Columns

Making a Deal With Cuba: Who Will Win?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Washington The U.S. embargo on Cuba — or what’s left of it after President Obama’s dramatic Cuba policy announcement — may be a futile gesture. But it is, or was, not an empty gesture. It put the United States firmly on record that it would have as little as possible to do with a regime whose misdeeds have included inviting Soviet nuclear weapons onto its soil, sponsoring violent guerrilla groups …

Returning to Cuba, With Complex Emotions

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Ann Arbor, Mich. I walk a tightrope with Cuba. I’m a daughter of Cuban exiles who’ve pledged not to return until there is political change. Yet I’ve traveled to the island numerous times since the early 1990s; it’s the site of my research as a cultural anthropologist. I never forget that every trip …

Transparency About Medical Costs Is Key to Controlling Them

Friday, December 19, 2014

U.S. health care spending has never grown as slowly as it did last year. Dwight D. Eisenhower was in the Oval Office when the U.S. government began recording health care spending in 1960. Since that time, growth in health care spending has never been lower than the 3.6 percent annual rate reported by researchers from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last …

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 …

Column: When Bad Things Happen at Frat Houses

Sunday, December 14, 2014

When Dartmouth’s student daily called for abolishing fraternities in an October front-page editorial, I remembered an essay I published more than 20 years ago in Antioch Review. Teaching since 1966 at Denison University, where fraternities controlled the campus …

Column: Are Social Services Driving School Costs?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Exhibit A among current critics of Vermont’s education funding system is some version of a chart showing annual education expenditures going up over time and school enrollment going down. Why are we spending more and more money to educate fewer and fewer kids? A recent two-day education summit …

What Really Makes Lefties So Different better)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

When our son was born two years ago, my right-handed wife prayed he would be a lefty because she believed lefties were disproportionately talented. It seems that he is left-handed, as am I and my older son, but new research suggests that may not carry the benefit my …

What Other Countries Can Teach America About Retirement

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Good news, America: A new report says you can alleviate your social-policy problems by copying other developed countries. Wait, don’t stop reading! I don’t mean single-payer health care, paid maternity leave or affordable preschool. And I’m certainly not talking about functioning mass transit, national climate policy or mandatory …