Old White Men Clapping

When Harvard president Drew Faust recently told the 50th reunion class of 1967 that “this fall’s freshman class will be the first majority minority class in the college’s history,” the audience applauded. The incoming freshmen will look very different from those who arrived in the fall of 1963, when black students – both African American and African – were only one percent of their number, and men outnumbered women by 4-1. In effect, the audience, which was composed preponderantly of old white men, was applauding its own passing.

An Atheist in Church

I’m a nonbeliever who loves to visit churches – all kinds of churches: massive Gothic cathedrals, plain Quaker meetinghouses, Buddhist pagodas. I go, not just to see the architecture but to experience the spirit of a place, as I went on Sunday to Riverside Church, which rises above the Hudson River on Harlem’s Morningside Heights.

J is for Gerrymander (Part 1)

In David Daley’s eyes Chris Jankowski is a genius. Jankowski is both the hero and anti-hero, of Ratf**ked, of Daley’s “story of how Republicans turned looming demographic disaster into legislative majorities so unbreakable, so impregnable, that none of the outcomes are in doubt until after the 2020 census.”

Play it Again, Uncle Sam

Early in 2001, Alan Greenspan,the 20-year chairman of the Federal Reserve, worried publicly about future federal surpluses so large they would wipe out the national debt, pour billions into the economy, and strangle private markets. So he proposed a tax cut as “a pre-emptive smoothing of the glide path to zero federal debt.”