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 …

CIA Did What Needed to Be Done After 9/11

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Washington The report by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding CIA interrogation essentially accuses the agency under George W. Bush of war criminality. Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein appears to offer some extenuation when she reminds us in the report’s preamble of the shock and “pervasive fear” felt …

The CIA Report and the National Image

Friday, December 12, 2014

Our belief in the national image is astonishingly resilient. Over more than two centuries, our conviction that we are a benign people, with only the best of intentions, has absorbed the blows of darker truths and returned unassailable. …

Can We Say We Will Not Torture Again?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Washington Can we now say with confidence that our government will not use torture again and that Americans in the future will rise up to prevent it from doing so? In light of the reaction to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report, I fear that we can’t. Sen. Dianne …

Supreme Court Misses on Warehouse Labor

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Back in the 1940s, when the U.S. Supreme Court last spent a lot of time struggling with the question of what parts of a worker’s day were included in the job for the purposes of getting an hourly wage, the cases tended to come out 5-4. Then, liberals …

Gruber’s Stupid Moment in the Spotlight

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Washington A gaffe, under the oft-cited Michael Kinsley rule, is when somebody in Washington accidentally speaks the truth. But what happens when frankness leads you to say something so monumentally stupid — the verbal equivalent of a pratfall, …

Young Voters Don’t Mind Hillary Clinton’s Age

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hillary Clinton, if she decides to run for president, would be among the oldest contenders for the office. Nonetheless, she has strong appeal among younger Americans. The former secretary of state, who will be 69 on Election Day 2016, beats five of her most prominent possible Republican rivals …

Willem Lange: We Found a Place in the Middle of Nowhere, and It’s Lovely

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Montpelier Snow is floating past the office window as I write. It’s perfect weather for what I’ve been doing for the last couple of days: plowing through the early stages of a travel book and giving thanks for the invention of the word processor. I have some photocopied …

Owner Betrays ‘New Republic’

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Washington At a 40th-birthday party in July for Franklin Foer, editor of the New Republic, the magazine’s young owner, Chris Hughes, got all choked up as he pledged to the roomful of writers at Foer’s country home in Pennsylvania that the two would be “intellectual partners for decades.” …

Acid Reflux In the White House

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

President Obama reportedly had a mysterious sore throat for weeks, but now the diagnosis is in: acid reflux into the throat, also called airway reflux or LPR (laryngopharyngeal reflux). This puts the president in good company. Since 1975, the occurrence of reflux has increased 400 percent (almost one …

Column: Ferguson Grand Jury’s Finding Was Proper

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A friend emailed last week with a question: “You said that you were reserving your (Ferguson) opinion until you read the evidence. What do you say now?” Fair enough. In an August column I wrote: “If there is so much we don’t know, why are so many committed …