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home : opinion : editorial September 25, 2020

Supreme battles
Twenty years ago, five conservative Supreme Court justices picked the president.

It could happen again.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Two cheers for our drugmakers
America's big drug companies are refusing to let President Donald Trump use them as campaign props. That is right and proper.

First, nine of them pledged to not release a vaccine before one is deemed effective and safe. Having failed to manage or even acknowledge the COVID-19 crisis, Trump has turned to pushing the fantasy that an acceptable vaccine would appear by Nov. 3.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Don't expect our elites to learn from the Los Angeles horror
The attempted assassination of two Los Angeles County deputies, caught on a security video, is chilling and enraging enough.  

A man walks up to the parked black-and-white cruiser, and fires point-blank through the passenger window, then runs away. The stricken officers manage to stagger out of the vehicle and call for assistance. They are whisked away to the hospital for emergency surgery (and are now, thankfully, recovering).

The attack is a heinous and cowardly act, but what comes afterward is, if obviously much less serious, infuriating in its own right. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Vindman media tour obscures key fact about impeachment
Last fall, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a member of the National Security Council staff, was a star witness against President Trump at House impeachment hearings. Since then, he has left public view, left the White House and left the Army. Now, with an election approaching, he is launching what appears to be a media campaign to take shots at the president.
Saturday, September 19, 2020

Simple ideas to ensure a Trump victory
Friday, September 18, 2020

Our current center-right mood is not so different than 1976
Think this is a different kind of election? Right about now during the 1976 presidential campaign, fully a third of the electorate was undecided. This year, the undecideds comprise about 7% of the electorate.

What's the difference? The candidates, the country, the national mood, everything. But 1976 is a good place to start to understand what is happening with the candidates, country, national mood -- indeed, everything.

The candidates that year seem to us now to have been painted in earth tones. It didn't look that way in our bicentennial year. But history has a way of wiping away the extreme coloration of things, to reduce vivid shades to beige and taupe.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Extra! Trump a fascist, hates the troops
Just before New Year's Eve 2017, President Trump told The New York Times' Michael Schmidt:

"Another reason that I'm going to win another four years is because newspapers, television, all forms of media will tank if I'm not there because without me, their ratings are going down the tubes. Without me, The New York Times will indeed be not the failing New York Times, but the failed New York Times. So they basically have to let me win."

Whether or not that's the case, the media do seem to be intentionally attacking Trump in an ineffective way. The latest fusillade -- that Trump disparaged fallen troops -- is believed exclusively by people who already detest Trump, but by no one else.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Russsiagate dead-enders try for comeback
The Trump-Russia investigation effectively ended on July 24, 2019, the day special counsel Robert Mueller testified on Capitol Hill. Mueller's halting presentation of his 400-plus-page report troubled both Republicans and Democrats. But of greater concern was this fact: After two years of investigating, with all the powers of law enforcement at his command, Mueller failed to establish that Russia and the Trump campaign conspired to fix the 2016 election. It was the central allegation the special counsel was hired to investigate, and he could not establish that it ever took place.
Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Hollywood's shameful Beijing kowtow
Hollywood is accommodating a new era of McCarthyism, imposed this time by Red China.  

It involves everything that Hollywood tells us that it hates -- censorship, pressure to conform and blacklists. Yet the studios have seamlessly absorbed China's dictates into their operations.

This most iconic American business is now, literally, an agent of Chinese influence.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

For men, are two drinks really too much?
A federal health panel now recommends that men consume no more than one alcoholic drink a day. For 30 years, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee set the limit at two drinks a day. (Women have long been urged to limit consumption to one drink a day.)

Other studies found that drinking under the previous two-beverage standard was actually good for the heart -- and that moderate drinkers live longer than abstainers. So why was the earlier guideline chopped in half?

