnings about tomatoes and then jalapeno peppers tainted with salmonella, food safety has been a concern this summer. So it is not surprising that a federal warning against eating lobster tomalley quickly led to fears about the crustaceans, resulting in a short-lived ban on lobster shipments to… Read More
    If their campaign promises are to be believed, both Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama as president would increase government spending on a host of fronts. Those visions must be tempered by the news that the White House budget office projects the next president will inherit a… Read More
    Sales of the state’s conservation license plates have been declining for years. With introduction this spring of a sportsman license plate, revenues are apt to drop even more, widening the shortfall in funding for state parks and wildlife. Rather than relying on license plates and a tax checkoff,… Read More
    With heating oil bills rivaling many mortgage payments, winter is not far from the minds of many Maine residents despite the summer’s warmth. That concern apparently hasn’t reached Washington where many Republicans are content to hold heating assistance hostage to their agenda to allow more oil drilling. Read More
    The good news was that Paul McCartney, co-founder of the Beatles, would perform a free concert in Quebec City July 20 to mark the city’s 400th anniversary. The bad news was that Mr. McCartney’s appearance was seen by some in the province as another wave of the British… Read More
    This week, ClickBack solicits the thoughts of editorial page readers on summer vacations, flag flying and state fairs. To participate, visit www.bangordailynews.com and click on the ClickBack logo. Registration is required, but the BDN does not share information with third parties. Maine tourism promoters want… Read More
    A recent political survey has disclosed a significant and possibly disturbing gap in public attitudes toward the “values and backgrounds” of the two presumed presidential candidates. According to the latest Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll, Barack Obama held a relatively steady lead over John McCain. Read More
    Oil was $12 per barrel when Federico Pena was the nation’s energy secretary in the Clinton administration. Mr. Pena is now a co-chairman of the Obama campaign and an adviser to the candidate on energy and transportation issues. And while he doesn’t believe his advice will bring back… Read More
    Summer residents of Sutton Island have lost their special private postal service, and there may be a moral to the story. For at least 50 years, residents of the little island, one of the Cranberry Isles off the coast of Mount Desert Island, have been… Read More
    The Navy’s decision to build only two of its next generation destroyers has raised concerns about the workload at Bath Iron Works. Sustaining the yard’s skilled work force is necessary for both the Navy and the state economy. The Navy announced earlier this week that… Read More
    Congressional Democrats, including presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, are pushing for a second economic stimulus package that would put some $50 billion of federal money into the hands of consumers. It’s a bad idea. The first stimulus package, which transferred… Read More
    Two events scheduled for Saturday make for perfect opportunities to enjoy high summer in Bangor. Each marks a turning of the page in the way the city and region sees itself. And each can be understood as a fresh way to value the abundant natural resources on which… Read More
    In 1977, British TV talk show host David Frost landed the coup of the decade: a series of sit-down interviews with disgraced President Richard Nixon. The interviews were to cover a wide range of topics, including Mr. Nixon’s hindsight on Watergate, the scandal that ended in his resignation. Read More
    Blaming speculators for the rapid rise in oil and food costs has become a bipartisan sport in Washington. This may succeed in building public outrage at supposedly wealthy investors (while diverting attention from lawmakers’ failure to take meaningful action on energy), but that anger may be misplaced, or… Read More
    A state game warden’s decision to shoot and kill a black bear in a Bangor neighborhood on Saturday has elicited a slew of opinions from readers. Many expressed sympathy for the confused critter, which no doubt made a wrong turn in its wanderings. Or did it?… Read More
    You know summer has come to Maine when you hear the screen doors slamming and your dear friends from away start showing up. They are a blessing but also, to be frank, a burden. Of course we love the chance to be with them once… Read More
    The debate about the future of U.S. troops in Iraq has once again devolved into a parsing of words. Beyond the semantic maneuvering, however, it is clear that the context and tone of the discussion of when U.S. troops will leave Iraq has fundamentally changed. The difficulty now,… Read More
    This week’s ClickBack, the BDN’s editorial page interactive feature, solicits your thoughts on the bear shooting in Bangor on Saturday, Sen. Barack Obama’s trip to Iraq, Afghanistan and Europe, and the possibility of another government stimulus check. To participate, go to bangordailynews.com and click on the ClickBack logo. Read More
    Talk of stopping the annual increase in Maine’s gas tax has become as predictable as July thunderstorms. But, where the rain helps gardens grow, the gas tax posturing doesn’t help the state’s drivers. Instead of an annual rehashing of the gas tax, lawmakers should use their time and… Read More
    As it does every year, the federal government has again painted a rosy picture of the health of the nation’s ocean fish populations. While there has been growth in some species, this is only half the story – literally. The National Marine Fisheries Service has no idea about… Read More
    A recently released report on the state of Canada’s tourism industry pulled no punches: “Canada’s Tourism Sector on the Brink of Crisis,” read the headline of the news release summarizing the report. The number of U.S. visitors to Canada has steadily declined over the past five or six… Read More
