August 9, 2013 |
Near the end of "Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877," Brenda Wineapple's fresh and riveting account of America at war with itself, she writes of a sense of fatigue that coursed through the nation in the 1870s. The North had won the war and slavery had ended, but there the gains stalled, leading Quaker poet and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier to lament that, between opportunistic carpet-baggers and Confederate vigilantes, the newly freed slaves in the South "had not been saved from suffering," yet "I see no better course.
August 1, 2013 |
Prison hunger strikes like the one going in California right now are a desperate cri de coeur aimed at the conscience of society to draw attention to injustice. But what if society has no conscience? ALSO: Give Snowden his due: He made a surveillance debate possible Are women stupid? New Texas abortion bill treats them that way Malibu residents' retort: 'We are hospitable to you nasty tourists' Follow Ted Rall on Twitter @TedRall
July 28, 2013 |
Question: My daughter and I would like to take a tour of Scandinavia next year. We have narrowed our choices to two escorted companies, one of which is based in Washington state and the other in Sweden. The one in Sweden has returned email inquiries quickly, but it has no U.S. phone number to ask questions. That makes me uncomfortable. Lorraine Dyson Chino Answer: First rule of travel: Don't start a trip being uncomfortable. Second rule of travel: Always listen to your intuition.
July 25, 2013 |
A self-proclaimed biblical prophet with a flowing gray beard and the name Papa Pilgrim shows up with his wife and 14 children in a bit of Alaskan wilderness so remote and austere it has driven all other settlers away. Even the native Ahtna people never wanted to live in the narrow defile between grinding glaciers and peaks that rise 16,000 feet. The few residents of the nearby ghost town of McCarthy don't know what to make of the Pilgrim family at first, and they don't ask too many questions; whatever past drives someone to such cold isolation is a door best not to knock on. Tom Kizzia, a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, knocked and then pried it off the hinges with his darkly intriguing new book, "Pilgrim's Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier.
July 19, 2013 |
In April 2004, Rajat Gupta gave a talk at Columbia University. One student asked the former global managing director of McKinsey & Co. for his views on money and wealth creation. "Yeah, I am driven by money.... However much you say that you will not fall into the trap of it, you do fall into the trap of it," he said. Those words would prove prescient. Eight years after he uttered them, Gupta was convicted by a New York court of insider trading, of leaking privileged information gleaned from his position on the board of Goldman Sachs to Raj Rajaratnam, founder of the hedge fund Galleon.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 18, 2013 |
A new poll shows that black Americans have grown more upbeat about their treatment in society after the reelection of President Obama. Earlier this summer, a record 47% said they were satisfied with how blacks were treated in the country - more than at any other time since Gallup started asking the question in 2001. However, Gallup cautioned that the question was asked before George Zimmerman was acquitted in the killing of Trayvon Martin - an event that could dim that rising optimism.
July 15, 2013 |
As talk of a boycott against the movie of Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game" began to gain traction last week, I found myself thinking about the project not as a story, but rather as a crucible of sorts. The film has come under scrutiny because of Card's views on gay marriage, which are, at best, antediluvian and at worst an expression of prejudice at its most profound. Card is a Mormon, and from 2009 until last year, he served on the board of the National Organization for Marriage, which fought marriage rights for gay couples.
July 13, 2013 |
Some brittle and warped, others as smooth and flat as the day they left the processing shop, the 35-millimeter negatives trickle in to Xiao Ma's dank recycling depot in north Beijing, collected by a network of trash pickers. Stuffed into old rice bags and sugar sacks, they pile up nearly to the ceiling, along with X-rays, compact discs and other trash. Whether it's hospital film of a broken rib or a snapshot of a baby's first steps matters not; with the help of a little chemistry, Xiao Ma can turn both into cash.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 30, 2013 |
British futurist James Martin, who predicted the ubiquity of computers and foretold the rise of the Internet in "The Wired Society," a 1978 book that was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, has died near his private island in Bermuda. He was 79. Authorities in the British territory said Thursday that an autopsy is pending for Martin, whose body was found by a kayaker in waters near the author's home. Police have said they do not believe a crime is involved. While on sabbatical from IBM in 1977, Martin made his first million dollars traveling the world and lecturing business executives on the coming computer revolution.
June 19, 2013 |
A report released this week bears out what many educators have been predicting: Amid rising college tuition, increased global economic competition and a job market that disproportionately rewards graduates in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields, students are seeking degrees in what they and, indeed, many in our nation view as lucrative business and hard-science disciplines. The study is from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, on which I serve.