Commentaries

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When Being Globally Positioned Doesn't Hit The Spot

May 15, 2017
A Sunoco road map of Boston, Mass.
photolibrarian / Creative Commons

For many drivers, GPS is the greatest thing since unleaded gas, anti-lock brakes and cup holders. But for commentator Martha Ackmann, not so much.

Finding Community, One Radio Variety Show At a Time

May 11, 2017
The last rehearsal before the first "Shad Ladder Radio Hour."  From left to right: Rae Ann Jenks, Holly Osborne, Gershon Eigner, Janet McKenna-Lowry, Carmela Lanza-Weil, Stephen Fruchtman, Christine Mirabal.
Submitted Photo / Sarah Kanabay

Finding cures for the blues can sometimes take some ingenuity. Commentator Sarah Kanabay wondered whether relief might come from putting together a radio variety show, a kooky Yankee cousin to "A Prairie Home Companion." She says it's worked wonders.

A Journalist's Challenge To Her Colleagues

May 10, 2017
Shaheen Pasha teaches international journalism at UMass Amherst.
UMass

Commentator and journalist Shaheen Pasha was a 19-year-old newsroom intern when a male colleague behaved in ways she felt crossed a line. As stories of sexual harassment in the media are surfacing more often these days, she's got some requests of her colleagues.

The Greatest Show On Earth Not So Great For Some

May 5, 2017
TV character Circus Boy as played by Micky Dolenz.
NBC / Creative Commons

Ringling Brothers' Greatest Show on Earth is slated to go dark at the end of May. Commentator Robert Chipkin says that in his childhood full of highways, malls and subdivisions, the annual appearance of elephants parading down Main Street, clowns piled into Volkswagens, acrobats and sword swallowers should have stirred his suburban heart, but there was serious competition. 

Toni Stone meeting her idol, boxer Joe Louis, c.1949.
MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY  / CREATIVE COMMONS

The Red Sox open the season Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Fans will head to Fenway for the 2:05 p.m. first pitch. Commentator Martha Ackmann says one of baseball's greatest fans was a player you've probably never heard of. 

Anjelica Jarrett is a senior at Mount Holyoke College.
Kristin Balboni / Mount Holyoke College

Commentator and college senior Anjelica Jarrett says her fellow students are jumping at ways to resist President Trump's policies related to science, health care and immigration. Jarrett says she's also passionate about these issues. But don't expect to see her at any protests.

The day after President Trump was elected, my friends and I gathered outside Mount Holyoke's majestic library. We were joined by students from all over the campus. A lot of people's eyes were puffy from crying. Many of us had been up most of the night.

‘Taking The Risk To Be Myself’

Mar 15, 2017
A debate on a transgender public accommodation bill drew crowds to the Massachusetts Statehouse on June 1, 2016.
Shira Schoenberg / The Republican

The Trump administration recently announced it was withdrawing the protections for transgender students established by President Obama. The decision comes at a tough time for commentator and high school student Jay, who’s known since childhood that he was a boy. The hard part has been trying to convince others that’s who he is.

It’s been obvious since the first day of kindergarten, when my mom dressed me in all pink and I hated it so much. As I saw it, I was the only boy dressed that way. 

Unsung Women Who Pushed The Bounds In Space

Mar 8, 2017
Visiting the space center as invited guests of STS-63 Pilot Eileen Collins in 1995 are seven members of the Mercury 13 (from left): Gene Nora Jessen, Wally Funk, Jerrie Cobb, Jerri Truhill, Sarah Ratley, Myrtle Cagle and Bernice Steadman.
NASA / Creative Commons

The toy company LEGO recently announced it would release a new line of plastic figures immortalizing the women of NASA. The new NASA set will feature astronauts Sally Ride and Mae Jemison, as well as computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, astronomer Nancy Grace Roman — and mathematician Katherine Johnson of Hidden Figures fame. Commentator and author Martha Ackmann says, as laudable as the Lego’s move is, she’s got some advice.

Keep going.

Democracy's Doubters

Mar 4, 2017
Via Flickr by Scott / CREATIVE COMMONS

Commentator and law professor Austin Sarat is nervous. He says federal judges’ rulings to block president trump’s executive order on immigration were stirring victories for the rule of law. But he says no one should be resting on their laurels.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the federal judiciary retains the authority to challenge executive action. Its decision echoes one made by the Supreme Court more than 40 years ago, when it ordered President Richard Nixon to turn over evidence in the Watergate case.

Journalists: Members Of The Opposition Party?

Feb 27, 2017
Shaheen Pasha teaches international journalism at UMass Amherst.
UMass

Commentator and journalist Shaheen Pasha has a rule in her house. Her kids are never allowed to tell each other to shut up. It’s not just a matter of politeness, she says. Shutting people up can be dangerous.

As a child, my Pakistani immigrant mother taught me no one has the right to silence another person. She told me to respect a person’s voice even if you disagree.

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