NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

February 3, 2014

A look at what others are saying

The following are excerpts from papers across New England:

As airline mergers continue, and as the Department Of Justice shrugs its shoulders and does nothing to stop them, guess what? In spite of all the vaunted efficiencies the airlines say result from the mergers, airfares continue to rise.

According to the Airlines Reporting Corp., a leading processor of airline tickets, airfares have increased more than 12 percent since 2009. This does not include other charges that have cost consumers $3.4 billion a year for suitcase checking fees, reservation change fees, cancellation fees and whatever other fees they can imagine.

One would hope that as these charges skyrocket, airline travel would at least be more comfortable. Hardly. Flights are jammed, seats are smaller, and a flight meal now consists of a bag of peanuts — if you are lucky. Cancellations have increased and late arrivals have mushroomed.

All of this while the Federal Aviation Administration sits back and does nothing.

Proponents of airline deregulation, who were led by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, may not be so proud of their accomplishment in diminishing government control of the airlines. Free competition does not truly exist when mergers and acquisitions diminish it to create a virtual oligopoly. That is what is happening within the airline industry.

— The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, Conn.

When folk music burst upon the scene in the 1960s, it seemed a great novelty to young Americans, even though little of it was new. From its earliest days, the United States has had a rich musical tradition, much of it developed in the context of daily working life in the settling of a huge continent, often the product of unknown composers.

Pete Seeger, who died Jan. 27 at 94, traveled the country in the 1950s, collecting ballads, chanteys, spirituals and cowboy songs. He also met many of the people who kept regional musical traditions alive and he worked to popularize their music.

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