Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Friday, June 24, 2016
gene lyons
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Greensboro, North Carolina on June 14, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake

Will Trump Last The Election?

An ordinary sociopath would have known to pretend shock and sorrow after the terrible mass murders in Orlando. Shielded from ordinary human interaction by his arrogance and wealth, however, presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump had no clue how to act.

June 22, 2016
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addresses the audience at the theater of the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan, Puerto Rico, May 16, 2016. REUTERS/Alvin Baez

How Sanders Made Clinton’s Win Illegitimate

Instead of complaining about the complexity of election rules, Sanders would have been wiser to ignore Wall Street and billionaires for a few minutes to explain those rules to his supporters.

June 8, 2016
Protesters picket outside the event site before Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump begins a rally with supporters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S. May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Trump’s Cult Of Lies

Trump doesn’t trim or embroider as much as invent huge, thunderous fictions aimed at boosting himself or hurting his enemies—evidence be damned. In Trump World, facts don’t exist. He cannot be shamed.

May 25, 2016
1024px-Boudica_(Aldaron)

A No-Trump Column

I’ve long insisted that my plan was to die in a fall from a horse at age 88—suitably remote as to make it a joke. A smug, stupid joke. I’ve also argued—as friends’ broken shoulders and fractured pelvises accumulated—that riding bicycles in traffic is a damn fool thing for mature citizens to do.

May 18, 2016
Supporters of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump protest outside a campaign event for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Williamson, West Virginia, United States, May 2, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young

What Has Happened To Our Election?

People are going about their normal daily activities with seeming equanimity — although there’s been a marked increase in convenience store parking space shootings, actually. Maybe an armed society’s not such a polite society after all. How surprising would it be to see gunfire erupt at a presidential campaign event? But I digress, and ominously.

May 11, 2016
Donald Trump (L) gestures as he stands next to his sister Maryanne Trump Barry, during a break in proceedings of the Aberdeenshire Council inquiry into his plans for a golf resort, Aberdeen, northeast Scotland June 10, 2008. REUTERS/David Moir

Will Trump Get Away With It?

For argument’s sake, let’s say you ran into this Trump character in a bar. First off, he’s boasting about how incredibly smart, rich and good looking he is. He’s a big, big winner. He’s even got his own TV show, and you don’t.

May 4, 2016
Neal Gabler

Neal Gabler And How Not To Make It

To somebody like me whose professional career roughly parallels Gabler’s, the man’s personal choices are mind-boggling. As he correctly points out, “writer…is a financially perilous profession.” To keep your head above water, it’s important to keep your wits about you.

April 27, 2016
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks to supporters on the night of the Michigan, Mississippi and other primaries at his campaign rally in Miami, Florida March 8, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Bernie’s Softball Candidacy

Imagine if Hillary Clinton had flown to the Vatican and stationed herself at Pope Francis’s door for an ambush interview. She’d be caricatured as a power-mad shrew or worse.

April 20, 2016
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (C) greets customers and employees while campaigning for his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, at the NewBo Market in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in this January 7, 2016 file photo. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein/Files

Let’s Look At The Crime Bill

People holding up signs saying “Hillary is a Murderer” aren’t there for dialogue. The charge is so absurd it’s self-refuting.

April 13, 2016
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks with Los Angles mayor Eric Garcetti at her side (L) during a community forum on counter terrorism and homeland security in Los Angeles, California March 24, 2016. REUTERS/David McNew

Only The Ballot Box Can Beat Clinton, Not Bogus ‘Scandals’

When the corrections and retractions reach critical mass and the “investigative” articles start to read like Henry James novels — i.e. diffuse and impenetrable — the end of a given “scandal” episode is near.

April 6, 2016
U.S. President Barack Obama waves from the door of Air Force One as he ends his visit to Cuba, at Havana's international airport, March 22, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Obama Still Beats Trump And Cruz

Can anybody doubt that Obama would defeat either leading Republican candidate—the Sideshow Barker and the Snake Charmer alike—in a landslide? Doubtless his increased popularity derives partly from the contrast.

