Politics, Moderate





Are we hostage to the stock market?

WASHINGTON -- The stock market is going gangbusters -- but whether this reflects the economy's underlying strength or runaway speculation is a question that stumps many experts. Hence, the need for this column: a primer on the red-hot stock market. Will it sustain the economy or ultimately kill it?

The boom is undeniable. In 12 out of the first...Read more

From 'fake news' to witch hunt

WASHINGTON -- Conspiracies. Secret societies. Witch hunts.

During the past year, we've heard reference to all of the above to explain away any suggestion of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 presidential election.

Allegedly, there's a secret society within the Federal Bureau of Investigation aimed at deposing Trump. ...Read more

'Making learning fun' does a disservice to our kids

CHICAGO -- Is learning one of your lifelong aspirations? If so, here's a quick quiz that'll give you some insight on just how open to new knowledge you really are: On a scale of 1 to 10, how well do you understand the functioning of a toilet?

Are you more of a "10" -- an expert who may have even installed a toilet or two? Closer to a "5," ...Read more

How Mick Mulvaney is dismantling a federal agency

From the moment Congress created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Republicans attacked it as a "rogue agency," "unaccountable," "malicious" and run by an out-of-control "dictator" who desperately needs more oversight.

Mick Mulvaney has apparently set out to prove them right.

In November, in a move that set off a power struggle still ...Read more

What happens when former spy chiefs are less than secretive with their opinions?

WASHINGTON -- Richard Helms, the godfather of modern CIA directors, prided himself on keeping his mouth shut in public. He was delighted that his 1979 biography had the starchy title "The Man Who Kept the Secrets."

But that was then. In today's media-driven world, former intelligence chiefs appear so regularly on cable television they probably ...Read more

The Art of the Shutdown

President Trump didn't respond to the so-called shutdown of the federal government in the way that the political class thought he should. He didn't get personally involved in detailed negotiations to end the impasse and didn't convey a sense of crisis to the American people.

When all was said and done, this skirmish showed the dangers of ...Read more

It will be cringeworthy, but you need to talk to your kids about sex

CHICAGO -- The #MeToo movement -- specifically the recent conversations about consent sparked by one woman's description of her terrible, horrible, no good, very bad date with writer and comedian Aziz Ansari -- has sure increased the amount of sex talk at my dinner table lately.

My poor son -- just 16 years old, quiet, shy and yet to meet his ...Read more

As the Islamic State battle ends, old feuds resume

TAMPA, Fla. -- Talking with Gen. Joseph Votel, the commander of American troops in the Middle East, is a paradoxical reminder of the limits of U.S. military power to determine political outcomes. American bombs helped destroy the Islamic State in Syria, but they can't stitch the rag doll of the Syrian nation back together.

Syria's plight ...Read more

A matter of time

WASHINGTON -- It was probably only a matter of time before some unbalanced person decided that he needed to take out a few members of the "fake news" media.

And it was inevitable that his actions -- in this case, his threats -- would be placed at the feet of Donald Trump, who has spent a considerable amount of time and energy demonizing the ...Read more

Paddington's pro-bear propaganda poses a threat to all Americans

Politics, Moderate / Rex Huppke /

High-profile news events like the government shutdown and the massive women's marches held across the country over the weekend have drawn the average American's attention away from a significant threat: Paddington.

The movie "Paddington 2" -- about a talking bear who lives in England and, for some reason, doesn't terrify people -- has become a ...Read more

Blame McConnell and Ryan for the shutdown

It was neither the #TrumpShutdown nor the #SchumerShutdown. It wasn't even the #StephenMillerShutdown.

It was always the #McConnellRyanShutdown.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan are responsible for the completely avoidable three-day federal shutdown that ended Monday. They will likewise be responsible for the ...Read more

The shutdown solved nothing

WASHINGTON -- OK, the shutdown is over. But no one should be fooled into thinking that this settles the big questions facing the country. Even if (a big "if") the immigration laws are overhauled and the nearly 700,000 "Dreamers" stay in the United States, at least three large issues remain that neither party has yet had the courage to confront. ...Read more

China and the global race for knowledge

WASHINGTON -- The National Science Foundation and the National Science Board have just released their biennial "Science & Engineering Indicators," a voluminous document describing the state of American technology. There are facts and figures on research and development, innovation and engineers. But the report's main conclusion lies elsewhere: ...Read more

Paging personnel

WASHINGTON -- If the name Taylor Weyeneth rings a tiny bell in your head, then you might be related to him. Otherwise, the 24-year-old was until a week ago an unknown if powerful member of the Trump administration: deputy chief of staff in the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Weyeneth's qualifications for the job, which falls under the ...Read more

Help under-resourced parents fight for better schools

CHICAGO -- A new national study shows that minorities hold a dim view of public education: 64 percent of African-Americans, 45 percent of Latinos, and 40 percent of Native Americans who were surveyed believe that children in their own racial or ethnic group don't have the same opportunity to get a quality education as white children.

On the ...Read more

The GOP tax law doesn't just hurt blue states. It hurts everyone.

There's a perception out there that the new GOP tax law screws over only blue states.

That's wrong.

It creates huge political problems for almost every state. With relatively little fanfare, Congress effectively sent ticking time bombs to statehouses across the country, which are scrambling to assess and contain the damage.

Yes, it's true ...Read more

Preparing our Middle East partners to fight their own battles

FORT POLK, La. -- In training exercises in a mock Afghan village constructed here on a base amid swampland, the U.S. Army is applying the military lesson of the war against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq: Help your partners beat the enemy, but don't try to do the fighting yourself.

Letting others fight the battle hasn't been the American ...Read more

Where to look for the wave

It's normal for the party out of power to gain ground in a midterm election. The big question in 2018 is whether the Democrats will gain enough ground to win a majority in the House of Representatives.

While the political winds currently favor the Democrats, 390 of the 435 House races are pretty well locked in for one party or the other. Only ...Read more

We can't let robots steal all our jobs

CHICAGO -- In a world that seems in constant danger of going over the edge, why isn't more effort going into making sure robots don't steal every last job and leave our kids fighting, cage-match style, for whatever's left?

Jobs are a key measure of how well the economy is ticking along, but they have become a partisan battleground.

The elites ...Read more

The expanding millionaire class

WASHINGTON -- Call them the new millionaires. Once upon a time -- certainly within living memory -- becoming a millionaire was a big deal. It was a badge of economic distinction, enjoyed by a tiny elite.

No more.

By 2016, slightly more than 9 million U.S. households had a net worth of $1 million or more, according to new calculations by ...Read more


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