Personality and policy

In the aftermath of the debacle over the Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, President Trump can learn a valuable lesson that will serve him well in the next battle over tax reform and other issues. The president was elected largely on the force of his strong personality and vague promises to fix things […]

Purity and politics

Readers of a certain age may recall ads for Ivory Soap, which claimed to be 99 and 44/100ths percent pure. If the soap could have reached 100 percent purity, the company would likely have made the claim. Purity, apparently, is what some conservative Republicans are demanding in a health insurance bill, which likely will be […]

America’s longest war

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to spend $1.4 billion of New York’s resources to solve the persistent problem of poverty in central Brooklyn. If he wins legislative approval, Cuomo, a Democrat, intends to spend the money on affordable housing, job training, anti-violence programs, recreational space, even obesity. Some cynics suggest the proposal is targeted at boosting […]

The Trump effect

Here are two scenarios. One: you are a retiree who in recent years has been concerned about the value of your stock portfolio. Suddenly, the value of your stocks and stock-based mutual funds surges, the Dow rising 1,000 points to record highs within weeks. You examine the monthly report your broker sends and you are […]

Where’s conservative optimism?

I had never heard of Milo Yiannopoulos until recently, perhaps because I don’t visit some of the websites where his musings are published. Milo, as he calls himself because of the difficulty some have pronouncing his last name, was disinvited from this week’s Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) annual gathering of the right in Washington. […]

Trump and the media: Demolition derby

The traditional media have decided not to take President Trump’s insults lying down. After what may be the strongest — and to his supporters — most thrilling takedown of journalists by any president, Editor and Publisher magazine featured this headline: “Newspapers Aim to Ride ‘Trump Bump’ to Reach Readers, Advertisers.” They may hate him, but […]

A tribute to Charlotte Ray

My wife of 51 years passed away last Saturday after a long battle against multiple health issues. We met in the musical theater. She was in it. I wanted to be on stage. I have a passable singing voice. Her contralto voice was powerful and perfectly pitched. She could hit the back seats without amplification. […]

Be careful what you wish for

At the National Prayer Breakfast last week, President Trump promised to “totally destroy” the so-called “Johnson Amendment,” a law that prohibits churches from endorsing or opposing political candidates at the risk of losing their tax-exempt status. Politifact.com gives the background on how the amendment became law: “The restriction was championed by (Lyndon Johnson) in 1954 […]

The week that was

Republican members of Congress met in Philadelphia last weekend for what was called a retreat. It might have been more accurately labeled an advance. Perhaps not since the days of Franklin Roosevelt’s first term has so much been done by so few that will potentially impact so many (to paraphrase Winston Churchill in a completely […]

Rhetoric and reality

President Donald Trump’s inaugural address may not have risen to the rhetorical level of John F. Kennedy (“The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans” and “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”), or Ronald Reagan’s critique of government (“Government is not […]

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