WASHINGTON -- Governments routinely behave badly, but sometimes their mean-spiritedness comes to the Supreme Court's attention. On Tuesday, it will hear oral arguments concerning the constitutionality of measures that California's government has taken to compel pro-life entities to speak against their own mission.
Crisis pregnancy centers are ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Iceland must be pleased that it is close to success in its program of genocide, but before congratulating that nation on its final solution to the Down syndrome problem, perhaps it might answer a question: What is this problem? To help understand why some people might ask this question, today's column is being distributed together ...Read more
"The war is over."
-- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in Afghanistan (April 2002)
"I believe victory is closer than ever before."
-- Vice President Mike Pence in Afghanistan (December 2017)
WASHINGTON -- With metronomic regularity, every thousand days or so, Americans should give some thought to the longest war in their nation's history...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Is it too much to ask that the government not insult our intelligence while it is lightening our wallets? As an overture to his predictable announcement of steel and aluminum tariffs, the president, that human sponge ever eager to soak up information, held a "listening session," at which he listened to executives of steel and ...Read more
MOUNT LEBANON, Pa. -- Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District, which ripples over the steep hills of this Pittsburgh suburb and stretches south to the West Virginia border, has not had a competitive congressional election since 2006. The fact that it will have one on March 13 makes this the most important 2018 voting before Nov. 6.
The seat'...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Andrew Cilek might be -- this is just a hunch -- unaware that 2018 is Brooks Brothers' bicentennial. Judging by what he wore when he went out to vote in Minneapolis on Nov. 2, 2010, his preferences in shirts run less to button-down Oxford cloth than to chatty T-shirts. The question the U.S. Supreme Court will consider on Wednesday ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Overturning mistaken decisions is an occasional duty of the Supreme Court, whose noblest achievement was the protracted, piecemeal repudiation, with Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and subsequent decisions, of its 1896 ruling that segregated "separate but equal" public facilities were constitutional. This Monday, the court will ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Asked in 1972 if he believed in miracles, Billy Graham answered: Yes, Jesus performed some and there are many "miracles around us today, including television and airplanes." Graham was no theologian.
Neither was he a prophet. Jesus said "a prophet hath no honor in his own country." Prophets take adversarial stances toward their ...Read more
LOS ANGELES -- It was dicey being Jewish in a Russia that was tolerant of pogroms, and then came the threat of conscription into the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War, so one of Mayor Eric Garcetti's great-grandfathers headed West to America. Another Garcetti great-grandfather married a Mexican woman who, fleeing revolutionary ferment there, headed ...Read more
To get there you follow Highway 58, going northeast out of the city, and it is a good highway and new."
-- Robert Penn Warren, "All the King's Men" (1946)
WASHINGTON -- Appropriately, Warren began the best book about American populism, his novel based on Huey Long's Louisiana career, with a rolling sentence about a road. Time was...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Even if, inexplicably, you occasionally think about things other than major league baseball, consider this: Why are many premier free agents, particularly sluggers and starting pitchers, unsigned even while we are hearing the loveliest four words, "Pitchers and catchers report"? The Major League Baseball Players Association angrily...Read more
WASHINGTON -- When next you shoehorn yourself into one of America's ever-shrinking airline seats, you might encounter a new wrinkle in the romance of air travel. You might be amused, or not, to discover a midsize -- say, 7-feet long -- boa constrictor named Oscar coiled contentedly, or so you hope, in the seat next to you. Oscar is an "emotional...Read more
WASHINGTON -- In 1930, John Maynard Keynes was worried, but not about the unpleasantness that had begun the previous year and would linger long enough to become known as the Great Depression. What troubled the British economist was that humanity "is solving its economic problem."
In his essay "Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren," ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- It was an assertion of hard-won personal sovereignty: Frederick Douglass, born on a Maryland plantation 200 years ago this month, never knew on what February day because history-deprivation was inflicted to confirm slaves as non-persons. So, later in life, Douglass picked the 14th, the middle of the month, as his birthday. This ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Like Horatius at the bridge, or the boy who stood on the burning deck whence all but he had fled, or the Dutch boy who saved the city by putting his finger in the dike -- pick your analogous heroism -- the Trump administration last week acted to stanch the flood of foreign-made washing machines that are being imported because ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- It cannot be a sign of social health that the number of tweets per day worldwide exploded from 5,000 in 2007 to 500 million six years later. And this might be related, by a few degrees of separation, to the fact that whereas in the 1992 presidential election more than one-third of America's 3,113 counties or their equivalents had a...Read more
WASHINGTON -- In 1790, the finest mind in the First Congress, and of his generation, addressed in the House of Representatives the immigration issue: "It is no doubt very desirable that we should hold out as many inducements as possible for the worthy part of mankind to come and settle amongst us." Perhaps today's 115th Congress will resume the ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Is there anything more depressing than a cheerful liberal? The question is prompted by one such, historian David Goldfield, who has written a large-hearted book explaining that America's problems would yield to government's deft ameliorating touch if Americans would just rekindle their enthusiasm for it.
Goldfield's new book, "The...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Frank Lloyd Wright purportedly said, "Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles." Today, however, Oregon is the state with the strangest state of mind, which has something to do with it being impeccably progressive: In the series "Portlandia," the mention of artisanal lightbulbs might be satirical...Read more
WASHINGTON -- During World War I, chemist James Conant was deeply involved in research on what was considered the worst imaginable weapon: poison gas. During World War II, as a science adviser to President Franklin Roosevelt, Conant was so central to the development of the atomic bomb that he was at Alamogordo on July 16, 1945. His most ...Read more