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Column: Women in India Struggle for Empowerment

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tokyo “The Power of 49”: That’s how Indian activists have started describing the potential influence of women, who make up just under 50 percent of the population, in the country’s ongoing elections. Political parties are courting women for the first time as a bloc, a transformative force that could upend both caste-based voting patterns and the conventional wisdom in New Delhi if they cast their ballots along gender lines. Unfortunately, …

Column: When the Urge to Hike Strikes, It’s Good to Head for the Hills

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Montpelier I spent a couple of weeks in Kansas once, on the way to the Rockies, and found the experience unsettling. Besides painting a barn and repairing a windmill for gas money, my buddy Sam and I ran daily to keep in shape for the climbing ahead of us. It was depressing to set out on a 10-mile out-and-back run and be able …

Column: Higher Wages Would Help Small Businesses

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Nine or ten dollars an hour? Twelve? Or all the way to $15? For much of the country, significant minimum wage hikes are coming — at least in the areas where they haven’t happened already. Public debate on the issue in many states and cities has been reduced to a disagreement between the …

Column: We Must Define and Defend a Clear Red Line

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

On the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, Gen. James Mattis admonished the 1st Marine Division to “(d)emonstrate to the world there is ‘No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy.’ ” That motto could serve as a guiding …

Column: Brave Words From Dartmouth’s President

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

If you are the proud parent of a Dartmouth student, you should send a thank-you note to President Philip Hanlon. Actually, if you are the proud parent of a college student anywhere, or one nearing college age, you should also drop Hanlon a line. Because while the stemwinder …

Column: There’s Good News, but Team Obama Has Trouble Conveying It

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Washington Here’s a bit of good news for nervous Democrats: President Barack Obama’s health-care law isn’t going to be the albatross many feared it would be in this year’s congressional elections. Enrollment has soared, and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the program will cost less than initially …

Column: Ambitious Presidents Often Labor Under Legislative Curse

Monday, April 21, 2014

Americans say they want politicians to tackle the big issues and get things done. In 2008, they even elected a presidential candidate who said he was interested in “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Yet almost every time elected officials have tried bold problem-solving in the past …

Column: Danger Lurks in Garment Factories of Dhaka

Monday, April 21, 2014

When I met Rajina Aktar in February of last year, her eyes were still red and her memory still fuzzy from the toxic smoke that had knocked her unconscious three weeks earlier. The 15-year-old had been sewing pockets onto winter jackets when a fire broke out at Smart …

Column: Rising Tide of Income Inequality Is Politically Unsustainable

Sunday, April 20, 2014

New York Inequality has come out of the fiscal shadows. U.S. President Barack Obama, a scrupulous consensus-builder who long avoided all zero-sum formulations, is now rallying citizens to stand with him against “the relentless, decades-long trend” of income …

Column: When Full Disclosure Promotes Mischief

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Washington The debate over campaign contributions is never-ending for a simple reason: Both sides of the argument have merit. On the one hand, of course money is speech. For most citizens, contributing to politicians or causes is the …

Column: Kansas, the KKK and the Pernicious Undercurrent of Hate

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The news that a former grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan is suspected of shooting and killing three people near Jewish community centers in Kansas seems at first glance like a disparaged past flaring briefly into the present. Americans like to imagine that the KKK belongs to …

Column: Snowden Story: Public Service or Betrayal?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Washington On Monday, my Washington Post colleagues celebrated winning the Pulitzer Prize for public service along with the Guardian newspaper for their reporting on Edward Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency. On Wednesday, Post columnist Marc Thiessen held a counter-demonstration. Thiessen, who writes a weekly online column …

Column: When I Got Too in Touch With Local Food

Friday, April 18, 2014

The chickens are out of feed. Before they can make a dash through the coop’s open door, I hoist the round metal feeder from its hook and squat-walk backward until I can stand straight again. I turn my back on the flock, fill the feeder and crouch back …