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home : opinion : editorial March 7, 2021

Credit card borrowing falls to lowest in level in 4 years
WASHINGTON (AP) — Borrowing by Americans fell in January for the first time in five months, as the use of credit cards fell to the lowest level in four years, offsetting gains in auto loans and student loans.
Saturday, March 6, 2021

Attack of the woke teen career killers
I was a mere 70 pages into Donald McNeil's brief about his firing from The New York Times when I emailed a dozen of my friends to demand they read it immediately. But they don't have my perseverance, so here are the highlights.
Saturday, March 6, 2021

Women accusing Cuomo won't come out on top
Three women have accused New York's Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment. The complaints center largely around unsolicited shows of affection.
Friday, March 5, 2021

'Who Gets What, When, and How'
"Yay for science," Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the new head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said quietly as famed photographer Annie Leibovitz got the shot, no pun intended.

Hooray, indeed. Science worked. Science -- that is, people -- managed to do in one year what usually takes 10 to 15 years.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

White House in denial about border crisis
During the 2020 campaign, candidate Joe Biden promised to undo President Donald Trump's border security policies. He pledged to halt all deportations for 100 days and allow asylum seekers who enter the United States illegally to stay in this country while their cases are considered, rather than wait in Mexico, as Trump required.
Wednesday, March 3, 2021

We can't take no for an answer
I don't mean that we are going to punish a grandmother who has reason not to trust government.

I do mean that we have to figure out how to change her mind.

In California, Blacks and Hispanics are dying of COVID-19 at much higher rates than whites or Asians.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Free us from Britney Spears
At age 11, Britney Spears played the wholesome American girl on "The All New Mickey Mouse Club." A few years later, she was on concert stages surrounded by big teddy bears as she bumped, grinded and moaned. There was also a pole dance.
Saturday, February 27, 2021

What was he thinking?
It's stunning to watch powerful men get caught.

Everybody always says, "Why did they do it?" but that's usually the easy part. In one way or another, it all comes back to making themselves look better, richer, smarter, more successful and more sexual than anyone else.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Canada sighs with relief after biden, trudeau meeting
No fiery exchanges. No angry tweets. No insults. No bruised feelings. No problem.

You may not have noticed -- the dutiful "PBS NewsHour" devoted only three sentences to it 12 minutes into its broadcast, The New York Times buried it at the bottom of page A12, and The Boston Globe ignored it completely -- but the president of the United States and the prime minister of Canada held a video meeting the other day.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Cutting in line
It is a brisk morning, but this is LA, so that means we are in sweaters and puffers. We stand six feet apart.

I cannot believe I am here, cannot believe that a year spent inside, in fear, in anger, in grief, is nearing an end.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Thank God for the Proud Boys
A little more than a year ago, 2,000 antifa tried to shut down my speech at UC Berkeley, according to police on the scene. The Berkeley police chief had ordered her officers to stand outside the building like mute ninjas, and make no arrests, unless they personally witnessed a felony being committed in front of them.

So barring a bank suddenly popping up on the sidewalk and an antifa attempting to rob it, I had no official protection from 2,000 violent, mentally disturbed thugs.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

How American science returned to astonish us
 French news cameras were in California last week to capture America's spectacular drive to mass-vaccinate against COVID-19. What were the visuals? An amusement park with cars lined up, their passengers waiting for a jab.

"Armies" of volunteers are helping, the French reporter says as attendants in protective gear direct the snaking traffic. Aerial pictures show cars lined up at vaccination stations, "by day" and "by night."

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

What were the capitol rioters thinking?
It's one of the most basic questions of the U.S. Capitol riot investigation: What was the rioters' plan? What did they think was going to happen when they stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, as Congress certified the results of the Electoral College?
Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Andrew Cuomo is everything the press accused Ron DeSantis of being
Throughout the pandemic, the press has been excoriatingly harsh on a governor who was slow to act, unnecessarily endangered the lives of the elderly, alienated experts and cooked the numbers.

It just thought the governor in question was Florida's Ron DeSantis rather than New York's Andrew Cuomo.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Hope Up and Guard Down as Pandemic Starts to Weaken?
Are we at the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning? Let's call it the middle.

