United States

During the landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education, sociologists Mamie and Kenneth Clark received national attention. Their 1947 study, Racial Identification and Preference in Negro Children, would prove integral to the US Supreme Court’s decision to end the segregation of public schools seven years later. (More…)

International sanctions on Iran have devastated the country. In the past year, the latest round of US and EU sanctions due to Tehran’s nuclear development program are the toughest in Iran’s history. With a plummeting currency, medicine shortages, and rising food prices, Iranian students now find themselves struggling to gain admission to universities abroad. (More…)

New York means freedom of speech. With progressive groups defending a talk at Brooklyn College by two Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists in February, and right-wingers rallying around anti-Muslim demagogue Pamela Geller this week, it’d be hard to assume otherwise. Still,  the two episodes say a lot about discourse on Israel in the United States.  (More…)

Incomes Flat in Recovery, but Not for the 1%. The New York Times headline understated the case. According to economist Emmanuel Saez, during the first year of the economic “recovery,” the top 1% of America’s population saw its income rise by over 11%, while the rest of the US saw its income decline slightly. (More…)

The US government is becoming a textbook example of dysfunction. Everyone thinks that about their government, with good reason. I will not, in this space, try to compare American dysfunction to that of any other country. But it’s time to look at how bad the situation has become, as it has been highlighted by the circus surrounding the confirmation of ex-Senator Chuck Hagel as the new Secretary of Defense. (More…)

The United States is the only country where owning a gun is considered a God-given right. For some, perhaps, it is merely held to be a constitutional right (in this, it stands with only three other countries: Guatemala, Haiti and Mexico.) But whatever level of divinity is bestowed upon it, the gun is American culture’s Golden Calf. (More…)

Mitt Romney thinks disaster relief should be privatized. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the idea of fobbing off FEMA’s services has been rightfully focused on for its coldness. However, given that this policy position was announced months ago, it’s surprising that Hurricane Katrina was not immediately brought to bear in criticisms of Romney’s proposal. (More…)

Election 2012 has been four (or more) years in the making, but we’re about to, mercifully, call it history. It’s not wrong to say that it has mostly been a referendum on President Obama. But this election, perhaps more than usual, has also been a referendum on democracy. What have we learned? (More…)

I was an IDF reservist stationed in the south of Israel. My base had received a new contingent of AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, and was testing them prior to deployment. Helicopters would ascend to 100 meters, hover for hours, and do instrument checks. A constant drone permeated our encampment. (More…)

During every presidential election in the United States, the same argument is made, mostly on the left, but also on the extreme right. The candidates don’t represent your views, so you vote for a third party candidate, or don’t vote at all. After all, the argument goes, how are we ever going to get candidates who do what we want them to do if we keep sending the same mainstream politicians to Washington? (More…)

Last week, the Humanities Center at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University held a roundtable event on the origins of Occupy Wall Street. Commemorating the first anniversary of the uprising, the gathering could not have been more necessary, or appropriate. (More…)

Exoticism is often a tragicomedy in American fine dining. Especially when class takes precedence. Feted chefs convinced wealthy diners to prize foods once cursed as shameful to consume in public. Lobsters were largely deemed as pests that tangled up fishing nets along the America’s coasts until railroad transportation imported their tails to Midwestern restaurants, which then served them as exotic, overpriced specimens. (More…)