Columns

Column: The Oversized Appeal of Little Libraries, in Hanover and Elsewhere

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hanover’s Little Free Library, not much bigger than a breadbox and perched on a post outside Town Hall, was well stocked the day I peered inside. There for the taking was a novel by John Updike, a copy of Gossip Girl, and a selection of children’s stories, among other titles. The shelves were so full, in fact, there wasn’t room …

Column: A Message to the Young Entitled Man: Get a Job, Get a Life

Saturday, January 31, 2015

“What’s your goal in life?” I asked a cheerful young man at an alumni event. “I want to retire by 35” was his snappy answer. He smiled, cocked his head as if auditioning to play George Clooney’s kid brother and waited for what he clearly expected to be my delight. The line was rehearsed and he was close to 25; obviously it had …

Column: They Put Down My Pats — I Shake Them Off

Friday, January 30, 2015

Washington I never knew how much fun it was to be loyal to a hated outlaw sports team until the whole world came down on my dear New England Patriots. Having rooted over the years for Boston teams that many felt sorry for — God help us — and found psychologically interesting, it …

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 …

Column: Pipeline Debate: Symbol Over Substance

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Washington The Senate debate over the Keystone XL pipeline, as predictable as it is unedifying, exemplifies two of the most disturbing aspects of political discourse today. The first is what might be called “talk-to-the-hand-ism” — or, perhaps updated …

Column: Why We Fight, and Lose: Our Policy Goals Are Not Attainable

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The United States has the most potent military in terms of firepower and operational capacity in history. Our military overthrew Saddam Hussein and crushed the Taliban in a matter of weeks. Our forces can direct a rocket from Nevada through a window in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and nimbly set …