Friday, July 24, 2020


David Jones, history teacher at Fryeburg Academy and instructor at Granite State College, sits in the left chair this week. I invited him on the show after he wrote a letter to the editor criticizing one of my columns. His letter is one of our topics.

As usual, we open with a question from the producer concerning recent arrests by federal officers protecting federal property in Portland, Oregon. It asks whether we agree that federal officials should be there to quell protests, and questions their tactics, allegedly including arrests without informing those arrests of the charges against them.

I’m against quelling protests, but believe strongly that resulting riots, arson, and looting must be quelled. Local, Democrat mayors and governors are sanctioning these crimes and that’s dangerous. If, as claimed, people are arrested and held without being informed of the charges, it’s a violation of their due process rights. Federal officials are constitutionally allowed to protect federal property no matter where it is.

David believes Trump might be playing to his base in this election year by deploying federal officials to confront rioters. It remains to be seen if that is politically efficacious for him. Citing effectiveness of the sixties civil rights protests in swaying public opinion, he suggests today’s swing voters are with Black Lives Matter protestors. 

From there we opine about President Trump and his policies, with me supporting the latter and David supporting neither.

At the end of the show we address David’s letter about my column’s claims that college professors are overwhelming leftist. I cite various sources including a wide-ranging statistical study indicating that the Democrat to Republican ratio of college professors and their political contributions in an election year is as high as 95:1.

David counters that the National Association of Scholars who did the study favors traditional study of western civilization. He asserts the more important question would be: does that bias manifest in biased teaching?

I cite the books used most in our prestigious graduate schools of education (like Columbia) as being overwhelmingly leftist. The best-selling book of them all is by Bill Ayers, an unapologetic, radical revolutionary who is proud of bombing banks and military installations during the sixties and seventies. He teaches teachers at the University of Illinois Chicago and he advocates “teaching for social responsibility” which he believes means turning out little revolutionaries across the country in our public schools.

David suggests that part of academic inquiry is reading those books that are on the fringe. He takes issue with the terms “anarchist” and “radical Marxist” and says there are no working definitions for them.

I say a Marxist is an anti-capitalist at least before we run out of time.

Thursday, July 23, 2020


Every summer I try to spend quality time with my grandchildren and this past week has been filled with that. The girls aged nine and ten are easiest. We go to a pleasant place, talk about the books they’re reading, or just sit on the porch and be together sharing thoughts, stories, and feelings past and present. The boys, however, want to do something adventurous like fish, or ride in the woods on the ATV. They range in age from seven (twin boys) to twenty. The oldest grandson is out on the west coast these days but he comes back to visit regularly. The rest live here in Maine.

Last week the twins visited us at the South Portland house. Fishing is just about all they want to do in summer. They brought their salt-water rigs to do some ocean fishing. I’ve been taking them to various lakes and ponds around Lovell for the last four or five years where they’ve caught sunfish and perch using worms. In the early years I was mostly occupied making sure they didn’t hook one another or me. I was all day baiting hooks, taking fish off of them, untangling crossed lines, and trying to remove hooks and bobbers from tree branches.

Over the years, however, they’ve gotten more skilled. They know how to cast, bait their own hooks, remove fish, and they use lures effectively. Sometimes they put down the fishing rods to go about the shoreline catching frogs and snakes. I’m free to share their excitement and remember how good if felt doing the same things when I was seven with my best friend Philip at our local pond. Now I have time to take pictures of them, one of my favorite things to do.

Anyway, we all went to Willard Beach in South Portland. The women stayed on the sand, the granddaughters collected hermit crabs in some nearby rocks while the women talked. We boys walked over to Spring Point Light to fish off the jetty. I purchased sand worms which do not resemble worms we use in fresh water. Sand worms look more like centipedes and they can bite you with pincers on their heads. The twins used needle-nose pliers to hold them while baiting their hooks.

After loosing several rigs on rock weed and lobster trap lines, we moved over to the Southern Maine Community College pier. Following lots of casts and having multiple sand worms nibbled off their hooks, each of the twins caught a crab. I got a sunburn. The twins were happy and, though tired, I was happy too — because they were. The next day I saw a Boston Globe story about three teenaged boys who caught a giant tuna off the Maine coast in Maine and recorded the drama and their excitement on their smart phones. I posted it on Facebook hoping it would be shown to the twins. Their mother reported their differing reactions. Although hard to tell apart, the twins are not identical and their personalities are quite different as well. One was thrilled, my daughter said, and other “wants to legislate tuna fishing because the population is dwindling.”

Got a crab
Saturday I spent in the woods with my fourteen-year-old grandson. For probably ten years now, he’s been most interested to ride my ATV, so that’s what we do. First he was a passenger behind me. Then I got a smaller ATV that he could operate himself as long as I was right behind him on mine with a kill switch to his in hand. Eventually he outgrew that little one and now operates my big one with me on the back as a passenger where he used to sit. I quickly discovered it’s not as comfortable back there as it is on the driver’s seat. There are lots of trails in Lovell and neighboring Waterford, Maine and we explored most of them — so many that my ass was fairly sore by the end of the day.

In the woods
I brought along some old maps because the trails we traveled were once roads connecting now-abandoned neighborhoods. All that’s left are cellar holes which can be difficult to find when the woods are all leafed out. The first one we spotted on the back side of Sebattus Mountain belonged to a family named Kimball in the 19th century. It’s an old Maine family name and, as luck would have it, it’s also my grandson’s surname, though his branch spells it Kimble.

