Politics, Moderate



Bezos v. Pecker: A complexifying situation

WASHINGTON -- As stories go, the face-off between Jeff Bezos and David Pecker (paging Charles Dickens) has all the elements of a 21st-century battle royale between good and evil, represented by the richest man in the world, who happens to own The Washington Post, and the pied piper of sleaze, respectively.

Thank you, God.

Such is the stuff of ...Read more

Yearbook politics of the once young and foolish

WASHINGTON -- In 1983, just before winning a third term as Louisiana's governor, Edwin Edwards famously said the only way he could lose the race was "if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy."

Presumably, no one checked his yearbook.

Given today's mounting pressure on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to resign due to a photo in ...Read more

The banality of evil, 2019

WASHINGTON -- C.S. Lewis was only partly right when he wrote: The greatest evil ... is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.

Lewis, perhaps, couldn...Read more

Spoiler alert -- or not?

WASHINGTON -- Billionaire coffee magnate Howard Schultz has two problems: Ross Perot and Ralph Nader.

Schultz, a lifelong Democrat, said on CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday that he's seriously considering running for president as a centrist independent in 2020. So am I, for that matter. With about, oh, 400 Democrats lining up to run, what's one more?

...Read more

Let them eat cake

WASHINGTON -- When F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me," he inadvertently foreshadowed the government shutdown of 2018-19.

Fitzgerald was alluding to the wealthy class, which he had earlier portrayed in "The Great Gatsby," the great American novel. Old money is also ...Read more

The Covington controversy and the narrative fallacy

WASHINGTON -- When a white, Catholic-school boy wearing a "Make America Great Again" cap is shown staring down a Native American Vietnam War veteran, sending the media scrambling for their pitchforks and torches, one might want to pause and stroke one's chin.

Haven't we seen this flick before?

Indeed, the plot doesn't vary much among these ...Read more

Reality checks in with congressional fresh(wo)men

WASHINGTON -- As the new freshman class of congressional women bopped, hopped and doo-wopped into town, old sourpusses smirked -- they'll meet reality soon enough.

Actually, 'twas I who said this to herself. And, well, not to brag or anything.

The gals were barely through orientation before the powder room became a powder keg, with some...Read more

What did they do with Lindsey Graham?

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- If loyalty only goes so far, Sen. Lindsey Graham's goes every which way -- depending on the day, week, month -- or proximity to Election Day.

One day, he may think Donald Trump is a "kook." That was Graham's description of Trump in 2016, shortly after he'd ended his own campaign for president. Or, he may think Trump is "...Read more

That stupidity of the wall

WASHINGTON -- As The Wall dominated the week's news, a pitiful juxtaposition of two realities -- one the hard truth, the other a lie -- emerged to clarify the destructiveness of the American president's toxic narcissism.

Federal workers facing their first payday without a check were selling their possessions on social media so they could pay ...Read more

Dealing with identity theft during the shutdown

WASHINGTON -- I'm betraying no secrets by observing that the government shutdown provides a window of opportunity for identity and electronic theft.

Trust me, the crooks already know this. And, unfortunately, so do I.

Short story: I decided to start collecting Social Security (even though I couldn't possibly be old enough) and created an ...Read more

South Carolina against the tides

CAMDEN, S.C. -- Tom Mullikin is that guy -- you know, the one who finishes Christmas dinner, then takes off to scale Mount Everest, conducting business by satellite phone to check progress on his plan to build an ocean reef upon his return.

Yes, a reef.

But first, Everest. If Mullikin succeeds in reaching the summit, he'll have met his ...Read more

The Grinch has lost his mind

WASHINGTON -- 'Tis not the season to be jolly, thanks to Donald Trump.

His sudden, unilateral decision to withdraw troops from Syria, forcing the resignation of Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis -- one of the last bulwarks against the president's impulsivity -- has cast a pall on the holidays and, perhaps, the future.

In his letter of ...Read more

With McSally the Senate gets a fearless, scrappy, humble public servant

WASHINGTON -- As resumes go, it's hard to fathom a better fit to fill John McCain's Senate seat than the nation's first female Air Force pilot to fly in combat -- Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey apparently thought so, too. On Tuesday, he selected McSally to fill the seat until 2020, when a special election will be held to ...Read more

A vote for animals is a vote for humanity

WASHINGTON -- For people who support the humane treatment of animals, including those that end up on America's dinner plates, passage this week of the farm bill would be a gift befitting the season -- and a grand bipartisan gesture to close out the year.

The Senate sent back an earlier version of the bill, now expected to cost taxpayers $867 ...Read more

Epstein accusers deserve due process

WASHINGTON -- Recent revelations about billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein's sweetheart deal with government prosecutors -- thanks to a cadre of all-star defense attorneys who basically treated underage accusers like throwaways -- are the tip of the iceberg in a scandal of money, power, sex, corruption and boys' club criminality.

The story...Read more

#MeToo's unintended consequences: Intimidated men

WASHINGTON -- A recent Bloomberg News headline came as no surprise: "Wall Street Rule for the #MeToo Era: Avoid Women at All Cost."

In a word, it was inevitable. Some men are so concerned about the possible repercussions of what they might say or do that they're steering clear of women in the workplace altogether. And as a result, according to ...Read more

Lies, lies -- and dadgum lies

WASHINGTON -- Michael Cohen's guilty plea Thursday that he lied to Congress about Donald Trump's interests in building a Moscow tower comes as little surprise -- everyone attached to this administration seems to lie with ease. And yet it's explosive news in the carnival-kingdom of liars, crooks and thieves.

Cohen, who probably knows more than ...Read more

Bipartisanship, thy name is Woman

WASHINGTON -- As newly elected congresswomen are poised to color this city blue, one wonders what effect they'll realistically have on the gridlock known as the House of Representatives.

At final count, 101 women, mostly Democrats, are headed this way come January. Will they -- or can they -- work with Republicans?

A popular assumption is that...Read more

Turkey strutting on the Potomac

WASHINGTON -- Strutting isn't just for turkeys anymore.

We're reminded of this nearly every day, but Donald Trump outdid himself Thanksgiving Day when a reporter asked the president what he's most grateful for. In a nutshell, with only a tiny bit of editing: himself. OK, he mentioned his family first but then went on to extol his own ...Read more

The new normal that isn't

WASHINGTON -- Across much of media lately, the phrase "new normal" keeps cropping up to describe what is, in fact, not normal, as most sane adults have understood its meaning.

This is to say, the everyday machinations and human behaviors typical within a healthy, robust society have shifted gears and evolved, not in a good way, to ...Read more


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