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Don Robinson: Stories of the birth of Jesus

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

ASHFIELD — Two weeks ago I exchanged emails with a devout friend. We were both feeling depressed about the state of the world. War and rumors of war seemed to be everywhere. My friend said she sometimes wished that Christ had come in power and great glory, a messiah ready and willing to set things right, rather than incognito, as a tiny baby, vulnerable and poor. I replied that I …

Jim Cahillane: An airman’s Christmas trip home

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

WILLIAMSBURG — One common thread that we Americans have woven into our ideals is the concept of being home for Christmas. Home is not only the place where, as Robert Frost observed, they have to take you in, but inside ourselves as that warm and welcoming place that we, with luck, all had growing up. This year will provide new memories for today’s …

Dave Roitman: No holiday from Keystone XL pipeline debates

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

FLORENCE — Have any relatives who like to push your climate change buttons? Think they’ll go after you on the Keystone XL pipeline? Or maybe you’re skeptical yourself. Here are five popular myths about the pipeline and how you can debunk each one – for yourself or your holiday companions. ■ Myth #1: “Obama Is Sure To Block the Pipeline.” Recently, President Obama …

Pat Hynes & Frances Crowe: When peace settled in, one night, a century ago

Monday, December 22, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Along the western front of World War I lie miles of cemeteries for British, Scottish, Belgian, French and other soldiers killed in the war. In a lone, out-of-the way plot in this land of teenage war dead, a large cross and a dozen small ones honor …

Ginger Moon: When good luck at Christmas fails to register

Monday, December 22, 2014

AMHERST — I’ve never been a lucky person and I’ve pretty much resigned myself to being ruled by Murphy’s law. But last week I encountered the worst kind of luck and unexpectedly found myself in the middle of Alanis Morissette’s biggest hit, “Ironic.” I was standing at the …

Shawn Adams: The cat who came in from the cold

Sunday, December 21, 2014

PELHAM — For many, this time of year is a time of memory. Looking back on the past year, we reflect on the significant events that have shaped our lives. Some of these memories can be full of …

Claire Streeter: A father who tried once before to quit — and must again

Friday, December 19, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Dear Daddy: I’m writing to talk to you about something extremely important to me, and I’m not sure how to say it in person. I’m writing to talk to you about stopping smoking. I know you’ve been smoking since you were 15. Daddy, I’m worried about …

Kristin Carter:

Friday, December 19, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Dear Mom: Do you really know just how bad smoking is for you? Not only will it kill you, it is a habit that will cost you a lot of money each year. It affects your hygiene, causing bad breath and smelly clothes. It also causes …

Dylan Whitman-Allard: Smokers get a new birthday on the date they stop the habit

Friday, December 19, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — I am writing this essay to ask you, even to beg you, to please quit smoking for me and more importantly, for yourself. I understand that it is hard for you to quit, but it is even harder for me to watch you smoke for all …

Dr. Newton Bowdan: Medical marijuana not ready for prime time

Thursday, December 18, 2014

SOUTH HADLEY — Shortly before Thanksgiving I attended a meeting at a Northampton school. The subject was “Medical Marijuana.” I put the term in quotes because marijuana is marijuana, just as insulin is insulin. Whether marijuana is “medical” or “recreational” depends on the use to which it is …

Lynn Pasquerella: College students on holiday face an in-between world

Monday, December 15, 2014

SOUTH HADLEY — This time of year, I make a point of looking out my office window. Here at Mount Holyoke College, I have a good view of the local bus stop. At the end of the semester, I like to spend a few moments watching students board …

Sara Weinberger: Why a 1948 statement has never become dated

Monday, December 15, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — The frenetic pace of holiday preparations, as well as feelings of rage and powerlessness over a seemingly endless wave of state-sanctioned police brutality, seem to be holding many of us hostage these days. It’s not surprising that few people noticed an important day that came and …

John Paradis: Is it time for a military draft in the US?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Thomas Jefferson believed a democracy can survive only with the aid of an enlightened electorate. What then would our founding fathers now say about the lowest voter turnout in 72 years in the midterm general election …