I'm a policy wonk and a bit of a political junkie, but that's mostly because politicians do policy. And political choices are policy choices, at the end of the day.
So I am clearly the target audience for a televised political debate like the one Thursday night among the 10 leading Democratic presidential contenders. But having watched the full...Read more
Will California show the nation how to take on the enormous problem of single-use plastic? Or will state lawmakers chicken out under heavy lobbying by plastic makers who are happy to continue to cover the world in discarded water bottles, used food wrappers and countless other pieces of disposable packaging?
We will find out soon. It's not an ...Read more
Calls for "civility" in public discourse always should come with a warning label.
That's because they're never what they seem. They seem to be appeals for, well, civilized behavior in debate. What they are, in reality, are appeals for submission and tacit acquiescence, directed by established authority to the subjugated.
That's the context in ...Read more
The word has popped up in every dinner conversation I've had the last few months: Electability.
It is the focus of news stories, analyses and so much hand wringing on the Democratic side.
Pundits pore over voting patterns and revisit previous presidential contests looking for signs and portents about what we can expect in 2020.
I say, ...Read more
Thursday night's Democratic presidential debate was the first of the 2020 campaign not to feature Marianne Williamson. It's unlikely that many Democrats missed her. Her net favorability rating is just above Bill De Blasio's.
Conservatives feel differently. It's safe to say that among the Democratic candidates, she is (was? I will hopefully use ...Read more
A powerful belief about American views of the world has taken hold among foreign policy experts -- that Americans are exhausted from global overreach and want to shed the burdens of global leadership. Arguing that American voters' "foreign policy views stink," New York Times columnist David Brooks opined that, after "Iraq and other debacles, ...Read more
The campaign leading up to Israel's Sept. 17 election has been a low point in a long political career for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He entered it reluctantly after former defense minister Avigdor Lieberman defected, leaving Netanyahu's Likud-led coalition without the 61 Knesset votes needed to rule. Blue and White and other parties on ...Read more
Well, that was long.
Those who thought the Democratic debate Thursday night -- a marathon session lasting more than 2 1/2 hours -- would be important because it was the first showdown between former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren were bound to be disappointed, because politics doesn't actually work that way, at...Read more
Fires burning in Brazil and the broader Amazon basin are shining a spotlight on the role of forests and land use in the climate change challenge. Next week, the California Air Resources Board will hold a hearing that could have a direct impact on such fires.
On Sept. 19, the board will vote on whether to endorse its proposed Tropical Forest ...Read more
You'd think that as a baseline, we would expect the president of the United States not to do clearly stupid things. And yet when President Trump decides not to follow atrocious advice from Senate Republicans and refrains from doing something fiscally reckless and divisive, I feel like tweeting a big "Job well done!" gif to @realDonaldTrump.
I ...Read more
In the sunny sparkle of a quiet Bucks County memorial garden, there had just been talk of darkness. Of the fear that the memories of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that killed 18 beloved community members 18 years ago were fading into the history books like Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy assassination, and other great national tragedies. But Judi Reiss ...Read more
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Though Republicans tried to downplay the importance of an off-year special House election in North Carolina, President Donald Trump certainly thought differently. Why else would he have held an election eve rally alongside Dan Bishop, the GOP nominee in the state's 9th District? And if that was not enough to belie the seeming ...Read more
As we creep up on the 170th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe's death (Oct. 7), we can see just how long his shadow lies over our culture. His pioneering tales and poems have influenced the landscape of the American imagination. From H.P. Lovecraft to Stephen King, from horror and sci-fi to detective fiction and philosophy, Poe's influence is clear...Read more
Donald Trump's former minions just don't get it. Most Americans don't want to ever see or hear from them again. We wish they would just go somewhere and hide.
But for some reason, likely because they need the money and crave the limelight as much as the egomaniac they used to work for, these societal outcasts keep trying to force themselves on ...Read more
President Donald Trump and his third national security adviser, John Bolton, seemed to be in lockstep. Sort of.
Trump didn't really want a traditional national security adviser. And Bolton didn't really want to perform the role of a traditional national security adviser. A perfect match – no chance!
Here's what Trump mainly didn't want: He ...Read more
A powerful case can be made that President Trump's egregious actions in office -- particularly his efforts to derail the investigation of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III -- justify a vote by the House of Representatives on whether he has committed "high crimes and misdemeanors" and should be impeached. But because of divisions among ...Read more
The number of e-cigarette users, many of them teenagers, who have been stricken by a mysterious and acute lung illness has more than doubled around the country in just the last week. More than 450 people have been hospitalized with serious respiratory distress and six people have died. Public health officials still don't know what it is causing ...Read more
During the 1980s, my brother Teddy was a volunteer firefighter with our local firehouse. I remember more than a few late nights when an alarm would go off and Teddy would jump into his 1976 Monte Carlo and rush to the firehouse or, more frequently, just run the block and a half up the street.
He did this for the same reasons that everyone who ...Read more
Republicans' special election victory Tuesday in North Carolina's 9th District is the latest evidence that 2020 will be a very different election from 2018.
Rep.-elect Dan Bishop didn't just overcome his Democrat opponent's two-year head start and millions of dollars in out-of-state money. He also outperformed the GOP candidate's 2018 efforts ...Read more
President Donald Trump has had poor luck with labor secretaries.
His first nominee, fast-food mogul Andrew Puzder, came under fire for his own labor practices, including hiring an undocumented immigrant as a housekeeper, and was forced to withdraw his nomination when it became clear the Senate would not confirm it.
Trump's next pick, Alex ...Read more