Columns

Column: We Give Thanks, but Do We Share Our Blessings With Others?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Montpelier I was scheduled recently to do some after-dinner storytelling at a trade meeting, and just before supper was idly browsing the vendors’ tables set up on one side of the room. One of the vendors, a long-bearded fellow who owns an RV campground somewhere, discovered I was to be the speaker that evening. He’d apparently read my brief bio in the program, because he suddenly got more intense. “What …

Column: Obama Is Doomed to Repeat Recent History

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Washington When Barack Obama looks in the mirror these days, he must see a terrifying visage staring back at him: that of George W. Bush. In a cruel echo of history, Obama is morphing into the president whose foreign policy he campaigned to overturn. Obama on Monday morning sacked his Pentagon secretary, Chuck …

Column: The Cosby Myth Is Dead, So Stop Cheering

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Two standing ovations. That’s what Bill Cosby, in a “Hello Friend” sweatshirt and with a fist clenched above his head in defiance, received Friday night at a performance in his “Bill Cosby 77” tour at a Melbourne, Florida, theater. This fervid show of blind loyalty was only one shocker in a series of …

Column: GOP Vs. Obama: Now the Division Is Clear

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Washington Stay wide awake in the coming weeks. This is a historic moment when all of the divisions, misunderstandings and hatreds of President Obama’s time in office have come to a head. We are in a different place …

Column: A Billionaire Gives to Harvard: Yes, It’s Worthy of Charity

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Now that he’s retired as chief executive officer of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer has time for popular billionaire pastimes. First, he bought a basketball team for $2 billion. Now he’s gotten into big-bucks philanthropy. Ballmer and his wife, Connie, are giving $50 million in unrestricted funds to bolster the …

Column: Save Ovations For Great Performances

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I was commenting to my freshman class on their just completed series of presentations, a harrowing process of public speaking while being observed, taped and scored by professor and students alike. “You stepped out of your comfort zone,” I understated. “And that’s a good thing. I can guarantee …

Column: Let’s Call the Assault on Ukraine What It Is

Monday, November 24, 2014

It’s time for President Obama to start using the I-word when referring to Russia’s assault on Ukraine. I mean “invasion.” The world is witnessing a Russian invasion of a neighboring country, something that hasn’t happened since the fall of the Soviet Union (except for Russia’s 2008 invasion of …

Column: They Got What They Wanted: Market Competition

Monday, November 24, 2014

As the Affordable Care Act moved into its second open enrollment period on Nov. 15, critics seized on the fact that some beneficiaries are in for unpleasant surprises. Some of those who enrolled last time will face higher …

Column: Thanks for a Holiday That Honors the Older Generation

Monday, November 24, 2014

Over the river, and through the wood, to Grandfather’s house we go,” goes the 1844 Thanksgiving poem. These days, it’s more often sung as “Grandmother’s house,” and we’re more likely to travel by jet than by sleigh. Still, it’s a familiar journey. Thanksgiving remains very much associated with …

Column: Mathematician as Storyteller

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Jonathan Touboul is a French mathematician and neuroscientist who typically publishes papers with titles like Pulsatile Localized Dynamics in Delayed Neural-Field Equations in Arbitrary Dimension and Propagation of Chaos in Neural Fields. Lately, though, Touboul has been thinking …

Column: Criminal Justice Reform Unites Progressives and Conservatives

Sunday, November 23, 2014

There isn’t much room for optimism among progressives these days. The president’s avenues to legislative achievement in his final two years are narrow and seem mostly to lead to the right — toward a corporate tax reform in one instance, and a NAFTA-style trade deal with the Asia-Pacific …

Column, Steve Nelson: Risk Helps Humans Take Flight, but How Much Is Too Much?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Just over a year ago, I stood in Avalanche Pass in the Adirondacks and, through powerful binoculars, watched my then 13-year-old granddaughter, Quinn, sitting calmly on a foot-wide ledge, two-thirds of the way up an 800-foot vertical cliff. My daughter, my brother and I had hiked in to …

Column: Lebanon Woman Hopes Her Story Teaches Students Not to Hate

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I returned to Berlin last November as a guest of the Berlin Jewish Museum to tell German schoolchildren and teenagers about my experiences in the city during the years of Hitler’s ascension to power. I decided to return …