Fall 2001

Fall 2001

Farmland returns to the wild

Without farmers, farmland returns to the wild To live in a town that still counts thousands of undeveloped acres among its assets is to live with a lot of talk about land use, development, and saving open space. When such talk comes up I always think about what a nebulous term “open space” really is,(...)

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Americas Irish Ascendancy

Americas Irish Ascendancy

Tocqueville coined the word “individualism” to define a new form of life he saw emerging in North America in the 1830s. Here as never before in history it became possible for an individual, as long as he was white and male, to separate himself from his family background and decide his own socioeconomic destiny. In(...)

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Reforming School Funding

Reforming School Funding

What is the best way to divide a pie equitably? It’s simple enough when there are only two people involved–one slices, the other chooses. But this is child’s play compared to the division of the $3.2 billion school funding pie in the legislative playground of Massachusetts. We have 328 local and regional school districts operating,(...)

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Making the deans list

Making the deans list

Capitol Hill is generally considered a den of publicity hounds, free agents, and egomaniacs–folks who mean well, perhaps, but would get low marks in the “plays well with others” category of any grade-school report card. There are clear incentives for this sort of behavior, thanks to a celebrity-worshipping media, but it’s not always the best(...)

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Zoning dispute turns ugly in Freetown

For more than three centuries, Freetown’s attitude toward land and development was pretty much described by its name. The 38-square-mile town next to New Bedford had no zoning restrictions at all until 1995. Before then, Selectman Mark Holland says, “a nuclear plant could be built alongside a house.” Freetown has finally caught up to the(...)

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Gerrymandering is alive and well

Gerrymandering is alive and well

All summer and into the fall, politics junkies have been treated to an unexpected sideshow: a battle of insiders over congressional redistricting. That the redrawing of district lines gives rise to political gamesmanship should surprise no one. The federal census that takes place at the start of every new decade is always followed by a(...)

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Counterpoints

Changes in technology have opened up amazing new frontiers in business and commerce over the past several years. Advances in biotechnology and science are changing the course of our daily lives. But of all the developments we have seen in the past decade, none really compares with the emergence of the Internet. This new technology(...)

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Argument

The Internet revolution is touching all of our lives, giving us exciting new choices, services, and knowledge. Whether it is information, products, or services, chances are you can find it on the Internet, in addition to, or in lieu of, your local newspaper, store, or professional. This new competition is great for consumers and businesses(...)

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Mending the security blanket

“Life is risky. You can decide to, you know, live your life afraid of that happening, or you can decide to live your life the way Americans live their lives, which is unafraid.” So said New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani two weeks after terrorists turned a swath of lower Manhattan into a mass grave and(...)

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