On the non-profit that ended debtors prison (and a whole bunch more) in Maine

Greetings on another awful mass-shooting morning in America, this time in Las Vegas. Remember this doesn’t happen this frequently in any other advanced industrial democracy when you hear there’s nothing that can be done on the policy front.

Largely unrelated: in yesterday’s Maine Sunday Telegram, I wrote about Pine Tree Legal Assistance, the legal aid non-profit that ended debtors prison in Maine, spearheaded what became the Indian land claims settlement here (and opened up federal recognition for hundreds of tribes), exposed the national “robo-signing” home mortgage foreclosure scandal, and is celebrating their 50th anniversary later this week. Poor people still often don’t get a fair shake in our legal system, but boy was it worse in 1967 when PTLA arrived on the scene. Details herein.

I’ve done a few history-minded pieces for the Press Herald and Telegram in recent months, including on former Maine US Senator Bill Cohen’s critical role in the Watergate scandal (when Susan Collins was one of his junior staffers), the extensive Maine ties of the long-dead founder of the American Nazi Party (who neo-Nazis revere), and the strange early history of Maine and seacoast New Hampshire.