Category Archives: National Columnist

Column: Affirming a right to die

Brittany Maynard was soon to die. The question was whether she could do so on her own terms, as a last act of autonomy. Dr. Lynette Cederquist, who regrets that Maynard had to move to Oregon in order to do so, is working with others to change California law to allow physician assistance in dying.… Continue Reading

Column: What six years of ‘reset’ have wrought

On Sept. 5, 2014, Russian agents crossed into Estonia and kidnapped an Estonian security official. Last week, after a closed trial, Russia sentenced him to 15 years. The reaction? The State Department issued a statement. The NATO secretary-general issued a tweet. Neither did anything. The European Union (reports The Wall Street Journal) said it was… Continue Reading

Column: Trump shows he has no decency, no backbone

Wednesday was Women’s Equality Day, the anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave American women the right to vote 95 years ago. And how have Republicans marked this egalitarian milestone? Why, with another bimbo eruption, of course. The perpetrator, as usual, was Donald Trump, the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, who, in his three-week-old… Continue Reading

Column: Trump defines down the GOP

It has come to this: The GOP, formerly the party of Lincoln and ostensibly the party of liberty and limited government, is being defined by clamors for a mass roundup and deportation of millions of human beings. To will an end is to will the means for the end, so the Republican clamors are also… Continue Reading

Column: The proposed Eisenhower memorial is a monstrosity

We could wearily shrug, say “Oh, well,” and economize waste and annoyance by just building the proposed $142 million Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial. But long after its perpetrators are gone, it would squat there, representing Washington at its worst and proving that we have forgotten how to nurture our national memory with intelligent memorials. This… Continue Reading

Column: Conservatives double down on pro-life extremism

It is becoming difficult to escape the conclusion that conservatives would rather fight about abortion than reduce it. Candidates in this month’s Republican presidential debate tripped over themselves to display their pro-life extremism, disavowing exceptions that would permit abortion in cases of rape, incest or even to save the life of the mother — non-starters… Continue Reading

Column: Random thoughts on the passing scene

Stupid people can cause problems, but it usually takes brilliant people to create a real catastrophe. President Obama’s “agreement” with Iran looks very much like “the emperor’s new clothes.” We are supposed to pretend that there is something there, when there is nothing there that will stop, or even slow down, Iran’s development of a… Continue Reading

Column: Encrusted with subsidies

You probably never knew of the federal funding of museums commemorating America’s long-gone whaling industry. The funding existed for 10 years, until 2011, because almost no one knew about it. A mohair subsidy continues six decades after it was deemed a military necessity in the context of the Cold War. The subsidy survives because its… Continue Reading

Near-sudden silence of August gives you time to think

It is that sane and glorious time when the nation’s capital dispenses its human cargo to places of origin and locations of respite. “I don’t know why everyone leaves,” I remarked to my neighbor. “There’s so much great parking.” (Don’t muddle; it’s a joke.) There is, indeed, great parking, as well as less traffic. With… Continue Reading

Column: The racing form, third edition

Both presidential nomination contests having been scrambled by recent events — the FBI taking control of Hillary Clinton’s private email server and a raucous, roiling GOP debate — the third edition of the Racing Form is herewith rushed into print. Legal disclaimer: This column is for betting purposes only. What follows is analysis — scrubbed,… Continue Reading

Column: Donald Trump is a counterfeit Republican

In every town large enough to have two traffic lights there is a bar at the back of which sits the local Donald Trump, nursing his fifth beer and innumerable delusions. Because the actual Donald Trump is wealthy, he can turn himself into an unprecedentedly and incorrigibly vulgar presidential candidate. It is his right to… Continue Reading

Column: When history books make history

History books can be historic events, making history by ending important arguments. They can make it impossible for any intellectually honest person to assert certain propositions that once enjoyed considerable currency among people purporting to care about evidence. The author of one such book, Robert Conquest, an Englishman who spent many years at Stanford’s Hoover… Continue Reading

Column: Just who is helping Iran’s hard-liners?

The latest Quinnipiac poll shows that the American public rejects the president’s Iran deal by more than 2-to-1. This is astonishing. The public generally gives the president deference on major treaties. Just a few weeks ago, a majority supported the deal. What happened? People learned what’s in it. And don’t be fooled by polls that… Continue Reading

Column: Drug cartels’ ‘vocabulary of mutilation’

Don Winslow, novelist and conscientious objector to America’s longest “war,” was skeptical when he was in Washington on a recent Sunday morning. This was shortly after news broke about the escape, from one of Mexico’s “maximum security” prisons, of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, head of the Sinaloa drug cartel. Guzman reportedly escaped through a five-foot-tall… Continue Reading

Column: GOP candidates’ crazy talk

Was he under the influence of Koch? Or was it evidence of a deeper disorder? Whatever the cause, something made Scott Walker give birther to another round of conspiracy theory over the weekend. The Wisconsin governor and Republican presidential candidate, appearing at a gathering of conservative donors hosted by the billionaire Koch brothers, said he… Continue Reading

Column: Putting a Senate bully in his place

Who’s afraid of big, bad Ted Cruz? Not Lamar Alexander. The Tennessee Republican went on the Senate floor to accuse his fellow Republican of proposing actions that would “render ourselves lawless” and cause “chaos.” Alexander reminded the Texan that the Senate “requires restraint and goodwill.” Not John Cornyn. The senior senator from Texas said that… Continue Reading

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