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Columns

Column: When I Got Too in Touch With Local Food

Friday, April 18, 2014

The chickens are out of feed. Before they can make a dash through the coop’s open door, I hoist the round metal feeder from its hook and squat-walk backward until I can stand straight again. I turn my back on the flock, fill the feeder and crouch back into the coop. I am one-twelfth of the Chicken Tenders, a Tucson chicken-tending attempt at collective urban homesteading. Months before, we’d each …

Column: Around the World, Girls Suffer Sexual Abuse From Teachers

Friday, April 18, 2014

Bunia, Democratic Republic of the Congo A dust-diffused brightness illuminated female speakers dressed in patterns of orange and green, yellow and blue as they addressed a group of journalists and activists about the many challenges facing women in their country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These challenges include low literacy, a lack of representation in politics and disenfranchisement from access to other …

Column: A Wounded Boston Marathoner Now Revels in the Ordinary

Thursday, April 17, 2014

It is a weekend for working around the house. My fiancee, Erin, and I have the baby’s room to paint and some IKEA furniture to assemble. I roll out of bed early — 10:30 — and get into my wheelchair. Erin is already making coffee in the kitchen. “I started the first wall,” she says. “I love that gray.” Erin never bugs me …

Column: Meteoric Rise of Airbnb Proves Worth of ‘Sharing Economy’

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Airbnb is all the talk on Wall Street. Its 30-something founders were nearly broke six years ago. Now it seems likely they will soon become billionaires. Their company, which connects 600,000 apartment dwellers and homeowners in 160 countries …

Column: Watch Out When Women Get All Emotional

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Washington Let’s have a rational discussion about the word “emotional.” But first, I’d better calm down. Maybe I’ll have a soothing cup of herbal tea and pet the cat. Oh wait, I don’t have a cat. Which is lucky for former CIA Director Michael Hayden, or else we’d …

Column: The West Misunderstands Putin at Its Peril

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Medford, Mass. In early March, the Russian Federation, after staging a referendum under Kalashnikovs in Crimea, proceeded to annex the region and laid the groundwork — according to Moscow — for “new political-legal realities,” that is to say, a new Russian paradigm for a lawless world. As German …

Spring Was Late This Year, but in 1816 It Never Arrived at All

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Montpelier Probably the first sure sign of spring after a longer-than-usual winter in the Northeast is the increased volume of kvetching on the Internet by people who ought to know better than to try to second-guess its arrival. You can’t help but feel for some of them; they’re …

Column: The Supreme Court Sides With the Oligarchs

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Washington An oligarchy, Webster’s dictionary tells us, is “a form of government in which the ruling power belongs to a few persons.” It’s a shame that the Republican majority on the Supreme Court doesn’t know the difference between …

Column: Next Test for Obamacare: How to Improve It

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

When Obamacare’s first open-enrollment period ended last week, the tally was impressive: 7.1 million Americans signed up for insurance on federal and state exchanges by the March 31 deadline, several million more signed up for Medicaid and a whole lot of under-26 Americans got covered by their parents’ …

Column: Will China Break Hong Kong’s Precarious Hold on Democracy?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Washington In the global war of ideology that President Obama says is not happening, Hong Kong is on the front lines. Democracy in Hong Kong is increasingly squeezed by the autocrats of Beijing. It is a fight of ideas and power, but also of flesh and blood: Just …

Column: Chinese Bureaucrats Bite Man’s Best Friend

Monday, April 7, 2014

For as long as I can recall, a three-legged miniature poodle and her owners have lived several floors above my Shanghai apartment. Despite her disability, she’s much beloved by everyone in my 25-story building, and always elicits coos and smiles in the elevator, or when she’s out strolling …

Column: Shedding Light on ‘Dark Money’ in Campaigns

Monday, April 7, 2014

Campaign finance reform is getting harder and harder, thanks to decisions like the one the Supreme Court handed down last Wednesday in McCutcheon v. FEC. Just ask the IRS. In a good-faith effort to help our flawed campaign-finance system, the Internal Revenue Service ventured into the elections arena …

Column: Women Can Boost the Bottom Line

Monday, April 7, 2014

There are many feel-good, fairness-based reasons to hire and invest in women. You’re probably familiar with at least a few of them: Women have historically had fewer opportunities in the workplace. They don’t get promoted as frequently. They are increasingly the sole or primary breadwinner for their families. …