News & Commentary - Archive 2012

December 25, 2012

In “Living With Guns” Craig R. Whitney, a former correspondent and editor for The New York Times, writes that he is motivated by the belief that “Americans on both sides of the debate about guns can and must find common ground.” He hopes to defuse the prevailing “hysteria” by establishing that both sides are correct in at least one fundamental assertion.

To gun-rights advocates he would say that there is indeed a personal right to bear arms, and that it actually predates the Second Amendment.

December 24, 2012

In the massacre in Sandy Hook Elementary School of Newtown, Connecticut, a 20-year-old man killed 20 young children and six adults before turning one of his guns on himself. Earlier he had shot his mother at the home that they shared. This event is the latest and most horrific mass murder in the United States during 2012, which has been a very bad year in that respect. Is it possible to make sense of these events? Is it possible to do anything about them?

December 24, 2012

With Friday's defiant statement, the National Rifle Association massed its troops along familiar fronts in the culture war -- and even opened some new battle lines. But it also squandered an opportunity to participate in reasonable dialogue with an America that has begun losing its appetite for political extremism.

Longtime NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, eager to keep the rank-and-file "mothers and fathers" among his membership from going soft,sounded themes critical to maintaining gun owners' collective identity and solidarity. These themes included:

December 21, 2012

After the massacre of 20 Connecticut schoolchildren and six women who died trying to save them, plans are afoot for a parents' protest for stricter gun laws. More than a decade ago, we had such an event — the Million Mom March — and the lessons are instructive.

One of us devised the idea for the Mother's Day march, led the national organizing effort and remained involved as a volunteer; the other conducted a scholarly study of the march participants. Here's what we learned.

December 19, 2012

Americans are now confronted with two radically different visions of public education. Which vision ultimately prevails will go a long way toward determining the quality of the education available to future generations of children.

The first -- call it the "private" -- vision can be seen in the well-funded efforts in states and localities across the country to dismantle many of the fundamental structures of public education that have evolved since the mid-19th century and to replace them with models borrowed from the private sector.

December 10, 2012

If Americans judged the quality of hospital care the way Newsweek judges high schools, we would soon be inundated with “charter hospitals” that only treat healthy patients.

December 4, 2012

Three Sanford undergraduate students have been selected to take part in the Duke Global Health Institute's student research training program next summer. Fourteen other students will also be developing and carrying out their own projects in the program.

The students are Rachael Clark, '15, who will train in Tanzania,  Sejal Lahoti, '15, who will be in Uganda, and Erin Leyson, '15, who will train in North Carolina.  All three are working toward earning the Global Health certificate.

December 4, 2012

When we talk about strengthening health care systems in developing countries, we often mean building hospitals, hiring more staff or stocking up on medications. But one topic has been noticeably missing: the quality of doctors and nurses.

December 4, 2012

The "fiscal cliff" is a rhetorical device designed to hijack the inauguration of new federal programs that would address our nation's mass unemployment crisis. It distracts us from alternatives to reducing the federal budget deficit by other means than massive federal spending cuts.

Indeed, the fiscal cliff debate has subverted our nation's courage and imagination. Instead of feuding about how deep cuts in federal expenditures should be, Congress should enact a national program of public service employment that will provide a job for every American seeking work.

November 30, 2012

As another college football season winds down, there is nearly as much talk of conference realignment and television packages as there is of wins and losses. The Big Ten, already earning more than $240 million a year from its own TV network, last week added two more media markets by inviting Maryland and Rutgers to join the conference.

The bounty of earnings from big-time college sports would be unthinkable without the millions of fans eager to watch games on TV, in real time. Surveys suggest there are some 75 million Americans who follow college football alone.