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Columnists

  • The Constitution begins, "We the people."

    The People

    "However, I don’t think this debate is very useful, because it leaves out an essential factor in all of this: the people. Where are they? What part do they play? Implicit in the Washington discussions about the influence of money in elections is the assumption that voters are essentially incredibly vulnerable to manipulation."

  • Thanks to the Career Center

    The Worth of a Compliment

    "There are a lot of great resources at Carleton that are undervalued. I’m not talking about academic programs or facilities: I’m talking about human resources. Some of these people work behind the scenes; some are more visible. Regardless, whenever I have a great experience with Carleton staff, I always try and let a superior know. If we continue to expect great people to look out for us, we need to be looking out for them."

  • Gliese 581

    Rethinking Our Place

    What’s our place in the universe—how do we fit in? Some recent science news makes questions like these a lot more difficult to answer...assuming that the universe sticks around long enough for us to solve them.

  • Symbols of Islam

    Manhattan Islamic Center is Not a Local Issue

    Are we really going to do this again? Can we really afford to fall victim to the same tribalistic tendencies? Is there no one that can stand up and say something? Over the month of August, as a result of the right-wing media’s blatant race baiting and Islamophobia, the story of a planned Islamic Center to be built two blocks from ground zero in Manhattan became national news.

  • Flag of Great Britain

    The (Now) Anglo-American Disease

    I’m convinced that Great Britain was the primary loser of the Second World War.  An interpretation of that statement is conventional wisdom.  A variously worded aphorism roughly goes that Churchill saved his country but lost an empire.  Disregarding the Empire (it was a costly vestige of another era in 1939 much less 1945, anyway), Great Britain still lost the war because it had emerged too intact.

  • Comedian Tina Fey

    Selling Sex: No Laughing Matter

    In 2008, erotic dancers in Minnesota were charging about $300 an hour, but I would only have to pay $20. It was my second year at Carleton, and a group of my friends had decided to hire a stripper as a surprise for a girl’s birthday.

  • No place for race in sports

    Last week, I wrote a column about loyalty to one’s team, and referenced LeBron James as a counterpoint to players like Joe Mauer or Kirby Puckett. Also last week, by a twist of fate, James and his manager, Maverick Carter, sat down for a CNN interview with Soledad O’Brien pertaining to “The Decision.” When asked if race played any role in the backlash surrounding his choice to leave Cleveland for Miami, James replied, “I think so, at times. It’s always a race factor.”

  • Procrastination

    Procrastination is Risky Business

    Procrastination is risky business. Recently, I received an email from a friend of mine who graduated last year. She revealed that she is currently dating the guy she had a crush on in our spring term history class. Though she always liked him, she never made a move, because she was worried things might be “awkward.” Though they’re together now, I’d say she’s lucky it worked out. For me, similar hesitation has only lead to catastrophe.

  • Tunnels

    Tragedy of the Commons

    Once upon a time, Carleton was a magical place. Dogs and cats were allowed in the dorms. The Cave served real beer, which was legally consumed by freshmen and seldom extracted four hours later by Northfield Hospital. There was no barbed wire around the water tower; there were no smug little plastic prisms in Burton telling you the carbon footprint of your sandwich. Most importantly, the tunnels were open.

  • The Jetsons' robot maid, Rosie

    Robot Babies and Robot Ethics

    The key to building an effective robot like Rosie does not lie in programming it with algorithms for every conceivable type of situation, which would be both inefficient and require too much data. Instead, our capable robot friend might develop the same way a human child does, learning from experience and imitating those around it to eventually gain some of the same abilities as human adults.

  • Republican and Democratic symbols

    When Moderation Gets It Wrong

    For the last two years, in rhetoric and action, Washington has been strangely complacent in the face of crisis. The country has faced a stubbornly high unemployment rate, and a significantly worse underemployment rate, yet the government’s responses have suggested we are facing nothing of such magnitude. From an economic policy standpoint, much of this, I believe, is because of the obsession of more moderate politicians with being moderate for the sake of being moderate.

  • Pastor Terry Jones

    The Danger Greater Than Pastor Jones

    Book-burning has a deservedly poor reputation.  When the pastor of an obscure 30-member Florida church Tweeted his intention in late July to stage a “9/11/2010 International Burn-a-Koran Day,” his festival first gained attention in northern Florida, then earned mention in an Islam-related blog maintained by a Harvard divinity professor, and from there went viral.