Dec 26, 2012

Homestead Act: the door-opener to America

At the end of this year in which election results reinserted immigration into the political conversation, remember that 2012 is the 150th anniversary of “the first comprehensive immigration law.” This is how the Homestead Act of 1862 is described by Blake Bell, historian at ...

Dec 5, 2012

American colleges have free speech on the run

In 2007, Keith John Sampson, a middle-aged student working his way through Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis as a janitor, was declared guilty of racial harassment. Without granting Sampson a hearing, the university administration — acting as prosecutor, judge and jury — convicted him of ...

Sep 26, 2012

Why shouldn't pols treat voters like grownups?

In every year divisible by four, the dominant superstition of American politics — faith in the magic of presidential words and deeds — reaches an apogee that feeds national narcissism: Everything that happens anywhere is about us, is a response to something America did ...

Sep 19, 2012

In America, a tangled web of conflicting rights

Elaine Huguenin, who with her husband operates Elane Photography in New Mexico, asks only to be let alone. But instead of being allowed a reasonable zone of sovereignty in which to live her life in accordance with her beliefs, she is being bullied by ...

Aug 29, 2012

Romney poised to fix a GOP problem

Conventions are the seventh-inning stretch of presidential politics, a pause to consider the interminable prelude and the coming climax. Republicans gathering in Tampa face an unusual election in which they do not have a substantial advantage concerning the most presidential subject, foreign policy. This ...

Aug 18, 2012

'Extreme' choice makes Romney presidential

When, in his speech accepting the 1964 Republican presidential nomination, Barry Goldwater said “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice” and “moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue,” a media wit at the convention supposedly exclaimed, “Good God, Goldwater is ...

Aug 8, 2012

Autopsies shine light on NFL's deadly problem

Are you ready for some American football? First, however, are you ready for some autopsies? The opening of the NFL training camps coincided with the closing of the investigation into the April suicide by gunshot of Ray Easterling, 62, an eight-season NFL safety in ...

Aug 3, 2012

Bullying begins at the top of the U.S. food chain

The huge humpback whale whose friendliness precipitated a surreal seven-year — so far — federal hunt for criminality surely did not feel put upon. Nevertheless, the unhinged U.S. government, with an obsession like that of Melville’s Ahab, has crippled Nancy Black’s scientific career, cost ...

Jun 29, 2012

A pat on the back for bucking a LOST cause

There they go again. Like those who say climate change is an emergency too obvious and urgent to allow for debate, some proponents of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, aka the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST), say arguments ...