Columns

Making a Deal With Cuba: Who Will Win?

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Washington The U.S. embargo on Cuba — or what’s left of it after President Obama’s dramatic Cuba policy announcement — may be a futile gesture. But it is, or was, not an empty gesture. It put the United States firmly on record that it would have as little as possible to do with a regime whose misdeeds have included inviting Soviet nuclear weapons onto its soil, sponsoring violent guerrilla groups …

Returning to Cuba, With Complex Emotions

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Ann Arbor, Mich. I walk a tightrope with Cuba. I’m a daughter of Cuban exiles who’ve pledged not to return until there is political change. Yet I’ve traveled to the island numerous times since the early 1990s; it’s the site of my research as a cultural anthropologist. I never forget that every trip …

Transparency About Medical Costs Is Key to Controlling Them

Friday, December 19, 2014

U.S. health care spending has never grown as slowly as it did last year. Dwight D. Eisenhower was in the Oval Office when the U.S. government began recording health care spending in 1960. Since that time, growth in health care spending has never been lower than the 3.6 percent annual rate reported by researchers from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last …

Randall Balmer: Whatever Happened to Honor at College?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

As reported in the pages of the Valley News, my course at Dartmouth this past term, Sports, Ethics & Religion, was wracked by a cheating scandal. Midway through the term, I discovered that 43 students, out of a …

Column: Can Russian Leadership Survive Oil Slump?

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Will plummeting oil prices succeed in reining in Vladimir Putin’s aggressive foreign policy where Western diplomacy and economic sanctions have so far failed? Might the shock to Russia’s oil-exporting economy be so great as to destabilize Putin’s regime itself? “It is not clear,” writes Martin Feldstein, the eminent …

Column: Arab Spring Gets Death Sentence in Egypt

Saturday, December 6, 2014

When 188 people are sentenced to death in the same trial, as happened last week in Egypt, you know something’s gone terribly wrong in the system of justice. It’s undeniable that there was a protest in the Kerdasa neighborhood of Cairo on Aug. 14, 2013, the same day …

Column: The Supreme Court Should Be Accountable

Friday, December 5, 2014

Justice Samuel A. Alito’s sister is a high-powered labor attorney who represents management in disputes with workers. Justice Elena Kagan’s brother, a teacher at an elite public school in New York, has protested the school’s admissions process because of low minority enrollment. And Justice Stephen G. Breyer’s son …

Column: Your Child Is Special, but Maybe Not as Special as You Think

Friday, December 5, 2014

It is natural for parents to value their child — and feeling valued is key to children’s well-being; but some parents “overvalue” their child, believing their child is more special and more entitled than others. The idea of parental over-valuation was first introduced in psychology by Sigmund Freud, …

Column: Let’s Talk About Race, as Long as It Takes

Friday, December 5, 2014

Washington The events in Ferguson, Mo., have actually led to that national conversation on race we regularly recommend to ourselves. But it is the same conversation we always have: not a dialogue but entirely separate discussions in which …

Column: GOP Can’t Find a Good Payback Strategy

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Washington Among the many ways Republican members of Congress are contemplating to punish President Obama for his executive actions on immigration is a proposal of elegant simplicity: They would refuse to invite him to the Capitol to give his State of the Union address. Yes, that should do …

Column: The Side Effects of Marijuana Legalization

Thursday, December 4, 2014

With the legalization of marijuana by District of Columbia voters last month, the fun begins for some, and pitfalls begin for others. As the kinks are worked out before the distribution and sales arrangements are unveiled, we can look at what we have gotten ourselves into. The legalization …

Column: After a Day That Will Live in Infamy, America Pulled Together

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Montpelier Sunday, Dec. 7, resonates with old folks. That was the day in 1941 that the Second World War began for us with a sudden shock. As usual on Sundays, we were at my grandparents’ house for dinner, and it was the usual family gathering: my grandparents and …

Column: Free Speech, Facebook and Gangsta Rap

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Free speech doesn’t permit you to make a true threat against the safety of another person. But what’s a true threat? Is it enough that a reasonable listener would consider the threat real? Or do you have to mean it? The Supreme Court has considered this First Amendment …