Category Archives: National Columnist

Column: The Frank Sinatra we remember

In today’s culture of hyperbole, born of desperate attempts to be noticed amid the Niagara of Internet and other outpourings, the label “genius” is affixed promiscuously to evanescent popular entertainers, fungible corporate CEOs and other perishable phenomena. But it almost fits the saloon singer — his preferred description of himself — who was born 100… Continue Reading

Column: Examining the president’s speech

When the President of the United States asks the television networks to set aside time for him to broadcast a speech from the Oval Office, we can usually expect that he has something new to say. But President Obama’s speech Sunday night was just a rehash of what he has been saying all along, trying… Continue Reading

Column: The empty case for progressive taxation

Progressives are increasingly preoccupied with income inequality, and their current hero, Sen. Bernie Sanders, favors increasing the tax system’s progressivity. So, in this 103rd year of the income tax, it is timely to note that there still is no intellectually sturdy case for progressive taxation. Arguments for it are invariably arguments for increased equality of… Continue Reading

South Carolina’s predictive power

Sen. Tim Scott, who evidently has not received the memo explaining that politics is a grim and bitter business, laughs easily and often, as when, during lunch in this city’s humming downtown, he explains that South Carolina’s Lowcountry is benefiting from what are called “halfbacks.” These are migrants who moved from Northern states to Florida… Continue Reading

Column: Donald Trump is a bigot and a racist

Let’s not mince words: Donald Trump is a bigot and a racist. Some will think this an outrageous label to apply to the front-runner for a major party’s presidential nomination. Ordinarily, I would agree that name-calling is part of what’s wrong with our politics. But there is a greater imperative not to be silent in… Continue Reading

Give thought-provoking gifts this holiday

People who want to buy Christmas gifts, without having to confront the crowds at the local shopping mall (or shopping maul) can take a load off their feet by buying books or movies on the Internet, while sitting in the comfort of their own homes. In addition to old standbys like gorgeous coffee table books… Continue Reading

Column: The low depths of higher education

Give thanks this day for some indirect blessings of liberty, including the behavior-beyond-satire of what are generously called institutions of higher education. People who are imprecisely called educators have taught, by their negative examples, what intelligence is not. Melissa Click is the University of Missouri academic who shouted “I need some muscle over here” to… Continue Reading

Column: The pathology of Trump-itis

Surely he’s finally gone and done it now. Donald Trump, insulter extraordinaire, was bound to cross a line too far. Two days before Thanksgiving, he made many people feel nostalgic for the merely obnoxious Trump when he mocked a reporter with a physical disability, displaying a level of cruelty and meanness heretofore only suspected. Not… Continue Reading

Column: President Oh-bummer

The two presidents stood in the East Room on Tuesday afternoon, united in their goal of defeating the Islamic State but separated by a stylistic gulf as vast as the Atlantic. On the left, facing the cameras, was Francois Hollande, war president. He spoke of “cowardly murderers” who “dishonor humanity,” of a “relentless determination to… Continue Reading

Column: Cry havoc, followed by milk and cookies

It would be easy to call protesting college students crybabies and brats for pitching hissy fits over hurt feelings, but this likely would lead to such torrents of tearful tribulation that the nation’s university system would have to shut down for a prolonged period of grief counseling. Besides, it would be insensitive. Instead, let me… Continue Reading

Column: The liar and the lemmings

Chris Christie was asked Sunday evening about presidential rival Donald Trump’s nonsense claim, reviving an Internet conspiracy theory, that thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheered the World Trade Center’s collapse in 2001. The New Jersey governor’s reply was a paean to pusillanimity. “I do not remember that, and so it’s not something that was… Continue Reading

Column: How to fight ISIS: With cartoons

Column: How to fight ISIS: With cartoons

Pundits like to complain that there are few voices from the Islamic world that condemn terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists. I run a small business that distributes editorial cartoons from around the world. With every major attack, including the recent attacks in Paris, I see a chorus of cartoons from Arab countries condemning the terror.… Continue Reading

Why are we fighting Obama’s phony war?

Tell me: What’s a suicide bomber doing with a passport? He’s not going anywhere. And, though I’m not a religious scholar, I doubt that a passport is required in paradise for a martyr to access his 72 black-eyed virgins. A Syrian passport was found near the body of one of the terrorists. Why was it… Continue Reading

Fear and loathing in America

We shouldn’t be surprised that many Americans fear the fresh arrival of Syrian refugees in the wake of last week’s Paris slaughter by jihadists, including at least one who appears to have entered Europe posing as a refugee. It’s pretty natural. Horrified by the savagery perpetrated on hundreds of civilians enjoying a Friday night, people… Continue Reading

Republicans’ xenophobic bidding war

The attacks in Paris have inspired a xenophobic bidding war among Republican presidential candidates. Gov. Bobby Jindal on Monday signed an order trying to get his state of Louisiana to block the settlement of any Syrian refugee, while Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, proposed we “wake up and smell the falafel” and said House… Continue Reading

Column: On campus, a freedom from speech

Yale’s president, Peter Salovey, dealt with the Crisis of the Distressing Email about Hypothetical Halloween Costumes about as you would expect from someone who has risen to eminence in today’s academia. He seems to be the kind of adult who has helped produce the kind of students who are such delicate snowflakes that they melt… Continue Reading

Column: Getting to know the true Donald Trump

You can’t drive far in these parts without seeing Ben Carson on a billboard, looking more like a man of the cloth than of the operating room. There’s something vaguely beatific in that face and beaming smile. “Run Ben Run!” reads the text on one sign. The moviegoer’s mind can’t escape the immediate association. “Run,… Continue Reading

The most revealing debate yet

The Republican debate on CNBC was riveting, the way a train wreck is riveting — you can’t take your eyes off it. The Fox Business Network debate was merely satisfying. A serious political discussion requires a bit more work, but it repays the effort. The CNBC affair was a contrived food fight during which substance… Continue Reading

Ben Carson’s higher power

God has blessed America with great bounty during the 2016 Republican presidential contest, and now, with debate finally turning to the long-neglected question of who built Egypt’s pyramids, our cup runneth over. Ben Carson, the nominal front-runner, last week restated his claim that these wonders of the ancient world were built by the biblical Joseph… Continue Reading

Dr. Carson, I presume?

In the annals of presidential politics, it’s hard to recall anyone who has tried so hard to be so ordinary. The fascinating story of Dr. Ben Carson’s attempts to ungild his lily by telling awful stories about himself — he tried to stab a classmate, later identified as a “close relative,” and hit his mother… Continue Reading

Column: The Ben Carson flaps

Dr. Ben Carson’s whole life has been very unusual, so perhaps we should not be surprised to see the latest twist — the media going ballistic over discrepancies in a few things he said. Years ago, when I was writing some autobiographical sketches, I dug up old letters, to check out things that I remembered… Continue Reading

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