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Will my dog really miss me?
Someday, you may be going back to your office, factory, store or wherever you worked. Know this: Your dog will be OK. He or she will be OK even if you've just spent six months tied wrists to paws, in locked-down intimacy.
Monday, September 7, 2020

When Washington's elite dined at twin delis
There were many power brokers in the old Washington, hidden figures of influence never referenced in civics textbooks or examined in graduate-level political science seminars.
Saturday, September 5, 2020

Democrats should curb their enthusiasm for mail-in voting
There's a giant scheme afoot to disenfranchise voters in November -- it's called mail-in balloting.
Friday, September 4, 2020

Sweden's virus plan proves deadly
Many of us lit candles and prayed that Sweden's approach to the coronavirus would succeed. As the rest of Europe locked down, Sweden stayed mostly open. Its plan was to keep vulnerable people separate while letting the virus infect the others, thus creating herd immunity -- a large proportion of people no longer able to spread the disease. Meanwhile, everyone would go about their business, and the economy wouldn't suffer.
Friday, September 4, 2020

Steroids confirmed to help severely ill virus patients
(AP) — New studies confirm that multiple types of steroids improve survival for severely ill COVID-19 patients, cementing the cheap drugs as a standard of care.
Thursday, September 3, 2020

Where's 'The Talk' when we need it?
For many years now, we've gotten mountains of press about "The Talk," the rite of passage lecture that black parents feel obliged to give their sons so that they won't end up getting shot by the police. Apparently, unlike white people who are always fighting with cops and resisting arrest, young black men must be purer than Caesar's wife.
Thursday, September 3, 2020

As election nears, another battle over intelligence and Russia
A new furor has erupted over Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe's decision to give some members of Congress written updates on foreign election interference instead of in-person briefings. In the past, some Hill Democrats have spun and leaked information from the old oral briefings, especially ones given to all members instead of just the intelligence committees. That has prompted Ratcliffe to seek to more carefully control what information is given to Congress in regular intelligence updates.

"I believe this approach helps ensure [that intelligence on] elections security, foreign malign influence and election interference is not misunderstood nor politicized," Ratcliffe wrote on Aug. 28. "It will also better protect our sources and methods and most sensitive intelligence from additional unauthorized disclosures or misuse."

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

The left's riot blame-shifting
Until a few days ago, Democrats were content to pretend the disorder in American cities didn't exist.

Now, worried that Joe Biden is on his back foot on the issue, they readily acknowledge the rioting -- and blame it on President Donald Trump.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

The winding switchbacks of politics
Up several thousand feet in the Pheasant Mountain area of West Virginia, the course of American politics suddenly becomes clear.

Lace up your hiking boots, follow Smoky Hollow Road for two miles, take a left, pull into a grassed-over parking lot and head up the Clover Trail, then climb into the thickness of the Monongahela National Forest. This is like no mountain trail you have ever traversed; it follows an old logging railroad through five switchbacks that nearly a century ago the D.D. Brown Lumber Co. used to haul lumber. The train would inch one way and then switch back -- thus the term -- to cross the mountain by going backward on the next switchback.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Nancy Reagan Red
Nancy Reagan was one of the most elegant women I have ever met: gracious, with impeccable taste. It must have been 1995 when I got an urgent call from the fellow I knew who ran the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, telling me that there had been an emergency cancellation for a panel the next morning with Newt Gingrich moderating, Mrs. Reagan attending and CNN taping. It would look terrible, he said, if the panel had no women; the cancellation was, of course, a woman. I was replacing a conservative woman. I would be the only non-conservative in the group. I told him not to worry; I would play nice.
Saturday, August 29, 2020

The Trump GOP isn't as different as you think
Donald Trump took over the Republican Party, but it's still discernibly the Republican Party.

The Republican National Convention was obviously very Trumpy. At least one member of the family had a slot every night, and it featured theatrical touches worthy of reality TV.