March 30, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event at Clinton Middle School in Clinton, Iowa January 30, 2015. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Hillary Clinton Gets All Of The Scrutiny Donald Trump Doesn’t

Some days I wonder if I’m qualified to express opinions about American politics anymore. See, I’m not particularly angry, and I also doubt that voters in general are any more worked up than usual. Voter outrage is mainly a media trope. Even at Donald Trump rallies, there’s a whole lot of sheer entertainment and play-acting.

March 23, 2016
A lovable cat

A Cat’s Defense Against Neuroeconomics

“Canines were proven to love us Homo sapiens five times more than their feline counterparts.”

March 9, 2016
Ammon and Ryan Bundy are seen in police jail booking photos released by the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office

The Bundys Are Bumbling Villains In This Western

Looks like that epic cowboy movie Cliven Bundy and his boys dreamed of playing starring roles in will never get made.

February 24, 2016
journalistic fraud TV news

In 2016, Journalistic Fraud Still Looms Large

“This is an edit so egregious, it rivals the worst in dishonest political ads, and surpasses them.”

February 17, 2016
Former U.S. President Clinton addresses a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Nashua

Don’t Try To Breathe Life Into A Dead Scandal

This just in: Nothing boosts circulation or enhances ratings like a sex scandal. The more prominent the actors and the more prurient the allegations, the better. How else to explain the ugly resurgence of talking about the Clintons’ bedroom dramas?

January 13, 2016
Ammon Bundy departs after addressing the media at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns

No, There Isn’t A Racial Double Standard At Work In Oregon

It’s tempting, but specious, to draw comparisons between the publicity-seeking antics in Oregon and senseless tragedies involving law enforcement. That hasn’t stopped ideologues on the left from being as vocal in their enthusiasm for a shootout as anti-government militia types.

January 6, 2016
crying baby, crybaby

2015: The Year Of The Crybaby

Everybody’s throwing themselves a pity party this year. Whether it’s Christians wringing their hands because they can’t regulate other people’s lives or college students complaining about cultural appropriation in the food court. Sorry, guys. None of this makes you a victim. It makes you a crybaby.

December 30, 2015
New York Times Building

Fool Me Twice, New York Times…

In my experience, you can fool a golden retriever exactly twice with the old hidden ball trick. So if the paper’s latest blunder is any indication, a golden retriever is overqualified to edit ‘The New York Times.’

December 23, 2015
CNN Debate Countdown

When Democracy Becomes Must See TV

Is it even possible for a democratic country to govern itself when news becomes “infotainment,” and infotainment news?

December 16, 2015
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks after arriving in his helicopter as a group of children race towards it for ride during a rally in Sarasota, Florida

Why Are Hard Truths So Hard For Conservatives?

Conservatives are emotionally committed to binary thinking — good vs. evil, white vs. black, Christian vs. Islamic — and so Obama’s resistance to melodrama and appreciation for complexity reads to them as weakness. In embracing a laughably simplistic worldview, Republican blowhards risk throwing away America’s moral authority.

December 9, 2015
Students walk around the Princeton University campus in New Jersey

Why The Conversation About Race Can’t Be The Only Conversation

From sea to shining sea, college students seem determined to make us argue about race, pondering the exact color of their navels and compiling lists of fruitless demands, to the exclusion of all else.

December 2, 2015
U.S. President Obama addresses joint news conference at the White House in Washington

In Frightening Times, We Need Leadership, Not Snark

Just because Republicans are down in the mud doesn’t mean the president needs to join them.

November 25, 2015
ISIS

An Apocalyptic Death Cult Has Its Limits

It almost goes without saying that you can’t make treaties with such people. They can only be defeated. The question is how? And at what cost?

November 18, 2015
2015-10-18-ben-carson-texas-faith-freedom-hand-fingers-reuters-640

Whither Goes The Holy Candidate?

At the expense of spoiling all the fun, let’s get real about Dr. Ben Carson’s presidential campaign. Carson fans have been slow to grasp that their party’s presidential nominee will need the votes of millions of “blue state” Republicans historically resistant to religious zealotry.

November 11, 2015
Menu Title