The COVID-19 numbers are going decisively lower, both infections and deaths. Millions, meanwhile, are getting the vaccine and becoming mostly immune to the disease.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Do you, like me, suffer from malaise?
In the 1970s, President Jimmy Carter supposedly worried that Americans were suffering from collective malaise, the French word for an underlying feeling of discomfort, uneasiness. Carter was roundly ridiculed. A few years later, President Ronald Reagan campaigned in 1984 on the theme, in sharp contrast: “It’s morning again in America.” Whether that were true, the Reagan positivity fueled his successful re-election.
Saturday, February 20, 2021

Advantage Trump in the GOP civil war -- for now
Well, it's on.

Donald Trump ended his post-presidency silence not with a blast at President Joe Biden, or at the left, or at the House impeachment managers, but at the true enemy -- Mitch McConnell.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

NYT: Was he innocent? Answer: no
Here is this week's installment of "The New York Times is ALWAYS lying about criminals (and probably everything else)."
Friday, February 19, 2021

Washington, D.C., is not, counter to what you might think, a war zone.
The city isn't divided down the middle between the forces of the United States government on one hand and secessionist rebels on the other. Insurgents aren't mortaring Reagan National Airport. Neither Virginia nor Maryland is about to declare war on the district.
Thursday, February 18, 2021

Should a 9/11 style commission investigate the capitol riot?
Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House will vote to create an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. There's no doubt there needs to be an extensive investigation of the events surrounding the riot. But what is striking is that, even as Pelosi calls for an investigation, a number of government agencies are stonewalling the public on some of the most basic information about the events of Jan. 6.
Wednesday, February 17, 2021

They're not dead. Typewriters live on in today's world
While cleaning out the garage of an elderly friend who died recently, what did I find under a pile of 1967 Playboys but a typewriter. It wasn't just any typewriter but a vintage IBM Selectric II. I moved all 37 pounds of it to the trunk of my car.

There's a scene in "Mad Men" where a new IBM Selectric arrives at the Sterling Cooper offices. It is 1960, and the staff gathers to gawk as it strikes letters via a wildly rotating ball -- known as the "golf ball." The Selectric marked a revolutionary change from the traditional typewriter where individual type bars swing up to strike the ribbon and page. (Typewriter cultists complained that this Selectric model wasn't introduced until 1961.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Block the vote: The GOP's suppression obsession
Black History Month 2021 arrived just in time to cap a year in which white Americans' eyes have been opened in a new way to the burdens endured by communities of color. In the year since the pandemic broke into the open, a particularly harsh spotlight has shone on race in America, shattering the false confidence that allegations of systemic racism were overly aggressive or just plain overblown.
Monday, February 15, 2021

The minimum wage can be tricky

There are studies -- oh, there are studies -- on how hiking the minimum wage affects employment. And good studies contradict other good studies. The problem is that the mechanics linking wages to jobs have a lot of moving parts. The details matter.

Monday, February 15, 2021

When the White House can't handle the truth
On Jan. 21, President Biden's first full day in office, White House press secretary Jen Psaki began her briefing with this: "When the president asked me to serve in this role, we talked about the importance of bringing truth and transparency back to the briefing room." Now, the administration's position on opening schools shut by COVID lockdowns is testing that pledge.
Friday, February 12, 2021

My nation-unifying impeachment solution
Senate Republicans should offer to convict Donald Trump in return for Democrats agreeing to fund the wall.

Trump is not going to run again anyway. In four years, he will be as viable a presidential candidate as Hillary was in 2020. You wouldn't have guessed that, either, from all the gnashing of teeth about the MOST QUALIFIED WOMAN EVER TO SEEK THE PRESIDENCY immediately after she lost.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Are the classics racist?
It was only a matter of time before Cicero got canceled.

The New York Times the other day profiled Princeton classicist Dan-el Padilla Peralta, who wants to destroy the study of classics as a blow for racial justice.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Liberals 'heart' murderers
I assume it's overkill to continue listing the evidence against death row inmate Kevin Cooper, duly convicted of committing a quadruple murder back in 1983. The blinding proof of his guilt was covered in last week's column.
Saturday, February 6, 2021

Crying fire in a crowded theater
Perhaps the most famous quote about the First Amendment -- one that is often garbled and is sure to be dissected in the upcoming impeachment trial -- comes from former Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, writing for a unanimous Supreme Court in Schenck v. United States: "The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic."
Saturday, February 6, 2021

US needs to step up its game or face losing the economic 'Cold War'
I had lunch this past week with two civic leaders in their handsome small city in central Illinois. Both had moved to their present town for family reasons, after careers in other states. They are both concerned about the averageness of their local high school.
Friday, February 5, 2021

Don't quit on the GOP
After losing a national election, it's natural that a political party goes through a period of soul-searching and internal turmoil.
Friday, February 5, 2021

Joe Biden's left-wing start
Joe Biden is off to the most left-wing start of any Democratic president in recent memory.

