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Columns

Column: Hey, Senate Colleagues: Let’s Do Lunch

Saturday, October 25, 2014

So two U.S. senators, a Republican and a Democrat, are marooned for a week on a deserted island. . . . Sounds like a lead-in to a political joke, right? Well, it actually happened. We know, because we are those two senators. Why did we do it? Why on earth would we travel halfway around the world on our own dime, only to be dropped into the ocean, where we …

Column: From NOAA to Hartland, the View on Rapid Climate Change

Saturday, October 25, 2014

During a recent panel discussion at the First Universalist Society of Hartland, we were asked to talk about our fears and thoughts regarding climate change. Before going into my response, it may be helpful to mention my background in climate studies. I have been investigating the global atmosphere since my student years at MIT in the 1960s and later at a National Oceanic …

Column: Big Blue Sings the Blues, and Here’s Why

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Big Blue’s got the blues. On Monday, IBM’s stock tumbled by 7 percent after it unveiled a dismal quarterly earnings report that showed a 4 percent drop in revenue — the 10th consecutive quarter of flat or declining sales. Revealing these mournful numbers, the company also announced it would abandon a policy that …

Column: Heavy Use of Antibiotics by Farms Could Be Bad for Humans

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Donald Kennedy, a Stanford University biology professor, had been commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration for less than two months in 1977 when he plunged into a difficult scientific and political debate that remains unresolved today. Kennedy wanted to cut back on the widespread use of antibiotics …

Editorial: Suppressing The Vote

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The nation is about to hold a midterm congressional election that, if history is any indication, will see substantially lower turnout — and therefore results that are substantially less representative of the country at large — than votes in presidential years. Responsible politicians should be doing all they …

Column: So Here’s the Problem With Using ‘Redskins’

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

As a mixed-blood Muscogee/Creek Indian, I would like to commend Washington, D.C.’s professional football team on its tasteful logo. The American Indian in profile with two eagle feathers is dignified and respectful. I would also like to assure the people of Cleveland that I take no umbrage at …

Column: Lift Supreme Court’s Veil of Secrecy

Monday, October 13, 2014

Every year the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court are faced with about 7,500 writs of certiorari seeking appellate review of lower court decisions, granting only 75 to 80. It takes four justices to grant a writ, though amazingly that rule is nowhere written down and the justices …

Where Is the World as Sierra Leone Suffers?

Monday, October 13, 2014

In late September, Sierra Leone embarked on a three-day national shutdown for an Ebola house-to-house sensitization, deploying thousands of government staff, NGO workers and volunteers in an attempt to identify Ebola infections and educate a frightened public about …

Column: FCC Is Right to Worry About Comcast Merger

Monday, October 13, 2014

Three years ago, cable titan John Malone — chairman of Liberty Global, the largest cable company in the world — said that when it comes to high-capacity data connections in the United States, “cable’s pretty much a monopoly now.” Last month, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler proved …

FEC Deadlock Breaks, a Little

Monday, October 13, 2014

If you were to seek out a poster child for all that is broken in Washington, you could find no better candidate than the Federal Election Commission. The agency that oversees our campaign-finance system, by law led by three Democratic and three Republican appointees, has come to a …

The Day of Infamy Hardened the ‘People’s House’

Sunday, October 12, 2014

What is the right balance between preserving the White House as a symbol of democratic openness and turning it into a fortress bristling with Secret Service agents, guard dogs and fences that scream “Keep Out”? The egregious security …

Column: Why Electric Rates Are Rising

Sunday, October 12, 2014

New England electricity is too dependent upon natural gas-fired power plants. And we are about to pay a lot for that dependence. In recent days, several New England utilities have announced major price rises for electricity. In Massachusetts, …

Column: We Shortchange Childhood With a Rush to the ‘Real World’

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Just what exactly is this “real world” I keep hearing about? Whether in classrooms or living rooms, America’s children and young adults are always warned about the “real world,” a place where naive childhood is replaced by a grim battle for survival. The phrase is usually offered with …