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: Midterm Math and Flaws in How We Count

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Republican Rick Scott won the Florida midterm election for governor, but 51.8 percent of voters did not want him. Democrat Gina Raimondo was elected governor of Rhode Island, despite 59.2 percent of voters choosing someone else. What is …

Column: Presidents and Senators Are Often at Odds

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Will President Obama’s relations with the Senate change, now that Democrats have lost control of it? Probably not. And that’s because he didn’t have much of a relationship with it in the first place. Neither did most of our previous presidents, even when the Senate was in their …

Column: On the Edge of the Dark and the Cold, We Await Longer Days

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Montpelier The firewood is all stacked neatly in its cellar alcove next to the wood-fired boiler. It’s got a few weeks of seasoning to do before I start feeding it to the furnace; the red oak, when I get to it, I’ll just move to the back of …

Column: Workers Seek Stability and a Clear Path Upward

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Washington A couple of economic mysteries marked last week’s election. First of all, the jobs numbers came in on Friday about the same way they’ve been coming in for months: good, though not great. If you think the election had a lot to do with how voters feel …

Column: Military Suicides Reflect Problems in American Society

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Jeremy Sears, a Marine who had served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, walked onto a shooting range outside San Diego on Oct. 6, placed a handgun to his head and calmly pulled the trigger. It was a local news story but didn’t attract attention outside San Diego …

Column: World Bank Must Make Human Rights a Priority

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Does it matter that the lead source of funding for, and thinking about, world development won’t go near human rights with a 10-foot pole? World Bank President Jim Yong Kim spoke eloquently last month about the bank’s new commitment to end extreme poverty by 2030 and improve the …

Obama Hesitated on Immigration and Lost

Monday, November 10, 2014

Washington Back in July, when President Obama was deciding whether to take executive action on immigration before the midterm elections, I got into one of those cable-news debates that offer the president unsolicited advice from the unqualified. I argued that the move would boost Hispanic turnout and rally …

To Put It Bluntly, Legalized Marijuana Is Kind of Lame, Man

Monday, November 10, 2014

Last week, Washington, D.C., advanced America’s 21st-century war on its 20th-century war on drugs. Now that marijuana is somewhat legal, the city’s African-American residents are less likely to be disproportionately arrested for a victimless crime. If the cannabis industry stays out of town, D.C. Council members, who should …

GOP Power Could Mean Trouble For Japan

Monday, November 10, 2014

Perhaps no one in Asia is happier than Shinzo Abe and his ruling Liberal Democratic Party to see Republicans take over control of the U.S. Congress. Japan’s conservatives tend to prefer their American counterparts, who favor national security and nuclear power — not to mention a strong stance …

Dark Money Matters

Monday, November 10, 2014

So-called dark-money groups spent 27 percent more on this year’s elections than they did in 2010, thanks to reckless Supreme Court decisions and regulatory failures allowing unlimited, undisclosed political contributions. The groups hide donors behind the tax code, disguising themselves as “social welfare” organizations. In fact, they are …