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home : opinion : editorial April 10, 2021

Step by step
The Reopening of America -- or even of one town or state -- is hardly a seamless operation.

The stages make less and less sense. Everything is open, even if everything isn't really supposed to be open for more than a month.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Why Michael Madigan hasn't yet been indicted
Friends ask: “Why hasn’t Mike Madigan been indicted yet? After all, he has been under investigation for what must be a couple of years now.”

My answer: It’s because the federal prosecutor is not confident he can prove that the former Illinois House speaker personally did anything illegal.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Ron DeSantis is what the post-Trump GOP should look like
If Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ever sets up a presidential exploratory committee, it should have to disclose an enormous in-kind contribution from CBS News.

The "60 Minutes" segment this past weekend alleging that DeSantis distributed the COVID-19 vaccine through pharmacies at the Publix grocery store chain as part of a quid pro quo was so outlandishly wrong that even Democratic officials in the state have objected.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Henry Ford would have pushed car charging stations
When Henry Ford introduced the Model T in 1908, he had a problem. There were almost no paved roads in America. To sell his product to the masses, he needed good roads.

No one would ever deny his place among titans of American capitalism, but Ford was not shy about urging the government to supply the infrastructure essential to his business. And it did.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Minneapolis vs. the evidence
Apparently, no one is watching the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer on trial for the murder of George Floyd. Otherwise, the media couldn't get away with their spectacular lying to the public about how the prosecution is killing it.
Thursday, April 8, 2021

Vaccine passports: A culture war we don't have to wage
"We are not supporting doing any vaccine passports in the state of Florida," declared Gov. Ron DeSantis. "It's completely unacceptable," he said, for either government or the private sector to require showing proof of vaccination against COVID-19 "to just simply participate in normal society."
Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Lessons from little free libraries
This is a “good news” story (we could use a few). I am late to the game here, as you will see, but worth the telling, and lessons to be learned.
Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Woke disinformation is more pervasive and powerful than Russian disinformation
Why do the Russians need to bother spreading disinformation when our own domestic sources do a much better job at it?
Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Biden's FDR delusion
In early March, President Joe Biden met with a group of seven historians in the East Room of the White House. One topic of conversation: Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal. "He'd like to be [FDR]," Axios' Mike Allen reported in an inside account of the meeting. "Biden's presidency has already been transformative, and he has many more giant plans teed up that could make Biden's New Deal the biggest change to governance in our lifetimes."
Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Go Red
If you're looking for a vaccine, I can offer one piece of practical advice: Go red. If you live in a blue state, look for the red counties. Or get in your car and drive.

Six hours to Amarillo, my friend's son says. Amarillo was his grandfather's hometown. Other than that, he has absolutely no connection. But Texas is Texas. Better than letting it go to waste.

Monday, April 5, 2021

And so it begins
That sigh you hear -- that collective exhale -- is the expression of relief issuing forth from the political classes of Iowa and New Hampshire.

From where you sit, you cannot see scores of eyes looking heavenward. Nor the pressing of palms to the heart. Nor even the brief bows of the head in thanks. But they are there, for better or for worse, against all elements of logic and judgment.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

The left is Andrew Cuomo's real problem
Ever since New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo bathed in praise for his daily briefings during the COVID-19 crisis, the right has tried to cut him down to size. That was understandable. But in the context of New York's Democratic-dominated politics, the right hardly matters.
Friday, April 2, 2021

The dollar sign president
So far, the defining word of the Biden era is "trillion."

The Joe Biden who portrayed himself as a moderate, old school, bipartisan dealmaker during the presidential campaign is now a distant memory.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Illinois social services a Wizard of Oz maze in need of navigation 'coaches'
I was a state agency director on three occasions back in the day, yet I don’t think I could navigate the maze of dozens of separate, and scattered, state and local social service agencies that have sprung up over the decades to address people’s problems. It’s time for a major reset, to simplify and to provide people in distress with “coaches” who can help navigate the maze.
Friday, April 2, 2021

The Biden administration is quietly ramping up assistance to the Palestinians
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is quietly ramping up assistance to the Palestinians after former President Donald Trump cut off nearly all aid. Since taking office with a pledge to reverse many of Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian decisions, the administration has allocated nearly $100 million for the Palestinians, only a small portion of which has been publicized.
Thursday, April 1, 2021

Derek chauvin, human sacrifice
In modern America, we periodically offer up white men as human sacrifices to the PC gods. Among our benefactions: Jake Gardner, Kyle Rittenhouse, Darren Wilson, the Duke lacrosse players, University of Virginia fraternity members, Stacey Koon and Mark Fuhrman.
Thursday, April 1, 2021

The voter suppression lie
President Joe Biden is so committed to bipartisan cooperation and fact-based governance that he's launched an ignorant and incendiary attack on the new Georgia voting law.  

