Thank you for your service, Senator McCain

I dialed Susan Collins’ Bangor office number several times yesterday, and the line was always busy, which I took as a hopeful sign, although I was, and remain, apprehensive. I was calling to thank Sen. Collins once again for her courage in voting against the last Republican effort to repeal Obamacare and to say I […]

Sleeping with the Olympic Bomber (Part 1)

Rereading A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson’s riotous account of hiking the Appalachian Trail with the delightfully curmudgeonly Katz, made me think of two things: How little humor there seems to be out there these days – in the public sphere, on college campuses, among newspaper opinion writers – and how much I miss […]

Sept. 16, 1963, a bomb explodes in Birmingham

“The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line,” W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk (1903) Two strong voices – those of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Bryan Stevenson – insist that DuBois’ observation endures because we have refused to confront it. In “The First White President,” Coates assails the notion that working-class […]

A narrow trail lovingly made

A new trail begins just west of Little Long Pond on the Mt. Desert Land & Garden Preserve, which consists of 1,165 acres abutting Acadia National Park. The Richard Trail is named for Richard Rockefeller, a doctor who for years chaired the advisory board of Doctors Without Borders and died when the plane he was […]

Freaky Friday

No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main . . . any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.           […]

The Good News

This is a simple story about people who do their jobs well. I’m judging a statewide newspaper contest, which consists of entries from six local daily papers, all of them multi-issue series of interest and importance to their communities. Contrary to the constant barrage of reports about fake news, sensationalism, and bias, these submissions bespeak […]

“I was one small stone”

Jeannie Rousseau de Clarens died last week at her home near the Loire River in France. She was 98. During World War II, she served as an interpreter for a French business association during the German occupation – and also as an amateur spy whose charm, flawless German, and incredible courage enabled her to gather […]