Politics, Moderate





Volunteers rush in to take up teen suicide prevention cause

Politics, Moderate / Rex Huppke /

An observation that gives me faith in humanity is that when something's wrong -- when there's a tragedy or an illness or a natural disaster -- people rush in to help.

A story about a family's home burning down runs in the newspaper and people respond with donations and myriad acts of kindness.

Hurricanes batter Texas and Florida and people ...Read more

Welcome to the Powell Fed

WASHIINGTON -- It will be Powell's Fed.

Assuming he's confirmed by the Senate, Jerome ("Jay") Powell will become the 16th chairman of the Federal Reserve Board in early 2018. Almost by definition, he instantly becomes the most important economic policy-maker in the world. But who is he? Outside economic circles, hardly anyone knows.

So let's ...Read more

Saudi crown prince shows his iron fist in risky power play

WASHINGTON -- Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says he's cracking down on corruption. But the sweeping arrests of Cabinet ministers and senior princes Saturday night looked to many astonished Arab observers like a bold but risky consolidation of power.

MBS, as the headstrong 32-year-old ruler is known, struck at some of the ...Read more

A quarter-century of Clintons

WASHINGTON -- Twenty-five years ago on Nov. 3, 1992, William Jefferson Clinton was elected president of the United States -- and Hillary Clinton is still trying to take his place.

As historians and pundits recall his third-way presidency, another slice of his legacy can't be ignored -- the trickle-down effect of his womanizing, his DNA-proved ...Read more

Moby-Dick and the whale's tale of America's destiny

CHICAGO -- There are few things in life that inspire more joy than being exposed to the enthusiasm of someone who is deeply in love.

Such it is with "Why Read Moby-Dick," a slim, 2011 volume by Nathaniel Philbrick that not only convinces you that the classic whale tale is worth the read, but romances you into taking it on.

Truthfully, it's ...Read more

Republicans have a plan to hurt blue states. It could backfire.

Many blue states are in big, big trouble. Perhaps Republicans should be wary of causing them more, if they really think it through.

The new Republican tax plan is, on the whole, a bunch of tax cuts weighted toward the rich. To partly offset the cost of those cuts, the bill also closes some deductions and loopholes.

Among the biggest and most ...Read more

Trump's hunger for Russia projects lasted decades

MOSCOW -- An ice-blue 14-story office tower called Ducat Place III is the building that President Trump might have constructed here. But like so many other Trump adventures in Russia, this one proved a tantalizing but futile dead end.

Trump is angrily dismissive when questions are raised about his Russian contacts. He calls the investigation by...Read more

America's founding ideals are worth fighting for

These are tough times to be optimistic about America. Terror attacks in New York City, mass shootings in Las Vegas and campus violence against targeted speakers fill the news. Rather than addressing the problems, partisan politicos act as if each tragedy is merely a platform for their own talking points.

Despite this, I am optimistic about ...Read more

Pick presents that come with the gift of time

CHICAGO -- If you're in the mood to get away from adult concerns and feel young again, just spend some time with this year's toy catalogs.

Several showed up in my mailbox last week, and it was nostalgia-inducing to browse the offerings for the upcoming Christmas buying season. Old classics like Easy-Bake Ovens (now in an "Ultimate" version that...Read more

The future of health care?

WASHINGTON -- The big news in health care last week was the disclosure that CVS Health Corp. -- owner of a vast network of drug stores -- is considering buying Aetna Inc., one of the nation's largest health insurers, for roughly $66 billion. It's undeniably important, but why?

Clearly, economic concentration in health care is growing. The ...Read more

Mueller is unraveling Russian manipulation. Let him finish his job.

WASHINGTON -- Has there ever been a covert action that backfired as disastrously as Russia's attempt to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign?

Granted, we know all the reasons Moscow is gloating: Donald Trump is president; America is divided and confused; Russia's propagandization of "fake news" is now repeated by people around the ...Read more

FBI to Trump: Happy Halloween

WASHINGTON -- Beware the low-level volunteer.

Virtually unheard of before Monday, when the FBI indicted two of President Trump's campaign staffers, George Papadopoulos is either the key to Russian collusion with the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election -- or a lying "low level volunteer," as the president tweeted early Tuesday ...Read more

This tax reform thing won't be as easy as Republicans think

Paul Ryan's white whale is almost in sight.

On Wednesday, after years of wishin' and hopin' and thinkin' and prayin' (and lately, nose-holdin'), the Republican House speaker and his party will finally drop the text of their long-sought tax bill.

Then, thanks to clever manipulation of Senate rules, the bill will secure swift passage, requiring ...Read more

Mueller indictments prove one thing: Hillary Clinton is to blame!

Politics, Moderate / Rex Huppke /

After reviewing the charges against three former members of Donald Trump's presidential campaign -- the first charges to come from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election -- I have reached the following conclusion: LOCK HER UP!

By "HER" I mean Hillary Clinton, and by "LOCK" and "UP" and the ...Read more

Tax cuts and economic growth

"Do we have any historical evidence that lowering tax rates, particularly among the richest strata, generates economic growth, as the Republicans always predict? Has this ever worked?"

-- a reader

WASHINGTON -- The answer is "no." As Congress tackles "tax reform," we really don't have conclusive historical evidence of the relationship ...Read more

Statuary brawl

WASHINGTON -- Latest to the vandals goes Teddy Roosevelt, whose bronze likeness astride a horse in front of New York's American Museum of Natural History recently received a splash of red paint upon its base.

"Now the statue is bleeding," proudly pronounced a group of protesters in claiming credit for the makeover. "We did not make it bleed. It...Read more

Republicans are propping up scammers and cheaters

WASHINGTON -- Republicans claim to believe no company is too big to fail. The almighty market must be allowed to work its magic, and firms with defective business models should face the consequences.

Yet over the course of this year, President Trump and Congress have worked to prop up lots of defective firms. By which I mean: Companies whose ...Read more

Might Xi Jinping's star be burning too bright?

WASHINGTON -- President Xi Jinping's command at this month's Communist Party gathering was so complete that President Trump likened him to a "king." But some China analysts are wondering whether Xi has overreached.

Xi dominated the stage, literally and figuratively, at the party's 19th Congress, which ended this week in Beijing. He ...Read more

Teachers' perceptions can become reality for students

CHICAGO -- If it's true that perception is reality, then perceptions can be both advantageous and burdensome when applied to education.

This occurred to me as I played a "Flocabulary" video for a group of fourth-grade students who struggle with math. Ostensibly, it was about how easy it is to multiply by ones and by zeroes, but the creators ...Read more

Freedom of Speech Does Not Guarantee Understanding

Daily Beast columnist Jay Michaelson is unhappy with America's football fans.

In a thoughtful column, he argues that "kneeling for the anthem is a sign of respect, not disrespect, for our country and the values it stands for." He adds that "To protest -- for whatever cause, left or right wing -- is to make real the best ideals of America: ...Read more

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