Friday, August 28, 2020

In today's supercharged politics, even a garden can spark a fight
It has long been accepted, at least in some circles, that there is a condition known as Trump Derangement Syndrome. But if there are still any skeptics out there, consider the reaction to first lady Melania Trump's renovation of the White House Rose Garden.

The modern version of the garden was created during the Kennedy administration and updated during the first year of the Reagan administration. It was a living thing, something intended to grow and change.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Is the media trying to throw the election to Trump?
Every day is a reenactment of my book, "Resistance Is Futile." Trump does something stupid (or many things) and the media say, We can top that!

Trump fumbles the ball, followed by the media throwing an interception, then Trump commits a personal foul, but the media blows the field goal, then Trump throws the ball out of bounds.

Does anyone want to win this election?

Thursday, August 27, 2020

What's really going on with Trump and the post office?
The news is filled with reports of President Trump's "assault" on the U.S. Postal Service. Democrats and some in the media say the president is deliberately slowing mail delivery and crippling the Postal Service so that it cannot handle an anticipated flood of voting by mail in the presidential election. Barack Obama said Trump is trying to "actively kneecap" the Postal Service to suppress the vote. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the House back into session "to address the sabotage of the Postal Service." What is going on?

A look at the facts simply does not support the Democrats' allegations.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The crisis that Democrats dare not mention
The Democratic National Convention portrayed an America suffering from every possible sort of malady -- except urban unrest.

Is the country going through a terrible pandemic? Yes. A punishing recession? Absolutely. Is our democratic system itself under threat? Of course. Is the planet about to be destroyed by inaction on climate change? Check. Are systemic racism, income inequality and corporate greed blighting our national life? Most definitely.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Whither the Illinois GOP in a post-Jim Thompson world
The recent passing of Illinois Republican Governor Jim Thompson (1977-1990) begs the question: Can the Illinois Republican Party ever again capture the governor's office?
Saturday, August 22, 2020

The Democratic Convention was a massive evasion
The number of Republicans speaking at the Democratic National Convention had progressives on edge.
Saturday, August 22, 2020

The Jared Kushner Achievement Award goes to. . .Kamala!
As has been duly noted, The New York Times' front page celebrating Biden's announcement of Kamala Harris as his running mate rivaled its moon landing coverage. A gigantic photo of a saintlike Harris took up half of the space above the fold, under a 2-inch headline: "HARRIS JOINS BIDEN TICKET, ACHIEVING A FIRST."
Friday, August 21, 2020

Can Trump win with promise to restore safety and order?
Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York and other major cities are experiencing a breakdown of order -- violence and conflict that is a mixture of left-wing revolution, racial unrest and old-fashioned crime. Whatever else they might have in common, all these cities are governed by progressive Democrats, and all owe their current disorder in some part to the failure of progressive Democratic policies on the issue of public safety.

That should be an advantage for a Republican president running for reelection. What is unclear is whether President Trump can make it work for his campaign.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The QAnon rot in the GOP
QAnon is getting its first congresswoman.

Marjorie Taylor Greene won a runoff in a Republican primary Tuesday, all but assuring her victory in November in a heavily GOP district.

She is thus set to become the highest officeholder in the land who takes seriously the lunatic theories of QAnon, the anonymous internet poster who says, among other ludicrous and poisonous things, that there's a global network of pedophiles about to be exposed and undone by President Donald Trump.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Trump will not play fair
Caddies say he cheats at golf. It makes sense. He can't bear to lose something that matters as little as a round of golf. So he cheats.

Congress should be up in arms. We should all be up in arms. Lawyers across the country are already up in arms, prepared for an election the president of the United States has already taken action to undermine.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

How do I tell my friend she's not 'African American'?
My wonderful readers often have questions for me, particularly in what every TV commercial calls "these uncertain times" when we're all "in this together" and must give hourly thanks to "our heroes."

So, as I have in the past, I wanted to take a moment to reply to questions that have been pouring in from, again: no one.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Joe Biden's authoritarian VP finalist
Last year, Sen. Kamala Harris may have become the first presidential candidate in history to laugh derisively at the idea that the Constitution limits what a president can do.  

