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home : opinion : editorial May 22, 2017

The mysteries of American political philosophy
TORONTO -- The great Canadian historian John Bartlet Brebner, who taught at the University of Toronto before moving to Columbia, once said Americans were benevolently ignorant about Canada while Canadians were malevolently well-informed about the United States. Had he not died 60 years ago, he would have been astonished to see just how well-informed Canadians are about American affairs today, and how malevolently they view their neighbor to the south.
Monday, May 22, 2017


Anderson Jewelers

Trump's plan to nix community block grants may be tough sell
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump may have a tough time carrying out plans to kill a popular program that has helped build fire stations, provided meals to needy children and more. Plenty of lawmakers — including some key Republicans — enthusiastically support the Community Development Block Grant program.
Monday, May 22, 2017

Embrace the robots
We have seen the enemy, and it is the robot. 
Saturday, May 20, 2017

Show empathy for those living with mental health issues
 TAYLORVILLE — Think about the people you connect with throughout the course of the day – family, neighbors, coworkers and friends. Those who live with mental health conditions have their own story.
Saturday, May 20, 2017

Fact check: Does the US believe Western Wall is in Israel or just Jerusalem?
WASHINGTON (AP) — Nikki Haley, President Donald Trump’s U.N. ambassador, waded into a diplomatic minefield on Wednesday by asserting that the Western Wall is part of Israel, a deviation from U.S. policy.
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The worst word in American politics
For the past couple of years, the most important word in American politics has been the worst -- "rigged."
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

When history is set in stone
A famous statue of Russian Czar Alexander II was dismantled during the Bolshevik revolution. So was a statue of Alexander III. A statue of Josef Stalin was removed from his hometown as recently as 2010. And this year in New Orleans, a fierce debate is raging over statues to Confederate heroes such as President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard.
Monday, May 15, 2017

A scandal about smoke
The cliche about the Russia investigation is that there's a lot of smoke, and with the firing of FBI Director James Comey, President Donald Trump rolled a military-grade smoke grenade into the room.
Saturday, May 13, 2017

Do-right women in a do-wrong world
For those lately bereft of leadership, the past few days have provided both a respite and a reason for hope.
Saturday, May 13, 2017

Lawmakers reach agreement on stalled VA accountability bill
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional Republicans and Democrats have reached agreement on a bill to make it easier for the Department of Veterans Affairs to fire its employees, part of an accountability effort touted by President Donald Trump.
Thursday, May 11, 2017

'Bro Culture' companies may do poorly by being bad
What exactly does Uber have to offer that other companies do not? The ride-hailing service doesn't own its cars or employ drivers. It's basically a smartphone app that connects passengers to drivers using their own vehicles. Rival apps now do much the same thing.
Thursday, May 11, 2017

New VA head: It will take longer to end veteran homelessness
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The new Veterans Affairs chief shares the goal set by former President Barack Obama’s administration of ending homelessness among veterans, but he says it will take longer than his predecessor predicted.
Thursday, May 11, 2017

The win-win twins

Actors Charlie Sheen and Donald Trump are like twins separated at birth. Both became rich and famous -- by hook in one case and by whatever in the other -- each to his own mind born to win. 

 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Comey is gone, and the worst is yet to come

The news that President Donald Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey is not cause for celebration.

 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Comey is gone, and the worst is yet to come

The news that President Donald Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey is not cause for celebration.

 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Spending bill, not Obamacare, reveals deep GOP division
If you want to see what divides Republicans in Congress, don't look at the struggle to repeal and replace Obamacare. Look at spending.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Around the nation: Reaction to Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey

(AP) — Some Twitter reaction to President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey amid the bureau’s investigation into allegations his campaign had ties to Russia.

 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

During World War I, a silent film spoke volumes about freedom of speech

By Eric P. Robinson,

University of South Carolina

(THE CONVERSATION) —  In the United States, “The Great War” led to unprecedented efforts by the federal government to control and restrict “unpatriotic” speech. But the boundary between speech that undermined the government and legitimate criticism was often unclear.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Trump's normality problem
White House official Steve Bannon is off the National Security Council, in a reversal of what had been an eyebrow-raising decision to put the president's top political adviser on the NSC. 
Tuesday, May 9, 2017

It's the end of politics as we know it
Monday, May 8, 2017

Who Cares?

