A worried dictator sings a worried song, even if he feels obliged to deliver its refrain with a fired gun in place. For even Hassan Rouhani, leader for now of Iran's theocracy, seems to have felt obliged to note publicly that the natives have grown restless. And has had to add his support of their expression, if through clenched teeth.
"People ...Read more
How little, if anything, this country seems to have learned from the environmental, economic and just plain human disaster that was the Deepwater Horizon oil spill some seven years ago. For now the regulators have become deregulators in the spirit of these Trumpian times. Donald and the Trumpettes seem unable to perceive where they are headed: a...Read more
At times like these, it's a pity that this column doesn't come to you, Gentle Reader, in sound. So we could all hear the distinctive growl of Winston Churchill reminding us all that "Jaw-jaw is better than war-war." That advice applies as well to trade wars as it does to the kind conducted with shot and shell.
To quote Robert Holleyman, who ...Read more
It's been denounced as trickle-down economics, but at least since the late great Ronald Reagan's time, it's worked again and again. First pour-down economics re-ignited the moribund economy that the hapless Jimmy Carter left the country when he departed the White House at the beginning of the 1980s to make way for the Great Communicator. ...Read more
There are any number of lessons to be learned from the almost forgotten life of John Anderson, the late congressman from Illinois. Dead at 95, he represents something of a puzzle to those of us still trying to figure him out.
He was entirely too convenient a choice for those of us who swallowed the line about Ronald Reagan's being entirely too ...Read more
It's well known that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is this country's guardian in war and peace. Or is supposed to be. But what about during that twilight zone between wars, when the national security can be just as imperiled by threats developing all around? From organized crime to foreign ...Read more
I'm writing this after rewatching a beautifully crafted movie called "A River Runs Through It." It's about trout fishing, which is like saying "Gone With the Wind" is about the Civil War that divided this indivisible Union for four long, terrible years. Or maybe the movie is about two brothers. Or maybe it's about memory. All your faithful ...Read more
If one of the greats in the history of mathematics and physics -- Sir Isaac Newton -- could act like any crazed and dazed day trader under pressure, what does that say about the chances of us ordinary folk making a killing in the stock market? It's far more likely that the market will kill us.
Andrew Odlyzko, who professes mathematics at the ...Read more
It seems the two-party system is alive and well now that the political pendulum has swung back again, this time much to the Democrats' delight and the Republicans' despair. They tell a story about an old farmer up in Kansas who emerged from his cyclone shelter after a storm had swept away everything in sight -- the house, the crops, even the ...Read more
Here's the thing about about language: What isn't said can be as subtle as what is.
While preparing to spend some weeks touring the late unlamented Soviet Union, I once took a highly abbreviated course in Russian offered by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Then I went off, armed with my pidgin Russian, to see what was then Leningrad (...Read more
It was a big deal when I was growing up in the bosom of what was in spirit an orthodox Jewish congregation in Shreveport, La.: Balfour Day.
The date was observed every Nov. 2, for that's when a British Foreign Secretary named Arthur James Balfour sent a letter to Baron Rothschild that was only a couple of hundred words long but ...Read more
This is where we came in, and where we left -- the scene in which a special prosecutor, also known as an independent counsel, brings charges against a high-ranking politician or two. The criminalization became a familiar and odious feature of the day's news just a couple of decades ago and now it's back. Does anybody else remember how Kenneth ...Read more
It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood when the sukkah mobile drove up. Sukkot, the Jewish feast of tabernacles, or booths, had arrived. And with it, all the accessories thereof in order to celebrate it in style -- including a couple of rabbis and a mobile sukkah or harvest booth.
Soon enough a gentile friend or two, attracted by all the ...Read more
The phantom pilot who's tossed live turkeys from his airplane for 15 years now over the annual Turkey Trot Festival at Yellville, Ark., is a phantom no more. Now that he's been succeeded by a different pilot flying a different aircraft, he's proudly revealed his identity. He turns out to be Dana Woods, pharmacist and alderman from Mountain View....Read more