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
PHILADELPHIA -- En route to fight one of his many duels, French politician Georges Clemenceau bought a one-way train ticket. Was he pessimistic? "Not at all. I always use my opponent's return ticket for the trip back." Some Hillary Clinton advisers, although not that serene, think her victory is probable and can be assured.
Her challenge is ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Crucial political decisions often concern which bridges to cross and which to burn. Donald Trump's dilemma is that he burns some bridges by the way he crosses others. His campaign depends on a low-probability event, and on his ability to cause this event without provoking a more-than-equal and opposite reaction.
Extrapolating from...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Political conventions are echo chambers designed to generate feelings of invincibility, sending forth the party faithful with a spring in their steps and hope in their hearts. Who would want to be a wet blanket at such moveable feasts?
Steve Munisteri would. Although he calls himself "the eternal optimist," he respects reality, ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Neither the unanimous decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, nor China's rejection of it, was surprising. The timing of it was, however, as serendipitous as China's rejection is ominous. Coming as Republican delegates convene on Lake Erie's shore, the tribunal's opinion about the South China Sea underscores ...Read more
LOS ANGELES -- The mills of justice grind slowly, but life plunges on, leaving lives blighted when justice, by being delayed, is irremediably denied. Fortunately, California's Supreme Court might soon decide to hear -- four years after litigation began -- the 21st century's most portentous civil rights case, which concerns an ongoing denial of ...Read more
ST. LOUIS -- America's economy has now slouched into the eighth year of a recovery that demonstrates how much we have defined recovery down. The idea that essentially zero interest rates are, after seven and a half years, stimulating the economy "strains credulity," says James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. But last...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The report was so "seismic" -- Daniel Patrick Moynihan's word -- that Lyndon Johnson's administration released it on the Fourth of July weekend, 1966, hoping it would not be noticed. But the Coleman report did disturb various dogmatic slumbers and vested interests. And 50 years on, it is pertinent to today's political debates about...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The progressive drive to broadly define and thoroughly eradicate political "corruption" has corrupted politics. But discord is not altogether pandemic in Washington, and last week a unanimous Supreme Court, in this term's most important decision, limited the discretion prosecutors have to criminalize politics.
Former Virginia Gov....Read more