September 29. 2014
For the moment, the rockets fired into Israel by Hamas have stopped and the American-made F-16 fighter jets zeroing in on the neighborhoods of Gaza are still. Survivors ask: Was it worth it? Some Hamas leaders rejoice that to withstand an Israeli bombardment means to have “won.” Israel takes satisfaction in having punished “terrorists” and closed tunnels. But count the casualties: 2,131 Palestinians killed in Gaza, including 1,473 civilians, of whom 501...
September 22, 2014
The tragedy of divorce has in some way touched nearly every family in the contemporary Western world. Large numbers of Catholics have not been spared. In the agonizing aftermath of divorce, many encounter great spiritual and psychological challenges. They often wonder, for example, whether they will ever love again and even whether they are loveable at all. Catholics who have divorced and entered into a second civil marriage without a decree of nullity...
September 15, 2014
The fatal shooting by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in Ferguson, Mo., of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was followed by protests, confrontations, curfews and arrests. For days after the young man’s death, photos of clouds of tear gas, police in riot gear and looters ravaging storefronts dominated newspapers and Twitter feeds. Although these events are important to understanding this ongoing story, perhaps more crucial are the events...
Sept. 1-8, 2014
By noon the parade was over, and the revelers had gathered in a park on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. They shared cigars, gave speeches and drank from kegs of lager “mounted in every conceivable place.” The occasion was the first Labor Day parade, held on Sept. 5, 1882, and though police feared riots, the day passed without incident. The lively crowd of union workers and supporters represented a burgeoning force in American public life.
August 18-25, 2014
Gaza is being reduced to rubble while the world watches on YouTube and CNN. It has been as dispiriting a display of inhumanity and failure as one can imagine, yet it has not been enough to compel either side to accept a halt to the carnage. Each night new images of what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described as “telegenically dead Palestinians” are paraded across television and computer screens.
August 4-11, 2014
The evidence is piling up that too many Americans are wasting away in prison. The National Academy of Sciences, for example, recently concluded in a major two-year study that the United States “has gone past the point where the numbers of people in prison can be justified by the social benefits.” Other groups, like Human Rights Watch, the Brennan Center for Corrections, Corrections Today and the University of Chicago Crime Lab, have also raised their...
July 21-28, 2014
The fireworks had not yet filled the sky, but the week of July Fourth started with a celebratory explosion for those who hold close one of the same civic values as our revolutionary forebears, namely the free exercise of religion. In a 5-to-4 decision on June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the so-called Hobby Lobby case that the federal government cannot force the owners of closely held corporations to provide, through employee health plans,...
July 7-14, 2014
Though a comprehensive immigration reform package was passed by the Democratic-controlled Senate more than a year ago, the legislation has completely stalled in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives—not least because of the efforts of the House majority leader, Eric Cantor of Richmond, Va. Ironically, that did not prevent his opponent in the Republican primary from bludgeoning him with accusations of equivocation on immigration.
June 23-30, 2014
During a commencement address at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point on May 28, President Obama continued to make his public case for a new role for American power abroad. At first blush, there is much for critics of recent U.S. military action to appreciate in the president’s remarks. His speech included a strong rejection of U.S. isolationism in a technologically and economically integrated world, but promoted new restraint in the use of America’s...
June 9-16, 2014
‘Greedy” and “expensive,” “money” and “profit”—these were the dominant answers when researchers hired by the public policy website The Morning Call asked average Americans what words come to mind when they thought about health insurance companies. While insurers are likely to treat this outcome as a public relations problem, more evidence that U.S. consumers simply have it right was included in a recent investigation of rising health care costs.