Brown University

The Manhattan Institute just released a new study by economists Ed Glaeser and Jacob Vigdor called “The End of the Segregated Century.” It cheerfully notes that segregation is at its lowest level since 1910 and that all-white neighborhoods “are virtually extinct.” Their report seems accurate enough in describing the changes and is consistent, in many respects, with other research. Yet, in focusing exclusively on change, the report fails to convey that segregation is still quite high throughout much of America.

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The Hermaphrodite

The Marriage Plot By Jeffrey Eugenides (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 406 pp., $28) Women write about love and marriage; men write about everything else. Like all truisms, this one is best served with a heaping spoonful of caveats, but they don’t alter its essential flavor. Just “look at all the books,” as Jeffrey Eugenides’s new novel exhorts the reader in its very first line.

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In the early part of the 20th century, when Jewish entertainers like Al Jolson would toss Yiddish references to gedaempfte Rinderbrust (beef brisket) and the like into their routines, it was widely seen as an expression not of anti-Semitic baiting, but as a cocky sort of pride. Yes, the performers were intentionally making a point of their ethnicity, but it was in the form of a shout-out to the Jews in their audience, not as a wink to their would-be persecutors.

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Need a reason to believe the Affordable Care Act is starting to work? The Census Bureau just gave you a half million of them. That’s how many young adults had health insurance in 2010, as compared to 2009, according to the official estimates. Or, to put it another way, the proportion of 18- to 24-year olds without health insurance fell, by roughly two percentage points, last year. It's pretty remarkable, given what was happening in the rest of the population. For every other group of non-elderly adults, from 35 through 64 years of age, the proportion without health insurance increased.

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I can’t find anyone who approves of what happened yesterday, when news titan Rupert Murdoch suffered a near-shaving-cream-pie in the face during a hearing before members of Parliament in London. Everyone seems to agree that the pie-thrower, “activist” Jonnie Marbles, is a dumbass. We even seem to agree that Rupert Murdoch’s wife, Wendi Deng, is a badass. (If you’re late to the story, Wendi personally lunged at Marbles and smacked him on the head.

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Truman Show

Harold Pollack is a professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and Special Correspondent for The Treatment. There must be 100 smart analyses of last week's State of the Union speech. Many of my blogosphere friends were happy with it. I was pretty dismayed. I thought the President needed to push much harder and with greater specificity for a comprehensive bill. A week later, I feel even worse. The origin of my disquiet was ably expressed by Brown University professor James Morone in Wednesday morning's Los Angeles Times.

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Seeing and Believing

Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution By Karl W. Giberson (HarperOne, 248 pp., $24.95) Only A Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul By Kenneth R. Miller (Viking, 244 pp., $25.95) I. Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809--the same day as Abraham Lincoln--and published his magnum opus, On the Origin of Species, fifty years later.

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Ladies' Choice

LAST WEEK, I ARGUED that Barack Obama could be elected president partly because he defies white people’s stereotypes of blacks (“Black Like Me,” February 5). As it happens, I think Hillary Clinton is electable, too, but partly for the opposite reason: because she confirms people’s stereotypes of women. Let me explain. The research on female electability is surprisingly rosy.

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Missing Linc

Twenty-five years before he became the most unlikely star in the U.S. Senate, Lincoln Chafee was a shaggy-haired nomad, fresh from a drug-enhanced stint at Brown University, shoeing horses at harness racetracks in the United States and Canada. His father, Senator John Chafee, may have been a titan of Rhode Island politics, but Linc, as he is known, had little interest in the family business. It wasn't until he grew bored with the private sector--he was working as a manager in a steel mill at the time--that he decided to enter public life.

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