The dulcet tones of Biden's inaugural address already seem an artifact of a bygone era. Republicans will hammer him for the rest of his presidency for failing to deliver on his unifying message, but the fact is that Biden is governing as he promised -- further to the left of his own record, further to the left of Barack Obama, and further to the left of any Democrat who made his career prior to the ascendency of the cultural left.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Why is the National Guard still in Washington?
There were roughly 25,000 National Guard members in Washington, D.C., for the inauguration of President Joe Biden. It has been normal practice to have some National Guard in town for inaugurations, but 25,000 was far more than any number from the past. Of course, nerves were raw after the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, but there is little doubt that mobilizing 25,000 troops was an overreaction.

Now, 5,000 are still in the nation's capital. The inauguration was nearly two weeks ago. It went off without incident. There is no need for troops in the city. And yet, touring the federal area of Washington, one finds tall fencing and razor wire creating a huge militarized zone around the Capitol, with National Guard members guarding it from inside the fence. The barrier is not just on the perimeter of the Capitol. It extends for blocks beyond the building in every direction.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Detroit puts pedal to the metal toward clean energy future
General Motors has just delivered an electric shock to the automotive world. America's biggest automaker says that it wants its entire vehicle lineup to be electric by 2035. That's a mere 14 years from now.

This shouldn't be a shock. Electric cars are coming at us fast.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Congress bows to the pen and the phone
President Joe Biden has proved that, if nothing else, he has a pen and a phone.

According to The Economist, he signed more executive orders in his first two days than President Donald Trump signed in nearly his first two months.

Monday, February 1, 2021

The mob cannot go home again
Peaceful democracy won and beat back the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. But it was a close call. I know, having been there, inside the House chamber, when glass was broken and shots were fired. The raging shrieks of the mob still wake me.
Saturday, January 30, 2021

The New Federalism
The U.S. COVID response has been called "federalism at its best" -- treating the states as "laboratories of change," as former Justice Louis Brandeis once said, rather than concentrating all decision-making in the federal government.

Frankly, it feels like federalism at its worst. At a time when we needed a national policy to fight a war that has cost more American lives than World War II, it was left to the 50 states to play faction-filled politics at its worst. Maskless rallies, closed restaurants, closed patios, open casinos, endlessly mixed messages. All told, it was about the least effective strategy in the Western world.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Goodbye, Keystone XL pipeline
Little passion greeted President Joe Biden's decision to kill the Keystone XL pipeline. Remarkably little.

Sure, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney called the move an "insult." His Canadian province had sunk $1.1 billion into the project, designed to transport dirty oil from Alberta's tar sands to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Quadruple murderer is NYT's profile in courage
Having run out of international con women to promote or innocent biological weapons researchers to accuse, The New York Times' Nicholas Kristof is banging on about a spectacularly guilty quadruple murderer who -- according to Kristof -- "is very likely innocent."
Thursday, January 28, 2021

The Proud Boys return to Neverland
So, the Proud Boys now judge Donald Trump "a total failure" and "extraordinarily weak." The members of the far-right group understood at last that when the former president denounced them for doing what he incited them to do, they looked ridiculous.
Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Can Trump be tried?
House Democratic impeachment managers have delivered to the Senate a single, hastily passed article of impeachment against former President Trump. A trial is set to begin on Feb. 9. It will be an event without precedent -- the first time in U.S. history that a former president will be tried in a court of impeachment.

Several Republicans are arguing that a trial would be unconstitutional, that a former president cannot be tried. After all, they say, impeachment is the Constitution's method for removing a president who has been found guilty of serious misconduct. But Trump can't be removed. He's already gone, having served out his term that ended on Jan. 20.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

'Free speech for me, but not for thee'
Long a stalwart defender of the First Amendment, the American media is now having second thoughts.

For decades, it was a commonplace sentiment among journalists that freedom of the press was one of the glories of our system. It helped to make the government accountable and to air diverse points of view -- even unpopular ones -- to be tested in the marketplace of ideas.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The vaccine lottery
On Tuesday afternoon, while working at my desk, two things happened almost at once.