    Faced with the possibility of not returning to Earth, the astronauts aboard the damaged Apollo 13 did not – as far as we know – panic, point fingers of blame, or give up in despair. They, along with hundreds of support staff in Houston, evaluated what they had… Read More
    A recent study revealed that almost three of five recent middle-class retirees – i.e., baby boomers – will see their financial assets – pensions, 401(k)s and savings – dry up before they depart the planet. Part of the explanation is that retirees are not diminishing their lifestyles as… Read More
    Do you remember how kids often got homesick at summer camp? Well, surveys show that nowadays it’s often the parents who get sick with longing for their faraway children. It’s called “kid-sickness.” Rachel Wray, who lives in Somesville, says her son Nicholas is having a… Read More
    When the Senate Finance Committee turns its attention to the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program next week, it should begin by reconsidering why there are separate, and more generous, benefits for workers deemed by the government to have lost their jobs to trade, rather than decreased demand for goods… Read More
    It’s hard to see Maine’s groundbreaking bottle bill as anything but a success. Thirty years ago this summer, the law that required consumers to pay a nickel deposit on each can or bottle of soda or beer and 15 cents on each bottle of wine they purchased went… Read More
    Rescuing the nation’s mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, could well cost American taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars and quite possibly more than $5 trillion. Fixing the mess is essential, but so is finding and punishing the people who got us into it. Don’t worry about… Read More
    The next time a U.S. president concludes war is justified and necessary, the people’s representatives – Congress – should be more closely consulted and should have the final say over military action. It’s what the Constitution anticipated: giving Congress the power to declare and fund war, and the… Read More
    Those controlling the public purse strings are often exhorted – correctly – to tighten up government spending. But the federal assistance program that pays for poor and middle income people to tighten up their houses against the cold is not where such fiscal restraint should come. Read More
    This week, ClickBack asks editorial page readers to post their thoughts on the search for vice-presidential candidates by Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain, the motives of Iran in testing missiles, and Maine’s groundbreaking bottle bill. As always, visit the BDN’s Web site, bangordailynews.com, and click on the ClickBack… Read More
    In the 2003 Academy Award-winning documentary “The Fog of War,” former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara imparts lessons he learned from overseeing the Vietnam War. One key lesson, Mr. McNamara says in the film, is that it is imperative to understand why the enemy fights. That lesson should be… Read More
    It is not unusual for presidential administrations to favor people who share their party’s views for government jobs. The extent to which the Bush administration has done this, however, has reached a new high – or low. This is especially troubling at the Justice Department, an agency with… Read More
    As we struggle through the worst economic slump since the Great Depression, the concept of risk keeps coming up. Why did so many financial experts overlook the riskiness of those “subprime” mortgages? And why did so many homeowners sign on for loans they could barely afford at interest… Read More
    A Massachusetts marketing campaign aimed at giving its lobsters a green image likely won’t cut very deep into the Maine lobster market. But the conservation-themed effort adds urgency to the need to finalize a federal rule for lobster gear that is meant to help endangered Atlantic right whales. Read More
    Maine’s electricity system needs improvements for a variety of reasons. Before any work can begin, however, the question of who will pay for it must be answered. To complicate an already complex process, how that question is answered may determine whether Maine should remain part of the New… Read More
    The grim news that Washington County residents are more likely to live shorter, less healthy lives than their Maine and national counterparts is a symptom of an underlying problem: persistent poverty. It is a shocking symptom, and perhaps the worst manifestation of the chronic economic distress that plagues… Read More
    The U.S. Department of Justice has a new priority – the detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Although nearly seven years have passed since the first detainees at the Cuba facility were picked up and this new priority comes from a federal judge, don’t expect the department to stop dragging… Read More
    There’s a pleasing symmetry to the synopsis of a documentary film that will be shown at the Maine International Film Festival, July 11-20, in Waterville. “A Road Not Taken” chronicles the fate of a clunky piece of hardware that once sat atop the West Wing of the White… Read More
    With this year’s red tide outbreak predicted to be worse than 2005’s historic levels, shellfish consumers should be reassured that the state’s testing system keeps tainted mussels and clams off the market. Harvesters, especially those who gather a few shellfish for a family meal, should consult the Department… Read More
    A bill to expand the government’s ability to eavesdrop on Americans appears to be headed for passage in the Senate this week. This is a mistake. The bill, said by the Bush administration to be necessary to protect the country from terrorist attacks, would weaken… Read More
    A special legislative session on energy is not a bad idea – if lawmakers have some concrete steps they plan to quickly take. But Maine, with its lack of excess funds and few indigenous energy resources can do little to lower fuel costs for the coming winter. It… Read More
