Category Archives: National Columnist

Column: Why didn’t these new products succeed?

I enjoy trying new products, especially when I get a great deal with a coupon or a sale. However, not every new product in the marketplace is a necessary addition to shoppers’ lives or lifestyles. Over the years, I’ve seen some unusual products come and go, some of which seemed doomed from the start. Here… Continue Reading

Ted Cruz gets burned by birther fires

When you dance with the devil, the choreography can get awkward. Ted Cruz last week made his latest appeal to America’s nativist fringe by naming Rep. Steve King of Iowa as a national co-chairman of his presidential campaign. King, called a “courageous conservative” and “incredible leader” by Cruz, is the anti-immigrant hard-liner who spoke of… Continue Reading

Column: When fair game is a foul play

Fair play can sometimes be a raunchy racket. In the midst of Hillary Clinton’s promising presidential bid, a blast from the past blew through the back door and rattled the joints of the political edifice of Clinton. Juanita Broaddrick, the Arkansas woman who has claimed that in 1978 then-state Attorney General Bill Clinton raped her,… Continue Reading

Column: A chance to mend First Amendment rights

When the Supreme Court contemplates changing its mind, it must weigh the institutional interest in the law’s continuity against evidence that a prior decision has done an injury, even a constitutional injury. The court took 58 years to begin, with the 1954 school desegregation decision, undoing its 1896 decision affirming the constitutionality of “separate but… Continue Reading

Defy America, pay no price

If you’re going to engage in a foreign policy capitulation, might as well do it when everyone is getting tanked and otherwise occupied. Say, New Year’s Eve. Here’s the story. In October, Iran test-fires a nuclear-capable ballistic missile in brazen violation of unanimous Security Council resolutions. President Obama does nothing. One month later, Iran does… Continue Reading

A political machine obsessed with guns

It is axiomatic that congressional Republicans will oppose anything smacking of “gun control,” which may as well be read as “Your mama.” Thus, it comes as no surprise that President Obama’s announcement of executive actions to clarify and enhance federal gun laws prompted reflexive, hyperbolic responses from the right. Marco Rubio said Obama is “obsessed… Continue Reading

Complicating the obvious in technology

Engineers who design computerized products and services seem to have an almost fanatical determination to avoid using plain English. It is understandable when complicated processes require complicated operations. But when the very simplest things are designed with needless complications or murky instructions, that is something else. For example, like all sorts of other devices, computers… Continue Reading

Space: The visionaries take over

Fractured and divided as we are, on one thing we can agree: 2015 was a miserable year. The only cheer was provided by Lincoln Chafee and the Pluto flyby (two separate phenomena), as well as one seminal aeronautical breakthrough. On Dec. 21, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, after launching 11 satellites into orbit, returned its 15-story booster… Continue Reading

Column: Before government became reviled

Soon, voters will have the opportunity and impertinence to insert themselves into the 2016 presidential conversation that thus far has been the preoccupation of journalists and other abnormal people. The voting will begin in Iowa, thanks to Marie Jahn. When, after 38 years as recorder for Plymouth County in northwest Iowa, Jahn decided to retire… Continue Reading

Column: A list of 2015’s ludicrousness

E.B. White reportedly said “the most beautiful sound in America” is “the tinkle of ice at twilight.” In 2015’s twilight, fortify yourself with something 90 proof as you remember this year in which: We learned that a dismal threshold has been passed. The value of property that police departments seized through civil-asset forfeiture — usually… Continue Reading

Clinton’s pandering insults ‘abuelas’

If Hillary Clinton plans to mislead, malign and manipulate her way back into the White House, I’d appreciate it if she’d leave my grandmothers out of it. For Latinos, our abuelas are sacred, and we’d rather not see them turned into political props. The Democratic front-runner and her campaign recently made a condescending attempt to… Continue Reading

Creationists of the secular kind

Presidential campaigns inflate expectations that power wielded from government’s pinnacle will invigorate the nation. Thus campaigns demonstrate that creationists threaten the creative ferment that produces social improvement. Not religious creationists, who are mistaken but inconsequential. It is secular creationists whose social costs are steep. “Secular theists” — economist Don Boudreaux’s term — produce governments gripped… Continue Reading

A conservative party jeopardized by Trump

If you look beyond Donald Trump’s comprehensive unpleasantness — is there a disagreeable human trait he does not have? — you might see this: He is a fundamentally sad figure. His compulsive boasting is evidence of insecurity. His unassuageable neediness suggests an aching hunger for others’ approval to ratify his self-admiration. His incessant announcements of… Continue Reading

Trump’s embarrassment of riches

The biggest political news is that Donald Trump may be doing even better than polls have suggested. Yikes. Apparently, many Trump supporters have been fibbing to pollsters, saying they’re for someone else when they really intend to vote for The Donald. And those fudging the most are college-educated voters because, it seems, they’re too embarrassed… Continue Reading

Column: Higher education is a house divided

Although he is just 22, Andrew Zeller is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in mathematics at Purdue University. He is one reason the school is a rare exception to the rule of unreason on American campuses, where freedom of speech is under siege. He and Purdue are evidence that freedom of speech, by which truth is… Continue Reading

Can we talk about some issues that surround us all

When President Obama addressed the nation following the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, he reiterated the call to resist animus toward Muslims. This was a familiar message — the same we had heard from President George W. Bush following the 9/11 attacks. We aren’t at war against Islam, both presidents have said, but against an… Continue Reading

Legacy or bust

Last Saturday, Barack Obama gained the second jewel in his foreign policy triple crown: the Paris climate accord. It follows his Iran nuclear deal and awaits but the closing of Guantanamo to complete his glittering legacy. To be sure, Obama will not be submitting the climate agreement for Senate ratification. It would have no chance… Continue Reading

Some governing among the GOP gloom-and-doom

It was a night of fear and loathing in Las Vegas. “We have people across this country who are scared to death,” said Chris Christie. “Everywhere in America is a target for these terrorists.” Donald Trump informed viewers that “our country is out of control” and raised the possibility that “we’re just going to go… Continue Reading

Another false ‘turning point’ on climate

History, on the “right side” of which Barack Obama endeavors to keep us, has a sense of whimsy. Proof of which is something happening this week: Britain’s last deep-pit coal mine is closing, a small event pertinent to an enormous event, the Industrial Revolution, which was ignited by British coal. The mine closure should not,… Continue Reading

Donald Trump comes to Hillary Clinton’s rescue

Gee, wonder what Hillary Clinton has been up to? If you haven’t heard much about her lately, it’s because Clinton news has been as scarce as winter weather on the Eastern seaboard. Did somebody say emails? What ever happened to Benghazi? Is she still even running for president? You’d almost not know for sure with… Continue Reading

Women in combat put men at risk

Crickets. This was the sound of America reacting to news earlier this month that all military positions, including ground combat, will be opened to women. It is axiomatic that the White House, not just this one, makes controversial announcements when people are otherwise distracted. Usually, this means late Friday afternoons when there isn’t much time… Continue Reading

A Missouri town demands substantive due process

If Pagedale, Missouri, is a glimpse of the future, the future is going to be annoying. Pagedale might represent the future of governance unless some of its residents succeed in their lawsuit against their government. If they do, it will be because they successfully invoked the principle of substantive due process. Pagedale is 1.19 square… Continue Reading

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