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Friday, April 29, 2016
gene lyons
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
Rubio

The Republican Reality Show Rat Race

The current Republican presidential race is less a political contest than a reality TV series: a stage-managed melodrama with a cast of characters selected to titillate and provoke.

November 4, 2015
joe biden speaking

No, Journalists Don’t Have Dramatic License

Anonymous sources are tricky enough, but journalists simply have no business contriving dramatized scenes with dialogue and characters — describing their innermost thoughts and feelings with no attribution whatsoever. To do so is inherently deceptive.

October 28, 2015
2015-09-28-obama-putin-lavrov-kerry-united-nations-reuters-640

Winning Isn’t Everything — Especially In Syria

Some people think about foreign relations the way they think about football, with the U.S. as the home team. But sometimes there aren’t any victories.

October 21, 2015
House Speaker Boehner and House Majority leader McCarthy speak to reporters at a news conference on Capitol Hill in WashingtonCapitol Hill in Washington

When ‘Conservatives’ Become Radicals

The “Freedom Caucus” not only can’t govern, they don’t appear to believe in governance. If they understood the first thing about the U.S. Constitution they profess to revere, they’d recognize that it was purposely crafted to frustrate radicals like them.

October 14, 2015
House Majority Leader McCarthy speaks at the John Hay Initiative in Washington

The Death Rattle Of A Fake Scandal

If Trey Gowdy doesn’t already know that Hillary Clinton’s a lot smarter and tougher than he is, he’s about to find out. Truthfully, they’d be better advised to fold the committee and file some weasel-worded report.

October 7, 2015
U.S. Speaker of the House Boehner exits Republican caucus meeting after announcing to the meeting that he will be resigning in Washington

Why Boehner Failed

Boehner understood that in politics you need to compromise, yet lacked the intestinal fortitude to do so, which is why his speakership came to such a sad end.

September 30, 2015
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