Columns

A soldier walks on a path through the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund flag garden on Boston Common in Boston, ahead of Memorial Day, Thursday, May 21 2015. Each of the approximately 37,000 flags represents a Massachusetts military member who died in service from the Revolutionary War to the present. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Column: A Veteran Scorns ‘Happy Memorial Day’

Monday, May 25, 2015

I have friends buried in a small corner of a rolling green field just down the road from the Pentagon. They’re permanently assigned to Section 60. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it’s 14 acres in the southeast corner of Arlington National Cemetery that serves as a burial ground for many military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. …

Column: Honk if You Hate Political Bumper Stickers

Monday, May 25, 2015

The other day I spotted an arresting bumper sticker: “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for the Other Guy.” Unlike so many similar decals, it bore no hint of which “other guy” was under discussion. Just blue words on a plain white background. The driver might have been a Republican angry at Barack Obama, but the sticker was so weathered that she might just …

Column: Populism Is Now Popular Across the Political Spectrum

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Candidates of the left, right and center have something in common: They all want to be seen as populists. Hillary Clinton attacks income inequality and issues booklets showing how well she stacks up, even against Sen. Elizabeth Warren, as a booster for the embattled middle class. Sen. Marco Rubio invokes the American dream. …

Column: What’s Wrong With Betting on Elections?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

I wrote a few weeks ago about why paying people to vote is more attractive than a legal mandate as a way of increasing turnout. Recent news stories about how Hillary Clinton is the heavy betting favorite in Europe to win the presidency in 2016 raises another question: …

Steve Nelson: Putting My New Hip to the (Crash) Test

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Caveat: Don’t take this column as medical advice. Talk to your own doctor. Eighteen months ago my right hip rapidly went from dependable friend to cranky enemy. Bummer. I thought I was ageless with joints made of high-tensile steel. Wrong. As I considered hip replacement surgery, I wondered …

Column: Is Christianity Moribund?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Several days from now, at the invitation of the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, I will head to Washington to participate in discussions about intercommunion between Episcopalians and United Methodists. Although I am new to the conversation, …

Column: What Bin Laden Was Reading — Conspiracies

Saturday, May 23, 2015

While the investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has been busy clouding the history of Osama bin Laden’s years on the lam in Pakistan, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence cleared things up a bit by releasing a list of documents found at the lair in Abbottabad where …

Column: Debates Promise Cheap, Watchable Entertainment for Cable

Saturday, May 23, 2015

We’re about to see some wild behavior from the Republican presidential candidates. At least that’s what the cable networks are trying to arrange. To understand why, look at how Fox News and CNN have set their debate rules for the first GOP debate, which will take place on …

Column: Walk in Lebanon for Campaign Finance Reform

Friday, May 22, 2015

I recently found myself speaking with an unsuspecting group of political pundits in Lebanon. A dozen teenagers with a hacky sack were passing the time after school near the steps of City Hall as I came out of the building. I asked them a simple question: What do …

Column: American Dream Isn’t Dead Yet

Friday, May 22, 2015

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who’s running for the Republican presidential nomination, issued a stark warning recently. “Today, for the first time in history, a majority of Americans believe that our kids will have a worse life than we do,” Cruz told conservatives in South Carolina. “That has …

Editorial: Military, Police, Weapons

Friday, May 22, 2015

The police protect the public. The military protects the republic. In an age of terrorism, their jobs necessarily overlap, especially in large cities. But some lines between police officers and soldiers ought to remain distinct, and President Obama took an essential step this week toward reining in the …

Column: So Many GOP Candidates, So Little Room

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Washington “If you can’t take a joke,” Lindsey Graham has said, “don’t run for president.” Graham, a senator from South Carolina and one of umpteen Republicans running for president, can take a joke — which is why he …

Column: GMOs Are Safe, and State Labeling Laws Are Unnecessary

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Science, innovation, safety and affordability. Who could oppose United States food policy based on these core principles? Unfortunately, this idea has become unnecessarily controversial in agriculture. The unmerited fear of genetically modified organism crops threatens scientific advancements in biotechnology needed to meet the growing global demand for safe …