I was about to get into it with my son about President Donald Trump's suggestion that Andrew Jackson, a slave owner who died in 1845, could have avoided the Civil War (as if there were a compromise to be had on the question of expanding slavery into the territories), when he quickly dismissed me by pointing out that no one cares.

 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

ABC, CBS, NBC join CNN in refusing to air Trump ad that blasts them
NEW YORK (AP) — ABC, CBS and NBC have joined CNN in refusing to air an advertisement that lists President Donald Trump’s accomplishments during his administration’s first 100 days while blaming the “fake news” media for not reporting on them.
Saturday, May 6, 2017

Minnesota professor's coloring book pokes fun at college life and academia
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Julie Schumacher found plenty of fodder for her career detour into adult coloring books from two decades teaching at the University of Minnesota, which has its own therapy animals for stressed-out students to pet.
Saturday, May 6, 2017

A confederacy of dictators
It should have been obvious, but I missed it: Steve Bannon has been banished and Dennis Rodman is whispering in the president's ear. 
Friday, May 5, 2017

Lincoln, not Jackson

Donald Trump is trying to do for Andrew Jackson what Lin-Manuel Miranda did for Alexander Hamilton. 

 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Has the Old Trump Magic Lost Its Spell?
Thursday, May 4, 2017

In our era of despair, history offers counsel
BUFFALO, New York -- A quarter-century ago, only the most wild-eyed, optimistic, maybe slightly crazy visionary could have imagined the Buffalo of today: a modern, tech-oriented city that has transformed rubble into revitalization, taken a tired waterfront and made it a breathtaking walkway, and watched its museums grow from local treasures into major national attractions.
Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Why can't house repeal obamacare? Because a lot of Republicans don't want to
"We're going to go when we have the votes," Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday when asked when the House will pass a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. Lawmakers will not be constrained by any "artificial deadline," Ryan declared.
Wednesday, May 3, 2017

What's Wrong With Obama's Getting $400,000 for a Speech?
Reports that Barack Obama will receive $400,000 for a speech at a Wall Street health conference have produced some violent finger-wagging by populists on the left. "Distasteful," Bernie Sanders called it. Elizabeth Warren is "troubled," citing concern about "the influence of money" in politics.
Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Trillion dollar federal budget deal would spare arts agencies
NEW YORK (AP) — The new federal spending bill would spare — and even slightly increase — funding for three arts-related agencies that President Donald Trump had proposed eliminating: the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities.
Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Rights group: Trump should seek accountability from Duterte
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A U.S.-based human rights group says President Donald Trump should not roll out the White House red carpet for Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte, whom it accused of being a “mastermind” of mass murder because of his anti-drug crackdown in which thousands have died. 
Tuesday, May 2, 2017

With Obama, Clinton gone, GOP revives Pelosi as boogeyman

BILL BARROW

Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Move over Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Republicans have a new campaign boogeyman. Well, sort of new.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Ann Coulter the liberal
Because the California National Guard couldn't be mobilized in time, Ann Coulter had to withdraw from giving a speech at Berkeley.
Friday, April 28, 2017

Unemployment claims tick up but remain at low level

WASHINGTON (AP) — More Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, but applications remained at a low level that suggests most workers enjoy job security.

 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Can we think our way past robots?
Never mind the wall that President Trump said Mexico must pay for but then Congress must pay for; either that or much of the working class loses its health coverage. Oh, he's dropped that? Well, it made for a lively 24 hours.
Thursday, April 27, 2017

The President goes bananas
Yet again, it's that pesky Constitution and those federal judges who take so seriously their obligation to uphold it, even when the king -- excuse me, the president -- is on the other side. 
Thursday, April 27, 2017

Shutdown showdown -- again

WASHINGTON -- As Donald Trump approaches the 100-day marker of his first year in office, he has defined himself not as the Dealmaker in Chief but as The Backdown President.

 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

No one owns science

Science joined the #resistance over the weekend, or so the organizers of the March for Science would have us believe.

