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Columns

National Rifle Association members applaud a speech during the annual meeting of members at the NRA convention Saturday, April 11, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Column: A Gun Owner Who Detests the NRA

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Some time after I bought my first gun, I got a robocall from the National Rifle Association, asking me to join. After the customary “Please stay on the line . . .” from a pleasant but earnest voice, I recoiled from the barkings of an angry-sounding man: “Did I know that Barack Hussein Obama and European leaders are meeting on …

Randall Balmer: The War on Tenure

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Having crippled Wisconsin’s public employee unions and survived a recall effort, Scott Walker, the state’s governor and a presumptive presidential candidate, has now set his eyes on curtailing tenure at the state’s universities. Because it is so widely misunderstood, tenure is a broad and tempting target, one ripe for the kind of demagoguery …

Steve Nelson: Taking a Look at the ‘Man at the Corner’

Sunday, July 5, 2015

I call him “the man at the corner.” He spends most days at the corner of West 80th Street and Broadway in Manhattan, just two blocks from my work. This corner is also the site of world-famous Zabar’s, a beehive of locals and tourists seeking gourmet foods, upscale kitchen appliances or just a souvenir selfie at an iconic New York City institution. At …

Column: All Sides Should Shed Blinders on Racism

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The horrific massacre in Charleston, S.C., where nine black churchgoers died allegedly at the hands of a white supremacist gunman, has been a powerful jolt to America, prompting a renewed focus on racial divisions and the need to …

Column: Lonely White Supremacists Wanted

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

In the wake of news reports that Dylann Roof, the suspect in last week’s horrific massacre at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, had become attracted to the ideology of white supremacy, I decided to make a visit, …

Column: Capitalism Can Stop Climate Change

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pope Francis has made it clear that all of us have a responsibility to be good stewards of this planet, and as such must address the challenge of climate change. Many frame this issue as capitalism versus Christianity, as economic prosperity versus morality. But it doesn’t have to …

Column: End Lifetime Court Appointments

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

In the third season of House of Cards, conniving President Frank Underwood colludes with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jacobs on the timing of Jacobs’ retirement. Their plan: to have the justice step down before his Alzheimer’s disease becomes perceptible and before Underwood leaves office, but only after …

Column: When Will We Ever Learn?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Washington We Americans are exceptionally good at evasion when we want to be. Our skills in this sphere are particularly impressive on the matter of race and the subject of guns. Nonsense, you say. Have we not been …

Column: It Was Terrorism

Monday, June 22, 2015

Police are investigating the shooting of nine African-Americans at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston as a hate crime committed by a white man. Unfortunately, it’s not a unique event in American history. Black churches have long been a target of white supremacists who burned and bombed them in …

Column: How About Marriage for None?

Monday, June 22, 2015

If you happen to pay extremely close attention to internecine debates within the LGBT community, you may know that not everyone lined up in favor of pursuing marriage equality at the federal level. Much of the debate over the last decade was about strategy — avoiding backlash for …

Column: Despite What You Read, Nobody Knows How Many Rape Accusations Are False

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Rape statistics are a mess. Rape is at the center of the national debate, and it’s no wonder: the Obama administration’s push to crack down on campus rapes through the Civil Rights Act, the notorious and retracted story …

Column: The Soul of a Tree

Sunday, June 21, 2015

How much can we really know about the lives of trees? I know that in my woods a blight is killing the beech trees, and yet they reproduce in a frenzy. I watched a tiny cherry tree near …

Column: Solitary Confinement Makes Teenagers Depressed and Suicidal

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Washington The tragic suicide of 22-year old Kalief Browder shocked the country. Browder was arrested at 16 and spent years at the Rikers Island jail, including 800 days in solitary confinement. He was never tried or convicted of a crime. I, however, am no longer surprised by any …