    This week’s ClickBack asks editorial page readers to consider and weigh in on cutting old trees, drilling for oil off U.S. shores and state government coming to the rescue in the energy crisis. To participate in ClickBack, the BDN’s interactive feature, go to bangordailynews.com and click on the… Read More
    Which political party’s platform supports “the preservation of the Maine Woods and open spaces through public and private initiatives” and which asserts “Democracy is the belief that the best repository of wisdom lies in the hands of an informed and educated electorate”? The first statement… Read More
    When unemployment creeps up and finding another job is made more difficult by the high cost of gas, the balance of power in the worker-employer relationship tips toward the employer. Don’t like the dozen new tasks heaped onto your workday? There’s the door, the boss may say. Workers… Read More
    Universities and colleges do research every day that leads to improvements in our lives. But occasionally there are studies that result in nothing more than a collective shrug, often because their results are so obvious. Here are a couple recent examples. A University of New… Read More
    For the last five years, Mainers have debated the relative merits of casino gambling, and in two of three votes decided the risks outweighed the benefits. The exception is the $132 million Hollywood Slots racino facility in Bangor, which voters approved in 2003. The permanent racino facility, featuring… Read More
    Maine doesn’t have reserves of oil or gas, but that doesn’t mean steps can’t be taken to reduce residents’ heating bills. Environment Northeast, an advocacy group in New England and eastern Canada, has proposed a national efficiency program to reduce heating oil usage. Such programs exist for electricity… Read More
    Two-hundred thirty-two years ago, representatives in the Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and adopted their Declaration of Independence. It expressed frustration and anger with the policies of Great Britain and its king. It argued eloquently for the fundamental, universal rights of those who are governed. It emphatically conveyed… Read More
    With the Fourth of July hard upon us, America’s national bird calls out for attention and appreciation. The bald eagle appears on the Great Seal of the United States and other government seals including that of the Federal Reserve System on the front of most… Read More
    North Korea’s handing over a required declaration of its nuclear activities and the accompanying relaxing of U.S. restrictions are important steps toward a resolution of a decades-long standoff over the secretive regime’s weapons work. Many more steps must be taken before the process can be called a success. Read More
    Everyone loves a good conspiracy. Consider the industry that has grown up around doubt over the official explanation of JFK’s assassination or the “evidence,” mostly on the Internet, that the United States destroyed the World Trade Center. But, when it comes to the state’s former head warden caught… Read More
    A regional high school with students from Orono and Old Town and the involvement of the University of Maine has been talked about for at least 60 years. A group of mostly retired school officials and businesspeople has revived the idea. It is past time for this idea… Read More
    Advocates for economic development in Washington County may have been skeptical 15 years ago when the idea of removing railroad ties and rails from the Ellsworth to Calais line was first proposed. Today, with diesel fuel at nearly $5 per gallon, it would seem reasonable to expect that… Read More
    This week, the BDN’s interactive feature, ClickBack, seeks comment from editorial page readers on the resignation of former Maine Warden Service head Tom Santaguida, the rise of wood pellets as a fuel, and the Maine economy. To participate, go to bangordailynews.com and click on the ClickBack icon. Some… Read More
    When a Northeast Harbor lobster boat recently caught fire and sank 20 miles out in the Atlantic, 15 to 20 other lobstermen dropped everything and raced to rescue David Graves and his son Ryan, adrift on their life raft in a thick fog. It was neither the first… Read More
    Angelo Mozilo was already well known in financial circles as chief executive of the beleaguered Countrywide Financial Corp., the nation’s largest mortgage lender and a major loser in the deepening credit crisis. He received $726 million in stock-options deals and compensation in 2007 when his company was losing… Read More
    It may not be on the order of Brown v. Board of Education or Roe v. Wade, but Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning the District of Columbia’s handgun ban will have a widespread and dramatic effect on government’s role regulating gun ownership and use. The full ramifications… Read More
    Maine, for a variety of reasons including pressure and threats from the federal government, must upgrade its drivers licensing system. Accepting a small amount of federal money to do this work does not mean the state is neglecting the privacy of its residents or participating in a national… Read More
    For decades, teachers held over their students the threat of putting discipline infractions on their permanent record. Such a record, which presumably followed a child from kindergarten to high school graduation, was more myth than reality. But recent federal education law has turned the myth into reality by… Read More
    It’s a familiar standoff: local residents fighting to protect their homes and transportation planners trying to move vehicles safely through Maine. This case involves the Maine Turnpike’s toll plaza in York – Maine’s front gate, generating $35 million in toll revenue annually. The existing plaza, built in 1969… Read More
    If the state has learned anything from its online sex offender registry debacle, it is that putting a lot of personal information on the Internet without thinking of the consequences is an invitation to litigation, or worse. That’s why it was smart to slow down the process for… Read More
