He was straight outta Brooklyn, Jack Chakrin, who changed his name to Jack Carter a long time before dying, at 93, on the other edge of America.
He was an American Jew, as were a lot of the stand-up comics who came out of that time, hustling their way up through saloons and mob-owned supper clubs, Borscht Belt hotels and amateur hours.
WASHINGTON -- Scenes from an insurrection:
In Madison, Wisconsin, Wednesday, 10,000 people show up to rally for longshot presidential candidate Bernie Sanders -- giving the self-declared "democratic socialist" the largest crowd any candidate has had so far this election cycle. Sanders, running on a shoestring and a prayer, has closed to within ...Read more
At this stage, the 2016 presidential campaign is looking a lot like high school. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, for example, sounds like the locker room bully who would torture Louisiana Gov. Bobbie Jindal with wedgies.
And Donald Trump? He's the class clown. He's the student government candidate who sells fake ID card on the side -- which he ...Read more
Thank heaven for little girls.
So sang French actor Maurice Chevalier in a famous song celebrating "their little eyes so helpless and appealing" and the fact that "they grow up in the most delightful way."
Well, we are here to thank heaven for little Girl Scouts -- and for former girl, Megan Ferland, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Western ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Heroism tends to be understood as a matter of public display -- the bystander racing into a burning building, the soldier braving fire to rescue a comrade. But there is heroism, as well, of a quieter, more self-effacing variety -- the unintentional hero, quiet but determined, who acts in the vacuum of others' complacency.
This is ...Read more
With the release of the first batch of the thousands of emails that Hillary Clinton turned over to the State Department, what has America learned about the former secretary of state and current presidential candidate?
Nothing sufficiently voyeuristic to titillate journalists ever on the hunt for Clinton "scandals" -- but just a few things ...Read more
Lately, blows have been dealt to the conventional wisdom surrounding billionaire and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. First, the smart money told us that Mr. Trump just enjoyed all the media attention a potential White House run brought his way, that he would never actually become a real candidate. Then after Trump's rambling ...Read more
SINGAPORE -- In January 2007, not long after George W. Bush announced his surge of troops into Iraq, I happened to be having lunch with a Chinese friend who is a well-connected member of the Communist Party. I asked him how the news was being received in Beijing. He replied in words to the effect of: "We would hope that you would send the entire...Read more
How to Win in Every ScenarioRom Gayoso
This book is about a business research technique called “Scenario Planning”. Scenarios were originally created in the 1960’s for defense purposes; later on they were adopted by private enterprise with exceptional results. Nowadays they are also used for public policy.
As a kid, the Fourth of July was always my favorite holiday: the bike parade with the crepe paper so carefully threaded through the spokes, the afternoon of running and jumping contests where everyone won something, and, of course, the highlight, getting the old ratty beach blanket from my father's trunk and watching the fireworks.
I didn't ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Late in the evening on April 13, speaking to a meeting of about 55 senators, Secretary of State John Kerry argued against passage of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, claiming it would complicate negotiations. (The White House had already issued a veto threat.) At about 11:30 p.m., Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Foreign ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Anxiety-ridden GOP masterminds will eventually find a way to solve the Trump Problem. Until they do, however, the Republican Party threatens to become as much of a laughingstock as what David Letterman used to call "that thing on Donald Trump's head."
Suddenly, according to recent polls, the iconically coiffed mogul has to be ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- "This," President Obama said in the Rose Garden on Wednesday as he announced the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba, "is what change looks like."
This echo of his 2008 campaign theme was self-congratulatory but deserved, coming at a time of unexpected hope late in his presidency. In the space of just over a week, Obama'...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Advocates of a saner approach to guns need a new strategy. We cannot go on like this, wringing our hands in frustration after every tragedy involving firearms. We said "Enough" after Sandy Hook. We thought the moment for action had come. Yet nothing happened. We are saying "Enough" after Charleston. But this time, we don't even ...Read more
I dumped my landline the other day.
It was an abrupt decision, though a long time coming, like giving away a sweater you hadn't worn in years but had kept just in case you might.
Goodbye, Panasonic KX-TG5431, with all your weird buttons and your antennas and something called Caller IQ, which I was never smart enough to understand.
For many ...Read more
"This whole week," said President Obama, "I've been reflecting on this idea of grace."
That was the turning point of Friday's eulogy for Clementa Pinckney, the Charleston, S.C. minister who was, with eight of his congregants, murdered by a racist terrorist two weeks ago. It was the moment a memorable speech became a speech for history.
One of the most ironic things about U.S. presidents is how soon after they get comfortable with the job that it's over.
That's a happy thought to those who can't wait to see President Barack Obama go -- as the ranks of hopeful Republican candidates grow well past a dozen.
But the president's attitude? "Bucket."
That's what he said with a ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Writing a judicial opinion can be like fencing. One of the most effective ways to jab at an opponent is to use his -- or her -- words to make your own case.
Thus, Chief Justice John Roberts, warning in the same-sex marriage case about the harmful results of the court's intervention:
"There will be consequences to shutting down ...Read more
Almost lost in the wave of responses to the Supreme Court decisions last week upholding the Affordable Care Act and allowing gays and lesbians to marry was the significance of the court's decision on housing discrimination.
In a 5-4 ruling, the court found that the Fair Housing Act of 1968 requires plaintiffs to show only that the effect of a ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- It is often the fate of conservatives to be concerned about the fire code and occupancy limit at someone else's party. Never more conspicuously than concerning the Supreme Court's gay marriage decision, Obergefell v. Hodges.
With many friends and relatives celebrating the outcome, judicial conservatives are generally anxious about...Read more
If you're old enough to recall how the landslide election of Lyndon Johnson over the hapless Barry Goldwater supposedly spelled the end of the Republican Party, or how Ronald Reagan's election amounted to a revolution that put the Democratic party on the mat until -- more or less -- the end of time, then you will understand my caution in saying ...Read more