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Columns

Column: Hope and Change, As in Climate Change

Friday, August 22, 2014

A few years ago, I discovered my undergraduates had informally renamed my Intro to Environmental Studies class. They called it “Environmental Depression.” I’ve been teaching college undergraduates about the environment for 20 years. Like many others, I focus on how humans are changing the earth system through pollution, deforestation, resource exploitation and climate change. I school them on the inadequacies …

Column: A Fairer Way to Elect House Members

Friday, August 22, 2014

In the original conception of our Constitution, the House of Representatives was to be the branch of government that best reflected the will of the people. House members cannot serve without being elected — vacancies are not filled by appointees — and they must face the voters every two years. Notably, the House holds pride of place as the first branch of government …

Editorial: Prosecuting Politicians

Friday, August 22, 2014

There are many fair grounds on which to criticize Rick Perry’s performance as governor of Texas: his rejection of federal funding for Medicaid expansion and his grandstanding deployment of the state’s National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, to name just two. But the list does not include the charges newly levied against him by an Austin grand jury. It’s true that the …

Editorial: Containing Ebola: Gloves and Masks Are Needed, Not Drugs

Monday, August 18, 2014

The question of how to fairly distribute scarce doses of experimental Ebola treatments is capturing the world’s attention. Yet the fate of the epidemic doesn’t rest on getting these expensive and unproven drugs to the afflicted African countries. What medical teams there need most are protective masks, goggles, …

Column: What Wilderness Can Teach Us

Sunday, August 17, 2014

In a society preoccupied with electronic devices, it came as a ray of natural sunlight to read in the Valley News in spring about Vermont families escorting frogs, toads, newts and salamanders across busy roads to the vernal …

Column: Is Amazon Friend or Foe to Authors?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Seattle Times recently invited children’s book author Nina Laden and writer Frank Schaeffer to debate the fractious contract negotiations between online retailer Amazon.com and book publisher Hachette. Laden argues Amazon is a marketing behemoth with far-reaching tendrils …

Column: In Hinckley’s Case, What’s Done Is Done

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The government would have to overcome major legal hurdles to charge John Hinckley Jr. in the murder of James Brady some 30 years after the fact. But if that were the morally right thing to do, it would …

Steve Nelson: Let Me Rant About the Trouble With Men

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A lot of grim news this week. Every week, it seems. Unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, Mo,, a suburb of St. Louis. He was confronted by the police while walking in the street with a friend. Moments later he was dead on the …

Column: Roll Back the Militarization of the Police

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The most striking photographs from Ferguson, Mo., weren’t of Saturday’s demonstrations or Sunday night’s riots; they were of the police. Image after image shows officers clad in Kevlar vests, helmets and camouflage, armed with pistols, shotguns, automatic rifles …

Column: Airstrikes in Iraq Will Lose Effectiveness

Saturday, August 16, 2014

In the winter of 1951, President Dwight Eisenhower reluctantly allowed the French army to employ American napalm against the Viet Minh at the Battle of Vinh Yen. The effect was electric. Enemy soldiers were petrified: “The bomb falls closely behind us, and I feel its fiery breath,” a …

Column: Whistleblowers Say Patients Were Hospitalized Unnecessarily

Friday, August 15, 2014

What kind of people would knowingly expose someone to the risk of infection just to make a buck? Read carefully the allegations underlying the recent $97 million settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and Community Health Systems and that question may be answered. Responding to lawsuits brought …

Column: Pot Arrests Remain Significant

Friday, August 15, 2014

Skyrocketing incarceration rates for nonviolent drug offenders have come to symbolize the futility of the national “war on drugs.” Even the most ardent drug legalization opponents are beginning to view drug use through the lens of public health, rather than criminal justice. This shift in focus is evident …

Column: Putin Puts Russian Foodies on a War Footing

Friday, August 15, 2014

Russians are about to lose access to virtually all food imported from the West — which is to say, a significant portion of the food that Russians consume. President Vladimir Putin ordered the ban on imports to retaliate …