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FILE - This Aug. 14, 1935 black-and-white file photo shows President Franklin D. Roosevelt signing the Social Security Bill in Washington. These are complicated times in the affairs of Washington and the nation, with death stars everywhere and all of them a struggle to comprehend. The partial government shutdown, the debt limit squeeze just around the corner, sequestration, how they fit with the health care law, how they don’t _ it just goes on. When Roosevelt set up public pensions in 1935, he didn’t call it the Happy Retirees Act or the Justice for Deserving Seniors Act or the Golden Years Contentment Act. He called it the Social Security Act. In those apparently more serious and less pandering times, perish the thought of a No Child Left Behind Act. (AP Photo, File)

Richard W.Tracy: Full-page ad on Social Security office off-base

Friday, August 15, 2014

To the editor: I was intrigued by the full page political ad in the Aug. 1 Gazette which brought up an issue that needs to be discussed widely in all sections of our society today. But the view expressed is a very small snapshot of the issue. The number of people under the age of 65 using Social Security is … 3

Tor Krogius: Curious use of phrase for war in Iraq

Friday, August 15, 2014

To the editor: I recently read a column in your paper that said, “Barack Obama came to office in economic turmoil but at the end of a successful war in Iraq.” I was surprised to read this characterization of the war in Iraq. If I were ever to assume the office of president I would hope that fate not send me such an … 0

Charles Schmid: Some questions about Comcast in Easthampton

Friday, August 15, 2014

To the editor: Comcast may take over in Easthampton and this might be good. After reading the Gazette article about the switch I liked that they would give older people a discount. Being 60 that interested me. But it said nothing about Internet connection, which Charter has. Having to work makes it hard to ask that question if you can’t be at the … 0

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Bruce M. Kriviskey: Northampton sidewalks that chirp ... and celebrate

Friday, August 15, 2014

To the editor: I am both amused and absorbed by the continuing crosswalk controversy affecting downtown Northampton. The traditional painted “ladder” of white stripes and borders with a colorful infill is one of the simplest, least expensive, and most graphically pleasing ways to brighten up the downtown while … 0

Laurie Martinelli: Remember Robin Williams for his gifts

Friday, August 15, 2014

To the editor: It’s hard to think about Robin Williams without smiling. His energy, his intelligence and his humor were so profound and his death brings a sadness equally as profound. Robin Williams battled depression and substance use. Many others facing the same struggles succumb to the same … 0

Charles LaPiene: What 6-year-old do you know who could go 1,220 miles without dying?'

Friday, August 15, 2014

To the editor: If you have heard how the border children made this trip, please let me know. These questions need to be asked. It doesn’t pass the smell test. Why do people think Americans will accept and … 1

Jessica Tanner: Northampton should ban single-use plastic bags

Friday, August 15, 2014

To the editor: I knew that I had to write this letter after reading a story to my 1-year-old about a sea turtle’s life cycle and then, in the same week, read online about a sea turtle named Billy, aged 9, who had ingested plastic pieces from a … 0

Mary McKitrick: Try a traffic circle instead of the four-way stop

Friday, August 15, 2014

To the editor: When the four-way stop signs went up at the intersection of Woodlawn Avenue, Prospect and Jackson streets in Northampton, my hopes were raised that this would ease traffic problems there. Unfortunately this was not the ideal solution. I estimate that 15-20 percent of drivers don’t … 0

Marion Barre: WMass not getting its fair share of road monies

Friday, August 15, 2014

To the editor: In the 1930s, Quabbin Reservoir was built to provide the primary water supply to Boston and greater Boston. This was only the beginning of the unfair distribution of resources between the eastern and western parts … 0

Mary Kenny: Horrified that someone burned synagogue’s flag

Friday, August 15, 2014

To the editor: I am horrified at the attempt to burn the Israeli flag at B’nai Israel synagogue. There is no justification for such an act. No one has a right to do such a thing to any person or group of people. No one has a right … 7

Carrie Hemenway: Wants a movie theater in Northampton

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

To the editor: Now that the former Honda dealership building has been razed, and they’re looking to develop the King Street property, how about constructing a movie theater? Now, you have to go to Amherst or other towns to catch a film, as no daily films play in … 5

William Brezinski: End 'Tax Free' shopping day and institute 'Tax those who don’t Pay Taxes Day'

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

To the editor: As we begin to cheer a “tax free” shopping day, let us look at this celebration. Since everyone is “tax free” shopping, business does not have a reason to lower prices. Since everyone is shopping; … 0

Stan Schapiro: Why can’t nation act like what Statue of Liberty claims?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

To The editor: Thank you for the recent article “Honduran families deported back to a bleak future.” In it you paint a clear picture of a young Honduran mother of two, her treacherous journey to the U.S. and her deportation, without seeing a judge, back to her home … 9