Columns

Column: Immigration Action Might Open Other Doors

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Washington Every Democrat should be nervous about President Obama’s plan for unilateral action on immigration reform. Not because of the impact on an already gridlocked Congress, or because it risks inflaming an increasingly hostile public. Democrats should be nervous about the implications for presidential power, and the ability of a future Republican president to act on his or her own. Note that I said nervous, not opposed. In this situation, …

Column: Cynical Origins of Obamacare Revealed

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Washington It’s not exactly the Ems Dispatch (the diplomatic cable Bismarck doctored to provoke the 1870 Franco-Prussian War). But what the just-resurfaced Gruber Confession lacks in world-historical consequence, it makes up for in world-class cynicism. This October 2013 video shows MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, a principal architect of Obamacare, admitting that, in order to get it passed, the law was made deliberately obscure …

Column: Are Electric Cars Greener? That Depends

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Long thought a thing of the future, electric cars are becoming mainstream. Sales in the United States of plug-in, electric vehicles nearly doubled last year. Credible forecasts see the number rising within a decade to half a million vehicles per year, which would easily exceed sales of the Toyota Camry today. Although the technology for electric cars is improving quickly, the industry still …

Column: Blue Skies Over China: It’s Just Temporary

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

When President Obama arrives in Beijing next week for an important Asia-Pacific summit, he shouldn’t be surprised if the skies are a brilliant blue. The Chinese government is mounting a concerted campaign to make sure the capital’s infamous smog is under control when Obama and regional heads of …

Column: Back in a Quagmire Again in the Middle East

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

America’s war against the Islamic State is quickly turning into a quagmire. A few signs of progress have sprung up in recent days. U.S. airstrikes have slowed down the Islamist group’s onslaught against the Kurdish town of Kobani in northern Syria. A much-cheered caravan of Kurdish peshmerga fighters …

Column: Kids Need a Break on Student Debt, and So Do Their Parents

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been fighting the good fight for student loan debt reform. As she put it recently: “Millions of young people are just stuck. They can’t buy homes, they can’t buy cars ... all because they are struggling under the weight of student loan debt.” I …

Column: If Religious Doctrine Is Dangerous, in What Shall We Believe?

Monday, November 3, 2014

While discussing the problem of a patient’s denial of serious illness, a chaplain at DHMC said, “Before you take away that crutch, make sure you have something better and stronger to put in its place. If you don’t, the patient will simply collapse.” Valley News columnist Steve Nelson …

Column: Republicans Shouldn’t Let This One Slip By

Monday, November 3, 2014

Washington Is this election really about nothing? Democrats might like to think so, but it’s not. First, like all U.S. elections, it’s about the economy. The effect of the weakest recovery in two generations is reflected in President Obama’s 13-point underwater ratings for his handling of the economy. …

Europe Goes Green, but Might Lack Power

Monday, November 3, 2014

Europe may struggle to keep the lights on this winter as the switch to greener sources of energy complicates the balance between supply and demand in the region. The inconvenience of brownouts, though, should have the welcome effect of forcing governments to address their attitudes toward both nuclear …

Column: A Pre-K Teacher Confronts the Truth During a Lockdown Drill

Monday, November 3, 2014

“Remember that activity when we all get in the closet and pretend we’re not even there, so our principal can’t find us?” I choose my words carefully as I prep my pre-kindergarten students for the lockdown drill scheduled for that afternoon. These drills have become routine at Arlington, …

Column: Is Hillary Clinton Friend or Foe of Wall Street?

Monday, November 3, 2014

The usually redoubtable Hillary Clinton has comported herself like a leaf in a storm recently. Campaigning in Boston for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley, Clinton not only praised Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator who has won a devoted following as the scourge of big banks; she sounded like …

Column: The Family Quarantine

Sunday, November 2, 2014

There’s an iconic photo from the Nov. 28, 1949 Cleveland Press that shows my brother, age 5, and sister, 3, with their noses pressed against a window pane, peering into the hospital room where their mom and dad …

Randall Balmer: 60 Candles: Taking Stock of the Rest of My Life

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I turned 60 a couple of weeks ago. Let me be clear: I’m looking for neither congratulations nor sympathy. There’s nothing inherently propitious about turning 60, other than the fact that we tend to attach some significance to …