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Columns

Column: Your Doctor Will Enter Your Data Now

Friday, May 29, 2015

Washington About a decade ago, a doctor friend was lamenting the increasingly frustrating conditions of clinical practice. “How did you know to get out of medicine in 1978?” he asked with a smile. “I didn’t,” I replied. “I had no idea what was coming. I just felt I’d chosen the wrong vocation.” I was reminded of this exchange upon receiving my med-school class’s 40th-reunion report and reading some of the …

Column: The Kids Don’t Need Yet Another Snack

Friday, May 29, 2015

Not long ago, I got an email from the mother of a child in my son’s class. The subject line alone was enough to jack up my blood pressure. “Aren’t we done with this already?” I fumed to myself. “They’re in third grade now, for heaven’s sake!” The words that set me off: “Snack Calendar Invite.” America is in the clutches of an …

Column: Does Sanders Deserve Coverage?

Friday, May 29, 2015

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders kicked off his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday, raising a tricky question: How should the media cover candidates who don’t have a realistic chance at winning? Ryan Cooper, the national correspondent for The Week, and Dylan Byers of Politico answer it by complaining the press hasn’t …

Column: A Veteran Scorns ‘Happy Memorial Day’

Monday, May 25, 2015

I have friends buried in a small corner of a rolling green field just down the road from the Pentagon. They’re permanently assigned to Section 60. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it’s 14 acres in …

Column: Honk if You Hate Political Bumper Stickers

Monday, May 25, 2015

The other day I spotted an arresting bumper sticker: “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for the Other Guy.” Unlike so many similar decals, it bore no hint of which “other guy” was under discussion. Just blue words on a plain white background. The driver might have been a …

Column: Populism Is Now Popular Across the Political Spectrum

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Candidates of the left, right and center have something in common: They all want to be seen as populists. Hillary Clinton attacks income inequality and issues booklets showing how well she stacks up, even against Sen. Elizabeth Warren, …

Column: What’s Wrong With Betting on Elections?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

I wrote a few weeks ago about why paying people to vote is more attractive than a legal mandate as a way of increasing turnout. Recent news stories about how Hillary Clinton is the heavy betting favorite in Europe to win the presidency in 2016 raises another question: …

Steve Nelson: Putting My New Hip to the (Crash) Test

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Caveat: Don’t take this column as medical advice. Talk to your own doctor. Eighteen months ago my right hip rapidly went from dependable friend to cranky enemy. Bummer. I thought I was ageless with joints made of high-tensile steel. Wrong. As I considered hip replacement surgery, I wondered …

Column: Is Christianity Moribund?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Several days from now, at the invitation of the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, I will head to Washington to participate in discussions about intercommunion between Episcopalians and United Methodists. Although I am new to the conversation, …

Column: What Bin Laden Was Reading — Conspiracies

Saturday, May 23, 2015

While the investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has been busy clouding the history of Osama bin Laden’s years on the lam in Pakistan, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence cleared things up a bit by releasing a list of documents found at the lair in Abbottabad where …

Column: Debates Promise Cheap, Watchable Entertainment for Cable

Saturday, May 23, 2015

We’re about to see some wild behavior from the Republican presidential candidates. At least that’s what the cable networks are trying to arrange. To understand why, look at how Fox News and CNN have set their debate rules for the first GOP debate, which will take place on …

Column: Walk in Lebanon for Campaign Finance Reform

Friday, May 22, 2015

I recently found myself speaking with an unsuspecting group of political pundits in Lebanon. A dozen teenagers with a hacky sack were passing the time after school near the steps of City Hall as I came out of the building. I asked them a simple question: What do …

Column: American Dream Isn’t Dead Yet

Friday, May 22, 2015

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who’s running for the Republican presidential nomination, issued a stark warning recently. “Today, for the first time in history, a majority of Americans believe that our kids will have a worse life than we do,” Cruz told conservatives in South Carolina. “That has …