Biden says the new law is "Jim Crow in the 21st century" and "an un-American law to deny people the right to vote."

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Streaming did the job. Now we need live theater
When will we be able to attend a live performance? That question is being asked angrily in France, where theater is more central to the national culture. (America has no national theater.) But we should ask that here as well. Broadway remains shuttered, as are indoor theaters and concert halls across the country. Can't they at least start their engines, if in a limited fashion?
Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Americans should not have to live in foxholes
In the 14 days after the death of George Floyd, 19 people across the country died in violent protests. Not all the deaths were gun-related, and some of the dead were engaged in criminal activity. Nonetheless, the nation responded with shock and talked of little else in the weeks that followed.

This week, a single gunman killed more than half that number in one hour at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado. All 10 victims, we assume, were innocents.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Guess who else wanted to give americans a financial boost?
Shhhh. Don't tell Joe Biden, but he is the modern incarnation of Richard M. Nixon.

Not with Watergate. Not with Nixon's heritage as a cold warrior. Not with his instinct for scheming against his enemies.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Stop the steal, for real this time
Well, the principled stand Democrats took against Congress trying to overturn duly certified elections lasted all of a month or two.

After rightly excoriating their Republican colleagues for challenging on Jan. 6 presidential results certified by the states, House Democrats immediately turned to doing, in effect, the exact same thing in an Iowa congressional district their candidate lost by six votes.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Is Biden boring?
He has been in office for just two months. In that time, he has gotten a $1.9 trillion bill through Congress, a bill that will put $1,400 in the hands of many Trump voters. He has restored our relationship with Europe. We are once again signers of the Paris Agreement. He has strengthened our relationship with the democracies in Southeast Asia that are most threatened by China.

And he's curing COVID.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Asian women are too damn hot!
Does anyone else find it odd that so many Asian activists reacted to the mass murder of (mostly) Asian women last week by talking about how smoking hot they are?  

I was at law school when I first noticed the phenomenon of liberal women pretending to be outraged as a cover for bragging. Average-to-ugly girls would work up feigned indignation about how a guy had "sexually harassed" them that day, then launch into a 20-minute retelling of some compliment they'd received. A man talked to me! I think he likes me ... Let's see, how do I work this into conversation for the rest of the week?

Thursday, March 25, 2021

In the Atlanta shooting, the narrative simply trumps the facts
At least it's permissible to question the conclusions of federal law enforcement again.

During the Russia investigation and afterward, officials like FBI Director Christopher Wray were put on a pedestal by Democrats and the media.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The Demoocrats' filibuster hypocrisy
On April 7, 2017, less than four years ago, a majority of Democrats in the U.S. Senate joined a majority of Republicans to sign a letter supporting the filibuster. The letter, to Senate leaders Mitch McConnell and Charles Schumer, began: "We are writing to urge you to support our efforts to preserve existing rules, practices and traditions as they pertain to the right of members to engage in extended debate on legislation before the United States Senate."
Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Lady Bird, we hardly knew ye.
We knew Claudia Alta Taylor Johnson as the long-suffering wife of the 36th president, the graceful presence in a White House led by a man of force and fury, the advocate of highway beautification, the curator of wildflowers. But we did not know her as a shrewd political analyst, a canny strategist, the sharp eyes of an administration that, for all its farsightedness on poverty and race, was blind to protest and shortsighted about Cold War strife.
Monday, March 22, 2021

Striking Myanmar rail workers move out as protests continue
MANDALAY, Myanmar (AP) — Residents of Myanmar’s second-biggest city helped striking railway workers move out of their state-supplied housing Saturday after the authorities said they would have to leave if they kept supporting the protest movement against last month’s military coup.
Saturday, March 20, 2021

Trump's victory lap
In his haunting book "The Plot Against America," Phillip Roth imagines a world in which the isolationist hero and explorer Charles Lindbergh, not Franklin Roosevelt, had won the 1940 presidential election.
Saturday, March 20, 2021

LTE - Boy Scouts
Friday, March 19, 2021

Democrats are finally bragging
On March 11, President Joe Biden gave a White House address touting his administration's response to the COVID-19 crisis. As it happened, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at another record high the day before. But about that Biden said not a word.
Friday, March 19, 2021

Get the vaccine

California is substantially open. Many are living as if COVID-19 were gone. That's a big "if." We are not close to vaccinating everybody, because of limits on both supply and demand. So why are we living as if it were already gone?