Posing by the "Hand in Rock" carving
After several hours, it was very nice to get back home and rest in my soft recliner on the back porch and hope I’ll still have enough energy to do it all again next year.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Left & Right Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Newspaper publisher Mark Guerringue again sits in the left chair. The first question from the producer asks about reports that Trump was ignorant of Russian payments to the Taliban to kill American soldiers. It’s no surprise to me, I say. Russians have been supporting the Taliban against US forces for nineteen years. When Russian invaded Afghanistan in 1979, the US supported Bin Laden and others against the Russians. I don’t see what the big deal is. Mark’s answer is circuitous. He talks about frequent communications between Trump and Putin, then mentions what he claims are examples of Trump’s racism like retweeting someone saying “White Power” from a gold cart in Florida. I asked what that had to do with Putin paying Taliban and Mark related what Trump aide John Bolton said about it: that Trump probably was briefed on the Russian payments but didn’t pay attention, that Bolton saw that often with Trump and his daily intelligence briefings. I bring up Trump’s July 4th speech at Mount Rushmore and outrageous mainstream media reaction to it, quoting headlines from The NYTimes and The Washington Post depicting the speech as “dark and devisive.” Mark quotes Trump saying there is a new far-left facism in corporate boardrooms.” I agree with that because corporation are kissing BLM butts and coming out in support. Mark claims 70% of the American people support BLM. I doubt that. Mark claimes: “Trump said angry mobs are tearing down statues of our founders, our most sacred memorials and unleash a wave or violence.” I ask, “You don’t agree with that?” “No,” says Mark. “What?” I say. “Have you been watching television?” It went on like that for the rest of the hour, quite contentious. See for yourself.

Monday, July 13, 2020


There are more “Impeach Mills” signs visible on Route 302 as I leave Oxford County, Maine and travel through Bridgton in northern Cumberland County. Every week I pass through on my way to South Portland where I  encounter no such political sentiments. Left-wing Democrat Janet Mills has been our governor here in Maine for the past year and a half. They love her around the leftist bastion of Greater Portland, but folks out in the hinterland of Oxford County and northern border region of Cumberland County have had enough and are obviously plotting her demise.

Also visible in rural Maine are “Bring Back [former governor] LePage!” signs and other evidence of left/right political polarization. In Greater Portland one sees lots of “Black Lives Matter” signs on the roadsides, on buildings, bumper stickers, and elsewhere. Also common are professionally-made lawn signs with multiple messages which would, taken together, convey coded progressive political sentiments.

For example, a very common lawn sign in Cape Elizabeth, Maine has: “WE BELIEVE” at the top followed by seven lines, each of different font size and color. One proclaims: “BLACK LIVES MATTER” followed by: “NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL” which would seem to be a paean to open borders. Next comes: “LOVE IS LOVE” in lavender font which probably is a pro-gay, LGBT slogan. After that is: “WOMEN’S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS” which, given that abortion is most prominent in a list of women’s rights proclaimed by feminists, could transmit a pro-abortion sentiment.

Then comes: “SCIENCE IS REAL” which likely pertains to the controversial, progressive claim that 99% of scientists believe in anthropomorphic climate change. Following that comes: “WATER IS LIFE” but I’m not sure what progressive cause to which that might pertain. Last comes: “INJUSTICE ANYWHERE IS A THREAT TO JUSTICE EVERYWHERE.” Not sure of that one either, except maybe a belief that every injustice can be eliminated by a big government — with a resultant utopia.

Further along Route 302 another, anti-Governor Mills sign proclaims: “HEY JANET, IT’S A GOVERNORSHIP, NOT A DICTATORSHIP; OPEN MAINE NOW!” Which would pertain to her restrictive economic shutdown over the Covid virus. Another sign nearby says: “EVERY BUSINESS IS ESSENTIAL; END THE SHUTDOWN NOW! Near that sign, another says: “HOW MAINE SPELLS IDIOT: J-A-N-E-T  M-I-L-L-S”

Maine is very blue, along with every other New England state and so is adjoining New York state, but within each of those states is a divide between urban areas and rural areas. Each is a microcosm of the entire United States within which exists a similar dichotomy. Urban coastal areas of America are overwhelmingly leftist, while the rural interior is mostly conservative. Red/Green political maps of our country have reflected this for several presidential-election cycles.

 Jameesa and Bryan Oakley of Portland, Oregon
The progressive signs described above contain the logo of a Portland, Oregon company called Visiting it, I saw they also made many of the individual “BLACK LIVES MATTER” lawn signs, bumper stickers, and T-shirts so visible around Greater Portland, Maine. The biracial couple who established the Oregon company states:

“Like many others on election night 2016, our family was left in shock and disbelief. How could a man who campaigned on hate become President of the United States?  What would this mean for our values of love, decency and inclusion? How could we rise above the oppression and make an impact?”

Another barometer of Maine’s political divide might be mask-wearing. It’s relatively rare in Oxford County, but ubiquitous in the greater Portland area, even on beaches. Last week, Governor Mills ordered business owners in Cumberland, York, and Androscoggin counties to enforce mask-wearing in their establishments. All employees and patrons sport masks, but several have pulled them down to their chins inside the store.

To deal with uncooperative Maine citizens like these, Governor Mills put up a tattletale web site for other Mainers to turn them in. Should you wish to do so, go here: It’s titled: “Reporting on Alleged Non-Compliance with Executive Orders,” and further states: “If you wish to report a potential situation of non-compliance to the guidance relating to COVID-19, you may report those details using this form. The information will be reviewed by appropriate agency or agencies and responded to as needed.”

Rural Mainers see that as Orwellian and wonder: what’s next?