Monthly Archives: June 2016

You Brexit, You Owns It

Above all, it seems to me, the British vote to leave the European Union, and the tidal waves of analysis and soul searching that have followed, point to conflicting definitions of community. For one thing, it seems clear that for millions of Europeans the European Community is not a community so much a sprawling, faceless, […]

Trump the Uniter!

“A lifelong Republican, my complete and utter disgust at Donald Trump moved me to write a check to Hillary Clinton! It will be the first election, during the 45 years of my marriage, that my wife and I will pull the same lever.” We read so much (including, it’s fair to say, from me) about […]

Let the Rivers Run

“The health of our water is the principal measure of how we live on the land.” Luna Leopold In Acadia National Park, which is about to turn 100, the streams are abnormally dry, the waterfalls unseasonably quiet. Still, as the map shows, when it comes to water, there are two Americas, roughly divided by the […]

Radical Islamist Christian Judaic Terror

Radical Islamic Terror. Why won’t Barack Obama say those three words? His failure to do so, I read, is why we are forever vulnerable to attack from radical Islamic terrorists. And his failure to do so keeps alive all the whispered conspiracy theories about his background, his motivations, his true beliefs. It’s clear that many […]

The Language of an Empty Suit

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s […]

Converging Lives

Dennis McCullough died late last week. He was a doctor who pioneered the “slow medicine” movement. Its goal is to let elderly patients live out their last days as they wish to, instead of as the recipients of well-meaning medical interventions – what my mother called “heroics” – aimed at prolonging their often-lonely and anguished lives. […]

Earth’s Old and Weary Cry

We don’t have time to mourn the dead. Tragedies such as the carnage in Orlando should bring us together to grieve for those who died, to pray, however we pray, for the wounded, and to support those whose lives have been devastated. But we don’t have time. Too quickly we turn human tragedies into political […]

Requiem for a Lowland Gorilla

I don’t know how the three-year-old boy fell into the moat at the Cincinnati Zoo. Nor do I know why Harambe, the 17-year-old silverback gorilla, was in the zoo in the first place. As a critically endangered primate, the zoo may have seemed his safest refuge, although it didn’t turn out that way. A security […]


Colleagues called him “Smiley” because he almost never smiled. David Gilkey, a photographer for NPR, died Sunday in southern Afghanistan when the Taliban ambushed the convoy in which he was riding and incinerated his vehicle with a rocket-propelled grenade. He was 50 and had covered conflicts around the world, as well the earthquake in Haiti […]

Introducing Perspectives

James G. Blaine

I am a recent resident of Northeast Harbor, although I have deep roots in Maine,including the same name as a rambling house in Augusta. For the last four years, I have written a regular blog ( that connects personal observations and public issues.