Politics, Moderate





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

'American' is not a language

CHICAGO -- People who care deeply about language are sticklers for precision. But it doesn't take a grammar freak to take offense at the notion that the words "American" and "English" are synonymous.

This is what makes so maddening the viral video that ricocheted across the web last week of a high school English teacher in Cliffside Park, New ...Read more

A NAFTA showdown?

WASHINGTON -- The NAFTA war is heating up. It's a confusing conflict because perceptions are driven by political rhetoric, not economic reality.

NAFTA, of course, stands for the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has eliminated most tariffs among the United States, Mexico and Canada. During the campaign, candidate Donald Trump denounced...Read more

Russia's worrisome push to control cyberspace

WASHINGTON -- Russia's cybermeddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election has been accompanied by what U.S. and European experts describe as a worrisome Kremlin campaign to rewrite the rules for global cyberspace.

A draft of a Russian proposal for a new "United Nations Convention on Cooperation in Combating Information Crimes" was recently ...Read more

What's in a name?

WASHINGTON -- If there's any redeeming news this week, it's that no one will ever forget La David Johnson's name.

Johnson, of course, was one of the four U.S. soldiers recently killed in Niger. Apparently his name seemed to slip President Trump's mind when he called Johnson's widow to offer his condolences. According to Myeshia Johnson, Trump ...Read more

Donald Trump, our first millennial president

WASHINGTON -- Everybody -- but especially the olds -- loves to hate on millennials. We're lazy, entitled, emotionally stunted, spendthrift, narcissistic, promiscuous snowflakes.

And yet my fellow Americans: You recently made one of us leader of the free world.

Oh sure, President Trump was not technically born between 1982 and 2000, the ...Read more

A house left behind, a good home life remembered

Politics, Moderate / Rex Huppke /

So I went home.

I wasn't sure why, exactly, but I went there, to the west-central Florida neighborhood where I grew up, back to the winding roads hugging a lake that once seemed like an ocean, past the ranch houses that went up in the 1960s and haven't changed much since.

I parked in front of the house -- my house. It was still white and ...Read more

A budget primer for the weary

WASHINGTON -- It's that time of year again when Congress debates the federal budget. For most Americans, it's a turnoff. The dollar amounts are monstrous -- trillions, not billions. The vocabulary of government finances (budget-speak) is baffling. Little wonder people tune out.

For the weary and confused, I offer a brief budget primer below. ...Read more

Donald, dearest

WASHINGTON -- George W. Bush's speech last week at a forum hosted by his eponymous institute might as well have been titled "Dear Donald." The 43rd president all but called out the current president by name as he lamented the tone and character of today's political rhetoric.

"Bigotry seems emboldened," said Bush. "Our politics seems more ...Read more

Young adult literature is under siege

CHICAGO -- News that a school board in Mississippi is removing "To Kill a Mockingbird" from the eighth-grade curriculum due to language that "makes people uncomfortable" has raised fresh concerns about censorship.

We are living in a time when some university professors who teach Western literature are protested in class and denounced as racist ...Read more

How Republicans can get everyone to stop blaming them

Obamacare repeal? Dead.

Tax reform? Dead and demoted to tax cuts, now also on life support.

Republicans may have unified control of government, but they seem curiously incapable of getting major agenda items through.

Maybe it's because Republicans have insisted on cutting out Democrats and doing things unilaterally. Or at least they had been ...Read more

The rubble in Raqqa is a reminder of American military might

WASHINGTON -- Looking at photographs of the ruined, desolate streets of what was once the Islamic State's capital of Raqqa is a reminder of the overwhelming, pitilessly effective military power of the United States.

Perhaps it's a tribute to the inevitable nature of American force, once it's engaged, that the fall of Raqqa this week provoked ...Read more

Trump Proving Politicians Not As Important As They Think They Are

Shortly after World War II, Congress passed a law requiring the federal government to assume responsibility for managing the economy. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy claimed that government stewardship was responsible for the post-War economic boom. In those heady days, there was even talk about how economists had learned to fine-tune the ...Read more

A painful read wrapped in irresistible charms

CHICAGO -- Ta-Nehisi Coates' new book, "We Were Eight Years in Power," focuses on the complexity of the maxim every immigrant and minority has had ground into him or her: You have to be twice as good as white people to get a fair shot in this country. By Coates' reckoning, it's a false promise.

"The argument made in much of this book is that ...Read more

North Korea's cyber army

WASHINGTON -- It turns out that North Korea isn't just a nuclear threat. It's also a cyberthreat, and in some ways, this may be more frightening. Launched largely anonymously, cyberattacks can cripple essential infrastructure -- power grids, financial networks, transportation systems -- and inflict social disorder and political anarchy. ...Read more

How might Trump's Asian hosts sketch his personality profile?

WASHINGTON -- As President Trump prepares to head to Asia next month for his most important overseas trip yet, foreign intelligence services are undoubtedly trying to assemble personality profiles to explain this unconventional, risk-taking, domineering president to the leaders he will meet.

How will they describe Trump? Probably not with the ...Read more


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