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Columns

Column: Saudi Arabia Honors a Critic of America

Friday, March 6, 2015

Washington Over the weekend, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman awarded a prestigious prize to Zakir Naik, a televangelist and religious scholar from India, heralding him as “one of the most renowned non-Arabic-speaking promulgators of Islam.” Naik, a trained doctor, founded the Peace TV channel, which supposedly reaches an audience of 100 million English-speaking Muslims. His popular YouTube stream includes videos titled Who is deceived by the Satan, Christians or Muslims? and Does eating non-vegetarian food have any effect on the mind? Naik’s creed is an expansive one. “Islam is the only religion that can bring peace to the whole of humanity,” he said in a video biography aired at the ceremony. The preacher is not short …

Column: How Investors Won, and Middle Class Lost

Friday, March 6, 2015

From the 1940s through the 1980s, back when the mob ran Las Vegas’ casinos, the essence of the city’s economy was the skim. Before the day’s take was tallied, the counting room guys skimmed off a certain percentage for the care and feeding of the Giancanas and the Lanskys, and then entered what …

Column: Authorization of Military Force: Be Careful What You Wish For

Friday, March 6, 2015

Since President Obama asked Congress in February for a new authorization for use of military force against Islamic State, the proposal has been under attack by hawkish members of Congress. “My goal is to do no harm to the war effort,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C., said recently. “The harm is to embrace a strategy with no chance of success.” He’s right — and …

Teacher Prep Programs Need to Be Accountable

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

As if on cue, teacher preparation organizations, college and university education schools, and teachers unions are protesting proposed federal regulations for assessing the quality and impact of teacher preparation programs. Over the past month, my email inbox has been filled with a stream of increasingly dire pleas to …

Column: The Inequality of Retirement Anxiety

Monday, February 23, 2015

When it comes to retirement planning, there are two kinds of people: low-income Americans, who worry about saving enough money, and everybody else. That’s the message of a survey out last week from Bankrate, which asked 4,200 people last month why they weren’t saving more for retirement. You …

Column: Me and My Laptop: ‘Modern Family’ Looks at Life With Screens

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Dunphys (et al) have gone digital. In Wednesday’s episode of the ABC comedy Modern Family, Claire Dunphy will try to track down her daughter Haley in the wake of an argument. Sounds like a standard plot, but here’s the catch: The episode will take place on Claire’s …

Column: Use the Nuclear Option; Ban the Filibuster

Monday, February 23, 2015

Washington I’ve been radicalized. By Harry Reid and Barack Obama. Goodbye moderation and sweet reason. No more clinging to constitutional and procedural restraint. It’s time to go nuclear. In the fourth quarter of his presidency, Obama unbound is abusing presidential authority at will to secure a legacy on …

Column: Where Officers Don’t Carry Guns

Monday, February 23, 2015

In the United States, it seems obvious that police officers carry guns and are allowed to use them. In other places, however, this would be considered a provocation and a violation of law. In Britain, Ireland, Norway, Iceland and New Zealand, officers are unarmed when they are on …

Column: Unanswerable Questions Are Sometimes the Best Kind

Sunday, February 22, 2015

We always got the easy parts, we clever teenagers. We knew that the Jester was Bob Dylan, and that “Jack Flash sat on a candlestick” referred to the Rolling Stones playing Candlestick Park. “Eight miles high and falling fast” was trivial. There were always a few kids who …

Column: ‘Mockingbird’ Reflects a World Divided Between Readers and Nonreaders

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Until a couple of weeks ago, Harper Lee was the model of literary reticence. In the 55 years since the publication of her To Kill a Mockingbird, she had settled into silence, firmly resisting the pleas of her …

Column: N.H.’s Pot Possession Law Is Costly for Everyone

Sunday, February 22, 2015

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan has been quoted as opposing decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use by adults on the grounds that doing so would “send the wrong message.” What is the message …

Column: Home Ec Still Has a Place in Schools

Sunday, February 22, 2015

My junior high home economics experience wasn’t stellar. I stirred the muffins too long, and if you stir the batter too long, the muffins, instead of being nicely rounded on top and evenly textured inside, turn out more …

Column: Scott Walker: No Degree and Proud of It

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Washington In terms of his fitness for the presidency, the fact that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker fell short of graduating from college is interesting but ultimately immaterial. What is relevant — and concerning — is how Walker talks …