My law school roommate texted me that she and her husband had just signed up online to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Why are we so angry? What can be done about it?
At the post office the other day, where all of us in my rural town go to pick up our daily mail, a friend asked: “Why are we so angry, Jim?” By “we” he didn’t mean him and me, and I could tell, even with his mask on, that he was concerned..
Saturday, January 23, 2021

Without discipline, humane border policy fails
On his first day as president, Joe Biden is unfurling big ideas for fixing the immigration program. Any smart plan will loosen howls by extreme opinions, be they for shutting the borders tight or opening them wide, so he might as well do the right thing. Rebuilding the system to be more humane would be welcome. But protecting American labor from unfair competition is also essential. That means controlling who enters and how many enter the country.
Saturday, January 23, 2021

Gorman, summoned to participate, is celebrated
It began with an old poet saluting a young president. Sixty years later, it was a young poet saluting an old president.
Friday, January 22, 2021

No, there won't be unity
Inaugural addresses are meant to be aspirational, so President Joe Biden might as well have doubled down on his call for unity in his address.
Friday, January 22, 2021

Joe Biden to Canada: Drop dead
Poor Justin Trudeau. The Canadian prime minister must have been relieved to be done with President Donald Trump, only to learn that Joe Biden plans to tell Canada to pound sand as one of his first priorities. 
Thursday, January 21, 2021

First duty of the press: Make it about race
Why can't liberals ever just let Trump hang himself? Isn't what he's actually done bad enough? No, the media always have to punch up the story, layering lie upon lie, until normal people are forced to say, I don't want to defend the guy, but that didn't happen.

This was the whole point of my book "Resistance Is Futile," written at the outset of the Trump administration:

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Trump derangement syndrome in a post-Trump world
President Trump is now former President Trump. With Joe Biden now President Biden, Democrats control the White House, the House and the Senate. An ambitious agenda lies ahead for the new Democratic administration. And yet there are signs that some Democrats' obsession with Donald Trump -- the condition known as Trump Derangement Syndrome, or TDS -- will remain as strong, or perhaps become stronger, now that Trump has left the White House.
Wednesday, January 20, 2021

In Biden, U.S. seeks a Lincoln
There are many dangers ahead for that great survivor of American politics, Joe Biden. There is a deadly virus that is rampaging across the land even as it is mutating, economic challenges, a wealth and privilege gap that is widening, potential troubles with Iran, allies wary of America's commitments and direction, and citizens at home and abroad worried about the endurance of democratic institutions in what remains the globe's most powerful economic and military power.

That list exemplifies what your sixth-grade teacher would call a run-on sentence. That is because the problems run on and on. And that is before we mention the fundamental crisis:

Monday, January 18, 2021

Beyond the beltway
I don't think there is anyone in America with a phone who hasn't seen the graphic pictures of the Capitol under siege, or hasn't read the harrowing accounts of those trapped inside barricaded rooms.

Whatever else they may have done wrong, the Capitol Police protected everyone who was legitimately in the Capitol.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

The Flight 93 post-election
President Donald Trump finally did what the foremost metaphor associated with his political rise would have suggested -- he plowed his plane into the ground.

That metaphor is Flight 93, courtesy of Michael Anton, author of a famous essay before the 2016 election about how Republicans had no option but to get on board with Trump. "Charge the cockpit or you die," Anton wrote.

Friday, January 15, 2021

A message from the hot spot: It's about vaccines
There's a message we are hearing every day: Somehow, by June or July, everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one.

You will survive, if you live that long.

I understand congressional anger. I hope we all share that anger.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Most disloyal man in history finally finds a cause worth fighting for
Why, in the last 12 days of his presidency, did Donald Trump suddenly become the authoritarian of liberal fantasies? He sure wasn't an authoritarian for the past four years -- he was a spineless wonder.

When it came to the wall, bringing the troops home, ending hedge fund managers' tax loopholes and other campaign promises, Trump backed down to everybody: district court judges, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, the de facto president Jared Kushner, trusted Goldman Sachs alumnus Gary Cohn, useless donors, or any two people raising an objection.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

A crazy impeachment
Democrats started trying to remove President Donald Trump from office before he entered office. Now they are proposing to remove him from office after he leaves office.

How do you remove an ex-president? He's already gone. That is the bizarre question posed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's obsessive quest to re-impeach Trump with just a few days left in his term. Why impeach the president now, as the House seeks to do, when there is not enough time for the Senate to hold a trial and pass judgment on the case before Trump's term expires on Wednesday, Jan. 20?

