BR Blog

April 27, 2015 Taking Back the States . . . Again Andrew Mayersohn

George Soros, co-founder of the Democracy Alliace, which launched a plan this month to restore Democratic control at the state level. Photo: International Monetary Fund

With nine months still separating us from the first primaries, the main political activity this month consists of operatives dropping hints to the press about their strategies for the next election. In addition to last week’s spate of presidential announcements, the Washington Post reported that the Democracy Alliance, a “cadre of wealthy liberal donors” co-founded by George Soros, “aims to pour tens of millions of dollars into rebuilding the left’s political might in the states, racing to catch up with a decades-old conservative effort that has reshaped statehouses across the country.”

If this story sounds familiar, it’s because liberals make similar noises after every Democratic debacle—Bush’s “permanent Republican majority,” the “...

March 31, 2015 The Indiana Backlash Simon Waxman

Ever since the Indiana legislature passed its version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, lawmakers there have been on the defensive. Opposing politicians, businesses, the Chamber of Commerce, conference organizers, artists, and everyday citizens in Indiana and all over the country have attacked the bill for enabling discrimination against gays and lesbians.

In response, legislators who...

March 31, 2015 National Poetry Month 2015 Boston Review

Image: Bec Bigg-Wither

In honor of National Poetry Month, we publish one poem every day in April, plus extra features weekly. Here's this year's line-up:

April 1: Hilary Vaughn Dobel, “Kids These Days”

April 2: Bruce Bond, “Honey”

April 3: Morgan Parker, Three Poems

April 4: Sam Witt, Two Poems

April 5: Juan Felipe Herrera, Five Poems

April 6: Sandra Lim, “A Real Thief”

April 7: ...

March 31, 2015 A Tale of Two Immigration Judgments Louis Fisher

United States Immigration at Angel Island in San Francisco Bay, formerly an interrogation and detention facility. Photo: Library of Congress

Federal courts have been busy scrutinizing the government’s handling of immigration. In February, two important rulings went against the Obama administration, which, in the absence of congressional action, is increasingly attempting to make policy on its own.

The first decision, staying an administrative directive that would have allowed about five million undocumented immigrants a reprieve from deportation, received intensive coverage. But while the media buzzed after a court questioned a lenient initiative, little attention was paid when, a few days later, another court shot down one of the Department of Homeland Security’s harsher policies.

The second case, RILR v. Johnson, was brought by mothers and their minor children who fled violence in Central America and sought asylum in the United States. The plaintiffs argued that they were being unlawfully detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) while their asylum claims were processed.

The legal question...

March 25, 2015 For Americans, Science and Religion Are Largely Compatible Claude S. Fischer

Adam names the animals, from the Creationist Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. Image: Michael Rivera

Many of America’s cultural battles in recent decades seem to be face-offs between science and faith: over the teaching of evolution, the reality of climate change, the value of stem cell research, the personhood status of an embryo, and the so on. Many on the liberal side of these issues see the controversies as part of a confrontation between ignorance and knowledge. For the more philosophically inclined, it is about a centuries-old tension between faith and the Enlightenment’s assertion of reasoned observation. (Michael Shermer’s “Skeptic” column in Scientific American is largely devoted to this theme.) Recent research suggests, however, a more complex structure behind both these debates and Americans’ views: many of those on the religious side are far from scientific naifs; some are scientifically quite knowledgeable. It is when science directly touches faith that the conflict flares up.

Facts and Faith
A newly published study by sociologists Timothy O’Brien and Shiri Noy (...