WASHINGTON -- In his 72 years, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, who was raised in segregated Richmond, Virginia, acknowledges that he has seen much change, often for the better, including advances in the 1960s. But in his elegant new memoir, “All Falling Faiths: Reflections on the Promise and ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- In theory, if only occasionally in fact, Congress plays a role when a president wants to initiate military hostilities. Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah thinks Congress should also have a say when a president wants to initiate a trade war.
Lee is a constitutional, meaning an actual, conservative who is eager for Congress to ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- At their post-Civil War apogee, 19th-century Republicans were the party of activist government, using protectionism to pick commercial winners and promising wondrous benefits from government’s deft interventions in economic life. Today, a Republican administration promises that wisely wielded Washington power can rearrange ...Read more
SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- The Cold War was waged and won in many places, including this beach city, home to the RAND Corp. Created in 1948 to think about research and development as it effects military planning and procurement, RAND pioneered strategic thinking about nuclear weapons in the context of the U.S.-Soviet competition. Seven decades ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Tight labor markets shrink income inequality by causing employers to bid up the price of scarce labor, so policymakers fretting about income inequality could give an epidemic disease a try. This might be a bit extreme but if increased equality is the goal, Stanford’s Walter Scheidel should be heard. His scholarship encompasses ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- With an asperity born of exasperation, Justice Antonin Scalia once wrote, “If you want aspirations, you can read the Declaration of Independence,” but “there is no such philosophizing in our Constitution,” which is “a practical and pragmatic charter of government.” Scalia was wrong, and much depends on Neil Gorsuch not ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- In 2013, a college student assigned to research a deadly substance sought help via Twitter: “I can’t find the chemical and physical properties of sarin gas someone please help me.” An expert at a security consulting firm tried to be helpful, telling her that sarin is not gas. She replied, “yes the [expletive] it is a gas ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- When the president speaks of closed factories scattered like “tombstones” across America, has he noticed the shuttered stores in shopping centers, and entire malls reduced to rubble? He promises “protection” to prevent foreigners from “destroying” manufacturing jobs by exporting to America things that Americans want to ...Read more
SHOT DOWN: The true story of pilot Howard Snyder and the crew of the B-17 Susan RuthSteve Snyder
An Amazon #1 Best Seller and winner of 20 national book awards, SHOT DOWN is set within the framework of World War II in Europe and recounts the dramatic experiences of each member of a ten man B-17 bomber crew after their plane, piloted by the author's father, was knocked out of the sky by ...
WASHINGTON -- Many Americans are more thoughtful when choosing appliances than when choosing presidents, but the baseball writers whose ballots decide who is “enshrined” -- more about that verb anon -- in Cooperstown’s Hall of Fame are mostly conscientious voters struggling to unravel a knotty puzzle: How to treat retired players who are ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Twenty minutes into his presidency, Donald Trump, who is always claiming to have made, or to be about to make, astonishing history, had done so. Living down to expectations, he had delivered the most dreadful inaugural address in history.
Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s White House counselor, had promised that the speech would be “...Read more
He flabbergasts the Human Race
By gliding on the water’s face
With ease, celerity and grace;
But if he ever stopped to think
Of how he did it, he would sink.
-- Hilaire Belloc, on the waterbeetle
WASHINGTON -- Leaving aside the missing element of grace and the improbability of his ever stopping to think, Donald...Read more
EDITORS -- Note the nature of some of the entities named in this column.
WASHINGTON -- In 1929, Chief Justice William Howard Taft convinced Congress to finance construction of “a building of dignity and importance” for the Supreme Court. He could not have imagined what the court will ponder during oral arguments this Wednesday. The case ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The Chronicle of Higher Education, which is a window on the sometimes weird world of academia, recently revisited a hilarious intellectual hoax from 20 years ago. Reading the recollections of the perpetrator and of some who swallowed his gibberish is sobering.
In 1996, Alan Sokal, a New York University physicist and self-described...Read more
WASHINGTON -- When Barack Obama moves two miles from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to 2446 Belmont Road in Washington’s Kalorama neighborhood, he will live half a mile from 2340 S Street, where Woodrow Wilson spent his three post-presidential years. Wilson’s embittering foreign policy failure was the Senate’s rejection of the U.S. participation...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Any summation of Barack Obama’s impact on domestic policy and politics should begin with this: In 2008, he assured supporters, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Soon he will be replaced by someone who says, “I alone can fix it.” So, Americans have paid Obama the compliment of ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Viewing 2016 in retrospect -- doing so is unpleasant, but less so than was living through it -- the year resembles a china shop after a visit from an especially maladroit bull. Because a law says “the state of California may not sell or display the Battle Flag of the Confederacy ... or any similar image,” a painting of the 1864...Read more
WASHINGTON -- It is axiomatic that if someone is sufficiently eager to disbelieve something, there is no Everest of evidence too large to be ignored. This explains today’s revival of protectionism, which is a plan to make America great again by making it 1953 again.
This was when manufacturing’s postwar share of the labor force peaked at ...Read more
“To change anything in the Navy is like punching a feather bed. You punch it with your right and you punch it with your left until you are finally exhausted, and then you find the damn bed just as it was before you started punching.”
-- Franklin Roosevelt, 1940
SAN DIEGO -- What the former assistant secretary of the Navy said is ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Political mildness is scarce nowadays, so it has been pleasantly surprising that post-election denunciations of the Electoral College have been tepid. This, even though the winner of the presidential election lost the popular vote by perhaps 2.8 million votes, more than five times the 537,179 votes by which Al Gore outpolled George...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Indiana’s Thomas R. Marshall, who was America’s vice president 100 years ago, voiced -- he plucked it from a Hoosier humorist -- one of the few long-remembered utterances to issue from that office: “What this country needs is a good 5-cent cigar,” which would be $1.11 in today’s currency. A century later, what the country...Read more