Monthly Archives: March 2015

religious liberty and discrimination

If we set aside the invidious motivations for–and the details of–the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, it does raise some fairly complex constitutional questions. Here are five theories that one might adopt in response: 1. The law should ban private discrimination … Continue reading

Posted in 2012 election, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

bad does not imply worse

Christopher Jencks makes a characteristically wise point (after displaying a graph that shows that real poverty has declined a lot since 1959, and a bit since 2009): The equation of “bad” with “worse” is so tight in American political discourse … Continue reading

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on giving content to Fox News

The Fox News website has published four op-eds of mine over the years (“Federal citizenship test: What should a good citizen really know about America?“; “ObamaCare and Millennials: Why lessons of 2014 will last a lifetime“; “What bipartisan budget agreement … Continue reading

Posted in press criticism, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

talk at the Vermont League of Women Voters

Last Friday, I gave a talk on We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For at a Vermont League of Women Voters meeting. The talk itself was the latest iteration of my effort to summarize my book. The conversation that … Continue reading

Posted in audio and video | Leave a comment

how public opinion on social spending has changed: a generational approach

Education spending is pretty popular. In 2012, three quarters of American adults told the General Social Survey that our nation spends too little on education. If you look at that question over time, you’ll find an interesting generational pattern. The three … Continue reading

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empathy: good or bad?

I am speaking next week on a panel about empathy: “Generative Empathies” (Rabb Room, Lincoln Filene Hall, Tufts University, March 30, 12 pm) with … Amahl Bishara, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Tufts Doris Sommer, Ira Jewell Williams, Jr. Professor of … Continue reading

Posted in notes on poems, philosophy, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

a different approach to human problems

Crime, poverty, tyranny, racial injustice, and environmental degradation may be among the chief issues at a given time. But beneath such specific challenges are general forms of problems. To reprise a diagram from a previous post, we face problems of discourse … Continue reading

Posted in civic theory | Leave a comment

my news habits are getting worse

(National Airport) After a day with colleagues at the American Press Institute, I am reflecting on changes in my own habits of news consumption. A decade ago, I used to read almost the whole of the New York Times every … Continue reading

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on requiring the federal citizenship test in high school

I have an op-ed on against the recent wave of state laws that require students to pass the US citizenship test. It begins: Quick: how many amendments to the U.S. Constitution have been ratified? The answer is 27. The … Continue reading

Posted in advocating civic education, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

the age of the strongman

China: Xi Jinping is “a president who has ruthlessly centralised power while embarking on an ambitious project to revitalise Communist rule and to secure the party’s future. … One of his major themes is a war on ‘western values’, including a … Continue reading

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