After writing close to 3,000 columns, I’ve learned that people sometimes read what they’re looking for, often as a result of a headline, rather than what I wrote.
H.L. Mencken gets a workout in election years when voters are reminded by pundits of the curmudgeon’s observation that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.
The past couple of weeks have marked a turning point in American ugliness as the mob has turned its full fury on first lady Michelle Obama.
When it comes to tackling complicated legal issues, one would be hard-pressed to conjure a less likely partnership than Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz and Baylor University President Ken Starr.
Crimeans, 97 percent of whom voted to become part of Russia (against a backdrop of heavily armed Russian troops), may be deluding themselves in thinking that they might become another Sochi — rebuilt in splendor in preparation for the Winter Olympics. Asks Khrushcheva, does Russia really have another $50 billion to create a new showpiece?
Like most people older than 30, I also wondered whether this was an appropriate venue for the president, especially in consideration of current events.
Periodic revision of standardized testing may be justified and, in some instances, even laudable. A new SAT focus on founding documents and their authors is one welcome shift. As to whether the new test will be useful in advancing capable students who, for whatever reason, weren’t able to demonstrate their abilities through testing — time will tell.
Jerry Brown, about to begin a run for his fourth term as governor, has shed the “Governor Moonbeam” moniker that he has worn like an itchy suit for nearly 40 years, compliments of famed Chicago columnist Mike Royko (RIP, 1997).
Rather than tackling the source of problems in minority communities, we have embraced a pop culture that celebrates destructive behavior via movies and music.
In town for the National Governors Association winter meeting, Bobby Jindal joined other state chief executives in front of the White House after a meeting with the president. Taking the microphone, Jindal said among other things that “the Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy,” and the president is “waving the white flag of surrender.”
Republicans have excelled at concealing their brilliance in recent years and Democrats have exalted in their own good fortune.
Perhaps the more apt metaphor for this week’s buzz isn’t a movie after all but double jeopardy. The case of Hillary, Bill and Monica has been prosecuted and then some. Thus all, especially Hillary, have been politically inoculated against further prosecution on this point. Besides, as some apparently need reminding, Hillary was the victim.
As the Christie scandal machine grinds on, his polling numbers un-shockingly are plummeting. Once in the lead in a fantasy presidential race, he now trails Hillary Clinton 39 percent to 55 percent.
Rather than end the idea of a Republican war on women, Huckabee has merely provided fresh fodder to Democrats, while reminding women why they don’t want to associate with this crowd. Clue-less.
The question du jour is, why did Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer wait so long to step forward and level her corruption charges at Chris Christie?
Having given up nearly everything that made getting out of bed worthwhile, I am healthier, happier, more productive — and have discovered that life is not, in fact, short. But both my current abstinence and the indulgences I once enjoyed (and may again, if my cocktail-stoop buddies have any say) were my own. My decisions, my responsibility, my consequences.
When it comes to the fortunes of the rich and the misfortunes of the poor, we recognize the role that luck plays. Some are born lucky — either through natural gifts of appearance, athleticism, intelligence or musical talent. The really lucky ones are also born into stable, educated families with financial security and grown-up parents. Then there are the unlucky, who, whatever their relative talents, are born into broken families, often to single mothers, in neighborhoods where systemic poverty, inferior educational opportunities and perhaps even crime constitute the culture in which they marinate.
In the days since revelations surfaced about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s office orchestrating the now-infamous George Washington Bridge lane closings, I’ve had at least four different reactions.
In the end, fairness isn’t the issue. The issue is justifying policies — government intervention, higher taxes, spending and redistribution — that can’t otherwise be easily sold. How about this for a midterm catchphrase, reflective of true circumstances — the need for a higher-skilled labor force that pits no American against another and qualifies people for jobs that are actually available: “Learning for Earning.”
Profits may take a short holiday, but the reward of living in a culture that values human connection and appreciates, in Washington’s words from the proclamation, “the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed” — is beyond measure.
It should be little wonder, then, that we can’t shed these memories. They are in our bones. The eternal flame that burns at JFK’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery is a tribute not only to a man but to a lost time when life held promise.
Whether the ACA survives the new timetable remains an open question. The plan sinks or swims on the basis of young, healthy people signing up, which, for now, they cannot do except in dribs and drabs.
My point: Don’t attack a woman as a woman. No allusions to awful female characters or anything to do with her appearance. If you have to resort to commentary about someone’s personal attributes, assuming they’re not wearing ridiculous headgear, you are signaling that you have no arrows in your quiver.
Yes, we should — under certain circumstances — relinquish beloved tradition to the mature moment. This seems to be the sentiment of President Obama, who recently said that if he were the team owner, he would consider changing the name of the Washington Redskins.
Closing the monuments, especially the World War II Memorial, can be reduced, fittingly, to a single syllable: Dumb.
Postponement of the individual mandate is part of the GOP bargaining package on raising the debt ceiling. Delay it for a year, say Republican leaders, and they’ll raise the debt limit for a year to keep the government operating.
In the long run, delay might benefit Obama, especially if it averts a revolt once citizens fully absorb the expensive realities of Obamacare and promises not kept. He has already demonstrated that he is comfortable with waiting when risks are disproportionate to theoretical gains.
