Columns

The Smithsonian National Zoo's Giant Panda Mei Xiang, mother of panda youngster Bao Bao who was born Aug. 23, 2013, sleeps in the indoor habitat at the zoo in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015. The zoo says that the hormone levels of its adult female panda were rising, a sign that she might be pregnant. Mei Xiang, one of the two adult giant pandas which arrived here from China on Dec. 6, 2000, has started to show a secondary rise in her urinary progesterone levels since July 20 after she was artificially inseminated on April 26 and 27, the zoo said in a statement.  (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Column: Raising Pandas for Profit

Monday, August 31, 2015

With spin that would make even P.T. Barnum blush, the keepers at the National Zoo are claiming that taking newborn cubs away from panda mother Mei Xiang is for her own benefit. She has strenuously resisted losing her babies to rubber-gloved humans who want to use artificial nipples to force-feed her little ones but to no avail. She stands little …

Column: Islamic State Needs Oil Money

Monday, August 31, 2015

The battle for Baiji, site of one of Iraq’s major oil refineries, is heating up again. Since May, Islamic State fighters have been chipping away at the Iraqi government’s control. Now it seems possible that the empty city and the shuttered refinery could fall. Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi visited the battlefield last week and emphasized the site’s strategic importance to retaking Mosul. …

Column: Questions for the Next Debate

Monday, August 31, 2015

In a few weeks, the Republicans will hold their second presidential debate, and if it’s anything like the first, it’s bound to be a doozy. The continued ascent of Donald Trump, and his unmitigated displays of ego, id, racism and sexism, guarantee a viewership many times larger than what a “normal” intraparty debate …

Column: Article on Amazon Workplace Culture Presented a Rorschach Test

Sunday, August 23, 2015

It was last weekend’s great litmus test. After reading Jodi Kantor and David Streitfeld’s epic New York Times account of what it’s like to work at Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle, were you appalled or impressed? Would you never …

Column: Summer’s Lease Hath All Too Short a Date, But It Is Renewable

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A friend of mine recently said that it seemed like I’d had a good summer, and I did, but the word had made me sad. Like most Midwesterners who endure brutal winters, I never want summer to end. This time of year, after the sunflowers have bloomed and …

Column: The Fed Is Running Big Risks and Ought to Be Audit Thoroughly

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The U.S. Federal Reserve has grown massively in recent years. Since the 2008 financial crisis, it has increased its balance sheet from less than $1 trillion to an incredible $4.4 trillion. Given this sharp increase in the Fed’s risk, it’s reasonable that the Fed should be audited more …

Column: A Cinderella Story That Traversed a Slippery Slope

Saturday, August 22, 2015

When I was a student in England I walked almost everywhere. Everywhere I couldn’t reach by walking, I reached by bicycle. Cinderella I wasn’t; glass shoes would not have withstood the mileage. At Cambridge University, my college was up a steep hill. New Hall was a modernist building …

Columnist: Walker’s Health Plan Is Good Unless You Need Insurance

Friday, August 21, 2015

When I first heard that a new repeal-and-replace-Obamacare plan was coming from Scott Walker, the Republican governor of Wisconsin currently posing as a candidate for president, I set a challenge for myself. I wrote down every provision I expected to find in the plan, sealed the list in …

Column: Move to End Birthright Citizenship May Doom the GOP in 2016

Friday, August 21, 2015

It may not seem like it, but this week has seen the most significant development yet in the immigration debate’s role in the 2016 election. I’d go even further — it’s possible that the entire presidential election just got decided. Is that an overstatement? Maybe. But hear me …

Column: The Shift to Renewable Energy Must Account for the Huge Costs

Thursday, August 20, 2015

If promises matter, it’s been a very good stretch for renewable power. At the end of July, Hillary Clinton said that as president she would aim to get 33 percent of U.S. electricity from renewable sources by 2027 — up from about 13 percent today (half of it …

Column: Where Are America’s New Black Leaders?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The death on Saturday of Julian Bond, a leading 1960s civil rights leader who became chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, raises a deep question about contemporary U.S. politics: Where are today’s young Julian Bonds? Why isn’t there a clear and identifiable national …

Column: As Cod Season Winds Down, There’s Not a Moment to Lose

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Baccalieu Island, Newfoundland About an hour ago our fishing boat left the protected harbor of Bay de Verde, and right away pitched into a heavy swell and brisk wind. The helmsman turned into the waves and throttled back, while the two other members of the crew lowered a …

Column: A Better Iran Deal Is Illusory

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Republican presidential candidates, all of whom oppose the Iran nuclear deal, have created their own virtual worlds when it comes to dealing with the Tehran regime. Most say that, if elected, they would cancel the agreement, get Congress to reinstate broader U.S. sanctions and then persuade the rest …