Columns

Mary Ann Vecchio gestures and screams as she kneels by the body of a student lying face down on the campus of Kent State University, Kent, Ohio on May 4, 1970. National Guardsmen had fired into a crowd of demonstrators, killing four. (AP Photo/John Filo)

Column: May 4, 1970 — Four Dead in Ohio

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Forty-five years ago, on May 4, 1970, at half past noon, I was watching pints of blood flow out of Jeffrey Miller’s head onto the asphalt parking lot of Kent State University. He had been shot by Ohio National Guardsmen during a student protest, not over the Vietnam war, but over the presence of guardsmen who had taken over the …

Column: Shame Can Be a Force for Good

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Leadership gurus often talk about blame-storming, which is just like brainstorming except that the purpose is to find a scapegoat for something that’s gone wrong. Social media is now producing what you might call “shame-storming,” where some offense (real or imagined) is uncovered, and a horde of indignant tweeters quickly assembles to publicize …

Column: The Brain Is Hard-Wired to Make Grammatical Errors

Sunday, April 26, 2015

I am a writer, which is why it’s particularly embarrassing that I sometimes type the word “right” when I mean to type “write.” Shouldn’t I know better? Just yesterday, I typed “there” when I meant “their.” And I’ll even admit that I’ve committed the most mocked grammar error on the Internet: “your” instead of “you’re” (and vice versa). And yet, I have stood …

Column: A Mortal Danger in Same-Sex Marriage?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Washington As the Supreme Court prepares to take up same-sex marriage next week, conservative scholars have produced a last-ditch argument to keep the scourge of homosexual unions from spreading across the land: Gay marriage kills. They’re saying that legalizing same-sex marriage will cause 900,000 abortions. The logic is …

Column: Campaign Money Talk Is Safe for Clinton

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Why has Hillary Clinton taken up campaign-finance reform as a big issue in her presidential campaign? Some people say she is trying to inoculate herself from attacks on her own campaign’s prodigious fundraising and on contributions to the Clinton Foundation. Others say it must be because campaign finance …

Column: Partisanship Grows Sharper in ‘Tribal’ America

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Washington After a political rally last week in which Democrats criticized the Obama administration for siding with Republicans on trade, I had a talk about the future of the party with Rep. Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat who is one of the most ferocious partisans in the House. …

Column: California Demonstrates the GOP’s Demographic Problem

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Los Angeles Jim Brulte, California’s Republican chairman, has sobering but useful words for his party’s leaders and 2016 candidates: If they don’t learn from what happened to the GOP here, they may doom themselves to repeating its decidedly unpleasant experience. “California is the leading edge of the country’s …

Column: Christie’s Straight Talk About Social Security

Monday, April 20, 2015

Don Quixote tilted at windmills. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie seems bent on running for president, even after his reputation took a whack over that traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge. Even more improbably, he wants to …

Column: Bold Steps Needed to Revive Middle Class

Monday, April 20, 2015

Hillary Rodham Clinton kicked off her presidential campaign making all the right noises. Trouping around Iowa with a handful of aides (and a media scrum that could fill Yankee Stadium), she has focused, however hazily, on the scourge of economic inequality and the concomitant plutocratization of American democracy. …

Column: Think You Know Pitching? Here’s Five Strikes Against You

Sunday, April 19, 2015

“Baseball is like church,” former major league infielder and manager Leo Durocher once said. “Many attend, few understand.” And pitching is one of the most lionized, misunderstood and mythologized aspects of the game, even among other pitchers — …

Column: How Grant and Lee Forged a Perfect Moment at Appomattox

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A century and a half ago, a brief encounter between two men, a Northerner and Southerner, altered the course of American history. It was not the Lincoln assassination; that happened five days later. It was the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. For …

Column: If You Come to Vermont, Hillary , I Have a Question

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hillary Clinton’s Secret Service agents were on to me. I knew it the moment one of them began talking into a microphone hidden in his sleeve. As I maneuvered through a crowd toward Hillary, two agents advanced on …

Column: Leaving Las Vegas, and Back Home to the Upper Valley

Sunday, April 19, 2015

On a recent weekend, I won $502 on a penny slot machine in the MGM Grand Las Vegas. That’s half a grand at the Grand. I was overjoyed, since I’m not much of a gambler and it was …