Columns

Willem Lange: Time Marches On, and We Are Just the Keepers of the Clocks

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Montpelier Those of us who yearn for the good old days might reasonably be accused of having short memories. How soon we’ve forgotten the days before painless dentistry, antibiotics, 12-volt car batteries, touchtone phones, convenient indoor plumbing and light switches. “Going to bed with the chickens,” considered evidence of rural virtue, was instead born of a necessity in poor households that couldn’t afford kerosene (then popularly called “coal oil”) to run lamps for such foolishness as recreational reading. It’s hard to believe that Abraham Lincoln was able to achieve his mastery of language when, according to legend, he learned to read by firelight, jotting his …

Column: Iran Policy Opens a U.S.-Israel Family Feud

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Washington A slide projected onto the wall at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee gathering Monday contained a warning to delegates: “AIPAC is Bipartisan,” it said, next to an image of a Democratic donkey and Republican elephant in boxing gear. “Check your gloves at the door.” They checked their gloves, all right — …

Column: An Old Idea Resurfaces: National Land Tax

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

In the lasting debate over Thomas Piketty’s book on outsized returns on capital, a significant fact has been obscured: If you exclude land and housing, capital has not risen as a share of the U.S. economy. If you’re surprised, you’re not the only one. Intuition suggests this capital-output ratio should be higher today than it was in the early 1900s. Yet, in the …

Israel-U.S. Bonds Were Tested at Birth

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Washington A new Israeli election ad released by the Likud party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invokes the past to boost his political future. The video harks back to the moment of Israel’s founding in 1948, “painting a picture,” as the Times of Israel puts it, “of an …

Column: Attention Schools: Iditarod Isn’t Fun for Dogs

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Good teachers try to bring vitality into their classrooms by using real-life examples to enhance what’s in the curriculum. But just as no conscientious educator would take kids to a strip club for a lesson on “the birds …

Column: A Barrier-Breaking Basketball Player Deserves Recognition

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

As the NCAA’s “March Madness” approaches, it should be of interest to the hundreds of black basketball players seeking the fame and fortune of making the “big dance” and those youngsters who aspire to be there one day to note the name, William Leon Garrett. Never heard of …

Column: Speak Carefully About Religious Wars

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

For weeks, Republicans have lambasted President Obama for what they claim is a major foreign policy failure: His refusal to use the term “Islamic” to describe the terrorists of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. “The president and …

Teacher Prep Programs Need to Be Accountable

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

As if on cue, teacher preparation organizations, college and university education schools, and teachers unions are protesting proposed federal regulations for assessing the quality and impact of teacher preparation programs. Over the past month, my email inbox has been filled with a stream of increasingly dire pleas to …

Column: The Inequality of Retirement Anxiety

Monday, February 23, 2015

When it comes to retirement planning, there are two kinds of people: low-income Americans, who worry about saving enough money, and everybody else. That’s the message of a survey out last week from Bankrate, which asked 4,200 people last month why they weren’t saving more for retirement. You …

Column: Me and My Laptop: ‘Modern Family’ Looks at Life With Screens

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Dunphys (et al) have gone digital. In Wednesday’s episode of the ABC comedy Modern Family, Claire Dunphy will try to track down her daughter Haley in the wake of an argument. Sounds like a standard plot, but here’s the catch: The episode will take place on Claire’s …

Column: Use the Nuclear Option; Ban the Filibuster

Monday, February 23, 2015

Washington I’ve been radicalized. By Harry Reid and Barack Obama. Goodbye moderation and sweet reason. No more clinging to constitutional and procedural restraint. It’s time to go nuclear. In the fourth quarter of his presidency, Obama unbound is abusing presidential authority at will to secure a legacy on …

Column: Where Officers Don’t Carry Guns

Monday, February 23, 2015

In the United States, it seems obvious that police officers carry guns and are allowed to use them. In other places, however, this would be considered a provocation and a violation of law. In Britain, Ireland, Norway, Iceland and New Zealand, officers are unarmed when they are on …

Column: Unanswerable Questions Are Sometimes the Best Kind

Sunday, February 22, 2015

We always got the easy parts, we clever teenagers. We knew that the Jester was Bob Dylan, and that “Jack Flash sat on a candlestick” referred to the Rolling Stones playing Candlestick Park. “Eight miles high and falling fast” was trivial. There were always a few kids who …