November 30, 2015
The new movie “Spotlight,” focusing on The Boston Globe’s coverage of sexual abuse by members of the Catholic clergy in Boston, reminds us of the need to be vigilant about abuse in the church—and indeed anywhere. And the Catholic Church has made great strides in combating abuse. That is why Pope Francis’ comments about the alleged cover-up by the recently installed bishop of the Diocese of Osorno, in Chile, were disheartening. “Please, don’t lose your calm...
November 30, 2015
The United States is in the middle of the third open enrollment period since the restructuring of the national health insurance market under the Affordable Care Act. Some of the news so far is hopeful. The percentage of the population that is uninsured has been reduced to below 12 percent, more than 5.5 points down from the rate before the A.C.A. mandate went into effect in 2014.
On the other hand, insurers in many states...
November 30, 2015
As the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy approaches, many parishes and dioceses are preparing to celebrate and commemorate this time. Some will sponsor lectures or prayer groups. Jubilee doors will be opened and the sacrament of reconciliation will be encouraged. But as Pope Francis reminded us in the formal document announcing the jubilee, the Year of Mercy is not simply a time of prayerful meditation. It is a reminder of God’s mercy, and it calls us...
November 23, 2015The Mark of Blaine
Nevada has ranked last in education four years in a row in a national survey of child well-being conducted by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. What to do about that sorry outcome remains a matter of sometimes scalding dispute.
Some Nevada parents no longer have the patience to await another systemic fix; and in legislation passed last June, Republican lawmakers offered them a way to opt out. The state...
November 16, 2015Contributing to Extremism
Thanks to the Internet, it is easier than ever to give a few bucks to a favorite candidate, and presidential contenders from Senator Bernie Sanders to Dr. Ben Carson are raising most of their funds in donations of less than $200 each. More widespread participation in politics is welcome, but an unintended consequence may be a rise in polarization.
The political scientist Michael Barber, of...
November 9, 2015Help for Puerto Rico
How can a government survive when it faces mountains of debt? What obligation does it have to pay back what it owes in full when doing so would place a great burden on poor and middle-class families?
These questions, which have been discussed in Europe for some time, now confront lawmakers in the United States. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is $72 billion in debt and missed its first debt payment...
November 2, 2015The Great Powers in Syria
The entrance of the Russian Federation into Syria’s multi-front civil war begins a new, distressing chapter in the savage conflict. As millions flee and others huddle in ruined cities, anyone who has wondered if the Syrian war could possibly get any worse now has an answer.
Despite tough talk on the Islamic State, Russian forces have concentrated on anti-Assad rebel targets. In return U.S....
October 26, 2015Partnership Review
After years of negotiation, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is finally on its way to a last assessment in Washington. Congress members had given fast-track authority to the Obama administration to negotiate the deal; that does not mean they should rubber stamp it now.
The partnership was built off the blueprints of previous free trade agreements, whose long-term results have not lived up to their...
October 19, 2015The People’s Car Company?
The German auto manufacturer Volkswagen has been found guilty of a particularly noxious kind of duplicity. While marketing the line of diesel-powered cars as environmentally “clean,” they had rigged the cars’ computer systems to reduce the emissions output only while being inspected. So while these cars routinely passed state-mandated tests, they were spewing 30 to 40 times the allowed level of pollutants into the atmosphere...
October 5, 2015Death in Yemen
“I saw a bomb exploding in the air and pouring out many smaller bombs,” said Muhammad al-Marzuqi, a villager in Malus, Yemen. It was a cluster bomb—a particularly vicious weapon banned by a 117-nation agreement that neither the United States nor Saudi Arabia signed—which sends thousands of bomblets and metal fragments over a broad area. Thrown to the floor, unconscious, with burns and wounds all over the left side of his body, Muhammad woke...