When former Vice President Joe Biden said that her plan for gun control by executive fiat didn't pass constitutional muster, she scoffed and deployed one of her canned one-liners, "I would just say, 'Hey, Joe, instead of saying no we can't, let's say yes we can!'"  

Yes, we can -- flippantly blow by the constitutional requirement that new laws be passed by Congress. 

Monday, August 10, 2020

Sorry, grandma, but it was a really good party
Monday night, hundreds of partygoers descended on a mansion on Mulholland Drive, allegedly owned by an absent Australian soap opera star. Houses like that rent out for occasions for very high multiples. Mulholland is a beautiful and windy street, dotted with big, huge houses with lots of land.
Saturday, August 8, 2020

Biden VP search underscores fact he's too old to be president
An article in Politico got a lot of buzz in Washington, D.C., by reporting that Sen. Kamala Harris might not be a very strong front-runner, or even a front-runner at all, in the Democratic vice presidential selection race. Politico reported that 76-year-old former Sen. Chris Dodd, a member of 77-year-old former Sen. Joe Biden's VP selection committee, was unhappy that Harris showed "no remorse" for her rough attacks on Biden during the Democratic presidential primary season.
Saturday, August 8, 2020

Congressman Davis to hold open office hours
TAYLORVILLE — Congressman Rodney Davis will hold open office hours on Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at the Taylorville Public Library from 2-4 p.m.
Saturday, August 8, 2020

The 'ComEd Way' fuels culture of corruption
The recent admission by behemoth electric utility Commonwealth Edison that it repeatedly bribed minions of Illinois House speaker Mike Madigan for years (of course, Madigan knew nothing about all this; sure, right) was breath-taking for its brazenness.
Saturday, August 8, 2020

Who owns the Northwest Passage?
This time last year, the temperature in Nunavut, the faraway Canadian land of massive ice floes and tundra islands that comprise the Arctic archipelago, soared above 73 degrees for the first time. This summer, some 1,480 miles from the territorial capital of Iqaluit, the editors of the Harvard Law Review published a study of an arcane Law of the Sea controversy. With each passing summer, the connection between the two grows with each degree of global warming.
Friday, August 7, 2020

America's most gullible journalist: 'Visit Portland!'
The entire mainstream media (plus Fox News!) have been assuring us that Portland was a tranquil town, with the occasional peaceful protest ... until President Trump's storm troopers showed up and turned it into a war zone.

This portrayal contrasts markedly with videos that have been posted on Twitter every night for more than two months now, especially by @MrAndyNgo, showing helmeted psychotics hurling Molotov cocktails at the police, among other acts of mindless destruction.

Whom to believe? Videos of the riots? Or smug journalists telling us that they saw nothing untoward?

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Will the center hold? It must
I am hearing a worried buzz about our republic not holding together, something I have never in my long life encountered before. Some (many?) on the “left” worry about President Trump calling the election invalid and holding onto power. From the “right” comes concerns that those leading and supporting groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter hope to build their protests into insurrection.

Over a beer recently after tennis, I could not help but overhear most of a conversation in the booth next to ours. An intense Trump supporter was loudly expressing such fears of insurrection from the far left. As if to clinch it, he added: “Bill Gates and George Soros are trying to take over the world, you know.” He was serious.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

The land of plenty sinks into anxiety
A friend and I shared the same consumer frustration -- and guilt over having it. We each wanted a bike rack for our cars but could not obtain our first choices.

"I wanted to order a 1UP bike rack," my pal, who used to manufacture sports equipment, said. "Sold out and won't take orders until August 29th."

