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Columns

Column: Republicans Agitate for a Broader Ground War

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was testifying Tuesday about the need for military action in Syria and Iraq when Ann Wright, an anti-war demonstrator in the audience, rose and began shouting: “No more war! No more war!” Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, hammered the gavel. “You’re acting very war-like yourself,” he told Wright. Must be going around. With extraordinary speed, the nation and its leaders have …

Column: Airline Execs Should Try Sitting in Those Knee-Banger Seats

Thursday, September 18, 2014

There’s an old Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Elaine are about to board a plane and the gate attendant tells them she can bump one of them into first class. Jerry immediately takes the offer, explaining to Elaine that he’s flown in first class before — she hasn’t — so he knows what he would be missing. Sure enough, Jerry spends the flight …

Column: Obama Goes on the Offensive

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Here’s the nightmare scenario that kept Obama administration officials awake at night this summer as they watched the black-masked guerrillas of Islamic State sweep across Iraq: First, the insurgents could invade Baghdad, toppling Iraq’s government and forcing a Saigon-style evacuation of the U.S. Embassy. Then they could move into Jordan, a close U.S. ally that has maintained a peaceful border with Israel for …

Column: That Doomed Expedition to Discover the Northwest Passage

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Montpelier The recent discovery in the Canadian Arctic of what is certainly one of the lost ships of the doomed 1845 Franklin expedition has our northern neighbors abuzz with excitement. Even the Prime Minister, who had made a …

Column: Voiceless Brits and the Fate of the Union

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

To misquote Winston Churchill, this is not the end of the beginning. But it is, perhaps, the beginning of the end. The United Kingdom might have a day to live. The polls in advance of tomorrow’s Scottish independence referendum show a neck and neck contest. After a collapse …

Column: Video Put a Face to Domestic Violence — Ray Rice’s

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

When a police photo of Rihanna’s battered face was leaked in 2009, I was outraged. I criticized the media for disseminating it and refused to link to the image, because I found it “a sickening violation of Rihanna’s privacy.” I ended that column on Salon.com by hoping the …

Column: Domestic Abuse Is an Equal Opportunity Horror

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I’ve never been a victim of domestic violence, but I’ve loved people who have been. I say “people” because some of the victims have been men, despite the general Burning Bed stereotype of the muscled brute beating the living daylights out of the 100-pound female. Violence is violence, …

Column: The Political Magic of Rwanda’s Remarkable Road System

Monday, September 15, 2014

A friend was asking me about my recent trip to Rwanda. What, he wanted to know, surprised me the most? “I think it was the roads,” I said. “The roads were amazing.” “I’ll bet,” he said. “They must have been a mess, right?” No, just the opposite. I …

Column: Ebola Patients Can’t Wait for Assistance

Monday, September 15, 2014

Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain the disease. Leaders are failing to come to grips with this transnational threat. In West Africa, cases and deaths continue to …

Editorial: CVS Shuns Cigarettes

Monday, September 15, 2014

CVS stopped selling cigarettes last week. The move may be little more than a business calculation for the pharmacy chain. But it is one worth cheering: It makes the sale of cigarettes less ubiquitous, and it shows that, after decades of effort, smoking is getting the stigma it …

Column: Hope Is Leaking Out of Politics Like Air From a Balloon

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Washington The Iowa State Fair is over, but the circus is coming to town. Today, Hillary and Bill Clinton are scheduled to attend the 37th annual Harkin Steak Fry, the famous Iowa political event named after Sen. Tom …

Column: Congress Must Join the Growing Consensus on Climate Change

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Since the 1980s, the dangerous long-term consequences of largely human-caused climate disruption have been plainly and forcefully explained to us. Repeatedly, scientists — generally a conservative lot — have issued new reports that promise accelerating degradation of the …

Steve Nelson: Leaders Grandstand After Great Tragedies; Nothing Changes

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I write on Sept.11. Moments ago I stood, greeting students, on the steps of the Manhattan school where I work. Thirteen years earlier, nearly to the minute, I stood in exactly the same spot and answered a cell phone call from my son, who lived in North Carolina …