In the 1830s most Americans were finding plenty of adventure in their own country. It was just over 50 years old, after all. Some were trudging along the new Oregon Trail; some were pushing Native Americans west of the Mississippi with legislation or guns; others were involved in increasingly volatile arguments over slavery.
I don't normally go for gotchas based on political candidates'
rambling improvisations. But this one is hard to ignore: when Herman Cain
appeared on Piers Morgan this week,
he first told Morgan that he's opposed to abortion in all circumstances.
"Occupy Wall Street may not come up with solutions, but at
least it is asking the right questions in a nonviolent setting," says Shane Claiborne. "I don't believe
that love can be forced, but I believe it can be provoked."
I'm a big fan of The
Conversation, the New York Times online
feature in which Gail Collins and David Brooks have a casual chat. I think the
appeal is supposed to be that the two are reasonable, amicable and witty
columnists who clearly like each other a lot. That's all nice, but what I enjoy is the palpable pleasure the
hilarious Collins takes in needling the less intentionally hilarious Brooks.
European countries are asking how to deal with hundreds of young Muslims who went to Syria to fight and then returned home. Denmark is experimenting with rehabilitation rather than incarceration. Returning fighters are treated not as criminals but as troubled youth who lost their way and need a second chance. The program, first used with neo-Nazi youth, is voluntary and includes counseling, mentoring, opportunities for more schooling, and meetings with parents. So far the program seems to be working. Denmark has the second highest number of foreign fighters per capita. They “only become ticking bombs if we don’t integrate them” back into society, said a Danish psychologist (New York Times, December 13).