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Twitter deranged our politics
 Donald Trump was the president of Twitter.

What radio was to Franklin Delano Roosevelt and TV was to Ronald Reagan, communicating 280 characters at a time on a social media platform that is a watchword for hyperactive inanity was to President Trump.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Merrick Garland
Amid Wednesday's riots, President-elect Joe Biden's selection of Judge Merrick Garland as attorney general was not the front-page story it otherwise would have been.

In watching the horror of terrorists taking over the Capitol, the only consolation that got me through the day was the knowledge that my old friend will soon be running the Justice Department.

Monday, January 11, 2021

On the day democracy wept
Cry, the beloved country.

There have been multiple American moments of great drama since World War II. Movements to extend rights to minorities, women, the disabled and gays. Assassinations, terrorist attacks and anti-war protests. Scandals, impeachments and an election that went into 36 days of overtime.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Trump's disgusting coda
There's a reason we expect presidents of the United States to say that they support the peaceful transfer of power.
Saturday, January 9, 2021

Behavior of rioters does not erase righteous grievance of voters who've lost faith
NEW YORK (AP) — Media outlets that appeal to conservatives offered condemnations, explanations and deflections following the U.S. Capitol riot by President Donald Trump’s supporters, but little introspection.
Friday, January 8, 2021

Rep. Kim: 'When you see something you love that's broken you want to fix it.'
(AP) — Water bottles, clothing, Trump flags, even a U.S. flag littered the ground inside the U.S. Capitol after a mob backing President Donald Trump ransacked the building.
Friday, January 8, 2021

The traitor on top
What do you say of a man who openly seeks to subvert the Constitution and incites his supporters to take over the Capitol of the United States?

He's not a president. He was never a president.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

The election is over. Here's the truth about Trump
Now that the Georgia runoffs are over, let's talk about Donald Trump.

When we really needed all hands on deck in Georgia, Trump was a wrecking ball. He went down to Georgia and insulted everyone, refusing to talk about anything but himself.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Now they tell us - Trump was tough on Russia
Democrats and their allies in the press spent the last four years accusing President Donald Trump of being soft on Russia. And worse: Some called the president a Russian asset, a traitor, Putin's patsy and much, much more. It was all nonsense, because behind the rhetoric was the stark reality that Trump, and his administration, have actually been tougher on Russia than many of his predecessors. Now, with the president on the way out, one lone voice in the anti-Trump press -- CNN, specifically -- has spoken the truth out loud.
Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Remap too important to leave to Madigan
The dance of democracy continues in 2021 with the once-a-decade ritual of drawing new state legislative and congressional district lines in Illinois and across the nation. In two-thirds of the states, including Illinois, the legislators themselves draw the lines. This means the party in power draws maps that favor incumbents and enhances its partisan control.

This is done rather simply by “cracking” (breaking apart) pockets of opposition party strength or, conversely, by “packing” (concentrating) a party’s voters so as to limit the numbers of districts the opposition can win.

A couple of election cycles ago, a friend of mine tallied the total number of votes across Illinois for Democratic and Republican House candidates, respectively. He found that Democrats received 50 percent of the total vote, yet won 60 percent of the legislative seats. (That is what is called “gerrymandering,” in honor of Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry, who in the early Republic drew a district, favorable to his allies, that looked like a mythical, contorted salamander.)

But this year can be different, as I explain below..

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Why isn't Gohmert the face of the Republican party?
I'm no big fan of AOC. Some of her ideas aren't bad, but Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez burdens the progressive cause by waving the socialist label like it's some kind of fashion brand. That has enabled Republicans to make her the face of the Democratic Party in a country where the S-word can scare off even moderates.
Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Trump's shameful Georgia call
President Donald Trump has turned a narrow electoral defeat into a bid for infamy.

His goal in the post-election interlude has been more and more explicitly to overturn the results of the election. Indeed, a couple of weeks ago he tweeted  simply, "#OVERTURN."

