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Posts that are personal reflections

A Dirty Little Secret in Boulder, Colorado

This first appeared on Counterpunch for September 15, 2009, under the title “Up in Wood Smoke.” Residents of Boulder, Colorado take pride in the city’s livability. The town has won “more accolades than any other city in America for its recreation, culture, health, business climate, and overall quality of life.” It has been voted “Number […]

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In and Out of the Working Class

Old Soldiers

In the August 14, 2009 New York Times there is an article about Albert Perdeck, an eighty-four year old veteran of the Second World War who has never fully recovered from the trauma of having the aircraft carrier on which he served in the South Pacific struck by a Japanese kamikaze attack. He still has […]

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Crozier Mountain Meadow

Rise and Shine and Shout for Glory

On a recent Friday, the morning opened with bright sun and blue sky. Boulder had had its wettest spring in one hundred years, and this had put a crimp in our hiking regimen. Tornadoes had touched down nearby, and we had seen rainbows several times a week. Boulder Creek was running fast and deep, which […]

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Hand Cart Pioneers

Mormon Country

Karen and I love the canyon country of southern Utah. Last November, we spent three weeks hiking in the five national parks that span the state from west to east.  We drove from Tucson north to Phoenix and up, up to Sedona and Flagstaff, rising 6,000 feet out of the polluted desert developments and into […]

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The Blighted Groves of Academe

The more I read about the state of our colleges and universities, the more thankful I am that I quit my job at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (UPJ) in 2001, after thirty-two years of teaching. I wrote the following essay a dozen years ago, and since then, matters have gotten progressively worse, not […]

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All The News That's Fit to Steal

In December of last year, Monthly Review magazine, of which I am Associate Editor, published an article by Jim Straub titled “Braddock, Pennsylvania: Out of the Furnace and into the Fire.” In his essay, Jim told the story of one of the nation’s most devastated industrial towns. He described how this once famous steel city, […]

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The injuries of class

One of the themes of Cheap Motels and a Hot Plate is work. More specifically the theme is dead-end work, how there is so much of this in the United States. Work has always been something that has interested me; I taught about, and for years I scrutinized my own labor. Now for a few […]

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School Starts/Remembering Wyoming

I taught my first class this past Tuesday. It is a large lecture section of seventy students, in a course titled “Globalization and Labor.” It was the first time I was in a classroom like this since 2001. I was nervous about it. Lectures to prepare, exams to grade, hassles to deal with. The paperwork […]

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