BALTIMORE -- Twinkling stars are pretty but, for astronomers, problematic. Twinkles are caused by the interference of Earth's atmosphere with light radiating throughout the breathtakingly beautiful and unimaginably violent universe. In 1990, however, the Hubble telescope went into orbit 370 miles above Earth, beyond the atmospheric filter, ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The Navy's operations, on which the sun never sets, are the nation's nerve endings, connecting it with the turbulent world. Although the next president may be elected without addressing the Navy's proper size and configuration, for four years he or she will be acutely aware of where the carriers are. Today they are at the center of...Read more
WASHINGTON -- America's loopy left is enamored of someone who becomes cranky about bobblehead figurines. Sober Democrats are queasy about nominating Hillary Clinton, who has much to apologize for but no aptitude for apologies. Those Republicans who hope she is denied the nomination are perhaps imprudent. And even Republicans who recoil from ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The 18-year-old U.S. Navy enlistee, thinking it sounded less boring than the dull training he was doing in 1944, volunteered for service on what he thought an officer had called "rocket ships." Actually, they were small, slow, vulnerable boats used as launching pads for rockets to give close-in support for troops assaulting beaches...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Pope Francis embodies sanctity but comes trailing clouds of sanctimony. With a convert's indiscriminate zeal, he embraces ideas impeccably fashionable, demonstrably false and deeply reactionary. They would devastate the poor on whose behalf he purports to speak -- if his policy prescriptions were not as implausible as his social ...Read more
CLEVELAND -- About a mile from where the Cleveland Indians test their fans' patience, there is a facility that expresses Ohio's attempt to temper justice with patience. The facility resembles a school, except for the razor wire.
This prison contains 619 women, one of whom, Jessica Torok, mother of three sons -- in the third year of her four-...Read more
GRAFTON, Ohio -- The man at the front of the room in the prison here is talking about the institution's culinary and hospitality training that will help some of his fellow inmates "give back to the community." He will never get back to any community; he is serving a "double life" sentence. But because he is not going anywhere, he can provide ...Read more
"I remember, when I was a child, being taken to the celebrated Barnum's Circus, which contained an exhibition of freaks and monstrosities, but the exhibit on the program which I most desired to see was the one described as 'The Boneless Wonder.' My parents judged that that spectacle would be too revolting and demoralizing for my youthful eyes...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Autumn, season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, also is the time for The Washington Post and other sensitivity auditors to get back on -- if they will pardon the expression -- the warpath against the name of the Washington Redskins. The niceness police at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office have won court approval of their ...Read more
"It is a sordid business, this divvying us up by race."
-- Chief Justice John Roberts
WASHINGTON -- Sordid, always. And sometimes lethal, as some Native American children could attest, were they not, like Declan Stewart and Laurynn Whiteshield, dead. They were victims of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which as construed and ...Read more
SAN DIEGO -- Brittany Maynard was soon to die. The question was whether she could do so on her own terms, as a last act of autonomy. Dr. Lynette Cederquist, who regrets that Maynard had to move to Oregon in order to do so, is working with others to change California law to allow physician assistance in dying.
Maynard, a 29-year-old newlywed, ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Every sulfurous belch from the molten interior of the volcanic Trump phenomenon injures the chances of a Republican presidency. After Donald Trump finishes plastering a snarling face on conservatism, any Republican nominee will face a dauntingly steep climb to reach even the paltry numbers that doomed Mitt Romney.
It is perhaps ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- It has come to this: The GOP, formerly the party of Lincoln and ostensibly the party of liberty and limited government, is being defined by clamors for a mass roundup and deportation of millions of human beings. To will an end is to will the means for the end, so the Republican clamors are also for the requisite expansion of ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- We could wearily shrug, say "Oh, well," and economize waste and annoyance by just building the proposed $142 million Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial. But long after its perpetrators are gone, it would squat there, representing Washington at its worst and proving that we have forgotten how to nurture our national memory with ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- You probably never knew of the federal funding of museums commemorating America's long-gone whaling industry. The funding existed for 10 years, until 2011, because almost no one knew about it. A mohair subsidy continues six decades after it was deemed a military necessity in the context of the Cold War. The subsidy survives ...Read more
(Disclosure: Mr. Will's wife, Mari, works for Scott Walker)
WASHINGTON -- In every town large enough to have two traffic lights there is a bar at the back of which sits the local Donald Trump, nursing his fifth beer and innumerable delusions. Because the actual Donald Trump is wealthy, he can turn himself into an unprecedentedly and ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- History books can be historic events, making history by ending important arguments. They can make it impossible for any intellectually honest person to assert certain propositions that once enjoyed considerable currency among people purporting to care about evidence.
The author of one such book, Robert Conquest, an Englishman who ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Don Winslow, novelist and conscientious objector to America's longest "war," was skeptical when he was in Washington on a recent Sunday morning. This was shortly after news broke about the escape, from one of Mexico's "maximum security" prisons, of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, head of the Sinaloa drug cartel.
Guzman reportedly ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Executives of Planned Parenthood's federally subsidized meat markets -- your tax dollars at work -- lack the courage of their convictions. They should drop the pretense of conducting a complex moral calculus about the organs they harvest from the babies they kill.
First came the video showing a salad-nibbling, wine-sipping Planned...Read more
WASHINGTON -- It came two days after the announcement of the nuclear agreement with Iran, yet little mention was made on July 16 of the 70th anniversary of the first nuclear explosion, near Alamogordo, New Mexico. The anniversary underscored that the agreement attempts to thwart proliferation of technology seven decades old.
Nuclear-weapons ...Read more