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Columns

Column: The Reluctant Grownups

Thursday, May 28, 2015

In a recent interview, actor Simon Pegg — Shaun of the Dead, various Star Treks, and noted geek — said a number of things that immediately got the Internet up in arms: Comic-book movies are infantilizing us. We care too much about superheroes. We no longer frequent Gritty Adult Dramas Like They Used To Make Back In The ’70s. He has since walked it back a bit (don’t bite the …

Column: Rand Paul’s Stands Hurt Him in the GOP

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Washington Rand Paul took a left turn on his journey to the Republican nomination, and now his hopes seem to be headed south. The libertarian Kentucky senator’s new book, Taking a Stand, came out Tuesday, and it is chock-full of lines that would position Paul well — if he were running against Hillary …

Column: The Beautiful Ideas of John Nash Changed Economic Thinking

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The world will be a poorer place without John Nash, one of the pioneers of game theory, who died Saturday at 86 in a car crash along with his wife. Most Nash retrospectives (and the movie about him) focus considerable attention on his mental illness, but I think this is overdone. We should …

Column: End Mass Incarceration

Monday, May 11, 2015

We’ve had the Ferguson riots, we’ve had the Baltimore riots, some think other American cities are due for the same treatment, racial tensions are high, and the country is once more debating what to do about poverty, educational …

Column: Shame of ‘Separate and Unequal’ Remains

Monday, May 11, 2015

In July 1966, James Baldwin published A Report from Occupied Territory, a despairing essay in The Nation contemplating race relations in American cities. Describing the deep sense of alienation and despair in the black community, Baldwin wrote: “The …

Column: Cruelty and Kindness Toward Animals

Monday, May 11, 2015

Washington We often wonder how people of the past, including the most revered and refined, could have universally engaged in conduct now considered unconscionable. Such as slavery. How could the Founders, so sublimely devoted to human liberty, have lived with — some participating in — human slavery? Or …

Column: Why Have We Failed to Hear the Cry of the Unheard?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

For the last half-century, invoking the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to condemn or explain black urban uprisings has been a mandatory exercise. Recent events in Baltimore are no exception. Critics say that destroying property and attacking police …

Column: When It Comes to Ethics, New Jersey Leads the Way — Really

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The recent news from New Jersey probably came as no surprise to veterans of Garden State politics. Some 19 months after the infamous Bridgegate scandal broke, onetime Chris Christie ally David Wildstein pleaded guilty to corruption charges connected …

Column: When New England Had Poor Farms

Sunday, May 10, 2015

In 1821, New Hampshire Gov. Levi Woodbury had grown deeply concerned about the great increases towns were absorbing in the cost of providing for paupers, such that he put forth a plan to reform the whole system of …

Steve Nelson: Testing Is Profitable, but Not for Students

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Measure the wrong things and you’ll get the wrong behaviors. This simple statement succinctly characterizes why the American education system continues beating its head against the wall. Education reformers and so-called policy experts are constantly collecting and analyzing data. Many of these experts are, not surprisingly, economists. It’s …

Column: The Senate Hears a Plea From Sir Elton John

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Washington Sir Elton John, Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, flew into Washington to testify Wednesday before members of the United States Senate — or, as they might more accurately be described, the Madmen Across …

Column: Pacquiao for President

Friday, May 8, 2015

Having lost the “fight of the century” to Floyd Mayweather Jr., Filipino boxer Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao now has to deal with a class-action lawsuit accusing him of hiding a shoulder injury before the match. Assuming he can dispatch …

Column: Challenges for Conservatives

Friday, May 8, 2015

Washington If Republicans are baffled by Hillary Clinton’s persistent lead in the polls despite months of bad publicity, they need only examine the tensions on display in their party over the last few days. It would be hard …