Politics, Moderate



Our nation's civic health depends on you

CHICAGO -- You can't throw a rock these days without hitting a book, news headline or podcast episode about the impending end of democracy.

I'm no doomsayer but, yes, it's coming.

Not just because of increasing political polarization, the influence of corporate money on elections or any of the other usual suspects. It'll be just plain apathy ...Read more

A fascinating and healthful history of the heart

CHICAGO -- My husband claims that every Spanish song he's ever heard includes the word corazon. So if he doesn't understand anything else, he knows it has to do with matters of the heart.

In love songs, as in life, the heart is at the very center of things, serving as a vessel for endless metaphors: It can be big, small, brave, chicken-y...Read more

In the Trump era, women are finding their voices

CHICAGO -- Would it surprise you to learn that even in academia -- a supposed bastion of liberalism and equality -- women are two-and-a-half times less likely than men to ask questions in academic seminars?

In a new article published in the journal PLOS One, researchers crunched data on 250 talks at 35 institutions in 10 countries as well as ...Read more

How NAFTA destroyed the way we eat

CHICAGO -- A few weeks ago, my aunt came to visit from Mexico for the first time in nearly 20 years. During her month-long stay, my family and I were treated to hand-made sopes -- a deep-dish tortilla topped with beans, meat, cheese and a meticulously minced raw salsa -- and pozole, a chicken, corn and hominy soup so time-consuming...Read more

Promise of free college might be an empty mirage

CHICAGO -- Gubernatorial candidates in Maryland, Arizona, Connecticut and at least seven other states -- plus even more candidates for Congress -- are running on plans to make college free or "debt-free," according to the industry publication Inside Higher Ed.

But how much impact on college attendance, graduation and lifetime earnings do such ...Read more

Instead of focusing on fear, take action in dangerous situations

CHICAGO -- Last week, Gabrielle Giffords nailed it: "Three workplace active shooting attacks in just the last 24 hours should spark outrage in every American. No matter where you work, learn, play or live -- you have a right to feel safe, and I'm horrified that that's no longer the reality in America."

The former Arizona congresswoman was shot ...Read more

War on Poverty is far from over for black and Hispanic children

CHICAGO -- A mere two months ago, President Trump's White House declared the War on Poverty "largely over and a success." The administration argued that few Americans are truly poor anymore -- it estimated that the poverty rate was only about 3 percent -- and that the economy's upward tide would continue to lift the boats of those who remained ...Read more

We need to make the American dream accessible to all people

CHICAGO -- Hispanics in the United States have always been paradoxical -- both ultra-invested in their heritage yet proudly all-American; more law-abiding in the immigrant stages of life in the U.S. yet more likely to brush with the police in subsequent generations.

Another paradox is that no matter how demonized or discriminated against, ...Read more

Democrats can't afford to keep taking Latinos for granted

CHICAGO -- It's that time of the year again, when Latinos suddenly transform, Cinderella-like, from an undereducated, downtrodden and problematic population into a desirable voting bloc. They will soon turn out in droves, like an awakened sleeping giant, to revive the fortunes of the Democratic Party.

Or not.

There's little reason to believe ...Read more

AP computer course funnels more students into STEM pipeline

CHICAGO -- Finally, some good news for brown and black students: A record number of them took Advanced Placement (AP) computer-science exams and earned a high-enough score to qualify for college credit.

The College Board, the nonprofit organization that owns the AP program, recently reported these three very bright spots:

-- African-American ...Read more

Lazy summers pay off when students go back to school

CHICAGO -- Labor Day marked the traditional end of summer. Students are back in school and back to the daily and weekly rhythms of homework, term-long projects and standardized testing.

If you're a parent who spent a hot, harried few months just trying to keep everyone fed, entertained and in one piece, don't fret.

Even if you're dreading an ...Read more

Rural communities that embrace immigrants show signs of revival

CHICAGO -- I can't think of a stronger endorsement for the positive role that Latino immigrants are playing in rural towns across the country than the heartfelt words of Rob Tibbetts, father of Mollie, the 20-year-old Iowa college student who was recently found dead after being missing for five weeks:

"The Hispanic community are Iowans. They ...Read more

Don't treat outliers as poster children for your cause

CHICAGO -- The past couple weeks have seen a slew of recriminations and gotcha moments regarding the hot-button issues of illegal immigration and the #MeToo movement.

It started with the bombshell about the Italian film actress and director Asia Argento, who grabbed headlines in 2017 for helping to galvanize the #MeToo movement with her ...Read more

'Crazy Rich Asians' highlights growing gap between wealthy and poor

CHICAGO -- Kevin Kwan's novel "Crazy Rich Asians" is a fun romp through the kind of wealth and privilege so stratospherically decadent that it's nearly incomprehensible to the kind of people who pack their lunch for work every day.

The newly released movie of the same title is reportedly an eye-popping "jewel-and-couture bedecked" luxury ...Read more

Boys are every bit as talented at math as girls

CHICAGO -- How do we get more women into the science, engineering, technology and math (STEM) fields?

In 2015, women filled 47 percent of all U.S. jobs, but they were employed in only 24 percent of STEM positions, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. And it's not due to a straightforward education gap -- women constitute slightly more ...Read more

Be a hero and help the teachers who are helping our students

CHICAGO -- There's a last time for every routine in a parent's life: The last time you carry your child on your hip, the last time you read a bedtime story, the last time you throw a kiddie birthday party.

This week marks an important milestone for me: It's the first August that I didn't have to go buy back-to-school supplies for my sons.

I'm ...Read more

In Trump's America, there's no 'right way' to be an immigrant

CHICAGO -- There's one word that I get more angry email about than any other: "illegal."

Some readers get infuriated that I don't use the word enough, because they truly believe most immigrants fall into this category.

This is wrong, of course. There were more than 43.7 million immigrants living in the United States in 2016, according to the ...Read more

Reading is fundamental, so why do so many children lack the basics?

CHICAGO -- Listen in on any parent-teacher conference and you'll hear teachers asking, "What is your most pressing concern for your child?" Nine times out of 10, parents of elementary-school students will answer: "I want him/her to read better."

Difficulties with reading are a major roadblock to students' overall academic success, and the ...Read more

Calling Trump's treatment of immigrants 'cruel' is not hyperbole

CHICAGO -- Last week, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates ruled that the Trump administration must restart the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which temporarily allows young undocumented immigrants to work and removes the threat of deportation.

Bates essentially declared that Trump's Department of Homeland Security (DHS), ...Read more

Don't resort to stereotyping other races

CHICAGO -- There's been a bit of a bumper crop of stories about white anxiety in the past week.

First, a July 30 op-ed in The New York Times, "How to Talk to a Racist," suggested that the label does little to soothe bigoted attitudes, so people should check their assumptions before making such an indictment.

And the next day, a longform ...Read more


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Gary Varvel Chris Britt Steve Breen Darrin Bell Michael Ramirez Nick Anderson