Don’t eat this cheese


Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Here’s a whole mess of news.

What we’re talking about

Rather than regulate panhandlers, give them a job — The BDN’s editorial board says Portland’s pilot program to give panhandlers jobs makes sense. It’s “a far superior alternative to prohibitions and admonishments,” it writes.

Meanwhile, Bill Nemitz turns to the Pope for wisdom during this debate — The Press Herald columnist writes:

Do you give sometimes, all the time or never? And if you do, how do you reconcile your kindness with the real possibility that your donation will go no further than a tall can of Anheuser-Busch Natty Daddy?

[Italian magazine] Scarp de’ Tenis asked Pope Francis that very question — although (it being Italy and all) they referenced a “glass of wine.”

The pope’s response: If “a glass of wine is the only happiness he has in life, that’s OK. Instead, ask yourself what do you do on the sly? What ‘happiness’ do you seek in secret?”

He also suggested you consider that “you are luckier, with a house, a wife, children” and thus should directly shoulder some of the responsibility to help those less fortunate.

After extended trip to D.C., LePage says he’s going back — Christopher Cousins reports on Gov. Paul LePage’s town hall meeting last night in Yarmouth:

Gov. Paul LePage told an overflow crowd at his town hall meeting Wednesday night that he will return to Washington, D.C., this week in an effort to convince his fellow Republicans that anyone who receives welfare, including subsidized health care, should be required to work.

“I am going to Washington, and that’s one of the specific issues: to have a work requirement,” LePage told a crowd that included a mix of supporters and opponents. “The country needs every single American who is able to contribute to the success of the country. I’m a believer in the safety net. But if you’re able, you need to contribute.”

LePage’s comments came on the heels of an extended trip to the nation’s capital and at least two national television appearances in which he criticized the Republican health care plan, released this week, to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Among other issues, LePage is calling for Congress to repeal the portion of the law that allowed states to expand their Medicaid programs to include coverage for non-disabled adults.

‘Calling in black’ — Here’s a great video with Portland musician and writer Samuel James, who talks about the exhaustion of dealing with fearful white people.“It makes you so cautious all the time, but it also can make you develop fatigue,” he says. 

Related: Here’s a piece Sam wrote for the BDN last January about what dealing with racism really feels like.

Did you buy one of these cheeses at Whole Foods? — If so, spit it out and take it back. It could have Listeria monocytogenes — an organism that can cause fatal infections in some people:

The stores are offering full refunds to anyone who bought the recalled products, which include Vulto Creamery Ouleout and Miranda soft wash-rind raw milk cheeses that were cut and packaged in clear plastic wrap with scale labels beginning with PLU codes 0200305 and 0200306 and “sell by” dates from Dec. 27 to March 28.

The countdown to open water fishing is on — This morning, Maine’s Bureau of Parks and Lands updated its “ice out” website for the first time this year. It reported on Sebago Lake, saying, “The ‘Big Bay’ did not freeze well this year and the protected coves still have ice. Boat launches are still frozen.” This weekend’s predicted weather isn’t going to help matters. But fishing hopes spring eternal this time of year. — Troy R. Bennett

BDN Portland’s ‘banjournalist’ heads north — Our in-house, musical journalist (me) is taking his one-man show north of here starting tonight with another appearance with “Stranger in the Woods” author Michael Finkel in Waterville. Friday night will find him on stage at the Eastern Maine Sportsmen’s Show at 6 p.m. at the University of Maine in Orono.  — Troy R. Bennett

Tweet of the day

From … me (I get to have one every now and again):


The Big Idea

‘Russian scientists are trying to stave off catastrophic climate change by resurrecting an Ice Age biome complete with lab-grown woolly mammoths’ — Weren’t there like, four movies about this? Have we learned nothing?

Here’s a good quote:

“It will be cute to have mammoths running around here,” [Nikita Zimov] told me. “But I’m not doing this for them, or for any other animals. I’m not one of these crazy scientists that just wants to make the world green. I am trying to solve the larger problem of climate change. I’m doing this for humans. I’ve got three daughters. I’m doing it for them.”

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Dan MacLeod at, or tweet @dsmacleod.

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Dan MacLeod

About Dan MacLeod

Dan MacLeod is the editor of BDN Portland. He's an Orland native who first moved to Portland in 2002. He's been a journalist since 2008, and previously worked for the New York Post and the Brooklyn Paper.