Columns

Willem Lange: Knowing When to Exercise My First Amendment Rights, and When to Shut Up

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Montpelier I’ll never forget it: It was the fall of 1955. I’d been quarrying and cutting quartzite building stone for a couple months, and was feeling pretty tough. On a Saturday evening, a buddy (who really was tough) and I stopped in at the old Redfield, N.Y., Inn for a couple of beers. I was talking fairly colorfully about how quarry work really built muscle, when I noticed two important …

Column: Join the Conversation About Reducing Alzheimer’s Risk

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Fear of developing Alzheimer’s disease has become the foremost health concern among older adults. In addition to the human toll on individuals and families affected by this disease, the financial costs are staggering: Alzheimer’s disease is estimated to cost $109 billion in direct care in the United States, surpassing the costs of either cancer or heart disease. As the risk of Alzheimer’s disease …

Column: Iran’s Love/Hate Relationship With American

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

We don’t know why us, but we were allowed to set foot into the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran, and our guide said we were the first American tourists to do so since 1979. For most Americans, the memory of that building is seared with images of demonstrating students storming the embassy, taking 66 people hostage — mostly Americans — and holding many …

Column: The Campaign Finance Mess

Friday, April 24, 2015

I’m embarrassed by our campaign finance system. And as a long-time participant in the system, for me to get here, it must be pretty bad. So-called “campaign finance reform laws” have created a surreal world where the official campaigns aren’t where the campaigning is being done. I can’t …

Column: When Child-Support Law Punishes Parents

Friday, April 24, 2015

In the 1980s and 1990s, the government found itself financially supporting a lot of single-parent families in which one parent was not contributing to the children’s support. Unsurprisingly, this led authorities to crack down on “deadbeat dads,” with stiff penalties for parents who didn’t pay the money they …

Column: Death Penalty and the Boston Marathom Bomber

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Washington How should we think about whether Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev deserves the death penalty? Perhaps you oppose the death penalty in all cases, on the grounds that state-sanctioned homicide is wrong, that it diminishes the moral authority of the state and its citizens. As Pope John …

Column: Rich Grow Richer Still; That’s a Bipartisan Issue

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Expect income and wealth inequality to be a prominent theme for the candidates who declare an interest in running for president in 2016, whether they are Republicans or Democrats. The issue is important on its own merits, but also because of its connections to economics, politics, demographics, race, …

Column: Greece Needs a New Government

Thursday, April 23, 2015

As Greece stumbles toward an exit from the European Monetary Union, it may still have a chance to avert calamity — on one critical condition: If snap elections were held to replace the Syriza government with one that would bring some reason to the negotiations with international creditors. …

Willem Lange: On the Road Again; Just Can’t Wait to Be Back in My Own Bed

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Oneonta, N.Y. This is our last night on the road — I hope. We should be pulling into our driveway in Vermont about midafternoon tomorrow. Sipping my evening coffee and looking around our room here at the Holiday Inn, I can’t help but reflect on the history of …

Column: A Mortal Danger in Same-Sex Marriage?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Washington As the Supreme Court prepares to take up same-sex marriage next week, conservative scholars have produced a last-ditch argument to keep the scourge of homosexual unions from spreading across the land: Gay marriage kills. They’re saying that legalizing same-sex marriage will cause 900,000 abortions. The logic is …

Column: Campaign Money Talk Is Safe for Clinton

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Why has Hillary Clinton taken up campaign-finance reform as a big issue in her presidential campaign? Some people say she is trying to inoculate herself from attacks on her own campaign’s prodigious fundraising and on contributions to the Clinton Foundation. Others say it must be because campaign finance …

Column: Partisanship Grows Sharper in ‘Tribal’ America

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Washington After a political rally last week in which Democrats criticized the Obama administration for siding with Republicans on trade, I had a talk about the future of the party with Rep. Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat who is one of the most ferocious partisans in the House. …

Column: California Demonstrates the GOP’s Demographic Problem

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Los Angeles Jim Brulte, California’s Republican chairman, has sobering but useful words for his party’s leaders and 2016 candidates: If they don’t learn from what happened to the GOP here, they may doom themselves to repeating its decidedly unpleasant experience. “California is the leading edge of the country’s …