From the Left



No Taylor Swift Without Madonna

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

Stunning singers and songwriters, they're top pop divas of their generations. Don't get me wrong.

But the times call for an urgent question to be asked and answered: Who is the greater artist, Taylor Swift or Madonna? Swift is 33, half of Madonna's age, 65, but with a long track record since high school.

They are in the news and on tour at ...Read more

Three Thanksgivings: Always Room for More

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

Thanksgiving is the national holiday that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed when there was no end in sight for the cruel Civil War.

Always with his eye on healing wounds, Lincoln wisely thought the New England tradition would bring Union bonds closer together.

You have to love Lincoln for many reasons, not least the holiday that includes ...Read more

Washington Diary Watch: All's Not Well

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

Dear Diary,

The House is a mess, with a new sheriff -- speaker -- in town. Republican Mike Johnson hails from the Deep South (Shreveport, Louisiana), a soft-spoken Bible-Trumper with extremist views.

Johnson convened a candlelight vigil outside the Capitol on Nov. 7, a month after the Hamas atrocities against Israel. That bipartisan...Read more

Texas, It Almost Had to Be You

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

The most tragic rhyme in American history falls in November's time, one century apart. President Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19, 1863; President John F. Kennedy died in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

These events reach over endless bends in a profound dialogue like the mighty Mississippi River, cutting through North and ...Read more

Giant Pandas Make It All Better -- For A While

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

"It's all happening at the Zoo."

--Simon and Garfunkel

Washington went to the National Zoo en masse last weekend to catch sight of its three most beloved residents: the family of giant pandas.

They are Papa Tian Tian, Mama Mei Xiang and "little miracle" Xiao Qi Ji, a pandemic male baby born in 2020. Arguably, an American citizen.

...Read more

Three Loved and Lost, One Found

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

WASHINGTON -- I should be in the Headless House press gallery, covering the latest quest to win for speaker. But I'm "past" that, turning leaves of memory.

Over a long October, the Republican blood sport gets old. By now the white-guy contenders all look the same: destroyers, not builders, of the House. Especially you, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio...Read more

In A Cruel World, Sweet Memory

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

My Dad Richard and I just had a long talk about his boyhood in Madison, by the University of Wisconsin campus. Neighbors knew each other's kids well in the 1930s and '40s era.

One made kids listen to opera. Another father built a soapbox derby and strung a telegraph line between houses. He set up a croquet court for fun.

Another had an ...Read more

With Israel at War, Our House Is Not in Order

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

The world took a terrible turn for the worst this week.

The terrorist attack that shocked Israel turned a night of dancing and revelry on a kibbutz into murder, blood and civilian hostage-taking. The usual code of war meant nothing in the coordinated air, sea and land assault. Women and children were brutalized as they became casualties. A 75...Read more

In Defense of Elders in Politics

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

Public sentiment has turned against old leaders so much that a New Yorker cover art shows President Joe Biden, House Speaker emerita Nancy Pelosi, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and former President Donald Trump hobbling on walkers. Three are in their early 80s; Trump is 77.

Reflecting on aging in politics, perhaps it should not be ...Read more

Church Rising, State Falling in Washington

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

An autumnal sky hung over the Capitol Monday afternoon. It was Yom Kippur, the day to atone, which seemed apt.

Four thousand tourists come to the Capitol every day now, but the place will likely be dark next week.

Gone was the cloud of uncertainty about a pending government shutdown. Most members of Congress dread the prospect. It's the last...Read more

Two Strikes and an Out: A Tale of Three Towns

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

Summer's lease has all too short a date, wrote Shakespeare, but he was wrong. Thank goodness it's gone.

2023 delivered the summer of our discontent. It's striking that three company towns, Hollywood, Detroit and now Washington, D.C., are just about shut down.

The job is not getting done in these industry towns. That's a firebell for fairness...Read more

Aging Brings Wisdom to Biden

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

WASHINGTON -- President Joe Biden is a bit older and a lot wiser than former President Donald Trump.

Biden, a young, fit 80, traveled on major diplomatic missions to India and Vietnam while Trump, an old, heavy 77, was booed at an Iowa football game.

Trump didn't dress for a Big Ten big game, in his suit and long red tie. In Biden's case, 80...Read more

Justice For a January Day, At Last

From the Left / Jamie Stiehm /

WASHINGTON -- Enrique Tarrio, leader of the extremist Proud Boys, came to the federal courthouse to be sentenced for seditious conspiracy (and other counts) committed on Jan. 6, 2021.

The violent Trumpist Proud Boys were first to march to the Capitol, even before former President Donald Trump sent the mob of thousands to assault police lines ...Read more



Joel Pett Joey Weatherford John Deering A.F. Branco Al Goodwyn Michael Ramirez