Jay Yeman

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The Conservative Myth of a Social Safety Net Built on Charity

The right yearns for an era when churches and local organizations took care of society's weakest—an era that never existed and can't exist today.<p>Ideology is as much about understanding the past as shaping the future. And conservatives tell themselves a story, a fairy tale really, about the past, …

Letting Go of Asperger’s

Months after our son was diagnosed, the label officially disappeared. And that turned out to be a good thing.<p>In January 2013, a psychologist diagnosed our 10-year-old son, Jacob, with Asperger’s syndrome. Four months later, the American Psychiatric Association declared that Asperger’s was no longer …

Will the Roberts Court Follow Its Own Religious-Freedom Precedent?

If the conservative justices uses the same logic they have in the past, Hobby Lobby's case against the contraceptive mandate doesn't stand a chance.<p>The cases challenging the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate challenge the conservative majority on the Court: Will they respect precedent if …

Misunderstanding Orange Juice as a Health Drink

Juice is, nutritionally, not much better than soda. How did U.S. consumers come to believe that oranges, in any form, were an important part of a healthy diet?<p>A tall glass of orange juice is the very image of refreshment, packed with vitamins and radiating with sunshine freshness. It’s part of a …

Down With Textbooks

They give students a poor understanding of what it really means to study history.<p>When it comes to teaching history, nothing destroys student interest faster and more completely than a heavy reliance on textbooks.<p>During my first three years of teaching high-school history I would see students’ eyes …

How the Monuments Men Saved Italy’s Treasures

Trapani! Trapani, don’t you see?” Capt. Edward Croft-Murray exclaimed as the skyline of the Sicilian coastal town first appeared through the porthole …

Why Audio Never Goes Viral

Last October, several dozen audiophiles gathered in a basement auditorium for an all-day conference about “the future of radio in a digital age.” …

Why Songs Get Stuck in Your Head

Enjoyable now; maddening later.<p>Few people are spared the occasional experience of being gripped by the obstinate unfolding of an imagined line of music. Although the sound might not exist at the present moment in the real world, or be audible to anyone else, it can seem compellingly, maddeningly …

U.S. oil exports have been banned for 40 years. Is it time for that to change?

By Brad Plumer<p>The United States can export coal, gasoline, and (sometimes) natural gas. But, for the most part, U.S. companies aren't really allowed to export crude oil. That's the law.<p>Is it time to lift that ban on crude exports? Some people think so — especially now that the United States is …

Supreme Court will hear Obamacare contraception challenges

Now he'll decide if your employer can deny your birth control.<p>The Supreme Court has decided to take up a challenge to the contraception coverage …

The Feds Unnecessarily Round Up Wild Horses, Then Complain About Costs

<i>After ridding Western lands of thousands of wild mustangs at the request of corporate interests, the Bureau of Land Management now is worried about the price of its programs.</i><p>It surely cannot be easy these days being Joan Guilfoyle, the (relatively) new director of the Bureau of Land Management's …

A tough critique of Common Core on early childhood education

By Valerie Strauss<p>Valerie Strauss<p>Reporter covering education, foreign affairs<p>Email Bio Follow<p>The debate on the Common Core State Standards has in recent months centered around the issue of how much fiction high school students should read. Here’s a tough critique on the standards and how they …

What Happens to Google Maps When Tectonic Plates Move?

A couple of weeks ago, I was writing up a description of Einstein’s general theory of relativity, and I thought I’d compare the warping of spacetime …

The Gold Rush Left Behind Mercury That’s Still Contaminating California

More than a century ago, around 300,000 hopeful people rushed to California with the aim of striking it rich. From 1848 to 1855, at the height of the …

Scaffolding is All Over D.C. Here’s Why the Monuments Still Look Majestic

There’s been so much scaffolding recently in Washington D.C. that it looks like the capital is recovering from an incredibly ruthless alien invasion, …

Kirsten Gillibrand's Improbable Path to Liberal Stardom

New York's junior senator has gone from a rural populist to the next Hillary Clinton—with White House ambitions to match. How did it happen?<p>SYRACUSE, N.Y. — It's closer to breakfast than lunch, but Kirsten Gillibrand—wedged between five bulky men at a red-and-white-checkered table—nevertheless …