• Guest Column: Adventures with Bill Ruger

    By Michael Ian Hallet The following is the text of a speech given at William Ruger’s funeral Saturday, Sept. 22. It happened something like this. Alexander Phillips, the clockmaker in Bar Harbor and resident musician at East of Eden called me up one day back in 2005 or so. He said a fellow by the

  • Capitol Commentary

    A midterm State of the Union assessment By Fred Benson Forty-six days from now, voters will go to the polls to set the nation’s political azimuth for the next two years. Most midterm elections are unconvincingly described as being far more important than others, but this time it’s real. It is widely acknowledged that the

  • Viewpoint Democracy under threat

    Democracy is an unnatural means of social organization. I mean that quite literally. Other social animals, especially primates, organize by forming dominance hierarchies with one dominant ruler atop a pyramidal power structure. Throughout most of history, humans formed the same type of social structures, with kings or dictators at the top and slaves or peasants

  • Community Forum: Hear what Kavanaugh has to say

    In 1977, in my capacity as police reporter for The Berkshire Eagle, I covered a big murder trial. The Berkshire Eagle, still published in Pittsfield, Mass., focused on local news, much as we do at the Islander and The Ellsworth American. As is so often the case with New England communities, many of the towns

  • Community Forum: Action for the next generation

    Whenever I’m on the road, I always try to look out the window. In all the years I’ve been alive, I’ve found that there’s always something beautiful or interesting to see, so long as I just look out. On Mount Desert Island, it’s usually big, rolling mountains, or evergreen forests that stretch for miles, or

  • Viewpoint: Lynching a good public servant

    By Ken Olson Winston Churchill is believed to have said, “When you’re going through hell, keep moving.” Recently the United States government did a tawdry thing to a good man. The Interior Department Inspector General (IG) publicly rebuked retired Acadia National Park Superintendent Sheridan Steele for a misjudgment Steele had already admitted to and apologized

  • Community forum: Party time, part II

    Community forum: Party time, part II

    By Jack Russell Recently on this page, I offered historical perspectives on the Republican and Democratic parties and the dynamic that now most defines each. In my view, President Donald Trump has captured the Grand Old Party with a whole hog faux populist pitch to the racially resentful right that Republicans have cultivated for 50

  • Community forum: Conversations with my father

    Community forum: Conversations with my father

    By Todd R. Nelson My father could hold a conversation with anyone. Some of my favorite recollections are of him doing just that. His print, radio and television journalism career took him to myriad places and stories in 40 years of reporting. He earned a living starting conversations with unlikely people in unlikely places. As

  • Capitol commentary: Angles on the Russia probe

    Capitol commentary: Angles on the Russia probe

    By Fred Benson In case we hadn’t noticed, President Donald Trump is winning. From a low of 35 percent in November 2017, his approval rating has grown steadily to 45 percent along with a concomitant reduction in his disapproval rating. On the investigation of possible Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, confidence in Special

  • Community forum: It’s party time

    Community forum: It’s party time

    By Jack Russell As Mainers gear up for primaries, I reflect on political parties in our time. Many think that two stable major parties have long orchestrated American politics. The Democratic and Republican Parties have dominated national political life for 164 years and 42 presidential elections. Only once since 1856 did the presidential candidate of