Commentary Upfront Blog

  • Why progress endures

    The rise and fall of civilizations is the drama of history. But quiet progress -- century by century, civilization by civilization -- is the real story to watch.

  • Easing barriers helps us all

    Making the world more accessible for the disabled has brought them into the mainstream -- and improved everyone's lives.

  • The promise, and pitfalls, of boundaries

    Privacy has always been an essential need for humans. Do the conveniences and dangers of the digital age change that?

  • The freedom to decide

    China's command economy has pulled 500 million people out of poverty. Many Chinese are now searching for something deeper than material prosperity.

  • Learning to expect surprises

    For nations as for people, flexibility, adaptability, and tolerance for a degree of messiness is the best approach for dealing with the unexpected.

  • Tsunami aftermath: The drive to move forward

    Humans -- and humanity -- are more than the disasters that sometimes befall them. They recover. They rebuild. They live and laugh again.

  • Oil, gas, and the Saudi factor

    Saudi Arabia's oil wealth gives it enormous influence in the world. Decisions made in Riyadh are felt from Moscow to North Dakota, Venezuela to Iran. 

  • Caring for our food at its source

    The pleasures of dinner can be quickly spoiled when you consider where it came from. But that consideration is behind the ethical food movement.

  • Mining character for clues

    We study people's pasts – especially the pasts of people who rise to prominence – hoping to understand how they will act in the future. But humans can always surprise us.

January 25, 2015

Photos of the weekend

Firefighter Travis Theurer signals to those on shore that he’s strapped fellow firefighter Donnie Corn in to be pulled out of the water Saturday, during ice rescue training in Portland, Indiana.

More Upfront Blog
  • Giving our representatives room

    Transparency is crucial in a healthy democracy. But the relentless, 24/7 spotlight we now shine on elected representatives has compromised their ability to compromise.

  • Why walls rise -- and must fall

    Some walls are necessary, but before building any wall it is important to understand what is being walled in and what is being walled out.

  • The power of patience

    Kids constantly test parents -- and often just to get a reaction. Whatever that reaction is, experts say, parental patience is essential.

  • Saving the humans

    The late 20th-century shift away from whale hunting to whale saving didn't just help those endangered creatures. It was an historic human leap in the direction of environmentalism.

  • The 'country cousin' in us all

    From music to comedy, literature to reality TV, country culture has long amused, fascinated , and even educated Americans.

  • How the past can power the future

    Hydrocarbons play a crucial role in today's economy. They are also crucial in fueling the transition away from hydrocarbons.

  • Practical planet care

    You don’t have to believe in the detrimental effects of human industry on the environment to be green today. Reducing dependence -- on big government, big utilities, and big energy -- appeals to rugged individualists as much as to tree-huggers.

  • Scottish vote: preserving the essence of enlightenment

    The Age of Empire is over. But the Age of Enlightenment -- born in England -- remains a work in progress in a world still struggling with intolerance, superstition, fear, and aggression

  • A talent for taming a primal force

    The war on forest fire is just over a century old. It has had heroes, tragedies, and shifting strategies about when and how to send young men and women into harm's way.

  • The complex world of simplification

    Like most issues, the immigration issue in America looks simple. It's worth looking more closely.

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