Columns

A soldier walks on a path through the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund flag garden on Boston Common in Boston, ahead of Memorial Day, Thursday, May 21 2015. Each of the approximately 37,000 flags represents a Massachusetts military member who died in service from the Revolutionary War to the present. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Column: A Veteran Scorns ‘Happy Memorial Day’

Monday, May 25, 2015

I have friends buried in a small corner of a rolling green field just down the road from the Pentagon. They’re permanently assigned to Section 60. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it’s 14 acres in the southeast corner of Arlington National Cemetery that serves as a burial ground for many military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. …

Column: Honk if You Hate Political Bumper Stickers

Monday, May 25, 2015

The other day I spotted an arresting bumper sticker: “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for the Other Guy.” Unlike so many similar decals, it bore no hint of which “other guy” was under discussion. Just blue words on a plain white background. The driver might have been a Republican angry at Barack Obama, but the sticker was so weathered that she might just …

Column: Populism Is Now Popular Across the Political Spectrum

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Candidates of the left, right and center have something in common: They all want to be seen as populists. Hillary Clinton attacks income inequality and issues booklets showing how well she stacks up, even against Sen. Elizabeth Warren, as a booster for the embattled middle class. Sen. Marco Rubio invokes the American dream. …

Column: Conservative Surprise in Britain

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Washington Prime Minister David Cameron’s surprising success in winning an outright majority of seats in Britain’s Parliament is the result of a paradox: The center in Britain held and flew apart at the same time. Neither the polls …

Column: Tom Brady Must Pay

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Washington The quarterback arrived at Salem State University by helicopter to adoring, cheering crowds. “Most famous witch hunt victims in Salem?” read one sign. “Bridget Bishop. Rebecca Nurse. Tom Brady.” Oh, please. I don’t care much about football in general or Deflategate in particular. At least I hadn’t …

Column: End Mass Incarceration

Monday, May 11, 2015

We’ve had the Ferguson riots, we’ve had the Baltimore riots, some think other American cities are due for the same treatment, racial tensions are high, and the country is once more debating what to do about poverty, educational …

Column: Shame of ‘Separate and Unequal’ Remains

Monday, May 11, 2015

In July 1966, James Baldwin published A Report from Occupied Territory, a despairing essay in The Nation contemplating race relations in American cities. Describing the deep sense of alienation and despair in the black community, Baldwin wrote: “The …

Column: Cruelty and Kindness Toward Animals

Monday, May 11, 2015

Washington We often wonder how people of the past, including the most revered and refined, could have universally engaged in conduct now considered unconscionable. Such as slavery. How could the Founders, so sublimely devoted to human liberty, have lived with — some participating in — human slavery? Or …

Column: Why Have We Failed to Hear the Cry of the Unheard?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

For the last half-century, invoking the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to condemn or explain black urban uprisings has been a mandatory exercise. Recent events in Baltimore are no exception. Critics say that destroying property and attacking police …

Column: When It Comes to Ethics, New Jersey Leads the Way — Really

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The recent news from New Jersey probably came as no surprise to veterans of Garden State politics. Some 19 months after the infamous Bridgegate scandal broke, onetime Chris Christie ally David Wildstein pleaded guilty to corruption charges connected …

Column: When New England Had Poor Farms

Sunday, May 10, 2015

In 1821, New Hampshire Gov. Levi Woodbury had grown deeply concerned about the great increases towns were absorbing in the cost of providing for paupers, such that he put forth a plan to reform the whole system of …

Steve Nelson: Testing Is Profitable, but Not for Students

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Measure the wrong things and you’ll get the wrong behaviors. This simple statement succinctly characterizes why the American education system continues beating its head against the wall. Education reformers and so-called policy experts are constantly collecting and analyzing data. Many of these experts are, not surprisingly, economists. It’s …

Column: The Senate Hears a Plea From Sir Elton John

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Washington Sir Elton John, Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, flew into Washington to testify Wednesday before members of the United States Senate — or, as they might more accurately be described, the Madmen Across …