Columns

President Barack Obama addresses the crowd after meeting with community leaders about the executive actions he is taking to fix the immigration system Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Column: Immigration Order Isn’t Obviously Illegal, and That’s Scary

Friday, November 28, 2014

President Obama claims that his decision to defer deportations for millions of immigrants is within his legal authority. The scary thing about this wide-ranging suspension of the law is that his view isn’t obviously wrong. While Obama’s action represents a brazen expansion in the size and scope of executive authority, Congress shares in the blame for acquiescing to decades of presidential power grabs. In order to maintain the separation of powers, Congress must reassert its constitutional mandate to legislate and appropriate, rather than lazily passing a blank check to the White House. Under the Constitution, Congress passes laws, the president enforces them, and the courts …

Column: We Can Have Change Without Prosecution

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Seattle Officer Darren Wilson will not face criminal charges for shooting and killing Michael Brown, according to the decision by a grand jury. It’s a controversial ruling, one that seems certain to fracture that community and the country. I know firsthand how difficult it is to prosecute police officers. In 2010, I was …

Column: Serving in Congress May Seem Thankless, But Here’s a Little

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Washington It’s a mistake to be nostalgic for some golden age in politics when everyone was nice to each other. Such a time never existed. Still, this is a particularly rotten moment to be an elected official, and especially a member of Congress, a body whose ratings are even lower than those of journalists. If you run for office these days, all your …

Column: Washington Threatens Internet Creativity

Monday, November 17, 2014

Never before has it been so easy to turn an idea into a business. With a simple Internet connection, some ingenuity and a lot of hard work, anyone today can create a new service or app or start selling products nationwide. In the past, such a person would …

Column: Liberty and Equality Are Mutually Reinforcing Concepts

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Our country is in trouble. Congress’ approval rating hovers near its lowest level since Gallup polling began, social protest rates are as high as they’ve been since the 1960s and the least among us — poor African Americans …

Column: Bad Projects Don’t Belong in Anyone’s Beautiful Backyard

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The term NIMBY — “not in my back yard”— has long been used to criticize people who oppose commercial or industrial development in their communities. Invariably pejorative, it casts citizens as selfish individualists who care only for themselves, …

Column: The United States Needs a National Food Policy

Sunday, November 16, 2014

How we produce and consume food has a bigger impact on Americans’ well-being than any other human activity. The food industry is the largest sector of our economy; food touches everything from our health to the environment, climate …

Column: Americans, Left and Right, Are Warlike

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Remember when pundits were worried that Americans had turned isolationist? As recently as August, polls showed big majorities opposed to military intervention in Iraq, Syria or anywhere else. But it only took a couple of beheadings by Islamic State to turn a nation of war-weary noninterventionists into an …

Column: ‘Thank You for Your Service’ Trivializes Vets’ Experience

Saturday, November 15, 2014

During a recent gathering of Vietnam veterans, our conversation went from Vietnam to the often heard “Thank you for your service,” which has become more popular since Iraq and Afghanistan. We all agreed that it made us uncomfortable, not because we don’t appreciate service, but because the statement …

Column: The Brazen New World of Cyberhackers

Friday, November 14, 2014

San Francisco Years ago hackers planted malicious software on computer systems that control parts of the United States’ critical infrastructure, including pieces of the electrical grid, gas and water systems. The malware, which the Department of Homeland Security warned about only last month, was dubbed BlackEnergy and traced …

Column: Democrats Must Sharpen Their Economic Message

Friday, November 14, 2014

A bit belatedly, Democrats have detected a deficiency in their 2014 midterm campaigns: They didn’t really have an economic message. Economic messages are serious business for Democrats. Republicans tend to win elections not when their own economic messages are plausible (such instances are too few to be statistically …

Column: Supreme Court Justices May Make Mincemeat of Health Law

Friday, November 14, 2014

Washington Republican leaders in the House and Senate have made clear that they’ll deploy every weapon in the legislative arsenal to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They’ll try to chip away at the taxes that support it and abolish the mandates that make its insurance markets work. They …

Column: The Case for Training Mountain Lions to Walk on Treadmills

Thursday, November 13, 2014

As I rubbed the frostbite out of my hands on returning from a seal survey on Antarctic ice recently, I was informed that I had the dubious distinction of making the Top 5 in the 2014 list of …