Columns

Column: America the Indebted: It’s Really Piling Up

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Washington Oh, the debt. Yawn. How passe. How 2009. Once, President Obama held a summit on fiscal responsibility (2009). Once, he gave an entire speech devoted to the subject (2011). Once, his State of the Union addresses (2010, 2011, 2013) were studded with double-digit references to the problem of sky-high deficits and lingering mountains of debt. Now, the topic receives just glancing mention, a clause (“shrinking deficits”) in a series …

Column: The Kochs Buy Into the 2016 Elections

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Koch brothers are done being shy. That’s the conclusion one would have to draw from their announcement that they hope to spend $889 million on the 2016 election, an unprecedented amount of outside money. It won’t all be theirs — they’re assembling a kind of plutocrat Politburo, a group of billionaires and …

Column: The Graying of America’s Corporate Boards

Thursday, January 29, 2015

These are tough times in the U.S. for workers older than 50. Buffeted by the Great Recession and big technological changes, many have been thrown out of the workforce and are finding it hard to get back in. They are the “new unemployables,” Boston College researchers declared a couple of years ago. There’s at least one group of over-50 workers that’s doing awesome, …

Column: Happy Birthday to Me — 59 and Looking Forward to the New 60

Friday, January 16, 2015

I turned 59 on Saturday and I find myself clinging to that second digit like the nine in nine lives. For next comes 60, and then one is undeniably “up there.” I’m sorry, but 60 is not “the new” anything. Your 50s can be fun, but the prospect …

Community Colleges Expand Opportunity

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Washington Permit me to declare my bias: I came to revere community colleges for very personal reasons and learned to admire them because they are central to restoring social and economic mobility in our nation. My late mother spent most of her work life as a teacher and …

Column: Pipeline Debate: Symbol Over Substance

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Washington The Senate debate over the Keystone XL pipeline, as predictable as it is unedifying, exemplifies two of the most disturbing aspects of political discourse today. The first is what might be called “talk-to-the-hand-ism” — or, perhaps updated …

Column: Why We Fight, and Lose: Our Policy Goals Are Not Attainable

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The United States has the most potent military in terms of firepower and operational capacity in history. Our military overthrew Saddam Hussein and crushed the Taliban in a matter of weeks. Our forces can direct a rocket from Nevada through a window in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and nimbly set …

Column: Are Strikes the Best Solution?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, strikes have been used as a tactic by workers to fight for their rights, with strikes gaining prominence in the 1800s. Initially aimed primarily at mills and factories, strikes attempted to shut down production to force owners to compromise on salaries, …

Column: A Vermonter in France Finds SolidaritÉ

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Arnay le Duc, the village of 1,700 people in Burgnady where I live with my family, is a lot like my hometown of Norwich. It is impossible to cross the main square without saying a handful of hellos. …

Willem Lange: Many People Stand Up for Free Speech, but Mostly Their Own

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Montpelier As the news broke of last week’s homicidal attack on the satirical French journal Charlie Hebdo, many of us were left gasping, shaking our heads in sorrow, or wondering what in the world could possibly be said about such an incomprehensible act. Quite a bit, as it …

Column: Cartoons Don’t Kill People; Murderers Do

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Last week I lost four brothers — none of whom I’d ever met. Stephane Charbonnier, aka “Charb”; Jean Cabut, aka “Cabu”; Georges Wolinski; and Bernard Verlhac, aka “Tignous,” were the cartoonists assassinated along with their journalism colleagues at the French satire magazine, Charlie Hebdo. Charlie was named after …

Column: Pope Francis Rattles Both Political Conservatives and Liberals

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Washington In the Reagan era, conservative Republicans felt they had a powerful ally in Pope John Paul II, whose forceful anti-communism and anti-abortion stances played out in American politics. Today’s conservatives are apprehensive about Pope Francis, who has changed the tone and culture, not the doctrines, of the …

Column: Hypocritical World Leaders March for Free Speech

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Washington On Sunday, at least 1.5 million people marched through Paris in a dramatic display of solidarity after extremists killed 12 people at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and four at a kosher grocery last week. A police officer also was fatally shot. It was …