Columns

Column: Cheap Oil and SUVs are a Sucker’s Bet

Monday, January 26, 2015

Where is the logic in buying a gas-guzzling SUV just because gas prices are so low? As gas prices have tumbled, gas-hog sales have soared. November sales of the Cadillac Escalade SUV were up 91.5 percent over November of last year. In December, sales of Ford’s Navigator rose 90.2 percent. The Dodge Ram and Chevy Silverado each saw sales increase …

Column: The Middle Class Gets Attention, but Poor Need College Aid

Monday, January 26, 2015

One could be forgiven for thinking that it’s the middle class who have suffered most from America’s failed higher-education policies, which saddled students with years of debt. Putative reformers invoke the plight of the middle class almost exclusively. President Obama’s plan to link financial aid to certain college performance metrics is from a proposal called “A Better Bargain for the Middle Class.” Likewise, …

Editorial: No Need for Nerdy Google Glass

Monday, January 26, 2015

Hard to believe it was just a few years ago when we first heard about Google Glass, the breakthrough in augmented-reality eyeglasses. And today — what a marvel! — millions of us wear this futuristic headgear to surf the Web, video-chat with mom and take hands-free photos. Oops. Cancel that augmented vision of the future. Google Glass did make its first appearance in …

Column: Whose Life Is It, Anyway?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Over the past 17 years, I have lived a good life. It has always just been me and my mom and all of our pets. My mom raised me well, to be a strong, competent and independent woman. …

Column: The French Are Complicit in the Assault on Free Speech

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Within an hour of the massacre at the headquarters of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper, thousands of Parisians spontaneously gathered at the Place de la Republique. Rallying beneath the monumental statues representing Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, they chanted “Je …

Steve Nelson: Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie

Sunday, January 18, 2015

No, I am not Charlie. The New York Times is not Charlie. The Valley News is not Charlie. The murder of a dozen magazine staff members in Paris has generated a fascinating debate about freedom of expression. No person, save the demented followers of extremist Islam, can view …

Column: Why Electricity Costs Spiked

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Forum letter writer was speaking for many recenly when he asked about huge electric rate increases this winter and paltry explanations for them. David C. Montgomery of Hanover said his electricity bill had increased by 72 percent, …

Column: A Question for the ‘Valley News’ — To Publish, or Not, the ‘Charlie’ Cartoons

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Inquiring-minded readers are wondering why the Valley News has not reprinted some of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons to which Islamic terrorists took murderous offense earlier this month in Paris. The short answer is that we are not Charlie Hebdo. Although journalistic provocateurs certainly have an important role to …

Column: American Expats Face Tough Questions About Our Guns, Health Care and More

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Oslo, Norway In my long nomadic life, I’ve been to both poles and most countries in between. I still remember when to be an American was to be envied. The country where I grew up after World War II seemed to be respected and admired around the world. …

Column: It’s Time For Vermont To Grab a Share Of New Hampshire’s Primary Spoils

Friday, January 16, 2015

Now that the Vermont Legislature has returned to Montpelier, I’d like to suggest again that it consider a plan to alter New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary. I’ve said this before, and nobody paid any attention. Things have not gotten …

Column: Presidents, in Context, at Their Libraries

Friday, January 16, 2015

When Jonathan Zimmerman, professor of history and education at New York University, suggests that a single “Center for Presidential Research” take the place of our presidential libraries, he echoes arguments that were made by Rep. Hamilton Fish III, R-N.Y., as he spearheaded opposition to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s plan …

Column: Happy Birthday to Me — 59 and Looking Forward to the New 60

Friday, January 16, 2015

I turned 59 on Saturday and I find myself clinging to that second digit like the nine in nine lives. For next comes 60, and then one is undeniably “up there.” I’m sorry, but 60 is not “the new” anything. Your 50s can be fun, but the prospect …

Community Colleges Expand Opportunity

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Washington Permit me to declare my bias: I came to revere community colleges for very personal reasons and learned to admire them because they are central to restoring social and economic mobility in our nation. My late mother spent most of her work life as a teacher and …