Thursday January 29, 2015
Archive - 2014
When it comes to bullying, to sexual assault, to gun violence, we want and need our schools to be as safe as possible.
But when it comes to learning, shouldn't it be dangerous?
Isn't education supposed to provoke, disrupt, challenge the paradigms that young people have consciously embraced and attack the prejudices that they have unconsciously absorbed?
Over the past few weeks, I've been reading Ken Adelman's fascinating history "Reagan at Reykjavik: Forty-Eight Hours That Ended the Cold War." Adelman, who led President Ronald Reagan's arms control agency, was an adviser at Reagan's 1986 Iceland summit meeting with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. Using some newly declassified documents, Adelman fills out the extraordinary dialogue between the two leaders that set in motion a dramatic cut in nuclear arms.
Departing Attorney General Eric Holder deserves cheers for his stance on civil rights, in my view, but bemused jeers for his assaults on civil liberties.
Holder may well be remembered ironically as a leading advocate for both human rights and for the advancement of government powers that infringe on those rights.
There is a forgotten contest in this year's U.S. midterm elections. Actually, there are 435 of them: the races for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Half a century ago, a classic essay in The New Yorker titled "Our Invisible Poor" took on the then-prevalent myth that America was an affluent society with only a few "pockets of poverty." For many, the facts about poverty came as a revelation, and Dwight Macdonald's article arguably did more than any other piece of advocacy to prepare the ground for Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty.
My friend Ezekiel Emanuel, in his typically smart, provocative and bullheaded way, has decreed that he hopes to die at age 75, which would give him just 18 more years during which to exasperate friends and family.
Zeke's wrong, of course. Yet he's wrong, as always, in an interesting way, one that usefully prompts the rest of us to consider not only our mortality but how we would like to live out the measure of our years.
Pennsylvanians can still butcher, braise, and broil their pet cats and dogs because a murky mixture of politics has left a critical bill on the table in the state senate.
Residents may also continue to use cats, dogs, and other animals as targets for what some erroneously call “sporting events.”
There is something deeply satisfying about the troubles punditry is having in nailing down exactly what's happening in the 2014 elections.
The careful statistical models keep gyrating on the question of whether Republicans will win control of the Senate this November. The prognosticators who rely on their reporting and their guts as well as the numbers are sometimes at odds with the statisticians.
Congress has now temporarily bought into what has become President Obama's war against the terrorist Islamic State. Both the House and Senate have voted limited funds to arm and train Syrian rebels to fight, not against their country's dictator, but against this new brutal peril from the region.
Our famously gaffe-prone vice president, Joe Biden, has outdone himself. He stumbled through not one, not two, but three gaffes in less than 24 hours. For him, that's a personal best, or, more accurately, a personal worst.