National Columns

President Faces a Legal Wall



President Donald Trump’s Justice Department has ramped up its crusade against so-called “sanctuary cities” in a way that looks about as doomed as his Muslim travel ban fiasco. As the president says he realized with his move to repeal and replace Obamacare, immigration enforcement is a lot more “complicated” than he thought. That point rang out Tuesday afternoon when a […]

Berkeley Didn’t Birth ‘Free Speech’ But Seems Intent to Bury It



Demosthenes, the Athenian rhetorician and champion of liberty, pointed out around 355 B.C. that residents of Athens were free to praise Sparta’s regime, but Spartans were banned from praising Athens. In 1689, the British passed a law guaranteeing freedom of speech in Parliament. A century later, French revolutionaries incorporated into law the Declaration of the Rights of Man, which established […]

Fans Mourn The Loss Of Major Symbol



“Build that wall!” That was one of the more popular rallying cries at then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign events and was perhaps uttered more frequently than the incendiary “Lock her up!” — a reference to imprisoning Trump’s rival, Hillary Clinton. And the phrase has lived on. At athletic events, academic competitions and other nonpolitical gatherings, Trump’s xenophobic supporters, adults and children, […]

Shutdown Showdown Yet Again



WASHINGTON — As Donald Trump approaches the 100-day marker of his first year in office, he has defined himself not as the Dealmaker in Chief but as The Backdown President. What a deliciously strange irony that until Monday night he set the stage for a government shutdown over, of all things, his campaign centerpiece — The Wall. Strange because Trump, […]

President Trump Still Beats Clinton by a Wider Margin



WASHINGTON — We call it Kultursmog, “it” being that collection of attitudes, ideas, tastes and personages that are polluted by the politics of the left and predominate on both coasts. And who are we? We are the freethinkers who are immune to the Kultursmog by virtue of our natural skepticism and reliance on empiricism, which is to say, reliance on […]

I’m Thinking Twice About Making Lists



Improving my life these days seems to revolve around lists. Or bullet points. I need only check my Twitter or LinkedIn feeds to see the numerical-driven headlines, followed by tidy rows of self-help suggestions: Five Reasons You Should Quit Your Unsatisfying Job; Ten Ways to Raise More Respectful Children; Thirteen Reasons You Should Turn off LinkedIn and Twitter, Fifty-Five Ways […]

Common Thread in Elections



In case you’ve been confused by the last few days of punditry, let me say outright that France is not America. For example, we recently concluded a presidential election in the United States in which many argued that it was imperative to smash the “final glass ceiling” by electing a female president. One doesn’t hear that kind of talk in […]

It’s Time To Clean Up Home



I drove past a dilapidated house the other day with a 20-year-old car sitting in the driveway. The car was missing half its tires and had seen better days. I’ve driven by this house every now and then for years, and the car never moves. What I can’t figure out is: Why are these people keeping that car? What are […]

Leaders Should Read an Occasional History Book



WASHINGTON — How absolutely grand a moment it must have been when the White House got the idea of comparing the American aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, en route supposedly to scare North Korea, to the Spanish Armada. How shoulders must have suddenly squared and necks stretched tall! Why, Merriam-Webster noted online that the word “armada” steamed and, yes, “streamed […]

The President’s Reality Show



If President Trump were starring in a new reality show — which, of course, he is — here’s a possible title: “The Real World.” Washington is awash with commentary that the president is “moving to the center” and abandoning his conservative principles for a more “moderate” posture pushed by son-in-law Jared Kushner and other New Yorkers who don’t share the […]