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Columns

In Close Proximity: Car ownership — but who owns whom, exactly?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The contemporary world is one of restless mobilities, radically morphing physical landscapes, baroque technologies, new forms of governance and subjectivity, and onerous inequalities. The automobile provides vivid insight into all five phenomena as well as into their relationship. — “The U.S. Car Colossus and the Production of Inequality,” by Catherine Lutz, American Ethnologist, (2014) AMHERST — In their famous community study of Muncie, Indiana, culture during both the Roaring Twenties and the 1930s depression, Robert and Hellen Lynd documented the emotional and economic dependence of Americans on the automobile. Indeed, in all but three of the deepest depression years, car ownership continued to rise. “I’ll go without food before I’ll see us go without the …

Clare Higgins: The cost of not paying to protect children

Monday, September 29, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Jeremiah Oliver is dead — his remains found months after the reports of his disappearance. The system that has been established in our state to protect children failed him. Months went by with no signs of this little boy. Finally, his body was discovered on the side of the road, wrapped in a blanket and stuffed in a suitcase. His mother …

Clare Higgins: 'There's no prohibition against soaking people with low incomes' Why the Massachusetts casino law needs to be repealed

Monday, September 29, 2014

I’ve been known to buy a lottery ticket or two (or three…). When I was an underpaid early childhood educator, I would sometimes buy a scratch ticket. Only the $1 tickets and probably not more than once or twice a year. Of course I never won much. The New York State lottery used …

Ben James: Parenting in geological time: Answering a child’s questions about climate change

Monday, September 8, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — I’m driving in the pickup truck with my 8-year-old. He’s worried. He has recently skimmed an article in a scientific journal about the earth’s gravitational force — how it is weakening — and he has worked …

John Sheirer: Why we must stop the excesses of this liberal president!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — My friends, like so many of you, I was appalled when our nation elected a liberal legislator from Illinois to the highest office in our land. I joined you in our chorus of protest because we … 9

Bill Newman: White America’s invisible injustice

Friday, September 5, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Here is what we know so far about police officer Darren Wilson fatally shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown on Canfield Drive in Ferguson, Missouri, a minute or two after noon on Aug. 9. Officer Wilson is white. Michael Brown is African-American. Brown, and his friend Dorian Johnson, …

Rutherford H. Platt: The timeless moral compass of Jane Addams

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Jane Addams, who established Chicago’s Hull House 125 years ago this summer, may be the most important American woman that you have barely heard of. Addams has all but vanished from the pantheon of American history, though she …

Rich Szlosek: The Northampton ballplayer who went far: Stu Miller

Thursday, September 4, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Sunday afternoons were always the best time of the week when I was growing up in Northampton in the late 1940s. It seemed like there was always somewhere to go or something that had to be … 3

Steve Paul: A minnow’s swim beside Amazon.com

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Almost 20 years ago, during one of my brief but most notable periods of insanity, I bought a bookstore. Yes, I ventured into the bookselling business. I was floating on some years of experience as a book critic, …

Jay Fleitman: Rights and the Hobby Lobby case

Monday, September 1, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — A letter to the editor appealed to fellow Democrats to contribute to Democratic candidates for Senate outside of Massachusetts. The writer was concerned about the impact of a Republican-controlled Senate on the future of Supreme Court nominees. The recent Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby …

Jonathan Klate: Left cold by ice bucket challenge

Sunday, August 31, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Essay: What we did on our summer vacations. … The nation’s smoldering seams of inequality, injustice, unequal treatment under the law and unresolved racism roiling our society-in-denial violently erupted, again. … Methane vents are fracturing the northern regions as the polar ice vanishes and the tundra … 4

Joseph R. Blasi: American labor must recover its lost fair share of economic gains

Sunday, August 31, 2014

For Labor Day, let’s talk bluntly about labor’s fair share of the profits and of the productivity of the economy. The hard truth is that labor, meaning the middle class, is not receiving its fair share. There is no clear-cut reversal of the middle class’s declining fortunes in …

In Close Proximity: In praise of a brilliant machine, the bicycle

Friday, August 22, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — Perhaps you are counting on technological solutions to our environmental woes. So imagine an invention, a brilliant machine, that can transport people and their favorite belongings and their children and their groceries; that’s great for your health instead of causing asthma and obesity; that doesn’t emit … 3