Friday, July 31, 2020

Thirty years of access for those with disabilities
Some 83 years ago, a group of disgruntled Americans organized a sit-in at a broom shop here. There were 107 of them, and their spokesman said, "We are only asking for our legal rights." Their sit-in was in the tradition begun by the radical International Workers of the World, and their action was the physical expression of what the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. would say the day before he was killed: that by sitting in, protesters were standing up.
Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The disgrace of Portland
If only mobs were allowed to destroy federal property without consequence.

Then, there wouldn't have to be any dispute over federal agents defending a federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon; it could simply be overrun and burned to the ground with no unwelcome resistance.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The many dangers of voting by mail
President Trump has said many times that voting by mail -- which will play a big role in this November's presidential election -- is vulnerable to fraud. "There is tremendous evidence of fraud whenever you have mail-in ballots," Trump has noted. The November election, he added, "will be, in my opinion, the most corrupt election in the history of our country."

Democrats and many in the press have pushed back hard. Trump's claims are "false" and "baseless" and "preposterous" and "debunked," they said. Voting by mail is safe and reliable.

Monday, July 27, 2020

This is Mike Madigan's last hurrah
ILLINOIS — As one who scribbles largely about things Illinois, I feel almost obligated to observe on the bombshell (certainly for the small fraternity that follows Illinois politics) news that utility ComEd has agreed to pay a $200 million fine for bribery of Illinois officials. The announcement by the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago identifies Illinois House Speaker Mike the ultimate object of the bribery.
Saturday, July 25, 2020

In defense of Liz Cheney
In this summer of Republican discontent, a handful of GOP House members have identified what's ailing the party: Liz Cheney.
Friday, July 24, 2020

Those who want a COVID shot deserve to get it first
Will there be a vaccine against coronavirus? Eventually, we pray. But in this age of unreason, undue attention is already being paid to those who may refuse protection against this often-fatal disease.
Friday, July 24, 2020

The disgrace of Portland
If only mobs were allowed to destroy federal property without consequence.

Then, there wouldn't have to be any dispute over federal agents defending a federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon; it could simply be overrun and burned to the ground with no unwelcome resistance.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Those who want a COVID shot deserve to get it first
Will there be a vaccine against coronavirus? Eventually, we pray. But in this age of unreason, undue attention is already being paid to those who may refuse protection against this often-fatal disease.
Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Illinois has not been well managed; would a crash-and-burn help?
As I walked a country road near my rural town this past week, a local slowed his pickup alongside me.. “We’re moving to Florida, Jim.” He paused, then: “Illinois is not well managed, you know.” Three weeks ago, a hugely successful commodities trader friend, who lives in splendor on a big swath of Lake Michigan in Lake Forest, called: “Jim, we’re moving to Florida. It’s the taxes and the weather. And I can work from there.”
Monday, July 20, 2020

Bastille Day: The beginning of liberal madness
This Tuesday, the French celebrated Bastille Day, the mob attack on a Parisian prison that has come to symbolize the French Revolution, a period of massive violence that produced nothing other than a lot of dead Frenchmen. Their revolution was the screech of a mob, much as we are seeing in several of our own cities and towns today. So let's review this absurdly celebrated event.

As is common with mob violence, the storming of the Bastille was set off by a rumor. People began to whisper that the impotent, indecisive king, Louis XVI, was going to attack the new legislative body, the National Assembly.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

November's outcome is as uncertain as ever
Consumer warning: Before you get locked into a narrative about how the presidential election will unfold, consider what happened the other day in Maine and Alabama.

Neither event was particularly remarkable or surprising. You could see each of them coming from a lobster boat off the Atlantic coastline (now is the traditional height of the crustaceans' vacation-time consumption) or a shrimper in the Gulf of Mexico (the state's brown shrimp season opened six weeks ago). But these results tell us something nonetheless.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Joe Biden's shockingly adequate campaign
The Biden campaign has been lucky most of all, but it’s also been smart, at least smart enough.

