As the latest session of the legislature closed this year, reporter Eric Russell was watching how lawmakers would respond to the opioid addiction and overdose crisis. Last year, 376 Mainers died after taking some form of prescription or street-bought painkiller: things like OxyContin, fentanyl, heroin, or a combination of drugs. Russell was the lead writer for Portland Press Herald's Lost, a chronicle of how addiction and death impacts communities as a whole, and thought the urgency of the issue would result in legal changes and ... it didn't.
In this episode, Russell explains to social media editor Jim Patrick how ongoing narcotic addiction spread into the mainstream and they discuss how framing the issue as a moral crisis is impeding meaningful change.
Editorial page editors Greg Kesich and Sarah Collins dug into the mailbags to crown Kathleen Mikulka as June's Letter Writer of the Month. In this episode, Mikulka joins us to share more about her teaching experience and why she is concerned about creating education policy based on test scores. We also hear from social media czar Jim Patrick, who makes the argument that while Facebook maintains its reputation for impulsive, ad hominem comments, the Press Herald has also attracted engaged, informed readers that will tempt you to defy the Internet principle of "Don't read the comments!"
Lastly, we dig into the funniest, smartest, most indignant messages from PressHerald.com, featuring yarmouth1, bowdoin 81, elvisisdead, 3midcoastg8tor, and a special appearance by columnist Jim Fossell.
Press Herald columnists Alan Caron, and Bill Nemitz dive into the feast of political news from the past week with Editorial Editor Greg Kesich. From the short shutdown, to the Governor's intentionally misleading statements to lawmakers, the media, and citizens, from new fissures in the Democrat and Republican parties to the legislatures failure to pass significant policy changes in the afce of the opioid crisis. And bonus for the political science fans: on the day AG Janet Mills announced her gubernatorial candidacy, they spin a little game theory on how ranked choice voting will play out in primaries.
Our columnists Alan Caron, Cynthia Dill, and Bill Nemitz joined host Greg Kesich in our One City Center offices to discuss how we became and how long we will be one of a few states without a budget. Are there political lessons to be learned from the 1991 shutdown? Then Greg makes a call to our more conservative columnist Jim Fossel to get into the nitty gritty of the negotiations and what both sides of the aisle are trying to accomplish.
Our analysis is evergreen, but news can move fast and our facts were fresh as of Monday at 1:30 pm.
If the state shutdown is the inevitaility that the Governor assumes it to be, Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich and columnist Bill Nemitz project the financial and political fallout from the closure of state services and halting of payroll. They also examine the purpose of the American Health Care Act and how Susan Collins's public opposition could effect negotiations. (Since we recorded, Susan Collins officially announced her dissatisfaction with the bill and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has delayed the vote until after the July 4 recess.)
Also in this episode, reader Victoria Hugo-Vidal joins Greg to talk about her letter explaining Millennial economics and personal finance. Her frank and funny personal writing earned her the May Letter Writer of the Month crown, which now comes with the offer of a podcast appearance.
They say "don't read the comments," but here at the newspaper, we can't help ourselves because the comments come from you, our beloved readers and subscribers.
So this week editorial page editor Greg Kesich and assistant editor Sarah Collins grab their favorite heartfelt, skeptical, whiny, funny, and outrageous comments off of our website. Kesich and Collins may get the final word on this podcast, but if you send us a note the conversation can continue.
Medicaid is the country's largest public healthcare system. It made up 17% of the federal budget last year. The program subsidizes healthcare costs for people with low incomes, people with disabilities, and families with children. While Medicaid is mainly funded by the US government, states provide funding too. That means enrollment criteria and costs change from state to state and from year to year depending on state policy.
So sometimes it gets a little confusing. Health and human services reporter Joe Lawlor sat down with editorial page editor Greg Kesich to untangle the overlapping systems and detail the recent and upcoming changes to MaineCare, the state's name for its Medicaid administration program.
Portland Press Herald Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich along with columnists Alan Caron and Bill Nemitz discuss who needs to compromise with who in order to get the state budget passed, do some speculating on how Maine's undefined political soul could lead gubernatorial candidates to switch parties as they try to get through the primaries, take a teeny, little sip from the nips controversy, and admire Angus King's litigation skills on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Portland Press Herald Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich and columnist Alan Caron discuss Susan Collins's prominent role on the Senate Intelligence Committee (and speculate about her ambitions to govern the state of Maine), the difficulties of uniting "the resistance" around focused issues and the Democratic party's lackluster response to the energy, and whether the legislature will be able to find a budget compromise to avoid a state government shutdown.
Portland Press Herald Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich, and columnists Bill Nemitz, Alan Caron and Cynthia Dill discuss how conflict over the voter-approved surcharge on high-income earners could lead to a state shutdown. Then they weigh in on why some think it's unlikely that President Donald Trump will be impeached.
For this week's episode, Portland Press Herald City Hall reporter Randy Billings joined Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich to explain our city's unique government structure and how it may contribute to drama in a municipal government with no partisan difference.
This week's fight was over the city budget... kind of. The city council passed a $240 million annual budget with a very small cut (.02% of the budget) that exposed deep discord: they eliminated a position for Mayor Ethan Strimling's assistant, which was held by Jason Shedlock. Now Strimling is threatening to veto, an act that would likely be symbolic since the council has the right to override.
