Columns

Column: What Bin Laden Was Reading — Conspiracies

Saturday, May 23, 2015

While the investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has been busy clouding the history of Osama bin Laden’s years on the lam in Pakistan, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence cleared things up a bit by releasing a list of documents found at the lair in Abbottabad where he was killed in 2011. Intelligence experts may be most interested in the newly declassified communications between bin Laden and his terrorist …

Column: Debates Promise Cheap, Watchable Entertainment for Cable

Saturday, May 23, 2015

We’re about to see some wild behavior from the Republican presidential candidates. At least that’s what the cable networks are trying to arrange. To understand why, look at how Fox News and CNN have set their debate rules for the first GOP debate, which will take place on Aug. 6 on Fox. The Washington Post explains how Fox’s rules work: “To qualify for …

Column: Walk in Lebanon for Campaign Finance Reform

Friday, May 22, 2015

I recently found myself speaking with an unsuspecting group of political pundits in Lebanon. A dozen teenagers with a hacky sack were passing the time after school near the steps of City Hall as I came out of the building. I asked them a simple question: What do you think about politics? The words they used in response cannot be printed in this …

Column: Join the Conversation About Reducing Alzheimer’s Risk

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Fear of developing Alzheimer’s disease has become the foremost health concern among older adults. In addition to the human toll on individuals and families affected by this disease, the financial costs are staggering: Alzheimer’s disease is estimated to cost $109 billion in direct care in the United States, …

Column: Iran’s Love/Hate Relationship With American

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

We don’t know why us, but we were allowed to set foot into the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran, and our guide said we were the first American tourists to do so since 1979. For most Americans, the memory of that building is seared with images of demonstrating …

Column: Western Money Flooding Back to Russia

Monday, May 4, 2015

Russia’s toxicity for investors is suddenly so 2014. Western money is returning to Moscow’s equity and bond markets, and private Russian companies are again able to borrow, albeit at a premium to Western peers. The main cause for this reversal of fortunes is the cease-fire in Ukraine, even …

Column: ‘Wolf Hall’ Stretches Truth, Marvelously

Monday, May 4, 2015

Washington Wolf Hall, the Man Booker Prize-winning historical novel about the court of Henry VIII — and most dramatically, the conflict between Thomas Cromwell and Sir Thomas More — is now a TV series (presented on PBS). It is maddeningly good. Maddening because its history is tendentiously distorted, …

Column: The Novel Can Be Resurrected in Dickensian Fashion

Sunday, May 3, 2015

In 1847, an English cleaning woman was extremely excited to learn that the boy lodging in her employer’s house was “the son of the man that put together Dombey” — that is, the son of Charles Dickens. The …

Column: The Lasting Burden of the Armenian Genocide

Sunday, May 3, 2015

As a boy in California’s Central Valley, Richard Hovannisian was discouraged from learning to read, write or even speak his parents’ native language, Armenian. He made up for lost time, becoming a pre-eminent Armenian scholar, founding the Armenian …

Column: The Diminishing Woodpile

Sunday, May 3, 2015

I think it must be natural, when you reach a certain age and most of your adult responsibilities are behind you, to obsess on the trivial. I think it has something to do with a need to feel …

Column: Whole Genome Testing — More Data, but Not Better Health

Sunday, May 3, 2015

President Obama proposes to plunk down $215 million on “precision medicine,” and the National Institutes of Health and its National Cancer Institute will spend it by sequencing the whole genome of a million or more Americans. Is whole-genome testing the path to health? The short answer is no. …

Column: Worry Globally, Act Locally

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Three discussion groups in the Upper Valley have been considering Naomi Klein’s book on climate change, This Changes Everything, but you might not have heard much talk on the street about it. Even though growing numbers of people, especially young ones, are passionately committed to working against climate …

Column: GOP Tries to Abolish Birthright Citizenship

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Washington The Civil War era’s 14th Amendment, granting automatic citizenship to any baby born on American soil, is a proud achievement of the Party of Lincoln. But now House Republicans are talking about abolishing birthright citizenship. A House Judiciary subcommittee took up the question Wednesday afternoon, prompted by …