WASHINGTON -- Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., wonders: "Is there any doubt that America would view a foreign nation firing missiles at targets on American soil as an act of war?" His question might be pertinent to why the Singapore summit happened, and what, if anything, was changed by it. The question certainly is relevant to constitutional government ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Karl Marx was no more mistaken than usual when he said that historic people and events appear twice, first as tragedy, then as farce. Today's advocates of a musty fragment of the 1970s, the Equal Rights Amendment, are demonstrating that something that begins as farce can reappear as tragedy, because abuse of the Constitution is ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Back when the Soviet Union had a first-rate nuclear arsenal but a ramshackle third-world economy that produced no consumer goods other than vodka and caviar that anyone elsewhere would buy, the nation was disparaged as "Upper Volta with rockets." Today the question is: Would North Korea like to become Upper Volta without rockets ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- "Loose lips sink ships" was a World War II slogan warning Americans against inadvertently disclosing important secrets, such as troop ships' sailing schedules. On Monday, the Supreme Court showed that loose lips can sink cases.
In Colorado in 2012, a Christian baker declined the request of a same-sex couple to decorate a cake for ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Within 17 days in the autumn of 1975 -- first in Sacramento, then in San Francisco -- two separate handgun-wielding women attempted to assassinate the president. Had either succeeded, and each was close enough to have done so, the nation would have had a third president in 14 months, and a second consecutive one who had never been ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Franklin Roosevelt, afflicted by the disease at age 39, died in April 1945 at the polio recuperation facility he had created in Warm Springs, Georgia. Before then, Mitch McConnell living in Five Points, Alabama, began going there for treatment for the polio that struck him at age 2, in 1944.
After paralysis by polio, an inner iron...Read more
WASHINGTON -- No elaborate catechism is required to determine if someone is a conservative. A single question, as simple as it is infallible, suffices: For whom would you have voted in the presidential election of 1912?
That year, a former president and a future president ran against the incumbent president, who lost, as did the country, which ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- America's government declares "war" promiscuously -- on poverty, on drugs, on cancer, etc. -- except when actually going to war, which the nation has done often since it last declared war (on June 5, 1942, on Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary). But the incipient war du jour is being postponed. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the...Read more
WASHINGTON -- On election night 2016, Mark Schlissel, the University of Michigan's president, addressed more than 1,000 students, declaring that the 90 percent of them who had favored the losing candidate had rejected "hate." He thereby effectively made those who disagreed with him and with the campus majority eligible to be targets of the ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Repeal of Prohibition in 1933 instantly reduced crime by reducing the number of criminalized activities, including some that millions of Americans considered victimless activities and none of the government's business. Now, America is going to become more law abiding, the Supreme Court having said that the federal government cannot...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The path to today's problems with Iran passed through the University of Chicago squash court where on Dec. 2, 1942, for 4.5 minutes physicist Enrico Fermi, making calculations on a slide rule, achieved the controlled release of energy from an atomic nucleus. Historian Richard Rhodes says that Fermi and his colleagues were risking "...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump, with his feral cunning, knew. The oleaginous Mike Pence, with his talent for toadyism and appetite for obsequiousness, could, Trump knew, become America's most repulsive public figure. And Pence, who has reached this pinnacle by dethroning his benefactor, is augmenting the public stock of useful knowledge. Because his...Read more
WASHINGTON -- From Scotland, where Adam Smith pioneered systematic thinking about economics, comes an adjective, "carnaptious," that fits people who are allergic to economic euphoria. It means cantankerous. Let's think carnaptiously about this fact: The interest rate on 10-year Treasury bonds recently rose briefly to 3 percent, and soon may move...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Among the recent garbled effusions from today's temporary president -- cheer up; they are all temporary -- was one that concerned something about which he might not have thought as deeply as the subject merits. During an episode of government of, by and for "Fox & Friends," he said: He won the 2016 election "easily" but wishes the ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Trey Gowdy's emotions sometimes bubble disconcertingly close to the surface, but unlike many members of the political class, he is not all surface. At a breakfast four years ago, the South Carolina Republican had tears in his eyes as he explained when he would leave Congress: after Tim Scott, a Republican congressman who had been ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- As the museum of human nature, aka the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, marks its 25th anniversary, it continues to receive artifacts, such as a letter handwritten on a yellow scrap of paper. It was donated to the museum by Frank Grunwald, 85, who lives in Indianapolis.
He was the younger of two Czechoslovakian boys who ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Last week, one week after the first anniversary of Neil Gorsuch's ascension to the Supreme Court, he delivered an opinion that was excellent as it pertained to the case at issue and momentous in its implications pertaining to the institutional tangle known as the administrative state. If he can persuade his fellow court ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Coming soon to a cinema near you -- you can make this happen; read on -- is a bite-your-nails true-story thriller featuring heroes, villains and a history-making struggle over ... the Constitution's Takings Clause. Next Feb. 24, "Little Pink House" will win the Oscar for best picture if Hollywood's political preening contains even ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- South Dakota has become what South Carolina once was -- stubborn, pugnacious and wrong. In 1860, South Carolina became the first state to vote to secede. In 2016, South Dakota's legislature picked a fight in the hope that the U.S. Supreme Court would reverse a prior decision, thereby handing the state a policy victory it failed to ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- On April 22, 1915, chlorine gas, wafted by favorable breezes, drifted from German lines toward enemy positions held by French troops near Ypres, Belgium. This was the first significant use of chemical weapons in a war in which 100,000 tons of chemical agents would be used by both sides to kill almost 30,000 soldiers and injure 500,...Read more