Headline, Nexus »

How Two World Wars and the Great Depression Made Sweden Equal

By | April 20, 2017

Sweden is almost universally regarded as a bastion of sensible people, temperate social policies, and steady, evenly distributed economic growth. So it surprises many to learn that the Scandinavian country only got to be this way in the last century, and that the catalyst was violent upheaval: two world wars and the Great Depression.
Economic inequality has always been with us, and when you observe …

Featured, Nexus »

The End of Sweden’s “Naïve Slumber” Lays Bare Its Competing Truths

By | April 19, 2017

The woman in the audience is among those who will stay for a while to ask a question. I have just been giving a lecture at the Foreign Policy Association of Sweden’s Uppsala University. The topic is the country’s migration. That is almost the only thing we’ve talked about since autumn of 2015, when 10,000 asylum seekers arrived every week, raising questions about how our …

Featured, Nexus »

Sweden, the Land of Ikea and Abba, Is Being Reshaped by Refugees

By | April 19, 2017

“Which color?” asked the officer, who sat on the other side of the solid table.
“What?” I answered cautiously.
The state representative, whom I met on a gray February day in early 1990 at the Swedish consulate in Zurich, where I studied at that time, became louder: “What color does the toothbrush have?”
I was surprised and a little bit intimidated by this question and responded, …

Headline, Nexus »

Want to Really Help Workers? Then Embrace Free Trade

By | April 18, 2017

Ideas, innovation, exploration, and entrepreneurship make societies rich. When you buy something built elsewhere you are not just buying a fancy new object. You are importing ideas and innovation. When we welcome traders and merchants, with their wares and goods they exchange with ours, we trade not just goods and services, we open our minds to new ways of doing things—doing it more efficiently, more …

Headline, Nexus »

In the Corridors of Power, Shadow Figures Are Stealing the Spotlight

By | April 17, 2017

Seconds rarely come first. If media coverage is a reliable indicator of public interest, however, seconds in command are currently top of the show, not the postscript but the story itself.
Those who advise, assist, check, and even, on occasion, usurp their leader have always captured our imagination: Octavian (who was to become the first Emperor of Rome as Caesar Augustus) had Gaius Maecenas, his …

Featured, Poetry »

We drift/ to the coyotes howling #poem

By | April 14, 2017

In darkness we’ll talk,
until we fade,
about cooking on TV,
or protests at Berkeley.
We sift and settle. We drift
to the coyotes howling
pagan hymns in a choir
that gives them up to each other
in their time of need:
brother, sister, loved one:
here I am, come feed.
They warble, laugh.
When they do we know
they’re only a short walk
from our window, no more
than a quick half-minute’s stroll
(in those flickering,
open moments,
everything is fractional).
And then, …

Headline, What It Means to Be American »

The 1927 Mississippi Flood That Connected North and South

By | April 14, 2017

On May 1, 1927, The New York Times announced: “Once more war is on between the mighty old dragon that is the Mississippi River and his ancient enemy, man.” Illustrating the story was a reprint of an 1868 Currier & Ives lithograph called “High Water in the Mississippi,” to which had been added the phrase, “In Days Gone By.”
Through the curtain-like trees, the 1927 viewer—perhaps …

Connecting California, Headline, Joe Mathews »

Why Nevada Should Get Hitched—to California

By | April 13, 2017

Dearest Nevada,
Marry me.
My proposal may seem sudden, but ours shouldn’t be one of those late-night quickie weddings at a chapel off the Strip.
I, California, want a real grown-up marriage with you, Nevada. We both have reputations for being fun and youthful and wild, but who are we kidding? We’re both mature states that entered the Union in the mid-19th century.
And look how much we …

Headline »

Why Baby Boomers Need a New Script for Life’s Third Act

By | April 12, 2017

We know the story all too well: Baby boomers, that generation born between 1946 and 1964, experience a childhood heavily shaped by the cultural dynamics of the postwar era, and immerse themselves in the rebellion and hedonism to be had in abundance during the counterculture era. Let’s call that familiar tale Boomers 1.0, a version of boomers’ individual and collective lives defined by Cold War …

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