Retired Portland cop accused of abuse of power

  Above The Law is a column featuring news and analysis on incarceration, policing, and the criminal justice system in Maine. The name evokes the extrajudicial actions and impunity of law enforcement that will be covered here, while also imploring citizens to think "above" and beyond the status quo to envision better ways of dealing with harm. Here, we will question and critique not only the conduct of law enforcement but the roles played by…

Culture of Excess: The Strangest Products On The Cannabis Market

Call me old-fashioned, but when it comes to consuming cannabis, I’m perfectly satisfied with a simple, tightly rolled joint. Clean bowls/pipes are nice too. Much of everything else — gravity bongs, CBD oil vaporizers, crazy edibles, and water-soluble THC capsules — seems a bit excessive. After all, I’m usually just trying to make a book or movie more interesting with a delicate buzz, not blast myself to the point where I’m sinking into the couch…

Time to Get Moving

An object at rest will tend to remain at rest, and an object in motion will tend to remain in motion. The law of inertia. It’s physics, but also an apt metaphor for physical fitness. As in, “Hey, we’ve been talking about getting exercise. Wanna go for a walk?” “Nah. Too much inertia.” And it’s easy to tell ourselves that acknowledging our lack of motivation absolves us of the obligation we feel to get out…

Bouncers Welcome

Everybody remembers the excitement we felt as children when entry into the most fun place on earth was imminent. It could have been located within a state or county fair, or even in a well-off friend’s back yard. What is that place? The gravity-defying, backflip-trying bouncy house, of course. Parents watching their kids literally jump for joy in those inflatable fun zones have been known to shake their heads and chuckle, reminiscing on a time…

The Labors of Listening

In February of 2016, I answered a robocall from white supremacists supporting Donald Trump at my mother’s house in Vermont. It was a shocking, gut-wrenching thing to hear the tinny voice of a white nationalist gripe about the dearth of “beautiful white children” in our school systems. If I’d had any idea of what was to come, I would have hung up before that disembodied voice could even utter the words, “gradual genocide against the white race,” but…

Acknowledge Your Inner Cowboy

How prone to injury are you in your chosen athletic pursuit? A runner might sprain an ankle. A football player might get a concussion. Those old enough to remember Greg Louganis know that even platform divers are not exempt. What if, in your sport, there was a certain chance at every meet that a 1,500-pound bull would stomp his hoof on the base of your spine from above? Professional bull riders may ride 200 times…

Better Safe than Sorry

You can see it in the fascination on their faces as an emergency vehicle wails by, and in their choices of toy cars, one of which almost always is an ambulance, police car, or fire engine, if not all three. They ask you what the people in the vehicles are doing and are satisfied that certain adults do heroic things for work. Kids love emergency vehicles. The folks at Westbrook Public Safety well understand this,…

Pups at the Point

Don’t you feel a little older when an annual event you remember like it happened yesterday rolls around again? The odd part about it, as the seasons roll past, is not the number of yearly events you recall, but the speed at which the cycle comes around to begin again. Time does fly, at about Mach 5. The happening in question this time is one of the most fun Portland has to offer to animal…

Looks weird, works great — Test-driving the internal condom

When people talk about safer sex, the conversation almost always revolves around the importance of condoms. Maybe your eighth grade health teacher made you stretch one over a ripe banana, or perhaps your mom slipped a box into your bedside drawer while moving you into your freshman dorm room. They hang out behind the counters of gas stations in modest three-packs — hopeful, expectant, and awkward as hell to ask for when there’s a line…

Who will be the top Pumpkinheads?

The scent of woodsmoke on your clothes. The hush of an evening breeze in the treetops above. The glow of your friends’ faces in the warm light that only a campfire can throw. Even a maddening mosquito in your tent, whining in your ear, eluding every attempt you make to destroy it. Oh, and being awake, blood invigorated by fresh air, for the first notes of birdsong that gradually build to a chorus of thousands.…
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