Monthly Archives: September 2011

More Kids Left Behind

There are two ways to shrink the achievement gap between black and white students: Increase the intelligence level of black students, or lower white students’ performance. The latter approach seems to be the direction we’re heading, especially in Oregon. It’s not surprising the state will likely apply for one of President Obama’s waivers to No […]

Troy and Tookie Live On

In the split-second eternity when the needle connected with his arm, Troy Davis may have appreciated at last what happened to Mark MacPhail. Perhaps Davis finally realized what death is: He wouldn’t be here to see the news about his own execution. Davis died a humane death with loved ones nearby. But because he was […]

Does Old Age Have a Future?

If youth is wasted on the young, then old age is wasted on the elderly. Nobody wants to get old, except maybe someone young or middle-aged who has a life-threatening illness. Then getting old looks like a luxury. Having good health and money in old age removes some of the dread but invites criticism: “Oh, […]

The Man Who Walked Into A Door

Evelyn Decker would’ve been 18 years old when Newsweek published its infamous 1986 cover story, “Too Late for Prince Charming?” warning females that “a single, 40-year-old woman had a better chance of being killed by a terrorist than getting married.” It would take Newsweek 20 years to apologize for being incorrect, but by then many […]

Religious Sensitivity on The Prairie

Every year we unknowingly pass the anniversary of what will be the date of our own death. Except for W.S. Merwin, who wrote a poem on the subject, most people don’t think about this. Melissa Doi’s anniversary was Sept. 11, trapped in the South Tower, the victim of religious terrorists. But her final minutes live […]

Visiting a Bad Neighborhood

Wealth doesn’t always trickle down, but poverty can metastasize in all directions. People know that. It makes them fearful, which is why so many Americans on this Labor Day are careful to say, “I’m just thankful I have a job.” Never mind if the job serves a useful purpose, or if it pays less than […]