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Columns

Conspiracists see b/w in gray ocean

The Trump presidency is often a kind of political “Rashomon,” with partisans on either side looking at the same facts and coming to wildly different conclusions. So it’s all the more remarkable that the central controversy of our time isn’t a fight over one story with different ...

Commencement Speech You Never Hear

My youngest son’s college graduation ceremony was scheduled to be held outdoors. The invitation specified that it would be moved inside to the gym only in the event of “severe” weather. As it turned out, the day was unseasonably cold (low 50s) with occasional drizzle — probably about as ...

Trump’s curious coalition

Donald Trump’s strategy for keeping power is to build up his coalition of America’s white working class and the nation’s ownership class. It’s a curious coalition, to say the least. But if Democrats don’t respond to it, it could protect Trump from impeachment and even re-elect him. ...

Spying on Trump is departure from norms

“F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims,” read the headline on a lengthy New York Times story May 18. “The Justice Department used a suspected informant to probe whether Trump campaign aides were making improper contacts with Russia in ...

Bicycling with common sense

Summer weather generally brings out people who enjoy riding their bicycles. Mountain biking on the trails, roadway bicycles on the highways and streets, and BMX riders doing stunts on any piece of dry pavement or area that creates a challenging obstacle for them. Though this is a healthy, ...

School shooters are symptom of culture that is ill

I know two Greek-American kids who brought shotguns to high school. My brother Peter and me. There were two 12-gauge shotguns. We were going hunting. I suppose that sounds crazy, after what happened at the Santa Fe High School in Texas on Friday. Another mass school shooting, another horror ...

Forensic science still snares innocent

On TV crime shows like “CSI,” “NCIS” and “Law & Order,” science gets the bad guys. In real life, “science” often ensnares the innocent. Former NYPD Detective Harry Houck gets annoyed when TV shows make forensic science look infallible. “You watch a detective get ...

Gangs of goons in Gucci grease gluttons of greed

In the fierce labor wars of the last century, industrial barons employed Pinkertons and other goons to bloody the heads of laborers or simply gun down those struggling for a share of economic and political power. It was brutal, but organized workers persevered and eventually gained a share of ...

For some, ‘faith’ little to do with Jesus

Today, we will discuss one of the most pressing threats to American Christianity. Meaning, of course, American Christians. Yes, that’s an overly broad statement. All those Christians whose faith requires them to live the Good News, to feed the hungry, to house the homeless, speak for the ...

Trump, Giuliani declare war on FBI

WASHINGTON — After some early missteps, the new defensive team of Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani is engaged in a bold and brash attempt to stand the Mueller investigation into Russian election meddling on its head. Embellishing on Trump’s repeated allegations of a “witch hunt” and a ...

Reducing Racial Profiling

The post-9/11 mantra “If you see something, say something” appears to have taken an ugly turn these days. It used to relate to concerns about terrorism. If you saw an abandoned backpack or van, or if you discovered evidence that could be construed as bomb-related, the instruction was to ...

Republicans’ fear of fear factor is losing strategy

When President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” he could not have foreseen today’s Republican Party. A bill authored by Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, that would require the federal government to balance the budget each year was soundly ...

Truth Is Best Antidote to Prejudice

The man yelling in a video that has gone viral this week threatens employees at a New York deli that he will call U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement because he overheard employees speaking Spanish: “If they have the balls to come here and live off of my money — I pay for their ...

Right must reckon with generation gap

The conventional image of baby boomer political rebellion features a young left-wing activist organizing, protesting or otherwise agitating, ideally with Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” playing in the background: “There’s something happening here / What it is ain’t ...

Jerusalem Jared and city of truth

st few days have provided a head-swiveling study in cognitive dissonance and dueling realities. Monday started the week with a jolt in Jerusalem, where the U.S. and Israel celebrated the American embassy move from Tel Aviv. Television spectators around the world watched as the two nations’ ...

Which politicians look like their home state?

West Virginia — which, between 2015 and 2016, was the only state to see both more deaths than births and more citizens move out than move in — could understandably be expected to be somewhat unwelcoming to the recent arrival who seeks public office. The Mountain State’s last surviving ...

Amazon fights mob-like threats

Seattle is worried about the well-being of the poor and mentally ill people living there, so it’s going to drive businesses out of town. OK, that’s not how the politicians describe their plan, but that’s probably how it will work out. Members of Seattle’s city council want all big ...

Ending net neutrality is good for plutocratic rule

We’re told by politicos, pundits and internet providers themselves that access to the net is crucial to our educational achievement, future prosperity and ability to be self-governing. Yet, while this digital highway is deemed vital to our nation’s well-being, access to it is not offered as ...

How did we ever forget this song?

It’s like listening to a song you used to know. It’s an old sweet song, a hymn of hope and possibility. It’s a tune you haven’t heard in far too long. That’s how it is when Rev. Dr. William Barber speaks morality. It’s not just that Barber, pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church ...

Pence staying out of spotlight as vice president

WASHINGTON — Four years ago I wrote a history of the American vice presidency, published by Smithsonian Books. It was subtitled “From Irrelevance to Power,” and it traced the office’s progression from non-entity to respectability over the previous 227 years. The improvement in the ...