WASHINGTON -- A specter is haunting academia, the specter of specters -- ghosts, goblins and "cultural appropriation" through insensitive Halloween costumes. Institutions of higher education are engaged in the low comedy of avoiding the agonies of Yale.
Last October, the university was rocked to its 315-year-old foundations by the wife of a ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Another small step was taken last week on the steep and winding ascent back to constitutional norms. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the nation's second-most important court, did its judicial duty by reprimanding Congress for abandoning constitutional propriety.
The court declared unconstitutional the unprecedented...Read more
"Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose."
-- "Me and Bobby McGee," Janis Joplin
WASHINGTON -- What did Donald Trump have left to lose Sunday night? His dignity? Please. His campaign's theme? His Cleveland convention was a mini-Nuremberg rally for Republicans whose three-word recipe for making America great again was the shriek "...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Vladimir Putin's serial humiliations of America's bewildered secretary of state regarding Syria indicate Putin's determination to destabilize the world. Here is an even more ominous indication of events moving his way: On just one day last week, Italian ships plucked 6,055 migrants from the Mediterranean.
What has this to do with ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The "quiet catastrophe" is particularly dismaying because it is so quiet, without social turmoil or even debate. It is this: After 88 consecutive months of the economic expansion that began in June 2009, a smaller percentage of American males in the prime working years (ages 25 to 54) are working than were working near the end of ...Read more
"Lots o' folks confuse bad management with destiny."
-- Kin Hubbard
WASHINGTON -- The good news, a commodity in short supply, is that Americans are about to get a respite from the inundating Niagara of candidates' blather. The bad news is that the respite will be a tsunami of Cubs Gush, which will slosh from sea to shining sea. So, brace ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Looking on the bright side, perhaps this election can teach conservatives to look on the dark side. They need a talent for pessimism, recognizing the signs that whatever remains of American exceptionalism does not immunize this nation from decay, to which all regimes are susceptible.
The world's oldest political party is an ...Read more
AURORA, Colo. -- Here on the High Plains, where the deer and the antelope once played, Denver's suburbs roam toward the Rockies' front range and the nature of today's polyglot politics is written in the local congressman's campaign schedule. One day last week, Republican Mike Coffman went from a Hispanic charter school in a strip mall, to ...Read more
Galveston: 1900: Indignities, Book One: The ArrivalN. E. Brown
A young 15 year old girl is orphaned shortly after arriving in America in 1898 and is stalked by a drifter who wants her for himself. Romance, danger and fleeing a dangerous man wanted for several murders challenges her livelihood and future. All of this is happening ...
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Technology has put powerful computers in billions of pockets, but an invention much more mundane than the smartphone -- the shipping container: a rectangular steel box -- also has changed the world. Because of it, two of today's preoccupations -- infrastructure and globalization -- are connected by a chain of events that ...Read more
GLENOLDEN, Pa. -- From Erie in the west to Scranton in the east, Pennsylvania is flecked with casualties the stubborn economic sluggishness and relentless globalization have inflicted on industrial communities. But in this middle-class Philadelphia suburb, Tom Danzi knows that the economy is denting even his business repairing damaged cars.
"In the walls of the cubicle there were three
orifices. ... Similar slits existed in thousands or
tens of thousands throughout the building. ... For
some reason they were nicknamed memory holes."
-- George Orwell, "1984"
WASHINGTON -- Documents inconvenient to the regime went into the Ministry of Truth's slits and down to "enormous furnaces...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Republican congressional leaders ardently want conservative members of the House to not force a vote on impeaching the IRS commissioner. The public does not care about John Koskinen's many misdeeds. And impeachment will distract attention from issues that interest the public. And because Democrats are not ingrates, the required two...Read more
TERRACE PARK, Ohio -- Sen. Rob Portman probably will win a second term, despite the fact that he deserves to. The swarm of young people who gathered on a Saturday morning in this Cincinnati suburb to feast on doughnuts and his gratitude are among the 5,000 volunteer interns, including students from 35 campuses, who have made 3.5 million voter ...Read more
Irish poets learn your trade
Sing whatever is well made. ...
-- William Butler Yeats, "Under Ben Bulben"
LOS ANGELES -- For 67 years, the son of Vincent and Bridget Scully, immigrants who came to New York City from County Cavan, Ireland, has been plying his trade. For eight years on the East Coast and 59 on the West Coast, on radio and ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Because truth in labeling laws are among the laws from which Washington feels exempt, the titles of congressional legislation often take liberties with the facts (e.g., the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act). The Stop Settlement Slush Funds Act, however, precisely names the ailment for which it is the remedy.
The Justice ...Read more
LAS VEGAS -- Nevada, which calls itself the "Battle Born State," actually was born prematurely because of Republicans' anxiety. Now, 152 years later, it again is a subject of their anxiety.
Entering 1864, Abraham Lincoln and his party were intensely, and reasonably, in doubt about his re-election. So, scrambling for every electorate vote, ...Read more
CHICAGO -- Seated in his office here, wearing neither a necktie nor a frown, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is remarkably relaxed for someone at the epicenter of a crisis now in its second year and with no end in sight. But, then, stress is pointless when the situation is hopeless. Besides, if you can ignore the fact that self-government is ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Like shipwrecked mariners clinging to a floating mast, many Republicans rationalize supporting Donald Trump because of "the court." This two-word incantation means: Because we care so much for the Constitution, it is supremely important to entrust to Trump the making of Supreme Court nominations. Well.
In a Republican candidates ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- In the 1870s, when Boss Tweed's Tammany Hall controlled New York City, and in the 1950s and 1960s, when Chicago's Democratic machine was especially rampant, there was a phenomenon that can be called immunity through profusion: Fresh scandals arrived with metronomic regularity, so there was no time to concentrate on any of them. The...Read more
WASHINGTON -- To gauge the opportunism and hypocrisy that define Donald Trump's Republican Party, consider this: Imagine the scalding rhetoric that would have boiled from the likes of Newt Gingrich, that Metternich of many green rooms, if Hillary Clinton had offhandedly undermined the collective security architecture of U.S. foreign policy since...Read more