Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Steve Chapman
MEDICAID-062216

The Illusory Savings From Cutting Medicaid

What it means is that if the government does something that costs money, some human somewhere will bear the expense. “Free” public schools, “free” parks and “free” roads all have to be paid for by the citizenry. Collectively, we can’t get something for nothing. This useful insight has long been offered as an objection to costly government programs. But it applies as well to measures that extract savings from costly government programs.

June 26, 2017
Trump on the attack against news media

Trump’s Putin Crush, And Other Signs Of Guilt

“After 7 months of investigations & committee hearings about my ‘collusion with the Russians,’ nobody has been able to show any proof,” Trump tweeted. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, insisted, “I have yet to see anything, even a scintilla. And so it’s time to wrap this up.” An article in National Review said Democrats have “all but given up on their quest to prove the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.”

June 22, 2017
Flag burning protected under First Amendment

Political Violence: ‘As American As Cherry Pie’

Wednesday’s attack on Republican members of Congress by a gun-wielding Bernie Sanders supporter was an occasion to wonder what we have come to when political differences are seen as grounds for killing. What we have come to, in fact, is the place we have always been. Our history is spattered with the blood of people targeted for political reasons.

June 19, 2017
Russians, Trump,

Trump’s Palpable Fear Of The Truth

It is an audacious person who would stake her reputation, if not her immortal soul, on Trump’s veracity. Years from now, people will have forgotten much about the scandal surrounding the president right now. But Sanders’ risible assertion is built to live on as an example of taking mendacity too far. If she lives to be 100, her obituary will quote that sentence.

June 11, 2017
White men, special snowflakes

Trump’s Overriding Trait: Incompetence

What do the directors of the Transportation Security Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI have in common? Easy question, you may think: They are all important law enforcement officials with roles in combating terrorism.

June 9, 2017
climate accord

Trump Forgets The Past And Blights The Future

Donald Trump’s chief argument for withdrawing from the Paris climate accord is that it would destroy jobs, stifle growth, cause electricity blackouts and raise energy prices to ruinous levels.

June 4, 2017
impeachment

Don’t Rush To Impeachment

Under the best of circumstances, impeachment is a national trauma with lasting consequences, for good or ill. Trump made it to the White House because the nation was so divided. If he is removed, it should be because the nation is united.

May 21, 2017

The Wussification Of Baseball Is A Good Thing

Losing pitcher Jon Lester was disgusted by the umpire’s ruling. “Baseball has been played for over 100 years the exact same way, and now we’re trying to change everything and make it soft,” he groused. “We’re out there playing with a bunch of pansies right now.”

May 19, 2017

The Specter Of Single-Payer Health Care

The other day, Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., held a town hall meeting where constituents grilled him about his role in passing the American Health Care Act. When he claimed the insurance market is “collapsing,” a chant went up: “Single-payer, single-payer!”

May 15, 2017

Trump Makes Himself Look Guilty

Among Donald Trump’s many shortcomings are the vast amount of history he doesn’t know and the little he does. Perhaps someone told him that when Richard Nixon faced an unwelcome investigation, he fired the investigator.

May 12, 2017
Executive Orders, Trump, Immigrant

On Churches In Politics, Trump Does … Nothing

In the executive order he signed Thursday titled “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty,” Donald Trump had a rare opportunity to pursue a small yet significant change that would have accomplished both of his stated purposes. Instead, he ceremoniously unveiled a heaping platter of nothingburgers.

May 8, 2017

A Bold Remedy For Overdose Deaths

Addiction to opioids is hazardous to your health. To most people, this may sound like an obvious and inescapable reality. If your chief priority is staying cool, the thinking goes, you don’t move to Phoenix. If you really want to stay alive, you don’t use heroin. But humans have created innumerable places in Phoenix where it’s possible to minimize personal contact with searing heat.

April 27, 2017
Protesters yell outside of the Berkeley Police Department protesting police violence in Berkeley, Calif., on Monday, Dec. 8, 2014. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group/TNS)

The Un-Free Speech Movement At Berkeley

UC Berkeley is an exceptional institution whose history includes the 1964-65 protests that gained fame as the Free Speech Movement. Long known as a hotbed of left-wing activism, it has lately gained attention as a place where right-wingers venture at their peril. In February, the administration abruptly called off a talk by then-Breitbart News troll Milo Yiannopoulos after protesters threw stones and firebombs and smashed windows.

April 23, 2017

Trump’s Empty Bluster And Bombing

The Trump administration, obsessed with imagery, has adapted this approach to national security. The president tweets bellicose warnings to North Korea. The vice president goes to South Korea to don a bomber jacket and stare implacably across the Demilitarized Zone. An aircraft carrier steams toward the Sea of Japan — or rather, Trump claims it’s doing so even as it heads the opposite direction, thousands of miles away.

April 20, 2017
Syria's war

In Syria, The Wrong Kind Of Humanitarian Intervention

Trump’s air raid confirms that the main thing Americans have learned from history is that our leaders don’t learn from history. He and his advisers say Bashar Assad’s savagery could not be excused. But the only savagery that has prompted retaliation involved chemical weapons. As long as he limits himself to conventional forms of slaughter, the administration has made clear, he can expect to be left alone.

April 13, 2017
Syria, Ceasefire

In Syria, Trump May Have To Learn The Hard Way

Hawks accused Obama of facilitating Assad’s brutality by standing aside. But it was not until Trump arrived that this nerve gas attack occurred. Maybe Assad felt emboldened after the administration indicated his regime is “a political reality that we have to accept,” as press secretary Sean Spicer said March 31. In that case, Trump is not compensating for Obama’s mistakes so much as his own.

April 10, 2017
Wall, Drug cartels

Trump’s Wall Is Already Collapsing

The Mexican president was supposed to come to Washington for a White House meeting in January. But when Trump said it would be better to cancel the trip if Mexico was not willing to pay for the wall, Pena canceled the trip.

April 4, 2017
Islam, Extremism Program

Trump Isn’t Running The Government Like A Business

Trump is completely lacking in government experience, unlike almost every one of his predecessors. But during the campaign, he touted business background as evidence of his ability to handle the presidency. Never mind that his fortune was built on a large inheritance from his wealthy father, that he went through six bankruptcies, and that many of his ventures (Trump Steaks, Trump Airlines, among others) vanished without a trace.

March 27, 2017

Opioid Deaths: Another Drug War Failure

The criminalization of opioid use often has fatal consequences, because it leaves addicts to obtain supplies from street dealers rather than pharmacists. The drugs they get may be surreptitiously laced with fentanyl or other synthetic opioids that are cheaper than prescription meds but much more potent — raising the overdose risk.

March 19, 2017
Immigration, Deported

Are Immigrants Destroying Our Way Of Life?

The fear that foreigners will poison our culture or destroy our government has no basis in experience. “Basic indicators of assimilation, from naturalization to English ability, are if anything stronger now than they were a century ago,” University of Washington scholar Jacob Vigdor has written about Hispanics.

March 17, 2017