College Football Players Are Employees, Says Chicago NLRB
March 26, 2014

In an historic ruling, Northwestern football players won the right to hold a vote on unionizing. They were ruled employees under federal law.

College Football Players Are Paid Professionals Who Absolutely Should Unionize
January 29, 2014

Northwestern college football players have to work. They get paid to work. Now, they want a union. The NCAA is fighting it.

Aaron Sorkin’s Romantically Wonky Imagination
June 20, 2012

From the moment we meet news anchor Will McAvoy in the opening scene of Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom,” there are signs that a Sorkin monologue is brewing: a flicker of anger in the eyes, a twitch of facial muscles, a cloud of moral indignation settling in. McAvoy, played by Jeff Daniels, is sitting on a panel at Northwestern, and two talking heads are firing partisan flak at each other from the chairs to his left and his right.

The Alibi of Ambiguity
June 07, 2012

Unlikely Collaboration: Gertrude Stein, Bernard Faÿ, and the Vichy DilemmaBy Barbara Will (Columbia University Press, 274 pp., $35)   IdaBy Gertrude Stein Edited by Logan Esdale (Yale University Press, 348 pp., $20)   Stanzas in Meditation: The Corrected EditionBy Gertrude Stein Edited by Susannah Hollister and Emily Setina (Yale University Press, 379 pp., $22) ON SEPTEMBER 29, 1951, an oddly dressed young woman appeared in an alley adjacent to the municipal hospital in Angers, a town southwest of Paris.

Does Winning the Lottery Make You Happier?
March 29, 2012

The Mega Millions jackpot reached a record high of $500 million today, news which has no doubt led to a rash of half-serious ticket-buying by normally judicious spenders. They, along with the rest of the regular scratchers, shouldn’t hold out much hope: The odds of winning the lottery, Mega Millions officials report, are about one in 176 million. (But that’s what makes it so special.) Still, someone has to win, and it’s worth knowing: Does winning the lottery actually make you happier?  In what should come as great news to the millions who will fail to win the lottery every year, it does not.

Was Oprah Bad For Literature?
March 19, 2012

Eleven years ago Jonathan Franzen caught hell for expressing some ambivalence when Oprah Winfrey selected his novel The Corrections for her TV book club. Franzen said that though Winfrey was “really smart” and “fighting the good fight” for the book business, she also “picked enough schmaltzy, one-dimensional [books] that I cringe, myself” at being selected. He added that he thought The Corrections would prove “a hard book for that audience.” On hearing about these slights, Winfrey cancelled Franzen’s scheduled appearance on her show.

Dismal Scientists Vs. Credulous Public
January 31, 2012

Take a look at the following statement:  "Permanently raising the federal tax rate by one percentage point for those in the top income tax bracket would increase federal tax revenue over the next 10 years." This is a bit like saying if you jump into a swimming pool you'll get wet. When researchers at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business and Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management presented this statement to a "panel of distinguished economists," 100 percent of them agreed with it.

The Obviously Constitutional Individual Mandate
May 11, 2011

Northwestern law professor Andrew Koppelman has an excellent essay making the case that the Affordable Care Act is not just Constitutional but obviously so, and arguments to the contrary not merely unpersuasive but absurd. His conclusion: What will the Supreme Court do?

The Ritual Attack Of The Soccer Scolds
June 21, 2010

Jonathan Last calls the quadrennial World Cup "The Ritual Attack of the Soccer Scolds": But the thing is, you never hear football--or baseball, or ultimate frisbee, or tennis, or cycling, or hockey, or curling--or any other kind of fans railing against people who don't share their passion as if there's something morally and politically wrong with them. Why is it that soccer fans care so much about what American's don't care about? In defense of the soccer scolds, there's a counter-ritual of soccer haters. It takes two sides to have a culture war.

May 17, 2010

In the third inning of a baseball game last Sunday, Northwestern led Michigan 14 to 0. Final score: Michigan 15, Northwestern 14.