Does the President Have the Authority?

On Wednesday Rand Paul led a 13-hour filibuster to delay John Brennan’s nomination to be CIA director. It stemmed from a correspondence he’d received earlier from Attorney General Eric Holder. Paul had asked Holder if “the President has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a US citizen on US … Continue reading

“I’m Sorry” Is the First Step

(FYI: If you haven’t already, read the post on Australia’s Stolen Generations for more background to this story). It was 2008, and thousands of Aboriginal Australians gathered in the Australian capital city of Canberra. Across the country, many more thousands of people gathered in plazas and remote towns, where screens had been set up to … Continue reading

Where Have All the Peace Activists Gone?

On Sunday I attended the Inaugural Peace Ball, where activists from across the country gathered to celebrate successes in the fight for peace and refocus their energies on areas that still need work. Ralph Nader was one of the keynote speakers. In a brief but passionate address, he discussed one of the key issues in … Continue reading

Ways to Help Central Africa and Countries Affected by the LRA

In response to my recent criticism of Nick Kristof’s Kony2012 column, one commenter asked that I offer up better solutions: I personally would prefer it if “armchair theorists” who have taken Invisible Children to task would also say things like, ‘Although I will not be joining the Kony 2012 campaign, I did make a small … Continue reading

The Agony and Ecstasy of Wise Criticism

I feel like I have to comment on Mike Daisey, but that doesn’t mean I want to. As a dramatic writer with a journalistic bent who often focuses on human rights, this couldn’t be a more on-the-nose issue for me. But I hate the idea of writing about it, because every part of this story … Continue reading

Is Raising Awareness the First Step?

I wanted to follow-up briefly on my post earlier this week about Kony 2012 and the complexity of true compassion. It bothers me that modern media, whether videos, blogs, or photographs, is so truncated. I realize that in discussing the over-simplification of Kony 2012, I too simplified a complicated issue. Nick Kristof’s column in The … Continue reading

Ferdinand and Isabella Were Cowards.

In researching for a writing project I came across my old books on Judaism in Spain from when I was living in Madrid. In particular I found my copy of the Alhambra Decree, or the 1492 Charter of the Expulsion of the Jews. The Spanish Inquisition had been underway for a while at that point, … Continue reading

Bearing Our Own Energy Burden

The Keystone XL pipeline – once relatively unknown to everyone but energy execs and protestors – has become a major US election issue and the source of much controversy lately. The proposed pipeline would carry oil 2,000 miles from Canada’s tar sands through the US and down to Texas. Environmental activists have been fighting the … Continue reading

FELA! Opens in DC

As the audience gathered into Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Sydney Harman Hall for the opening night of FELA! in DC, I hoped all the congressional staffers making their way inside enjoyed a good happy hour beforehand. FELA! is, after all, an Afrobeat musical. Some fans came prepared, dancing in the aisles. Others came straight from work … Continue reading

What Constitutes a Human Right?

Too many emails come my way asking for money towards some human right. Don’t get me wrong: I love human rights. I believe that humans have rights, and that they are wonderful and worth protecting. I just don’t think that cable television counts. Here are some lesser-known human rights I’ve heard about lately: High-speed internet … Continue reading

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