Columns

For Cops, Ignorance of the Law Is an Excuse

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Well, you heard it here first: Ignorance of the law is an excuse, so long as you’re the police. Or so the U.S. Supreme Court has said in a 8-1 decision that symbolically strengthened the hand of the police to make stops even on the basis of nonexistent laws. The court split hairs, explaining Monday that police ignorance is excusable only when the crime for which the defendant was convicted …

FairPoint Workers Deserve Our Support

Thursday, December 18, 2014

In the United Church of Christ, and in other Christian denominations, we are in the midst of the season of Advent, a time of expectation and hope-filled waiting as we move toward the celebration of the birth of one called Jesus of Nazareth. But it is not the birth in and of itself …

Horror In Peshawar Violates Our Shared Sense of Humanity

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The world seems full of crises and disasters: from political stasis and racial standoffs in Europe and the United States, to the classic conflicts of capitalism in “emerging” economies (inequality, weakening states, authoritarianism), to tribal conflicts and sectarian uprisings in the Middle East and Africa. But the small coffins of Peshawar’s students are the heaviest burden on our conscience. The murder of children …

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 …

Column: Football Stories Make Me Wonder: Have We Lost Our Senses?

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sometimes the poignancy and irony of adjacent newspaper stories seem, to me at least, more obvious in print than on the Web. Here’s an example: Last week the sports section of my local paper carried this story: “Petty …

Column: Garner Case Brings Rare Moment of Unity

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Washington The words, spoken about the Eric Garner travesty in New York, were righteous and powerful. “When you look at what they did to this guy and putting him in a chokehold like that, it’s inexcusable — absolutely …

Column: George Bailey’s Right: It’s a Wonderful Life

Monday, December 8, 2014

After decades of watching, I still cannot suppress a smile when I reach the climactic moment in the film Miracle on 34th Street when Kris Kringle’s lawyer dumps thousands of pieces of mail onto the desk of the …

Column: ‘Moneyball for Government’ Might Work

Monday, December 8, 2014

Washington One of the lovely formulations in John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address expressed his hope that “a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion.” Kennedy was talking about the Cold War, but we could use a little of this in the partisan and ideological warfare …

Editorial: Stifled Justice

Monday, December 8, 2014

I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.” With increasing panic, Eric Garner left no doubt regarding his distress as he was wrestled to a Staten Island sidewalk by …