Thursday, March 18, 2021

GOP moves to save Biden: We want amnesty, too!
President Joe Biden's immigration bill will put virtually all illegal immigrants on a bullet train to citizenship, provided that they meet the onerous requirement of claiming to have entered the country before Jan. 1, 2021. Only terrorists and convicted felons are excluded -- at least in theory, but past experience suggests they'll get amnesty, too. Even illegal immigrants who've already been deported will be invited back and given amnesty.
Thursday, March 18, 2021

Biden's migrant blackout
Is there something missing from press coverage of the thousands of unaccompanied children who have illegally crossed the U.S. border from Mexico and are now in the custody of the Biden administration? Yes, there is something missing -- pictures.

Descriptions of the conditions in which the children are being held indicate a worsening situation. "Hundreds of immigrant children and teenagers have been detained at a Border Patrol tent facility in packed conditions, with some sleeping on the floor because there aren't enough mats," The Associated Press reported recently from Donna, Texas, citing nonprofit lawyers who had interviewed the children but had not been allowed to inspect the facility.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

'It's Trump's fault'
Poor Joe Biden. It was his misfortune to inherit one of the technological marvels of our time.

Before President Biden took office, the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines had been authorized for use (with another, from Johnson & Johnson, on the way), and were already being administered to people around the country.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Deciding Cuomo's fate is the voters' job
Please explain again why New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo must resign. Or, put another way, what gives his political opponents, many of them fellow Democrats, the right to undo an election on the basis of unverified assertions of sexual misconduct -- some ridiculously trivial, none involving violence or threat to careers, several open to innocent interpretations.

The comments on news stories should warn the political swarm of growing public annoyance at this massive pile-on against a governor most New Yorkers still consider effective.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Romney and Manchin: washington's new power couple
Meet the unlikely new power couple of Washington, D.C.

One is a former private equity baron, the other worked in the family carpet and furniture business. Both are from political families, both have business degrees, both represent states marked by massive mountain ranges, both are former governors, and both thus know the burden of executive leadership and fiscal responsibility. Both are party apostates, eyed as converts from their rival parties.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

First grade, pandemic style
My dearest friend has grandchildren. We are giving her daughter a day off, which is to say, a day to work nonstop at only one job.

School starts at 9 a.m.: fourth grade at the dining room table, first grade upstairs with me.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Biden's COVID relief bill is bad policy and bad faith
Joe Biden has signed what may well end up being the biggest accomplishment of his presidency, an enormous $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill.

With his other priorities likely to molder in the Senate, the spending will probably stand as a signature statement of Biden's approach to governance -- and it should be a damning one.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Rule by left-wing lunatics
A governing principle of the Democratic Party is to ask, "Who is in the dock?" before deciding whether to enforce the law.

As we have seen throughout the last year of antifa/BLM riots, in blue states, it's now legal to commit arson, attempted murder, assault on a law enforcement officer and destruction of property -- provided the perp is antifa or antifa-friendly. Andy Ngo's smash bestseller "Unmasked" gives chapter and verse on antifa's shocking violence untouched by criminal penalty.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Why the Cuomo case drives Republicans crazy
Things are looking worse by the hour for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Recently, a fourth, and then a fifth, woman came forward to accuse him of inappropriate behavior. At that point, Cuomo's support among top Democrats in New York began to crumble -- apparently some were OK with three accusers, but not with four or five.

First, the leader of the New York State Senate, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, demanded the governor's resignation. "We need to govern without daily distraction," Stewart-Cousins said. "Gov. Cuomo must resign." Then the leader of the State Assembly, Carl Heastie, suggested Cuomo should quit when he said the governor should "seriously consider whether he can effectively meet the needs of the people of New York."

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

In the Spring, people's thoughts turn to party rentals
If you live in a place where people like to go to have fun, good for you. But if your fun place is full of Airbnbs or other short-term rentals, you may also suffer as revolving hordes of neighbors-for-the-weekend throw parties and blast music into the night.

Last October, a resident in Scottsdale, Arizona, woke to the sound of partygoers shooting guns. The bullets hit five nearby homes. On Cape Cod, firefighters were called to an Airbnb rental after carousers had the not-bright idea of moving a fire pit onto the wooden deck.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Trump assures that there will be no post Trump era
America now is deep into its Dylan Thomas moment.

In his Elba-like exile in Palm Beach, former President Donald J. Trump -- once a disruptive force, always a disruptive force -- is heeding the Welsh poet's admonition that "old age should burn and rave at close of day."

Indeed, Trump -- planning, threatening or simply playing with the idea of a presidential campaign for 2024 -- is not going gentle into the good night of American politics. Rather than follow the pattern of one-term presidents Herbert Hoover, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush into a retirement of good works and a good post-White House reputation, he instead, as the poet suggested, is girding to "rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Monday, March 8, 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

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