To go, as Joe Biden did, from left for dead to sweeping to the nomination and quickly thereafter emerging as the favorite in November is a run of success that would be the envy of any national politician.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Is remote work the road to downward mobility?
When I was a wee business reporter, I covered manufacturing in southern New England. Costume jewelry, a major industry then, has largely decamped to cheap-labor countries.

But I recall the vast differences in the quality of these mostly low-skilled jobs. At the top were great employers, offering decent wages and clean working spaces. From there, one descended to the sweatshops, some with puddles of nasty electroplating chemicals on the floor. At or near the bottom dwelled the home workers, people who would glue the backs of earrings to the fronts, often in their unventilated basements. They were paid by piecework, which meant by the number of earrings assembled, not hours worked.

Friday, July 17, 2020

There's nothing new about Roger Stone clemency
Many Democrats, along with some in the press and a few Republicans, have expressed outrage at President Trump's commutation of political operative Roger Stone's jail sentence for lying to Congress and witness tampering. GOP Sen. Mitt Romney, the only senator ever to vote to remove a president of his own party, was particularly outraged.

"Unprecedented, historic corruption," Romney tweeted. "An American president commutes the sentence of a person convicted by a jury of lying to shield that very president."

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

New York is not a COVID-19 model
If only the rest of the country could handle COVID-19 as well as New York.
Tuesday, July 14, 2020

With Trump, bypass media coverage and judge for yourself
That much news coverage is biased against President Trump goes without saying. But every now and then there comes an episode of bias so egregious that it deserves attention. The coverage of the president's July 3 speech at Mount Rushmore is one of those episodes.
Monday, July 13, 2020

Political Prosecution: Donald Trump Vs. the United States Supreme Court
Monday, July 13, 2020

Welcome to my Garden of Heroes
In this month of national introspection, and as the air is full of the thump! of toppled statues, President Trump proposed creating a national statuary park. His gallery of American heroes reflects his inclinations and impulses -- several unavoidable pioneers, such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and baseball pathfinder Jackie Robinson, along with 29 others, mostly white and Republican.
Saturday, July 11, 2020

Zuckerberg is right
Mark Zuckerberg clearly hasn't gotten the memo. The founder of Facebook persists in defending free expression, even though free speech has fallen decidedly out of fashion.
Friday, July 10, 2020

I'm a direct5 descendant of 13 Revolutionary patriots. Deport Lucian Truscott
Fascinating news from The New York Times this week! Reviewing its op-ed titled "I'm a Direct Descendant of Thomas Jefferson. Take Down His Memorial," I gather we now weigh Americans' opinions based on who their ancestors are.
Thursday, July 9, 2020

Data released shows governors' companies among recipients of virus relief loans
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Governors who ordered shutdowns as their states responded to the coronavirus pandemic were among millions of beneficiaries of the loan program created to help small businesses weather COVID-19’s effect on the economy, data released Monday show.
Tuesday, July 7, 2020

A triumph at Mount Rushmore
If nothing else, President Donald Trump's July Fourth speech at Mount Rushmore clarified the battle lines of our culture war.
Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Virus or economy is a futile choice
Florida, Arizona, Texas and California are among the states that thought they could reopen early. They also got sloppy with requirements for wearing masks and social distancing. Now their ICUs are stretched to breaking with coronavirus patients.
Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Supreme Court upholds cellphone robocall ban
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a 1991 law that bars robocalls to cellphones.
Monday, July 6, 2020

Justices rule states can bind presidential electors' votes
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday that states can require presidential electors to back their states’ popular vote winner in the Electoral College.
Monday, July 6, 2020

Next election could decide if Washington, D.C., becomes 51st state
The drive to make Washington, D.C., a state has been a favorite of some Democrats for years. Why wouldn't it be? If enacted, a new state, formed from deepest-blue D.C., would create two new Democratic senators and one new Democratic member of the House. For a Democrat, what's not to like?
Monday, July 6, 2020

No more delays: What to know about the July 15 deadline
It’s time to do your taxes — no more delays.
Monday, July 6, 2020

