Summer 2010

Summer 2010

The wage sage

The wage sage

From his perch at Northeastern University, Andrew Sum draws together data on everything from job and income growth to educational attainment to help us understand what is happening to American families and why. These days it's not a pretty picture.

Labor market and income statistics can be pretty dry stuff —until it’s in the hands of Andrew Sum. The director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern Univer­sity gets positively worked up over the world of work. After getting his doctorate in economics at MIT, Sum landed at Northeastern in 1971 and has(...)

Read More »

Wemmick was right

Wemmick was right

How a minor Dickensian character foresaw-and tackled-our trouble with work/life balance

given charles dickens’s penchant for outrageous character names, the hero of Great Expectations falls a little short. I’m not talking about narrator Philip Pirrip, whose “infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip” and whose youthful ambition steers the 1861 novel. I’m talking about John Wemmick, law clerk to(...)

Read More »

Washington may frown upon South Coast Rail

Washington may frown upon South Coast Rail

What would Peter Rogoff say about the $100 million deal the Massachusetts Department of Transportation recently signed with rail freight company CSX Trans­porta­tion, giving the state ownership of 30 miles of track that could become part of the proposed South Coast Rail project? Rogoff, the head of the Federal Transit Administra­tion, hasn’t said anything specific(...)

Read More »

Transit authority’s student pass may hold lessons for MBTA

If Chicago is a guide, the forever cash-strapped MBTA may be sitting on a rich vein of untapped revenue—area college students.  The Chicago Transit Authority’s U-Pass is mandatory for the nearly 140,000 full-time students at the 45 participating colleges and universities in the metro area, bringing in $20 million to the authority last year. By contrast,(...)

Read More »

Mystery solved

Mystery solved

Tucked deep inside an April report by Boston’s Climate Action Leadership Com­mittee is a photo of a wharf seemingly under water. There is no explanation with the photo—indeed, no mention at all in the report—but the implication is that Boston’s waterfront is already feeling the effects of climate change. It turns out the photo was(...)

Read More »

Overexposed

Overexposed

Massachusetts has become a medical imaging mecca, a place where diagnostic scans are fueling cutting-edge medicine— and runaway health care costs.

Gov. Deval Patrick in April took the unprecedented step of rejecting double-digit rate increases being sought by most of the state’s health insurers for their small business plans. It was a popular move politically, but the governor was basically shooting the messenger because he didn’t like the message being delivered. He may have even shot(...)

Read More »

Just plain ugly

Just plain ugly

Everyone agrees that the Harbor Garage is unattractive, a blight on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway and the harborfront. But getting to yes on redeveloping the stie hasn't been and isn't going to be easy. The problem has been reduced to a punchline: It's personal. The developer, Don Chiofaro, and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino don't get along. But the soap opera over the garage on the Greenw

Bill Pedersen is a principal at Kohn Pedersen Fox Asso­ciates in New York, a powerhouse architectural firm known for designing tall towers across the globe. He personally oversaw the design of the Shanghai World Financial Center, which looks a lot like a bottle opener, and, at 1,614 feet, is one of the tallest buildings in(...)

Read More »

Deval on the defense

Deval on the defense

An economic downturn and a GOP resurgence

complicate the electoral geography for 2010

Four years ago, the Democratic Party reached a new apex in Massa­chusetts with the landslide election of Deval Patrick as governor. And the demographics seemed to portend further happy days, with Demo­crats doing especially well among growing populations such as non-whites, urban residents, and college graduates. New voters were another source of encouragement, as exit(...)

Read More »