The arrangement of our city council, mayor, and city manager has lead to confusion over job roles and decision making power. On this episode Billings opens up his reporter's notebook from the fraught budget debate, explains why the two men who have held the new-ish role of elected mayor have interpreted the job description differently, and how the city might solve this confusing issue.
This week President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. The dramatic timing has redivided partisan sentiment and further complicated investigations into possible Russian meddling into the last election cycle.
Why did Trump fire him this way? What exactly were his reasons? How might Senators Collins and King react from the Intelligence Committee? Does America need a new FBI Director to investigate or an independent investigator? Do we have time to talk about Gov. LePage demurring on a challenge to King for his Senate seat? What is even happening? Our host Portland Press Herald Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich and Sunday columnists Cynthia Dill and Alan Caron dig into as many angles of Comey's past year as they can... with a just a few rounds of argument.
Portland Press Herald Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich and columnists Bill Nemitz, Cynthia Dill, and Alan Caron discuss three big stories of the week: the passage through the House of the American Healthcare Act and why Rep. Bruce Poliquin kept his vote secret until game time, a provisional vote in Maine to have us join the Atlantic time zone if Massachusetts and New Hampshire do the same, and Gov. Paul LePage's oppositional appearance in Washington D.C. to discuss the economic impact of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.
Portland Press Herald Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich, and columnists Bill Nemitz and Cynthia Dill discuss three big stories of the week: President Trump’s 100 day review, the Maine house’s debate over the best way to raise money for the state’s education system, and what the US’s role and responsibilities are when it comes to escalate and cooling foreign conflicts.
Portland Press Herald Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich, and columnists Bill Nemitz and Cynthia Dill discuss the week's news, including the first official entry into the 2018 governor's race, the disturbing case of Anthony Sanborn, and Bill O'Reilly's departure from Fox News.
Portland Press Herald reporters Ed Murphy and Matt Byrne discuss in detail the case of Anthony Sanborn Jr., released on bail after serving 25 years for a 1989 murder. They talk about the circumstances of the crime, and the new evidence that led to his release. They also describe the dramatic moments in the courtroom when Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler announced the decision.
This week on the Portland Press Herald Podcast, Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich is joined by Sunday columnists Jim Fossel and Alan Caron to discuss the Legislature's moves to overturn the vote on the minimum wage, and the spilt that is exposing between elected democrats and the Maine People's Alliance. Also using children as political pawns, and can bipartisanship ever happen if people never change their mind?
Portland Press Herald Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich, and columnists Bill Nemitz, Alan Caron and Cynthia Dill start by talking about Paul LePage's apparently fluid views on healthcare as expressed in recent radio interviews. They wonder if America can get a real independent investigation into Trump's Russia connections and from whom, How Post-Fact politics will change the country and re-shape the political center, and finish by previewing upcoming columns about tipping, casinos and reasons for optimism.
Portland Press Herald Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich, and columnists Alan Caron and Cynthia Dill talk offer some free advice to Republican politicians. They also ponder some questions. Can Paul LePage still run as an outsider? Will Angus King talk to constituents in Maine Second Congressional District about Judge Gorsuch? Will Bruce Poliquin make a firm commitment? Can Obama sue Trump over wire tap tweets?
Portland Press Herald Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich, and columnists Bill Nemitz, Alan Caron and Cynthia Dill talk about: What the Pope had to say about giving to panhandlers, and what Paul LePage is up to in Washington; Angus King's central role in the Russia scandal, late-night TV in the Trump era, and what they're reading.
Today on the podcast we introduce Jim Fossel, the newest addition to the Sunday editorial page crew, whose column debuts this weekend. Jim comes in with a more conservative viewpoint, and in this episode he talks with Editorial page editor Gerg Kesich about the different groups that make up the Republican Party.
Portland Press Herald Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich, and columnists Bill Nemitz, Alan Caron and Cynthia Dill meet and talk about a new poll on the makeup of the electorate; How police body cams became a hot topic in Portland exposing divisions in city hall, and if Bernie Sanders' supporters are unfairly blaming Hillary Clinton for Donald Trump.
After a week off due to poor weather, Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich, and columnists Bill Nemitz, Alan Caron and Cynthia Dill return to the podcast to talk about the challenges and opportunities facing our elected representatives in Washington.
Will Bruce Poliquin ever take a stand?
Are liberals too critical of Susan Collins?
Will Angus King be on TV a lot?
and what's up with Paul Lepage?
This week Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich, and columnists Bill Nemitz, Alan Caron and Cynthia Dill discuss the collapse of the plea deal with the Commercial Street Black Lives Matter protesters, how Senator Collins is going to deal with Cabinet and Supreme Court nominations, and if the legislature is going to ignore citizen-initiated referendums on ranked-choice voting and minimum wage.
This week on the Podcast, our panel, including Editorial Page Editor Greg Kesich, and Columnist Bill Nemitz, Alan Caron and Cynthia Dill, discuss the beginning of the Trump Administration, massive protests last weekend in Portland and around the country, and the Governor's feisty town hall meeting in Biddeford.