Waste-watching: Sewage can help track pandemic virus trends
NEW YORK (AP) — One county in Utah beat back a spike of pandemic virus infections in the spring, and another saw its rate jump. Both trends showed up in their sewage.
Monday, July 6, 2020

No Trump
I'm taking the day off, not from swimming in the swamp of sickness of a loved one, where I've been since October; not from veering between anger and terror because half the people I love are on the super-high-risk list, while I'm only plain old risk.
Monday, July 6, 2020

Frederick Douglass' July 5 words are germane to our time
This year above all, our Independence Day commemorations and introspection ought not to conclude on the Fourth of July. Indeed, in a year like this -- in our national moment of reflection and rebellion -- we require one more day of contemplation on our national character and our national purpose.

This year, we should not conclude our national self-assessments on July 4.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

In Texas, Bar Lives Matter
I have a soft spot for bars, and for the people who like to go to them.

For one thing, bars put me through law school. When I was 21, I took a step up from serving "coffee and," which had helped me get through college, to serving and making cocktails.

My first bar job was in a glitzy, Mob-run nightclub that only looked glitzy in the dark. The required outfit was green pants, a white halter top and high-heeled sandals. I learned to balance a tray with a tip jar, thread dollars through my hands and dance with myself if we had no customers -- all for 99 cents an hour plus tips. I got fired for suggesting that we could all get together and work fewer nights and make less money.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

No, Trump isn't going to drop out
After he's repeatedly survived the unsurvivable, we are supposed to believe that President Donald Trump might quit the presidential race before it truly begins because of a spate of negative polling.   

This is the latest chatter among (unnamed) Republicans, according to a widely circulated Fox News report and cable news talking heads. 

Friday, July 3, 2020

Some of you rabbits are winning. others not
Rabbits. Rabbits! They're hopping all over New England, my yard included. They need to eat and, being rabbits, have lots of mouths to feed. What more could a rabbit want than a fresh head of cabbage, organically grown by my calloused hands?
Friday, July 3, 2020

Antifa's a laugh riot - until it comes for you!
I wonder if Milo Yiannopoulos, Ben Shapiro, Charles Murray and Heather MacDonald are reacting to these antifa riots the same way I am.
Thursday, July 2, 2020

In reopening casinos, the virus is the dealer
Those who wagered on a visit to Las Vegas confronted mixed messages on mask wearing, to say the least.
Thursday, July 2, 2020

In Texas, Bar Lives Matter
I have a soft spot for bars, and for the people who like to go to them.

For one thing, bars put me through law school. When I was 21, I took a step up from serving "coffee and," which had helped me get through college, to serving and making cocktails.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Will pandemic and protests spur rural relocation?
Living in a rural central Illinois town (Toulon, pop. 1,400), I am alert to any forces that might spur relocation to hinterland communities, which are often struggling to maintain population and vitality. Are the pandemic and recent urban, sometimes violent protests such prompts? I conclude there might be some, modest movement to already attractive communities outside the metro regions.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Some monumentally hard decisions
One of the recently vandalized monuments is a statue of poet John Greenleaf Whittier. Someone smeared "BLM" and "(expletive) Slave Owners" on the seated figure prominently displayed in the city named after him, Whittier, California.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Our age of superstition
We live in a society gripped by a quasi-religious fervor and obsessed with symbols and irrational fears. 
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Some monumentally hard decisions
One of the recently vandalized monuments is a statue of poet John Greenleaf Whittier. Someone smeared "BLM" and "(expletive) Slave Owners" on the seated figure prominently displayed in the city named after him, Whittier, California.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020

We have not achieved justice for all
As we approach this Fourth of July, we -- the heirs to the Declaration of Independence -- are engaged in nationwide introspection on the nature of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" nearly two and a half centuries after those seven words became an uplifting shorthand for the American creed.
Monday, June 29, 2020

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