Culture — unbalanced

Here’s a cute little item from The New York Times on a recent weekend: “Is Your Script Gender-Balanced? Try This Test.” Is your script… WHAT? “Gender-balanced”: meaning representative of male and female presence and importance in whatever screenplay you are concocting — because you don’t want gender imbalance to stain your great idea, do you? […]

Little ado over much

On a single weekend in mid-March, the dictator of Russia was reaffirmed in his official estate with 76.77 percent of the vote, after an election characterized by international observers as “overly controlled”; and the dictator of China was awarded a lifetime lease on power by 2,970 votes in the National People’s Congress, with just two […]

Gun control vs. ‘I want to’

So, let’s imagine that in response to the Parkland, Florida, mass shooting, the government, federal or state, strongly tightens control of firearms. And then what? No more shootings? No more Nikolas Cruzes and such like, taking out their personal malice on the innocent and unwary? I speak as a lifelong non-owner of guns when I […]

How to tackle sexual harassment

The first thing to do about sexual harassment is get the pronunciation right. Accent’s on the first syllable, not the second: Never mind what they say on TV. That point acknowledged, we may proceed to considering the rout of the very old codes designed for the honoring and protection of, yes, women: women who were […]

Here come the animal spirits

According to a New Year’s Day New York Times story, business has become energized and optimistic: to the point of backing its hopes and ambitions with investment capital. Is all this about tax cuts? Not quite all, say Times writers Binyamin Appelbaum and Jim Tankersley. “In the administration and across the business community, there is […]

Democrats, taxes and freedom

What’s the matter with the Democrats — the Capitol Hill Democrats, in this present case? Yes, I know. A question of this kind has partisanship smeared all over its face: raw, rank preference for capitalist fascist Republicans over people-loving, small-species-affirming Democrats. But if we can step back from rhetorical excess for a moment, the question […]

The sky isn’t falling. We just think it is

Rooms full of racket and nonstop commotion drive a person nuts. You want to clap hands over your ears and flee. This is the case now from the rowdiness of what Reader’s Digest used to call — still may for aught I know — “Life in These United States.” If the American noise level seems […]

Will Washington ever learn? Apparently not

The messiness of the long-proverbial “mess in Washington” stands out this post-holiday week like a picked and evacuated turkey carcass. To itemize: 1) The tax debate, so-called. 2) The furor over who’s to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — assuming you’ve heard of this enterprise, which is disliked by many on account of its […]

Giving thanks amid the clatter of reindeer hooves

What? Your Christmas tree hasn’t been up for a week yet? Surely your home is ablaze with red and green and yellow lights, like the neighbors’ houses? No? Sad (as our president might declare if he gave the matter any thought). Not as sad, maybe, as the eclipse of Thanksgiving in the mad rush to […]

Roy Moore and the Augean Stables

We were going to have this conversation one of these days — if you consider a barrage of claims, assertions, denials and calls for resignation a conversation. However, I digress. We were going to find ourselves tied in knots eventually over matters plucked from a traditional moral matrix and handed over for consideration to you […]

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