 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Donald Jong Un
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

What it means to be truly liberal on abortion
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Republicans want to muzzle database of consumer complaints

By KEVIN FREKING

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumers filed nearly 300,000 complaints last year about their dealings with banks, credit card issuers and other financial services companies. Most of those complaints were compiled and made available for anyone to see as part of a database administered by the federal government.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Republicans in position to reshape federal bench

By MARY CLARE JALONICK

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans have put President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee on the bench, and they’re now in a position to fill dozens more federal judgeships — and reshape some of the nation’s highest courts.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Expo '67's lasting impact
MONTREAL -- If you were looking for a place to explore how the world has changed in the past half-century, you could do worse than venture here and contemplate the glory that was Expo 67, perhaps the greatest World's Fair of the 20th century and certainly the most popular.
Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Trump victory on the border

Donald Trump's saber rattling may or may not deter Kim Jong Un, but it's had an effect south of the border. 

 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Hillary Clinton: Progress in LGBT rights may not be secure
NEW YORK (AP) — Hillary Clinton told an audience of LGBT advocates Thursday night that the progress they’ve achieved in recent years may not be secure under the Donald Trump administration, and urged them to keep fighting.
Friday, April 21, 2017

Senior citizen Sanders backs party youth to remake the Democratic party

OMAHA, Nebraska (AP) — Bernie Sanders, who attracted millions of college-aged and young adults to his presidential campaign last year, is following through on a promise he made when he left the race: to promote younger leaders for the Democratic Party.

 

Friday, April 21, 2017

UC Berkeley flip-flops on Ann Coulter, proposes alternate date
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — University of California, Berkeley officials said they have a “grave concern” of violence on campus if Ann Coulter follows through on her vow to speak next week at the university.
Friday, April 21, 2017

Murder while you watch
Thursday, April 20, 2017

Will Trump's order help US tech workers or not?
Thursday, April 20, 2017

Trump's long March problem
A new president needs to staff his administration with people who will be loyal to him. Donald Trump's problem is that he does not have enough loyalists to staff the White House, much less the entire executive branch.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017

No, Trump is not a neocon
 With U.S. missiles flying in Syria, the "mother of all bombs" exploding in Afghanistan and an aircraft carrier strike group heading toward North Korea, has there been a revolution in President Donald Trump's foreign policy?
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The strange and thankfully short ascendancy of Steve Bannon
President Trump didn't exactly boot Steve Bannon from his ruling circle of relatives and Wall Street hotshots he might like to have as relatives.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sean Spicer Must Go
The president's press secretary is either the stupidest person to ever hold a senior position in the White House or he's an outright anti-Semite. This is not a partisan issue. He is an embarrassment not just to the administration but also to our nation -- Republicans, Democrats, Jews, Christians, Muslims and all thinking people.
Saturday, April 15, 2017

Low-rent for big bucks
Despite recent revelations that Fox News and anchor Bill O‚Reilly had settled five complaints of sexual harassment against him to the tune of millions -- his ratings went up.
Thursday, April 13, 2017

What It Takes
For years, I have been trying to figure out what it will take to make my students care about politics, to believe that elections do matter.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

With Syria attack, Trump uses element of surprise - on his voters
Belligerence is in the air in Washington. President Trump is enjoying (extremely rare) bi-partisan praise for a cruise-missile attack on Syria. There's tough talk from some Republicans about more. And even tougher talk about Russia. North Korea, too.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

When the new frontier burned bright
Thursday morning they trooped to a Virginia hillside, speckled with white monuments standing out against the gray April skies, to reflect on, to salute, and then, with a bugler's sad tattoo, to bury the New Frontier.
Monday, April 10, 2017

During World War I, a silent film spoke volumes about freedom of speech

By Eric P. Robinson,

University of South Carolina

(THE CONVERSATION) —  In the United States, “The Great War” led to unprecedented efforts by the federal government to control and restrict “unpatriotic” speech. But the boundary between speech that undermined the government and legitimate criticism was often unclear.


