Politics, Moderate





Get ready. Republicans want to cut taxes again.

Just months ago, Republicans got away with a massive upward redistribution of wealth, raiding $1.5 trillion from the Treasury and sticking future generations with the bill.

Now, they're going for more.

On Wednesday, President Trump touted his ginormous, sloppily drafted, deficit-financed tax cuts, written under cover of night without benefit ...Read more

Putin can't talk his way out of this mess

WASHINGTON -- Russian President Vladimir Putin told NBC's Megyn Kelly this month that in using power, you "must be ready to go all the way to achieve the goals." Now, it seems, Putin has gone all the way too far.

Putin's aggressive use of covert action to settle scores hit an international tripwire after the poisoning of a former Russian spy ...Read more

Dems get good news, but there's a long way to go

Just over a week ago, turnout in the Texas primary raised serious questions about how big the Democratic wave could grow by November. This week, however, Connor Lamb won a narrow special victory in a Pennsylvania district that President Trump had carried by 20 points. Democratic spirits soared and some began dreaming that 100 or more Republican ...Read more

Breathtaking book stirs America's cultural stew

CHICAGO -- Despite how much some people reject, resist or fear cultural assimilation, it turns out to be yawningly mundane.

Take, for example, this family-gathering scene from Luis Alberto Urrea's breathtaking new novel, "The House of Broken Angels":

"Little Angel was thwarted in his hopeless search for homemade Mexican food. In his mind, ...Read more

Trump will have a kindred spirit in Pompeo -- for better or worse

WASHINGTON -- The Great Disrupter and the Boy Scout were never comfortable partners. So there was a sense of inevitability to President Trump's announcement Tuesday that he was dumping Rex Tillerson as secretary of state and installing Mike Pompeo, the man he wanted in that job back in November.

The gregarious, risk-taking Pompeo has an easy ...Read more

Hillary, stop. Please.

WASHINGTON -- She can't let go.

She can't stop talking about what happened. She wrote an entire book about it. Now she's telling people in other countries about why she should have won. In India last weekend, she told an audience that she won in all the smart, cool places and then hit a pandering low that puts a catalogue of others to shame.

...Read more

Stormy Daniels is America's first lady -- it just makes sense

Politics, Moderate / Rex Huppke /

I have some interesting news: The real first lady of the United States of America is Stormy Daniels.

I've gone over this in my mind, backward and forward, and basic logic dictates that I'm right.

Hear me out:

Donald Trump is president of the United States.

Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is an adult-film actress who ...Read more

Hey, Putin: Don't pin this on the Jews

Maybe the Russians didn't meddle in our 2016 election. Maybe it was the Jews.

So says President Trump's favorite green-room buddy and shirtless equestrian, Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In an interview that aired Friday evening, NBC's Megyn Kelly asked Putin whether it bothered him that Russians had interfered in the U.S. election.

"I ...Read more

How powerful is the Fed?

WASHINGTON -- It is March 2009. The American economy is rapidly collapsing. The previous month, payroll jobs had dropped by a staggering 650,000. The grim outlook stokes gallows humor. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke receives a call from a top Fed official.

"Do you want some good news?" the official asks.

"Please," Bernanke responds.

"...Read more

The optimists strike back

WASHINGTON -- A few years ago -- probably four or five -- I had an unexpected and terrifying thought: We could have World War III. Until then, I had blissfully believed, along with (I suspect) billions of others, that a nuclear holocaust -- the shape of World War III -- had been rendered obsolete by MAD ("mutually assured destruction") and ...Read more

Off to the races -- again

WASHINGTON -- You may have missed the starting shot, but the midterm races officially began last week with the Texas primaries. This coming Tuesday, voters in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District head to the polls for a special election to fill the seat left vacant by Republican Tim Murphy.

At the risk of sounding hyperbolic -- or ...Read more

The results are in: Babies are all too human

CHICAGO -- For a while there, it seemed like you couldn't get away from headlines wailing about "baby geniuses," the "Tao of babies, or that special "baby wisdom."


It always seemed to me that the people who go on and on about how great babies are have never had to get through the night with one. Sure, you adore them, but "enlightened...Read more

Trump has been playing right into China's hands

If this is how we show China who's boss, China has just learned it has a pretty dumb boss.

On Thursday, President Trump signed sweeping new tariffs on steel and aluminum, against the urging of economists, allies and most of the manufacturing, retail and home-building industries. This policy will likely destroy American jobs both in industries ...Read more

On the world stage, Trump is Wile E. Coyote

BRUSSELS -- "Beep beep" was the subject line of an email message I received a few weeks ago from former CIA analyst Robert Carlin, as Kim Jong Un was accelerating his diplomatic charm offensive. "So typical," wrote Carlin in his brief text. "The North Koreans as Road Runner, the U.S. as Wile E. Coyote."

Carlin makes a point that applies to many...Read more

The most important demographic for election 2018

The election season got started this past Tuesday in Texas, and the primary results are being analyzed for clues about what they mean for November.

The results confirmed that the Democratic enthusiasm is real, but it's probably not strong enough to turn Texas blue. The number of votes cast in Democratic primaries nearly doubled those from four ...Read more

Hollywood still has a long way to go in casting Latinos

CHICAGO -- In the aftermath of a somewhat snoozy Academy Awards ceremony, here was my favorite headline: "This was the most Latino Oscars ever (but still not so much)."

It was a reference to the fact that plenty of Hispanic and Latin American people appeared onstage to present and receive awards, but there weren't any nominated for the top ...Read more

Trump's tariffs--a triumph of pride over policy

WASHINGTON -- The controversy over President Trump's proposed tariffs on imports of steel (25 percent) and aluminum (10 percent) is less about economics than ego -- Trump's ego. Frustrated by special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and the reported chaos in the White House, the president, it seems, had to show who's boss and who's driving...Read more

America ignores Russia at its peril

WASHINGTON -- In his chilling account of the Romanov dynasty, the British historian Simon Sebag Montefiore quoted Peter Stolypin, who was interior minister for Nicholas II, the last of the tsars: "In Russia, nothing is more dangerous than the appearance of weakness."

Montefiore explained that in the 300-plus years of Romanov rule, power had ...Read more

Stop first, parse later

WASHINGTON -- At least they're doing something, which is about the most one can say about Florida's proposed gun bill.

But doing something and doing something effective are very different animals.

State legislators under pressure to "do something" following the murders of 14 students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas ...Read more

Don't blame China, Mr. President. Blame the robots.

Mr. President, if you're looking for someone to demonize for killing blue-collar jobs in your favorite industries, don't blame China and "bad trade deals."

Blame the robots.

Thirty years ago, the U.S. iron and steel mills employed about 188,000 people. Today, that number is about 86,000. Mindful of the suffering of tens of thousands of ...Read more