WASHINGTON -- A household appliance will be the next steppingstone on America's path to restored greatness. The government is poised to punish many Americans, in the name of protecting a few of them, because, in the government's opinion, too many of them are choosing to buy foreign-made washing machines for no better reason than that the buyers...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The first time ended badly, so when, 156 years later, Alabamians were incited to again try secession, this time from the national consensus that America is a pretty nice place, they said: No. No, that is, to rubbish like this:
Interviewer: "[Ronald Reagan] said that Russia was the focus of evil in the modern world."
Roy Moore: "...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The Republicans' tax legislation is built on economic projections that are as confidently as they are cheerfully made concerning the legislation's shaping effect on the economy over the next 10 years. This claim to prescience must amaze alumni of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, which were 85 and 158 years old, respectively, when ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The conversation about a cake lasted less than a minute but will long reverberate in constitutional law. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear 60 minutes of speech about when, if at all, making a cake counts as constitutionally protected speech and, if so, what the implications are for the Colorado Civil Rights ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- American democracy's comic opera frequently features collaborations of "bootleggers and Baptists." These entertainments are so named because during Prohibition, Baptists thought banning Demon Rum would improve public morals (oh, well) and bootleggers favored the ban because it made scarce a commodity for which there was a demand ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Although it is plausible to suspect this, it is not true that the Credit Mobilier scandal of the late 1860-early 1870s (financial shenanigans by politicians and others surrounding construction of the Union Pacific Railroad) and the 1920s Teapot Dome scandal (shady dealings by politicians and others concerning government oil leases)...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Tryptophan, an amino acid in turkey, is unjustly blamed for what mere gluttony does, making Americans comatose every fourth Thursday in November. But before nodding off, give thanks for another year of American hilarity, including:
A company curried favor with advanced thinkers by commissioning for Manhattan's financial district ...Read more
Not without thy wondrous story, Illinois, Illinois,
Can be writ the nation's glory, Illinois, Illinois.
-- official state song
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- This state's story, which lately has been depressing, soon will acquire a riveting new chapter. In 2018 Illinois will have the nation's most important, expensive and strange election.
Its ...Read more
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- But for the bomb, the four would be in their 60s, probably grandmothers. Three were 14 and one was 11 in 1963 when the blast killed them in the 16th Street Baptist Church, which is four blocks from the law office of Doug Jones, who then was 9.
He was born in May 1954, 13 days before the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The Republicans' tax bill would somewhat improve the existing revenue system that once caused Mitch Daniels (former head of the Office of Management and Budget, former Indiana governor) to say: Wouldn't it be nice to have a tax code that looked as though it had been designed on purpose? Today's bill, which is 429 pages and is apt ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Such is the federal government's sprawl, and its power to establish new governing precedents, mere Washington twitches can jeopardize venerable principles and institutions. This is illustrated by a seemingly small but actually momentous provision of the Republicans' tax bill -- a 1.4 percent excise tax on the endowment earnings of...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Evidence of national discernment, although never abundant, can now be found high on the New York Times combined print and e-book best seller list. There sits Ron Chernow's biography of Ulysses Simpson Grant, which no reader will wish were shorter than its 1,074 pages. Arriving at a moment when excitable individuals and hysterical ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Needing a victory to validate their majorities, congressional Republicans have chosen not to emulate Shakespeare's Henry V before Agincourt. He advocated stiffening the sinews, summoning up the blood and lending the eye a terrible aspect. The Republicans would rather define victory down.
What began with a bang of promises of ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive ourselves into believing that corporate welfare can be seemly. Consider the caper, both amusing and depressing, that began when mighty Boeing sought protection behind the skirts of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Boeing, America's 39th largest corporation by market ...Read more
ARLINGTON, Va. -- The breakfasters at Bob and Edith's Diner are too preoccupied with their tasty bacon and eggs to notice the Democratic gubernatorial candidate. Or perhaps, like all Americans who are more sensitive than oysters, they are in the throes of political exhaustion and are trying to ignore this year's only competitive gubernatorial ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Kevin Hassett evidently has not received the memo that economics is "the dismal science." The ebullient chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers is relishing the intellectual feast of applying to policymaking the predictive tools of a science that was blindsided by the Great Recession.
Economists, like other ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- What would America's abortion policy be if the number of months in the gestation of a human infant were a prime number -- say, seven or eleven? This thought experiment is germane to why the abortion issue has been politically toxic, and points to a path toward a less bitter debate. The House of Representatives has for a third time ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- With eyes wide open, Mike Pence eagerly auditioned for the role as Donald Trump's poodle. Now comfortably leashed, he deserves the degradations that he seems too sycophantic to recognize as such. He did Trump's adolescent bidding with last Sunday's pre-planned virtue pageant of scripted indignation -- his flight from the ...Read more
DETROIT -- Bending metal, slapping on chrome and marketing an empowering product and status marker that mesmerized 20th-century America, the automobile industry typified the Old Economy, of which General Motors was emblematic. As was its bankruptcy. Today, GM's CEO Mary Barra is wagering that the industry soon will be manufacturing New Economy ...Read more
DETROIT -- With biblical succinctness, and foreshadowing a resurrection, Mike Duggan said, "Let there be light!" and 65,000 LED streetlights replaced the 40 percent of the city's streetlights that were broken when he took office in 2014. They are among the many reasons that on Nov. 7 he, the first white mayor here in 40 years, will win a ...Read more