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Trump's normality problem
White House official Steve Bannon is off the National Security Council, in a reversal of what had been an eyebrow-raising decision to put the president's top political adviser on the NSC. 
Saturday, April 8, 2017

Thursday's Syria cruise missle strikes latest of 21st century US military forays
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration opened a new military front Thursday when it ordered dozens of cruise missiles against a Syrian air base, adding to a growing list of recent U.S. military forays. A look at where the United States has fought in the 21st century:
Friday, April 7, 2017

Tillerson visiting Moscow as US and russia face fresh tensions over Syria
WASHINGTON (AP) — A proxy battle with Russia in Syria and multiple Russia-related investigations in the U.S. will follow Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Moscow next week on a trip designed to test the Trump administration’s hopes for closer ties to the former Cold War foe.
Friday, April 7, 2017

Can the president attack another country without Congress?
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. missile strikes Thursday on a Syrian air base were conducted without formal congressional approval. Some questions and answers about how and why presidents can conduct military action without permission from the 535 representatives of the American people.
Friday, April 7, 2017

Schiff mum on what he saw at the White House
Thursday, April 6, 2017

A tragic hero takes his leave
People who experienced the phenomenon of Charles D. "Pug" Ravenel can't have helped wondering what might have been -- if only he had won.
Thursday, April 6, 2017

Justice Gorsuch?
Judge Neil Gorsuch would never have been appointed to the Supreme Court by Hillary Clinton. He's way too conservative.
Thursday, April 6, 2017

What Woodrow Wilson set in motion
The American president was a romantic, a visionary, even a utopian. He was not without flaws; his racial views were offensive for his time, repugnant for ours. But he believed in human rights and the sanctity of human life. And he had a broad view of natural rights, and they included the freedom of the seas and the virtue of national self-determination. It was a toxic brew of ideas and ideals -- it would produce rhetorical majesty and personal and national tragedy -- but on April 2, 1917, he delivered the most important speech of his life, perhaps the most important speech of his time.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Dystopia: Cyborgs at work, employees getting implanted with microchips
STOCKHOLM (AP) — The syringe slides in between the thumb and index finger. Then, with a click, a microchip is injected in the employee’s hand. Another “cyborg” is created.
Tuesday, April 4, 2017

O'Reilly, Spicer comments help catapult Black Women At Work hashtag
(AP) — A pair of testy exchanges between high-profile black women and white men in the political spotlight launched a tweetstorm under the hashtag BlackWomenAtWork, validating the experiences of thousands of professional black women who say such slights are all too common.
Thursday, March 30, 2017

Another great upheaval
The Congress is divided as seldom before. Donald J. Trump is remaking the profile of the presidency. The press is under attack. The notion of free speech on campus is under siege. By month's end, serious questions will be raised about the independence, and perhaps even the survival, of the Federal Reserve Bank.
Monday, March 27, 2017

The health care albatross
Republicans should get used to it. Their agony on health care is just beginning.
Saturday, March 25, 2017

A 140-character flaw
The Trump administration is in the throes of one of the greatest self-inflicted distractions of the modern presidency. 
Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Yelling racist in a crowded nation

"Culture and demographics are our destiny." Stop.

But Iowa Rep. Steve King didn't stop there. He continued to feed his foot deep into his gullet: "We can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies."


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

How the GOP crackup happens
Less than two weeks after the unveiling of the GOP Obamacare replacement, the party is already staring into the abyss.
Friday, March 17, 2017

Congress' grizzly betrayal
In its zeal to repeal, the U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to overturn a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule forbidding the baiting, trapping and "denning" of bears and wolves in Alaska's national wildlife refuges.  
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The worst argument for Trumpcare
Of all the arguments to make for repealing and replacing Obamacare, the very worst is that people don't need health insurance. 
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The transferable skill of military service
SALEM, Mass. -- When Johnny comes marching home again, he sometimes runs for Congress. Jeannie, too.
Monday, March 13, 2017

Not your daddy's Marines
WASHINGTON -- An old Marine told me that Marines guard Marines from the other side. And when one of their brothers is being threatened, the Devil Dogs (aka Marines) will "go wild on them" for eternity.
Saturday, March 11, 2017

The perils of Jacksonian governance
Upon taking office, President Donald Trump dusted off a portrait of Andrew Jackson and hung it above his desk in the Oval Office. He chose better than he knew. 
Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Battle of Middlebury
At Middlebury College last week, Charles Murray needed a safe space -- literally. 
Friday, March 10, 2017