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

When there's no room at the hospital
In Los Angeles County, the hospitals are all full. ICU capacity dropped to zero percent in late December. Still, most of us are in denial, assuming full doesn't really mean that they are out of beds, much less rationing care.
Monday, January 4, 2021

Whither the GOP in Illinois?
Written in quill pen (not literally; it was 1965), my master’s thesis was about “Leaderless Politics: The Illinois Republican Party.” Not much has changed.
Saturday, January 2, 2021

Who's on first?
I want the vaccine. I have rarely left my house during the last nine months -- if you try, you can find a way to have almost anything delivered -- because someone in our pod is being treated for cancer, and my kids and I don't take risks.
Thursday, December 31, 2020

The year we cultivated our gardens
Very soon, a year of a deadly pandemic, social isolation, job loss and political chaos will come to an end. The coronavirus will continue its rampage but seems destined to hit a wall around late spring. Life will return to normal, we are told.
Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Behold, the delivery revolution
It's been a terrible year for the American worker, with a notable bright spot courtesy of one of the tech firms in the crosshairs of regulators and lawmakers. 
Tuesday, December 29, 2020

This year, if you're reading essays, you're lucky enough
Pop into any gift shop near a tourist lake, and you will see a pillow embroidered with this truth: If you're lucky to live by a lake, you are lucky enough. Now that the holiday gift season is over, I have my own version: If you were lucky enough to get a copy of the new book "The Glorious American Essay" this month, then you are lucky enough.
Monday, December 28, 2020

Life in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is on the verge of becoming the world's biggest COVID hot spot in the world. "The epicenter," we say, shaking our heads. How did this happen?
Saturday, December 26, 2020

Is there a vaccine against pandering?
Saturday, December 26, 2020

Tax probes need to happen
Hunter Biden says his tax affairs are under investigation. The president-elect's son says he is "confident" the probe by the U.S. attorney's office in Delaware will find no wrongdoing.

Fine. We shall see.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

No, Joe, we're not in a 'climate crisis'
Former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel's famous axiom is that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. It's an even worse thing to manufacture.

Although President-elect Joe Biden obviously disagrees. Creating an unwarranted sense of drama and urgency around climate change is central to his approach, in order to catalyze action unsupported by the facts or common sense.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Miracle on 80th street
I've spent the week in New York, and no visit happens without a trip to Zabar's, a specialty food store on Broadway and 80th Street. A destination for tourists as well as locals, Zabar's was less frenetic than you'd expect around the holidays, but still, there were people.

Anyhow, when I unloaded my basket at one of the cramped checkout stations, I couldn't find my wallet. Panicked, I fumbled around my bag looking for my cards. And even though shoppers were backed up in my line, the cashier told me to take my time and go through pockets, etc. No luck. I found cash set aside for something else to cover the purchase.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The Democrats' Eric Swalwell problem
House Democratic leaders are trying to keep the espionage scandal surrounding Intelligence Committee member Rep. Eric Swalwell under tight control. But it's going to be an uphill battle. Republicans are pushing harder and harder to learn more about Swalwell's relationship with Chinese spy Christine Fang. And the Democrats' strongest ally -- The New York Times, which has averted its eyes and so far refused to publish even one word about the matter -- can't hold out forever.
Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Nobody seems to give a whit about Illinois
The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University asked me to do some noodling about the future of Illinois. I have mentioned this to several friends. The responses ? a roll of the eyes; a belly laugh; a retort that it is too late to do anything about Illinois. Nobody has responded that it is a good use of my time, needs to be done.

Few, it seems, give a whit about our state. Why might this be so?

Monday, December 21, 2020

The golden era of Christmas songs
The great performer Bing Crosby reached the height of his stardom about 80 years ago, but every Christmas season he makes a triumphant return to American radio and malls and other public places. 
Sunday, December 20, 2020

There is no debate to be had on vaccination
I'm not a scientist. I'm not an infectious disease expert, let alone one of those who led the fight against AIDS. So I have to depend on experts. And luckily for me, there is no debate among experts on the subject of vaccinations. I know I will get furious emails, but they won't be from the most knowledgeable scientists. Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton would not be offering to roll up their sleeves if doing so would put them at risk. It won't.
Saturday, December 19, 2020

Don't pardon Snowden
No one will ever accuse President Donald Trump of being overly careful in his exercise of his pardon power.

So, it makes sense that advocates of Edward Snowden, the man responsible for the most damaging classified leak in U.S. history, are mounting a last-minute push to get the president who pardoned Sheriff Joe and Roger Stone to issue his most outrageous and indefensible pardon yet.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Happy Forefathers' Day!
Here's another reason to hedge your bets by using the "Happy Holidays" greeting at this season: Monday is Forefathers' Day. Deride its importance at your own peril, and at the peril of your country.

