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Columns

Reading books will prevent summer slide

For kids, few moments in life are more glorious than the end of the school year and the start of summer vacation. Hooray! Three whole months of sweet freedom! Unlike in the past, many students do not spend summer break at the library or reading books in the backseat on family trips. In fact, ...

Corrupt crony capitalism

“Are you on the take?” When I tried to get Edgewater, New Jersey, politicians to answer that question, the mayor wouldn’t discuss it, ultimately telling me, “You may sit down.” The town of Edgewater is right across the Hudson River from Manhattan. Anyone fortunate enough to live ...

RFK and nation we might have been

It made my mother scream. That’s what I remember. I had been lying dozy in bed, but at the sound of her, I scrambled into the living room. She was standing before the television watching an image of chaos in a hotel ballroom. Although I grew up in the 1960s, very few of the signal events ...

One of haves, RFK connected with have-nots

WASHINGTON — Television’s remembrances of Robert Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his death this week have brought back images of the huge crowds he drew, both in life and in leaving it. They mobbed and cheered him as he motored through big-city streets and then stood in stark silence ...

We already knew about Rosanne

It was the fall of 1989. Or maybe the following spring. I remember the rising heat in the room but not the season outside the windows. I was one of the few non-lawyers in the packed house, feeling conspicuous in my bright new blazer. I kept catching myself swaying as if my baby were on my ...

Ireland abortion vote revokes unalienable right

The scientific, moral and theological battle between life as an “endowed unalienable” right and the evolutionary view that we are just material and energy shaped by pure chance in a random universe with no author of life, no purpose for living and no destination after we die has been won in ...

Deep State dedicated to…what?

During the so-called McCarthy era, a single question cut across all partisan and philosophical lines: Were you on Sen. Joe McCarthy’s side or not? McCarthy’s conspiratorial, bullying, blunderbuss anti-communism and “red-baiting” was either defensible or it wasn’t. Remarkably, for ...

Recent immigration stories make bad situation worse

Maybe you’ve seen the video of the hero the French have dubbed “Spider-Man.” When he saw a toddler dangling off a fourth-story balcony, he scaled the exterior of the Paris building in about 30 seconds to save the child. Turns out Mamoudou Gassama was a newly arrived illegal immigrant from ...

In their own words: Trumpers speak

We’re going to try something different today. Rather than pontificate yet again upon the motives of Donald Trump’s supporters, I’ll let a few of them explain themselves in their own words. Here, then, is “Robert” with a comparative analysis of the 44th and 45th ...

Trump scrambles to clean mess of his own making

WASHINGTON — President Trump, having impetuously undone his historic meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, has hastened to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. He tweeted Friday: “Very good news to receive the warm and productive statement from North Korea” indicating it might agree ...

Singular mother was not alone

At the last minute, with an unfortunate combination of bad news and gratuitous drama, the divorced father was unable to attend his daughter’s wedding. Who hasn’t heard a version of that story? It’s always something with these broken families, as we love to call them. As if every intact ...

NFL should maintain morality drive to end zone

It took two years, boycotts by fans, declining TV ratings, growing alarm among advertisers, a drop in the sale of gear and especially a public shaming by President Trump, but the owners of NFL teams have finally decided their players will not be allowed to kneel or make other protests during ...

Conspiracists see b/w in gray ocean

The Trump presidency is often a kind of political “Rashomon,” with partisans on either side looking at the same facts and coming to wildly different conclusions. So it’s all the more remarkable that the central controversy of our time isn’t a fight over one story with different ...

Commencement Speech You Never Hear

My youngest son’s college graduation ceremony was scheduled to be held outdoors. The invitation specified that it would be moved inside to the gym only in the event of “severe” weather. As it turned out, the day was unseasonably cold (low 50s) with occasional drizzle — probably about as ...

Trump’s curious coalition

Donald Trump’s strategy for keeping power is to build up his coalition of America’s white working class and the nation’s ownership class. It’s a curious coalition, to say the least. But if Democrats don’t respond to it, it could protect Trump from impeachment and even re-elect him. ...

Spying on Trump is departure from norms

“F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims,” read the headline on a lengthy New York Times story May 18. “The Justice Department used a suspected informant to probe whether Trump campaign aides were making improper contacts with Russia in ...

Bicycling with common sense

Summer weather generally brings out people who enjoy riding their bicycles. Mountain biking on the trails, roadway bicycles on the highways and streets, and BMX riders doing stunts on any piece of dry pavement or area that creates a challenging obstacle for them. Though this is a healthy, ...

School shooters are symptom of culture that is ill

I know two Greek-American kids who brought shotguns to high school. My brother Peter and me. There were two 12-gauge shotguns. We were going hunting. I suppose that sounds crazy, after what happened at the Santa Fe High School in Texas on Friday. Another mass school shooting, another horror ...

Forensic science still snares innocent

On TV crime shows like “CSI,” “NCIS” and “Law & Order,” science gets the bad guys. In real life, “science” often ensnares the innocent. Former NYPD Detective Harry Houck gets annoyed when TV shows make forensic science look infallible. “You watch a detective get ...

Gangs of goons in Gucci grease gluttons of greed

In the fierce labor wars of the last century, industrial barons employed Pinkertons and other goons to bloody the heads of laborers or simply gun down those struggling for a share of economic and political power. It was brutal, but organized workers persevered and eventually gained a share of ...