Columns

Column: Food Deserts, Food Jungles

Sunday, December 21, 2014

If I need a gallon of milk, I can travel three miles to my town general store. If I need a spaghetti squash, I can find one in season at a farmer’s stand four miles away. Fresh sushi? I can have a California roll after traveling just five miles to the cooperative grocery store. (That’s pretty good, considering the Upper …

Column: ‘Hunger Games’ Vision of Rebellion Is Sheer Fantasy

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The latest Hunger Games film, Mockingjay- Part 1 , is topping the international box office. Although it’s a Hollywood blockbuster aimed at young adults, it presents potentially quite subversive ideas of mass revolution, economic sabotage and the populist fight against oligarchy. These themes of popular uprising are particularly relevant in light of the …

Column: Merry Christmas, Really, From an Atheist

Sunday, December 21, 2014

On one of my infrequent visits to Facebook, where I silently observe the interests and opinions of extended family members, I’ve noticed a small but growing anti-secular campaign. Many folks, including several of the aforementioned, vigorously object to the phrase “Happy Holidays.” It is apparently too euphemistic for their tastes. They demand that “Christ” be put back in Christmas. Some people say “Happy …

Rise in CO2 Has an Upside, Industry Claims

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Washington For years, the fossil-fuel industries have been telling us that global warming is a hoax based on junk science. But now these industries are floating an intriguing new argument: They’re admitting that human use of coal, oil and gas is causing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to …

As Oil Prices Fall, Russia Loses Its Might

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A funny thing happened on the way to Vladimir Putin running strategic laps around the West: Russia’s economy imploded. Russia’s central bank raised interest rates from 10.5 percent to 17 percent at an emergency 1 a.m. meeting on Tuesday in an attempt to stop the ruble, which is …

Compromise Isn’t Pretty, but It’s Effective

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The trillion-dollar spending bill that the House of Representatives passed last week had something for everyone to hate. But it was still a step, however awkward, toward making the United States governable again. What was not to like? Plenty. Tea Party conservatives hated the bill because it didn’t …

A Torture Story: No Justice for My Client

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

An entire section of the Senate intelligence committee’s executive summary of the CIA torture report focuses on the sadistic abuse of one of my clients. The excerpt contains detailed descriptions of the specific methods of torture my client was subjected to while in CIA custody. Redha Najar, a …

You Code, Girl: Computer Language Is Good for Both Sexes

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The tween girls in this Reston, Va., classroom — with their braces and sparkly sweatshirts and the bangs hanging over their eyes — don’t really know anything about the staggering amount of sexism in the tech world. They’re not turned off by computer science because of the ugly …

The Power of Narrative to Lead Us Astray

Monday, December 15, 2014

A fascinating side event to the furor over the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the treatment of post-9/11 detainees has been the debate over the majority staff’s bizarre decision not to interview the Central Intelligence Agency …

The ‘Cromnibus’ Passes, for Better or Worse

Monday, December 15, 2014

Washington The so-called “Cromnibus” is an ugly piece of work. On balance, I’m glad — no, make that relieved — it passed. The Cromnibus is the giant $1.1 trillion spending bill that will keep the government functioning — …

Last Call for British Pubs?

Monday, December 15, 2014

The British pub is slowly dying, with more than 30 closing every week, according to the Campaign for Real Ale, a lobby group for pub owners and customers. The government needs to give publicans a helping hand before the heart gets ripped out of more communities. Cozier than …

Column: The Conservative Case for Police Reform

Sunday, December 14, 2014

New York If a neoconservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality, as Irving Kristol once put it, what do you call a conservative faced with video footage of the chokehold death of Eric Garner, a …

Column: Creationism Is More Nuanced Than You Think

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Washington In a dozen polls taken from 1982 to 2014, Gallup has asked Americans to choose among three views of evolution. One view is that humans “developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but …