    If the consequences were not so serious, the antics of Democrats and Republicans as they try to stake out positions on the energy crisis would be amusing. Earlier this year, as gasoline and heating oil prices soared, there were some clear battles to be fought:… Read More
    While the secretary of state has cleared independent candidate Herbert Hoffman to remain in the U.S. Senate race, the legal debate over whether he has collected enough signatures to appear on the November ballot revealed troubling shortcomings in the state’s validation process. These problems should concern lawmakers as… Read More
    When Congress was poised to let a controversial wiretapping law expire in February, the White House predicted death and destruction if the rules, which allowed eavesdropping without a warrant, weren’t extended. Congress let the Protect America Act expire and used the additional time to write compromise legislation, which… Read More
    Continued problems with 911 systems, which have now spread to Penobscot County, are a good reason for FairPoint Communications to slow down its takeover of phone and Internet service in northern New England. The problems also show the wisdom of and need for continued close monitoring of the… Read More
    This week, ClickBack, the BDN’s editorial page interactive feature, seeks reader opinion on campaign finance, the Christian Civic League’s petition drive and Hollywood Slots. To participate, go to bangordailynews.com and click on the ClickBack logo. New users are required to register, but the BDN does not share e-mail… Read More
    An adviser for Republican presidential candidate John McCain recently accused McCain’s Democratic rival Barack Obama of holding a “Sept. 10 mind-set.” Translation: Sen. Obama has a naive view of the nature of the world, a view that should have changed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Prompting… Read More
    Amid the big shift from print to the Internet, Rupert Murdoch, who has a foot in each camp as chairman and chief executive officer of the News Corp., probably knows more than most about what’s ahead. He foresees at least 20 or 30 more years… Read More
    While it is good news that the New England Fisheries Management Council delayed a decision on further reducing the amount of time fishermen may spend on the ocean, unless the time is used to find an alternative way to reduce the catch, fishermen will face a large reduction… Read More
    A state panel’s recommended denial of a major addition to Eastern Maine Medical Center highlights a disconnect between the state’s health plan, which focuses on reducing health care costs, primarily through preventive measures, and the medical reality that as small rural hospitals shrink regional hospitals such as EMMC… Read More
    Fiscal conservatives like to say that government never met a problem it couldn’t spend lots of your tax dollars trying to fix. Maybe so. But government, at its best, also is able to marshal existing forces to create a force greater than the sum of its parts. Read More
    The U.S. Senate tried but failed to pass a windfall tax on oil company profits earlier this month, with Democrats unable to muster enough support from across the aisle to withstand a threatened Republican filibuster and White House veto. The arguments in favor of the… Read More
    The Department of Interior is considering changing a rule so that loaded guns could be carried in some national parks. It’s a bad idea for several reasons, chief among them the weakness of the argument by those wanting the change. The current federal rule allows… Read More
    A stalemate in Congress over renewable tax energy credits and business incentives gives lawmakers time to improve the bill with a long-term fix to the alternative minimum tax and, more important, find ways to pay for the legislation. Known as the tax extenders legislation, the… Read More
    With rising fuel costs prompting airlines to seek much larger government payments to serve airports, Congress needs to rethink the Essential Air Service program, which provides subsidies to support air service to rural areas. Congress should downsize the program and pay larger subsidies to airports in isolated communities… Read More
    A failure can sometimes lead to a greater success later on. A case in point is the failure of the Climate Security Act to survive a threatened Republican filibuster. The issue now will wait until next year, with an opportunity to improve the bill and consider better alternatives. Read More
    As the summer solstice approaches, Maine’s tourism-reliant businesses look forward to their most lucrative three months. The summer’s revenues can mean the difference between a year in the black or a year in the red, yet many of the contributing factors – such as gas prices and weather… Read More
    This week’s ClickBack, the BDN’s interactive feature that solicits Editorial Page reader comments, seeks your thoughts on what the future holds for two forces at work in Maine: paper mills and recreational development like Plum Creek’s proposal for the Moosehead Lake area. We also want to know where… Read More
    When Republicans were attacking Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004 over the supposed exaggeration of his Vietnam record, an unexpected ally came to his aid: John McCain. The Arizona senator and current Republican presidential nominee, who spent five-and-a-half years in a North Vietnamese prison camp during that… Read More
    School’s out, and teens eager to trade their pens and notebooks for work gloves, serving trays and paychecks will enthusiastically enter the world of summer jobs. Parents are supportive. The teens learn a work ethic and make money for back-to-school clothes, gas for the car or college. But… Read More
    Many newspapers would envy the number and quality of letters to the editor the BDN gets from its readers. Our letters to the editor are lively, diverse and reflect an engaged, informed and – in the best sense – opinionated readership. At its best, the letters section of… Read More