Bill passed to curb abuses in class-action suits that result in lawyer paydays
WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has approved a bill that would make it harder for individuals or groups to bring legal claims against companies in consumer disputes, employment discrimination cases and other areas.
Friday, March 10, 2017

Turning the 123-page GOP health care proposal from legislation into law
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans’ long-awaited plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has cleared a couple hurdles in the House. The GOP still must navigate a complicated path to turn its 123-page proposal from legislation to law.
Friday, March 10, 2017

R.I.P., DNC?
JACKSONVILLE, Ala. -- If the Democratic Party is ailing after losing the presidency to Donald Trump, state parties are on life support. 
Thursday, March 9, 2017

The information vacuum inside the Trump Russia controversy
Put aside, for a moment, the raging controversies over this or that aspect of Donald Trump, the Russians, and the election. And then ask: What do we know about the allegation at the heart of the matter: Did Trump, his campaign aides, or his associates collude with Russians to influence the 2016 campaign?
Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Russian revolution, still turning
It was a land of peasants, and yet it was industrializing with astonishing speed. It was ruled by an ancient, autocratic royal family, and yet there were remarkable stirrings of demands for democracy.
Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Hail to The New York Times
On the verge of irrelevancy in an age where people are used to getting their news for free, The New York Times, pay wall and all, is on a roll.
Monday, March 6, 2017

Adjectively speaking
White House press secretary Sean Spicer might owe Melissa McCarthy a thank-you note.
Saturday, March 4, 2017

The end of Reaganism
In the course of a few days, President Donald Trump showed how thoroughly he has conquered conservative activists and the Republican Party.
Friday, March 3, 2017

What has Trump done for the American people?
The punditry remains obsessed over Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller and their alleged boss, Donald Trump. Who's controlling whom? And the world's still fascinated by Trump's appalling and entertaining antics -- as confusion runs riot in the executive branch.
Thursday, March 2, 2017

Yes, deconstruct the administrative state
Steve Bannon blew a dog whistle for constitutional conservatives when he spoke of "deconstructing the administrative state" at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Optimism in Trump's America
President Trump's job approval rating, 44 percent with a 48 percent disapproval rating in a new Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll, makes him "the first president of the post-World War II era with a net negative approval rating in his first gauge of public opinion," according to the Journal.
Wednesday, March 1, 2017

If the early controversies of the Reagan administration are any indication
By David Shribman

If the early controversies of the Reagan administration are any indication -- the contretemps over whether the Agriculture Department should count ketchup as a vegetable in school lunches and whether Interior Secretary James Watt's view that Americans should "occupy the land until Jesus returns" was national policy -- the current furors swirling around the Trump administration are mere distractions.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Enough About the Shoes
That the two most prominent women in the Trump administration should be caught up in a controversy about shoes tells you (if not our new leader) how far we have to go.
Monday, February 27, 2017

The myth of the passive president
President Donald Trump gives the impression of having done everything in his first month in the White House -- except think about Congress.
Monday, February 27, 2017

The LA movie that should have won best picture
My candidate lost, and yes, I still can't get over it. I speak of the 1997 movie "L.A. Confidential." A riff on the creepy film-noir movies of the 1950s, its dark brilliance lay clouded in the bloated shadow of "Titanic."
Saturday, February 25, 2017

In their own words: End of transgender bathroom rule gets praise, criticism
WASHINGTON (AP) — Conservatives are praising the Trump administration’s rollback of public school bathroom requirements for transgender students, saying the move corrects a legal overreach by the Obama administration that is best left for states to decide.
Thursday, February 23, 2017

What's happening in Sweden
As if on cue, riots broke out in a heavily immigrant suburb of Stockholm as soon as the media mocked President Donald Trump for a vague warning about immigration-related problems in Sweden. 
Wednesday, February 22, 2017

NATO to US: Yes, sir, Mr. Trump
Candidate Donald Trump set off a furious controversy when he said NATO countries should pay their "fair share" of mutual defense costs and, later, that the treaty organization was "obsolete" because not enough of its efforts were directed against radical Islamic terrorism.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017










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