Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 209]: A mixed bag of reactions to Holy Cross mascot-change crusade

The College of the Holy Cross is not only an imposing and influential institution in Worcester, but it has been known as a sort of bellwether for liberalism in the Catholic Church for decades, dating at least back to a 1974 Time article that called HC “the cradle of the Catholic left.”

And now the school’s Crusader mascot — potentially offensive to Muslims and Jews — is increasingly in the crosshairs, with a campus task force charged with making a recommendation to trustees by next year.

Hitch did his own research and found a few extra concerns.

Editorial: Powering up help to Puerto Rico

Irma. Jose. Maria. Here, we heard these names among an extraordinary lineup of September hurricanes.

Puerto Rico remembers them well. In turns they battered the U.S. territory — especially Maria, which hit as a Category 4 monster on Sept. 20. It caused death and destruction on a scale officials a month later are still sorting out.

By the look of things in many parts of the island the historic onslaught could have happened yesterday. Power remains out to about 80 percent of the island — that’s 80 percent of the nearly 3.5 million American citizens (about 2.8 million, or roughly the population of New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island combined).

About a quarter of the population is without public drinking water, according to various reports. Other services, from sewage treatment to gasoline pumps to ATM machines, are also agonizingly slow to get up and running again. Crops were wiped out.

It’s worth remembering here, too, that despite President Trump’s callous treatment of this devastating natural disaster — as if sending relief is some sort of charity or goodwill, rather than his obligation — that Puerto Rico pays more than $3 billion annually in federal business, payroll and estate taxes.

Editorial: Courting Amazon, and all that comes with it

Amazon plans quite a delivery to a North American city next year, and it’s not coming in a UPS truck.

It’s the recently announced second headquarters, or “HQ2,” for the famous Seattle-based company, and Worcester is one of many cities vying to be chosen for the site.

The city decided last month to apply — competing locally against Boston and a dozen or so other Massachusetts cities. In addition to Boston, the list of major-player hopefuls reportedly includes Chicago, Denver, New York City and Washington, D.C.

The application deadline is Thursday, Oct. 19. Some competitors for the headquarters are bending over backwards in lavish or quirky ways to get Amazon’s attention.

Will Amazon look Worcester’s way for more than a glance?

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 205]: Last stop, Union Station

Whether it’s failed nightclubs or high-speed trains, improved commuter rail service to Boston or deficit spending, Union Station has a way of staying in the news — and in the hearts of so many residents and decision makers in our city.

It’s a monument not only to history but to the possibilities of tomorrow. But much like the covert entrance to its parking garage, there is another side rarely seen.

For far too many of our friends, coworkers, uncles and sisters it’s become the final destination of a life overtaken by opioid addiction. Hitch has thoughts.

Editorial: Cost of tough-on-crime policies do not add up

Budgets, we’re told by politicians and policy-makers, reflect the priorities and values of the community.

Want children educated? Fund education. Safe streets? Fund public safety. And so on.

But lost in the discussion over our priorities and values is a question central to the efficacy of our government: Is money being spent in a way that achieves the desired results?

It is in this light that we take note of a new study, “The Geography of Incarceration in a Gateway City,” prepared by MassINC and the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Coalition.

Using data provided by the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department on all of the individuals admitted between 2009 and 2013, the report provides a detailed view of the explicit and implicit costs of the tough-on-crime policies of the 1980s.

Editorial: Silence is deadly to needed gun reforms

When he opted out of a moment of silence last week in the House chamber, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes was not disrespecting the victims of the mass murder in Las Vegas.

He was respecting his job.

“Anywhere else — in a Rotary Club, at a baseball game — do a moment of silence,” the Connecticut Democrat told “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah Tuesday.

“If you’re in the one room where you could start fixing this problem … that’s negligence. That’s not honoring anybody. Honoring the victims would mean we’re going to fix this,” Himes said.

It’s sad how much sense this makes.

Editorial: American Roulette

The first shots rang out on the Las Vegas Strip at 10:08 p.m. PDT.

Less than 9 hours later, with victims still succumbing to their wounds and the country just starting to wrestle with the enormity of Sunday night’s attack, stocks of U.S. gunmakers were already rising.

This is the new normal.

With the provocative headline “Gun stocks are getting their usual post-bloodshed pop,” an article in Vice News explained the phenomenon.

“Stocks in gun companies have been known to rise in the aftermath of American mass killings, as the killings can lead to an increase in chatter surrounding the imposition of new laws restricting gun sales,” the article reads.

“And while Congress hasn’t passed any new tough new gun laws since 1994’s assault weapons ban (since allowed to expire), the mere mention of new restrictions has been enough to spur a short-term rise in gun sales, and therefore profits for gun makers.”

Editorial: In Worcester, help instead of handcuffs for drug buyers

It’s a thought a lot of us have had about the heartache of opioid abuse: People caught buying narcotics on the street need to be rescued, not arrested.

Many of those wrestling with addiction realize it, too, somewhere under the monster of their problem. And increasingly across the country, officials are thinking the same thing, that opioid addicts need help.

Massachusetts has chosen Worcester to lead the way in putting this powerful thought into practice.

Launched Thursday at Worcester Police headquarters, a pilot program funded with a $99,000 state grant is designed to steer opioid users into treatment instead of court dates, fines, possible jail and the continued grip of addiction. The Buyer Diversion Treatment Program will give some people caught buying illegal drugs the option of entering into arrest or detox.

Sun Spots with Hitch [Vol. 201]: Trump bashing? There’s a remote chance you’ll miss it

Even the best of our presidents had their flaws.

Transformational JFK was a legendary lecher (and not the only one). Washington and Jefferson were among those to infamously own slaves. The list goes on. But President Trump raises the ire of his opponents like few elected leaders in history.

His recent irresponsibly pandering speech and attack on the First Amendment rights of NFL players is merely the latest salvo from the Troll-in-Chief.

Hitch, for one, thinks it’s high time to change the channel.