Columns

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Who Will Do Something About the Looming Retirement Crisis?

In Douglas Coupland’s 1991 age-warfare classic novel “Generation X” a young man trashes a car because it bears a bumpersticker with the obnoxious slogan “I’m spending my children’s inheritance.” Like Coupland I launched my career as something like a spokesperson for Generation X, raging on behalf of a demographic cohort perpetually struggling to make itself […]

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Suicide? No. Society Is Murdering Us. But There Is a Way Out.

They say that 10 million Americans seriously consider committing suicide every year. In 1984, when I was 20, I was one of them. Most people who kill themselves feel hopeless. They are miserable and distraught and can’t imagine how or if their lives will ever improve. That’s how I felt. Within a few months I […]

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Why Blended Primaries Are an Assault on Democracy

California’s “jungle primary” system, in which the two candidates who win the most votes advance to the general election in November regardless of their party affiliation, might have resulted in several bizarre outcomes. Look out: given the state’s role as a political trendsetter, this weirdness could go national someday. Two Democrats could have wound up […]

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Austin Beutner: L.A.’s Creepy New School Superintendent Keeps Failing Up, Leaving Destruction in His Wake

The Los Angeles Unified School District faces big problems. Magnet schools and second language programs have failed to slow declining enrollment; each of the 12,000 kids who pulls out this year means less state funding. The sprawling bureaucracy seems unable or unwilling to respond to chronic bullying centered in the elementary schools. L.A. United is […]

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Thanks to Trump’s Perfidy, Iran is Now on a Higher Moral Plane Than the U.S.

            President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the nuclear weapons deal that President Obama cut with Iran brings with it a number of negative ramifications. First and foremost, this unilateral act of reckless brinkmanship increases the chance of war. That’s unconscionable. By the way, Iran isn’t like Afghanistan or Iraq: […]

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Remember When? The Border Wall Used to be a Left-Wing Thing

Illegal immigrants, President Trump claims, are pouring over the border from Mexico into the United States. That’s not true now; notwithstanding the ballyhooed caravan of Central American migrants who recently arrived at a California crossing, illegal crossings are hitting historic lows. There’s actually a net outflow. But it was true until the early 2000s — […]

SYNDICATED COLUMN: America is one of the Few Cultures with Insults for Smart People

There was controversy about it, but the Inuit famously and really do have at least 50 words for snow. The Scots have 241! The Sami people of northern Scandinavia and Russia use more than 1000 words for reindeer. Sanskrit, the language of the Kama Sutra, offers 267 words for love. Languages tend to evolve to […]

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Ban Drones

           Ban drones. Why not? We have succumbed, in recent years, to technological passivity, the assumption that there’s nothing we can (or should) do about what an older generation used to call “progress.” But that’s not true. War goes on, yet most of the world’s nations came together to ban landmines. Mines, humanity decided, were […]

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Distractor-in-Chief Trump Is Gaslighting Us Into Forgetting America’s Real Issues

Eight days before Donald J. Trump took his presidential oath before a crowd whose size the president still insists on fibbing about, I wrote a column titled “Life Under Trump—What Happens Now?” “In a dictatorship, particularly where the despot is a megalomaniac in the vein of a Saddam Hussein or a Muammar Gaddafi, citizens obsess […]