Whatever the outcome of these fire-hydrant gymnastics, a positive result (no U.S. military engagement and an enforceable chemical weapons agreement with Syria) likely will have been accidental. So be it and pass the champagne. But the larger lesson should not get lost in events: Never draw a line unless you are prepared to fight.
A little bit of war
The conversation-about-race that pundits keep insisting we need to have should end where it began. Maybe in his remarks on the 50th anniversary of the greatest peaceful demonstration in history, Obama can remind Americans that if we had sons and fathers, they’d look like Christopher Lane and Delbert Belton, as well as Trayvon Martin.
Whether one likes or dislikes Hillary, few dispute that she has matured in her public role. Her resume can be topped by few and the symbolic power of electing a woman president — especially this woman — can’t be overestimated.
When The Washington Post Writers Group came courting several years ago, inviting me to join the company’s syndicate, I remember well the pitch: We’re a family. By then I had been syndicated for more than a decade by the Tribune Co. and was struck yet again by the layers of irony implicit in the words such media organizations use to describe themselves. Syndicate. Family. Thank God no one kissed me.
For those whose immediate concerns are more secular than divine, the voting booth provides a parallel confessional. To forgive may be divine, but to reward obscene behavior is deviancy of a lower order.
WASHINGTON -- Republicans seem to be adopting the self-immolation tactics of principled martyrs. Of course, principled or not, you're still dead in the end.
A bullet through the heart of a murder trial. In the annals of murder trials, few testimonies can rival the impact of slain teenager Trayvon Martin's mother Sybrina Fulton: "I heard my son screaming.". She was referring to the voice on an audio recording of a 911 call that
WASHINGTON -- The trial of George Zimmerman, accused of fatally shooting Trayvon Martin, inevitably and quickly devolved into a contest of who is more racist -- the victim or the accused?. The question was inevitable because the prosecution is basing its case largely on the suggestion that Zimmerman profiled the
WASHINGTON -- The headlines were immediate: All-women jury chosen for George Zimmerman's trial. What is the likelihood that you, a man, would face a jury of all women?
WASHINGTON -- At a party a few years ago, a young reporter bounded over to my cluster of social nodders and, with the breathlessness of a born tweeter, chirped: "What's the new hot thing?!". Without disturbing my mascara, I replied: "Anonymity.". She looked befuddled.. I continued: "To be
NEW YORK -- It was never quite clear what feminizing the workplace would mean when women en masse invaded corporate America a generation ago.. Most of us donned our Mao suits, bow ties and sensible shoes and did our best to blend in. The
WASHINGTON -- News that women increasingly are the leading or sole breadwinners in the American family has resurrected the perennial question: Why do we need men?. Maureen Dowd attempted to answer this question with her 2005 book, "Are Men Necessary?" I responded three years later with "Save the Males
Women's reproductive rights have enjoyed a half-century or so of well-defined proponents and opponents, but the recently flourishing fertility industry, from egg harvesting to surrogacy, has produced fresh and surprising alliances among former foes.. Feminists, traditionalists, Catholics, evangelicals, ethicists and atheists
WASHINGTON -- They lost me at the word "women.". As so often happens with contemporary debate, arguments being proffered in support of allowing teenagers as young as 15 (and possibly younger) to buy the "morning-after pill" without adult supervision are false on their premise.. Here's an experiment to
In a reprieve from the horror of the most recent terrorist attack, the nation's attentions turned to the man who declared war on terrorism, George W. Bush.. During Thursday's dedication of his library at Southern Methodist University, nary a word was spoken about the most controversial aspect of his tenure
Mark Sanford, the former governor who disappeared for five days, allegedly to hike the Appalachian Trail only to find himself in the arms of his lover (now his fiancee), is discovering that not every kid gets a comeback.
WASHINGTON -- The recent kerfuffle over a secret recording of Sen. Mitch McConnell's campaign strategy meeting, which focused on opposition research about a likely opponent, actress Ashley Judd, has divided observers into two groups.
The striking juxtaposition of the preternaturally perfect Angelina Jolie, waifish and wispy in a ghostly gown, and the scrappy Pakistani schoolgirl Malala, her face cruelly misshapen by the effects of a Taliban bullet to the head, captures the confluence of feminine power assembled here to "lean on" the world to
No matter what Barack Obama does, he cannot escape the shadow of his former political opponent.
WASHINGTON -- Mariska Hargitay, better known as "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" Detective Olivia Benson, is the human intersection of life and art.. Precisely, the line between the fictional role she plays and the role she has carved out in real life is approximately a hair's breadth. The passion television
WASHINGTON -- The media love optics and no one understands this better than President Barack Obama.. Thus, he invited a gang of Republican senators to din-dins at the swank (and legendary) Jefferson Hotel, one of the city's more discreet (and expensive) gathering places.. Upon exiting, senators were greeted by
WASHINGTON -- To the world beyond the Beltway, it might not mean much that Bob Woodward of the famed Watergate duo went public with his recent White House run-in. This would be an oversight.