Columns

A single flower rests in a paper cup on the finish line of the Boston Marathon after the verdict in the penalty phase of the trial of Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Friday, May 15, 2015, in Boston. Less than three years after bombs killed three people and wounded more than 260 others at the Boston Marathon, two movies, a documentary play and an HBO documentary are all in the works. Those most touched by the 2013 attack have decidedly mixed feelings about seeing the tragedy told on the stage and screen. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

Column: Are Conspiracy Theorists Prone to Violence?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

On Jan. 26, FBI agents made public a foiled plot against the Freemasons. Samy Mohamed Hamzeh was arrested with a machine gun and silencer. The FBI alleges that he intended to storm the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple in Milwaukee and kill upwards of 30 people. The complaint quotes him as saying: “They are all Masonic; they are playing with the …

Column: What Good Are Health Insurers, Anyway?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

When I was a university student in Canada, I heard an economics professor explain the difference between U.S. and Canadian health care in a way that went something like this: Most U.S. hospitals have rooms full of staff whose only job is to trade paperwork with private insurance companies. The cost of that …

Column: Let’s Talk About Death — Specificially Yours

Sunday, February 14, 2016

In his only novel, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, the poet and philosopher Rainer Maria Rilke had his protagonist expound on an old wisdom, one in which “people knew (or perhaps had an intuition) that they bore their death within them like the stone within a fruit. . . . It was …

Column: Feeling Left Out? Blame the Two-Party System

Saturday, February 6, 2016

In the 10 days leading up to the Iowa caucuses on Monday night, I witnessed a genuine democratic process that involved a good percentage of the state’s voting age population (those coin tosses notwithstanding). Why then do so many Americans, and their politicians, consider their government to be …

Column: Last Hurrah for Retail Politics in N.H.?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Is the New Hampshire primary over the hill? After 20 years of observing and analyzing the contest as a professor at Dartmouth College, I fear the answer might be “yes.” The primary is turning 100 this year, but …

More Aid For Refugees Migrants Need More Than Food

Friday, February 5, 2016

Two big international efforts to end the suffering in Syria are taking place this week. The first, in Geneva, aims to produce a political settlement and is highly unlikely to succeed, so reluctant and cynical are many of the parties involved. The other, in London, aims to raise …

Column: Cruz-Carson-Trump Circular Firing Squad

Friday, February 5, 2016

If you thought the GOP presidential race was veering back toward sanity after the Iowa caucuses, think again. Donald Trump went ballistic, demanding a new election in the Hawkeye State and accusing Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, of voter …

Column: Clinton Has the Skills and Insight to Direct Foreign Policy

Thursday, February 4, 2016

We are headed for a national security election. After a year that brought us the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, last fall’s bloody killing spree in that same city and the San Bernardino attacks, 29 percent of Americans cite terrorism as their top concern, a number that has …

Column: What If It Were Cruz versus Sanders in November?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Almost a year ago, I wrote a column imagining an improbable contest for the presidency between Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. This was a thought experiment that played with the idea that such a …

Editorial: Ruling Out Senility on the Bench

Thursday, February 4, 2016

In a law review article I wrote 15 years ago about cognitive decline on the U.S. Supreme Court, I predicted that, in the coming years, no one would take action to mitigate the problem. Instead, another half a dozen mentally decrepit justices would join “the roster of jurists …

Willem Lange: Thunder on the Right

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Montpelier I sit down to write by the west window. At this moment, farther west in Iowa, the precinct chairs, both Republican and Democratic, are fine-tuning the details of this evening’s party caucuses to decide the distribution of Iowa’s delegates to the nominating conventions of their respective persuasions. …

Column: The GOP Establishment Has a Good Night

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Waukee, Iowa The establishment struck back. The headlines will show that Ted Cruz won the Iowa caucuses, but the more significant message out of Iowa was that Marco Rubio was neck-and-neck with Donald Trump for second place and …

Column: Europe’s Happiest, and Unhappiest, Cities

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

London Londoners tend to be pretty happy with their city. But I know few who haven’t on occasion flirted with the idea of a life in an Italian city, a notion that conjures up sun-drenched piazzas, shaded arcades, gelato on tap and leaning towers. Judging from a newly …