Monthly Archives: May 2017

Old White Men Clapping

When Harvard president Drew Faust recently told the 50th reunion class of 1967 that “this fall’s freshman class will be the first majority minority class in the college’s history,” the audience applauded. The incoming freshmen will look very different from those who arrived in the fall of 1963, when black students – both African American […]

Summer Travel Plans

I should take a trip, I thought to myself, as I perused some interesting destinations in the news. Iran is once again issuing American tourist visas, which it had halted in response to the Trump administration’s travel ban. The upside is that Iran is a popular destination for intrepid travelers, and Americans are popular there. The downside […]

An atheist in church

I’m a nonbeliever who loves to visit churches – all kinds of churches: massive Gothic cathedrals, plain Quaker meetinghouses, Buddhist pagodas. I go, not just to see the architecture but to experience the spirit of a place, as I went on Sunday to Riverside Church, which rises above the Hudson River on Harlem’s Morningside Heights. […]

J is for Gerrymander (Part 2)

“The simple truth is this: America is the only major democracy in the world that allows politicians to pick their own voters” (David Daley, Ratf**ked). As described in Part 1, Chris Jankowski’s plan to create an impregnable Republican majority in Congress (and many state legislatures) for at least the next decade was ingenious in its […]

And not only in Boston

“I have heard this with Boston hockey fans too, being pretty racist towards PK Subban when he played for the Canadiens,” my son Daniel wrote me reflecting on the racist slurs recently shouted at Baltimore Outfielder Adam Jones at Fenway Park. “Dad, is the city really this notoriously racist?” His question took me back to […]

J is for Gerrymander (Part 1)

In David Daley’s eyes Chris Jankowski is a genius. Jankowski is both the hero and anti-hero, of Ratf**ked, of Daley’s “story of how Republicans turned looming demographic disaster into legislative majorities so unbreakable, so impregnable, that none of the outcomes are in doubt until after the 2020 census.” All it took were maps, a pencil, […]

“What Happens to a Dream Deferred?”*

Recently, an old friend, a retired doctor who volunteers at the free clinic in Providence, Rhode Island, described the anger of many of the patients he sees. It’s by now a familiar story, but his images of people who put off medical procedures they fear they can’t afford gave it a new urgency. Feeling abandoned […]