Forefathers' Day likely is not on your calendar and surely is not top of mind, but it has been celebrated one way or another for 251 years, usually on Dec. 21 but not always, its date dependent on which historical account, which calendar and which source is regarded as preeminent.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Breonna Taylor: The true story of a BLM hero
Hey, guys, I found out the true facts in the Breonna Taylor case!

Remember the "botched raid" (New York Times) on Breonna's apartment in Louisville, Kentucky, last March, when police officers killed this innocent black woman as she slept peacefully in her bed?

Thursday, December 17, 2020

The vaccine new world
What a relief that at least a few of us are getting the coronavirus vaccine. I would have liked my arm to have been among the select few. I'll wait patiently, however, comforted in knowing that with every passing week, the list of Americans threatened by this nasty, deadly virus will shrink and life will return to normal.
Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The embarrassing Russian disinformation canard
If there's one thing that the Hunter Biden laptop episode has proven, it is that former directors of the Central Intelligence Agency aren't as adept at evaluating evidence as advertised.

Five former directors or acting directors of the CIA signed a letter asserting that the laptop, first reported by the New York Post in the weeks before the election, "has all the hallmarks of Russian information operation."

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

COVID concentrates minds on obesity
Obesity is a major risk factor for those dying from the coronavirus.

So strong is that fear among the very overweight that bariatric surgeries have seen a significant jump in demand. Bariatric surgery is a procedure performed on the stomach or intestines that causes weight loss.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Electoral College meets Monday: Its critics push for a popular vote compact
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — When the Electoral College meets Monday, its detractors hope it marks the beginning of the end of a system that twice this century has vaulted the loser of the popular vote to the presidency.
Saturday, December 12, 2020

The glory of Trump's judges
One of President Donald Trump's foremost achievements has been to erect a formidable obstacle to his own post-election legal challenges.
Saturday, December 12, 2020

Historians will long debate legacy of transformative Trump
He changed America's approach to trade. He transformed the nation's relationship with China. He altered the country's role in international institutions. He remolded the nation's alliances. He reshaped American views about immigration. He modified decades-old customs of politics. He weaponized social media.
Friday, December 11, 2020

Voter fraud never happens! (Except in these 10,000 cases)
The media have been lying about voter fraud for 20 years. The New York Times and The Washington Post will tell you: Let's get something straight. There are only two cases of voter fraud in history and they were both Republicans.
Thursday, December 10, 2020

How Nancy Pelosi's TDs hurt America
One of the more appalling moments in the recent history of the House of Representatives occurred recently in the Capitol Visitor Center. Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave her weekly news conference and said that she had changed her position on the issue of passing a coronavirus relief bill. For months, as millions suffered the economic devastation associated with the pandemic, Pelosi stonewalled the Trump administration's efforts to pass targeted, short-term relief for those in need. Now, as if by magic, she's all for it.
Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The economic cruelty of the pandemic
Just when it seemed some of the most disheartening trends in the U.S. economy were finally beginning to reverse, COVID-19 arrived to entrench them.

The pandemic has been a neutron bomb targeted at the prospects of lower income working people. They had finally begun to benefit from the recovery from the Great Recession when the virus ravaged sectors of the economy that disproportionately employ them.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Will Democrats ever drop iIdentity politics?
The days right after an election are an ideal time for political parties to work on fixing bad habits. For Democrats, that would mean kicking the increasingly dated custom of declaring race, ethnicity and gender factors in filling leadership positions. Demands on President-elect Joe Biden to put these considerations front and center show a failure to understand how politically poisonous identity politics have become.

Happily, Biden is choosing people who are highly qualified for the job. But unhappily, and no small irony, focusing on their identity only subtracts attention from their impressive careers.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

What's next for Fox News?
I had to laugh when President Donald Trump got mad at Fox News. He really did think Fox News was no more than the mouthpiece of the Republican National Committee. I'm sure he would say that he made Fox News, which is simply not true.

Roger Ailes made Fox News.

Monday, December 7, 2020

The conspiracy theory that could hand Joe Biden the Senate
There is no evidence that Lin Wood and Sidney Powell are secretly working for the Democratic National Committee, but no one has definitively disproved it, either.

That's the kind of conspiratorial reasoning that the Wood-Powell duo, with their deep commitment to wild and unfalsifiable charges, might apply to themselves.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Trinity Dodge Fixed
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