April 22, 2013 |
When I heard that a national law to ban loud TV commercials had taken force in December, I was skeptical. Why did we need a Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (CALM), I wondered, when more urgent issues demanded action? There were nations to invade, marriages to prohibit, guns to enshrine. Loud commercials were just an itch - to scratch it would be like trying to pay the mortgage and replace a burned-out light bulb. If we can ignore global warming, we can ignore loud commercials.
February 13, 2014 |
Want to make a really bad time for yourself on social media? Register an opinion about Dylan Farrow's letter published by the New York Times on Feb. 2 stating that her father, Woody Allen, sexually abused her some two decades ago when she was 7. Better yet, register an opinion that stops short of totally vilifying either Allen, who despite the general ick factor of his attraction to younger women was never charged with a crime, or Farrow, who makes...
September 27, 2010 |
For all the talk these days of porous borders and external threats to the United States, the core of our sense of security and identity as a nation has always come from within. What's surprising, perhaps, is that it derives less from our vaunted democracy or our freedoms than it does from that rather nebulous notion we call the American dream. The dream is the glue that keeps us all together. It's the vague promise that our lot will get better over time that gives us the patience to endure whatever indignities we suffer at the moment.
December 27, 2013 |
As 2013 draws to a close, where does the complex and consequential relationship between the United States and China stand? Relations between the two nations are enormously broad now, with hundreds of policy issues from agriculture to zoology joining American and Chinese interests. Even when we look to some of the key issues, no convincing pattern emerges. On the security front, 2013 was decidedly mixed. Washington and Beijing worked side by side when it came to the negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, and China supported the breakthrough six-month interim deal with Tehran.
February 6, 2014 |
In the new world of the sharing economy, companies such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar have made a compelling case that government shouldn't treat them the same way it treats conventional service providers. They're not taxi companies; instead, they empower people to act as part-time limo drivers. But regulators still have to make sure that the public is protected when something goes wrong. A recent fatal accident involving a driver who used Uber highlights gaps in the insurance coverage that ride-sharing services, their drivers and state regulators can't ignore.
December 12, 2013 |
Marriage between members of the same sex, a once radical idea, is increasingly accepted even where it hasn't been enshrined in law. But a significant number of Americans continue to object to gay marriage as a matter of religious conviction. Should they be able to act on their beliefs by refusing to do business with gay couples? In the vast majority of cases, the answer must be no. The owners of restaurants, hotels and other public accommodations shouldn't be able to refuse to serve gay couples, married or not, any more than they should be able to deny service to interracial couples or those from different religions.
February 19, 2013 |
On Tuesday, attorneys for the largest agrochemical corporation in the world, Monsanto, will present arguments before the Supreme Court asserting the company's rights to the generations of seeds that naturally reproduce from its genetically modified strains. Bowman vs. Monsanto Co. will be decided based on the court's interpretation of a complex web of seed and plant patent law, but the case also reflects something much more basic: Should anyone, or any corporation, control a product of life?
April 7, 2013 |
In May 1943, President Franklin Roosevelt met with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the White House. It was 17 months after Pearl Harbor and a little more than a year before D-Day. The two Allied leaders reviewed the war effort to date and exchanged thoughts on their plans for the postwar era. At one point in the discussion, FDR offered what he called "the best way to settle the Jewish question. " Vice President Henry Wallace, who noted the conversation in his diary, said Roosevelt spoke approvingly of a plan (recommended by geographer and Johns Hopkins University President Isaiah Bowman)
July 28, 2013
If you've ever tried to submit a poem to Opinion, you've probably gotten a reply noting that we simply don't print poetry. We didn't print the poem that came in the shape of the World Trade Center towers after 9/11; we didn't print the poem that came in this month after the Trayvon Martin verdict; and we didn't print any of the hundreds of poems that came in between those events. But we've decided to make a one-time exception. We are inviting Op-Poetry submissions from readers, and on Sunday, Aug. 25, we'll devote a page of our print section to the best of what comes in. And we'll feature more of it on the Opinion website.
December 15, 2013 |
On Dec. 1, 1948 - 65 years ago this month - Jose Figueres, then president of Costa Rica, made a fiery and eloquent speech, after which he took a sledgehammer and bashed a hole in a huge stone wall at the nation's military headquarters, Cuartel Bellavista. Its imposing towers and massive gates had loomed over the capital city of San Jose since 1917, the country's premier symbol of military power and the home of the "Tico" military establishment. Figueres was not just being a showman; he was announcing something truly extraordinary: Henceforth, Costa Rica would take the almost unheard-of step of renouncing its military.