Nader and the Corvair
October 04, 2011

A number of readers have expressed surprise at my statement (which I attributed to the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then a Harvard professor and subsequently a senator from New York) that Ralph Nader was wrong about the Corvair. I thought the story was well known, but apparently it isn't. In his 1965 book Unsafe at Any Speed, Nader made the Corvair a case study in corporate irresponsibility. I don't know the details but the car had some sort of rollover problem. Many of the same criticisms of the Corvair were made around the same time by the journalist James Ridgeway in this magazine.

GOP To Harvard: Dump Warren
October 03, 2011

A new poll of 1,005 registered Massachusetts voters conducted Sept. 22-28 shows Elizabeth Warren in a statistical dead heat with Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, 38-41. That's pretty remarkable considering the fact that 37 percent of those polled still don't know who she is. The Boston Herald poll follows a Public Policy Polling survey released Sept. 20 that also showed her in a statistical dead heat, in that instance with a slight edge, 46-44. Just a few weeks earlier Brown was leading Warren by nine points. How is the Massachusetts GOP responding to this emergency?

Don’t Mess With Taxes
September 28, 2011

Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard law professor now running for U.S. Senate, is getting a lot of attention for the video of a speech she made recently. It wasn’t just because she was taking on Republican talking points more forcefully than most Democrats do these days.

Why Moneyball Is Still a Poor Ball Club’s Best Friend
September 23, 2011

Moneyball, which arrives in theaters Friday, is a tale that is more The Social Network than Major League. Its inspiration, Michael Lewis’s 2003 volume about the success of the underfunded Oakland Athletics and their iconoclast general manager Billy Beane, is, for its part, a business book disguised as a baseball book.

Why Liberals Should Join Conservatives’ Fed-Bashing Fun
September 22, 2011

It’s hard to interpret the letter that Congressional Republicans sent on Tuesday evening to Ben Bernanke as anything other than an attempt to politically influence the monetary policy set by the Federal Reserve. Democrats have correctly recognized this as a rare breach of the central bank’s independence.

Must See TV: Elizabeth Warren on Class Warfare
September 22, 2011

The video above, from Elizabeth Warren’s campaign tour in Massachusetts, has been circulating online. And if you haven’t watched it yet, you should. One worry about Warren, the Harvard Law School professor challenging incumbent Republican Senator Scott Brown, is that she won’t be able to connect with average voters. As you’ll see, that very plainly that is not the case. But pay close attention to what she says about progressive taxation, starting at about 50 seconds into the video: I hear all this, you know, “Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever.”—No!

Driving While Dreadlocked: Why Police Are So Bad At Racial Profiling
September 15, 2011

Last Monday in Brooklyn at a West Indian Day parade, two black people walking through a blocked-off area were stopped by the police, wrestled to the ground, and detained for a half hour. In most instances, this would have been a lamentably unextraordinary event. But in this case, the two detainees were Councilman Jumaane Williams and his public advocate aide Kirsten John Foy, both of whom had received permission from the police to be in the area where they were arrested.

How 9/11 Taught Universities to Overcome Their Discomfort With American Power
September 15, 2011

September 11, 2001, was the day before classes were to start at Harvard College during my first year as Harvard president. I first heard of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center as I left a routine breakfast at the Faculty Club. Neither I nor anyone around me had full confidence about how to respond to such an event, one without precedent in our life experience.

Poison Ivy: Why Elizabeth Warren's Day Job May Undo Her Senate Campaign
September 14, 2011

Few things are more grating to the proud people of Massachusetts than claiming to understand their worldview on the basis of a few Good Will Hunting quotes. Still, even the most jaded Bay Staters should admit that sometimes a dose of Ben Affleck helps to clarify things.

The Indecency of Harvard’s 9/11 Commemoration
September 13, 2011

Harvard’s “Remembering 9/11” did no such thing. The events on the tenth anniversary of September 11 in Cambridge did little remembering of 9/11 and a whole lot of rehashing of the events in the post-9/11 world. Those people who did talk about 9/11 universalized it ad absurdum.