Politics, Moderate



Take a Trip -- Through a Book

CHICAGO -- If you use books to go somewhere you know practically nothing about, and meet someone you might not ordinarily get a chance to know, here are three that will transport you to interesting places you may (or may not) want to visit in real life.

"Townie: A Memoir" is written by Andre Dubus III, who has garnered critical acclaim for his ...Read more

On Immigration, We Can't Handle the Truth

CHICAGO -- People tend to say they want straight-talking politicians -- then get upset when straight talk actually occurs.

Take the case of German Chancellor Angela Merkel who has been tap-dancing across the world's stage this summer trying to hold the eurozone together in the face of a massive Greek default, while also dealing with the issue ...Read more

Baby Steps to Healthier Eating

CHICAGO -- Happy midsummer! You have officially entered prime weight-gain season.

The back half of the calendar always means that the Fourth of July food extravaganzas have erased the memory of January's bikini-bod dreams. From here on, it's backyard barbecues and food festivals until we hit the Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas gluttony ...Read more

It's Comedy, Folks

CHICAGO -- Shame on me for falling into the trap of blindly agreeing with an Internet meme.

Stand-up comedian Amy Schumer has been hot in the public spotlight. The "it" girl has a hit Comedy Central show "Inside Amy Schumer," a recently announced comedy tour with comedian Aziz Ansari and an upcoming Judd Apatow-directed movie, "Trainwreck."

...Read more

Have Faith in the Melting Pot

CHICAGO -- If, among a certain subgroup of white Americans, there is an inherent fear of the Latin-ization of the United States, is there a parallel unease among some Hispanics? If not quite a fear, per se, then perhaps an aversion to becoming white?

In a recent New York Times story about the spread of white supremacist websites, there ...Read more

Our Love/Hate Relationship With The End of the World

CHICAGO -- It's summer, the perfect time for apocalyptic anxiety.

The season's hottest films so far -- "Mad Max: Fury Road," "Jurassic World," "San Andreas," "Terminator Genisys" -- have centered on drought after civilization's collapse, genetic engineering run amok, the mother of all earthquakes and cyberterrorism enabling the end of life as ...Read more

Failure to Communicate On Immigration

CHICAGO -- New research has confirmed that our national conversation about immigration is so tainted by bad feelings and misinformation that it's nearly impossible to actually converse.

Most of those who have been entrenched in the immigration issue for years know that when you say the word "immigration," the person you're talking to is likely ...Read more

The Damage of a Strict Upbringing

CHICAGO -- You don't have to be Hispanic to remember a childhood run by a parent who wielded an iron fist. But if you are Hispanic, you're more likely to -- and might still have some emotional scars.

In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, Mexican-American and Dominican-American kids ages 4 to 6 were ...Read more

Let the Currency Be

CHICAGO -- We should have left the historical figures on our money alone. Let Alexander Hamilton and the other Founding Fathers on our currency rest in peace.

One need not be pro-man or anti-woman to believe that diminishing the men on our paper bills in order to elevate a female, by 2020, as recently decreed by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, is ...Read more

Where Diversity Comes Naturally

EL PASO, Texas -- I recently spent four days in "Latino-landia."


I've visited heavily Hispanic communities in Florida, California and Arizona, but nothing like what I experienced on a reporting trip arranged by the Aspen Institute's Latinos and Society Program.

In El Paso, Texas, and southern New Mexico, which along with Ciudad ...Read more

The Thriving Texas-New Mexico 'Borderplex'

MESILLA, New Mexico -- You're forgiven if you've never heard the term "North American Borderplex." It's a relatively new thing.

Borderplex is the term that civic, business and social leaders, who in 2013 organized themselves under an organization called The Borderplex Alliance, call the region that covers Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, El Paso and ...Read more

A Case Debunked, But Truth is Elusive

CHICAGO -- In mid-April, I wrote about official allegations that American soldiers and contractors based in Colombia had sexually assaulted dozens of young girls between 2003 and 2007, with some of the attacks being taped and sold as pornography.

Those allegations have been debunked.

The shocking charges had been included in an 800-page report...Read more

Why There Are So Few Minority Teachers

CHICAGO -- There is a constant rallying cry in education circles: Why don't we have more teachers of color?

The answer is simple -- it's not a degree likely to pay off, assuming the student can even make it to graduation.

A recent report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce detailed lifetime earnings for 137 ...Read more

Asian-Americans On The Rise

CHICAGO -- Here's a historic shift you probably haven't heard about: For the first time in decades, Mexico is no longer the top source of recent immigrants to the United States. Now, China and India lead the way, according to a new report from the Migration Policy Institute.

This surprising turn has barely made headlines. Scattered news reports...Read more

On Immigration, a Fight Over Staying Power

CHICAGO -- President Obama's expansion of executive action for illegal immigrants was kept on hold last week when the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the government's request to allow the deferral initiatives to take effect. The debate surrounding the case has been cast as a clash between a president's will and his administration's ...Read more

How Sincere is Clinton's Latino Outreach?

CHICAGO -- When Hillary Clinton announced Lorella Praeli as her campaign's head of Latino outreach, the announcement yielded a mixed bag of coverage -- "Hillary Clinton Taps Dreamer," "Clinton campaign hires former Dreamer" and "Hillary Hires Ex-Illegal as Latino Outreach Director."

It's impossible to know the message Clinton was trying to send...Read more

Exotic Parrots Are Not Pets

CHICAGO -- "The heartbreaking world of captive exotic birds" is a photo essay that was recently published on the website of the Mother Nature Network. It aims to "make you think twice before bringing home a cockatoo or macaw."

The images of majestic birds who have plucked and mutilated themselves raw and bald from the stress of their life in ...Read more

Modern Times Through the Eyes of a Monster

CHICAGO -- On a quiet Sunday morning recently, my family and I sat having breakfast when one of my sons asked whether their dad and I had been having an argument the night before.

I chuckled and reassured them that they had heard raucous laughter.

"What was that funny?" my son asked.

I explained that I had asked my husband, lying ...Read more

The Power of Being Multilingual

CHICAGO -- English fluency continues to spiral upward among Latinos, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis, with a record 33.2 million Hispanics in the U.S. now speaking English proficiently.

That paragraph does not adequately convey my zeal and delight over an official, nonpartisan organization validating what I've been saying for ...Read more

Bravo to a Masterful Film on Ballet

CHICAGO -- There must be a hundred documentaries about ballet and I've just about seen them all.

I can tell you unequivocally that among any number of behind-the-scenes films about prima ballerinas, their Adonis-like partners and the gorgeous costumes, "American Ballet Theatre: A History" stands apart.

Premiering nationwide on Friday on PBS as...Read more

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Steve Benson Michael Ramirez Nick Anderson Signe Wilkinson Steve Breen Mike Lester