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Gowdy Aimed to Close the Circle of South Carolina's History

April 30, 2018 - 2:00am

Trey Gowdy's emotions sometimes bubble disconcertingly close to the surface, but unlike many members of the political class, he is not all surface. At a breakfast four years ago, the South Carolina Republican had tears in his eyes as he explained when he would leave Congress: after Tim Scott, a Republican congressman who had been appointed to the Senate in 2013 when Jim DeMint resigned, had been elected in his own right. This, Gowdy said at that breakfast, would close the circle of his state's history.

Bolton's Beliefs Are a Recipe for Diplomatic Delusions

March 26, 2018 - 7:00am

Because John Bolton is five things President Trump is not -- intelligent, educated, principled, articulate and experienced -- and because of Bolton's West Wing proximity to a president responsive to the most recent thought he has heard emanating from cable television or an employee, Bolton will soon be the second-most dangerous American. On April 9, he will be the first national security adviser who, upon taking up residence down the hall from the Oval Office, will be suggesting that the United States should seriously consider embarking on war crimes.

Keystone State Race Could Set Template for Democrats

March 5, 2018 - 7:00am

Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District, which ripples over the steep hills of this Pittsburgh suburb and stretches south to the West Virginia border, has not had a competitive congressional election since 2006. The fact that it will have one on March 13 makes this the most important 2018 voting before Nov. 6.

With Case on Coerced Union Fees, the Supreme Court Has a Chance to Correct Itself

February 23, 2018 - 7:00am

Overturning mistaken decisions is an occasional duty of the Supreme Court, whose noblest achievement was the protracted, piecemeal repudiation, with Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and subsequent decisions, of its 1896 ruling that segregated "separate but equal" public facilities were constitutional. This Monday, the court will hear oral arguments that probably will presage another overdue correction.

Infrastructure Spending Won't Transform America

February 16, 2018 - 2:00am

"MASON CITY.

To get there you follow Highway 58, going northeast out of the city, and it is a good highway and new."

-- Robert Penn Warren, "All the King's Men" (1946)

Play Ball, With Informed Intelligence

February 12, 2018 - 7:00am

Even if, inexplicably, you occasionally think about things other than major league baseball, consider this: Why are many premier free agents, particularly sluggers and starting pitchers, unsigned even while we are hearing the loveliest four words, "Pitchers and catchers report"? The Major League Baseball Players Association angrily says some teams are more interested in economizing than in winning. The real explanation is that teams are intelligently aligning their behavior with changing information.

Snakes on a Plane for Emotional Support?

February 10, 2018 - 7:00am

When next you shoehorn yourself into one of America's ever-shrinking airline seats, you might encounter a new wrinkle in the romance of air travel. You might be amused, or not, to discover a midsize -- say, 7-feet long -- boa constrictor named Oscar coiled contentedly, or so you hope, in the seat next to you. Oscar is an "emotional-support animal." He belongs to the person in the seat on the other side of him, and he is a manifestation of a new item, or the metastasizing of an old item, on America's menu of rights. Fortunately, the federal government is on the case, so you can relax and enjoy the flight.

Why Good Economic News Is Bad

February 5, 2018 - 7:00am

In 1930, John Maynard Keynes was worried, but not about the unpleasantness that had begun the previous year and would linger long enough to become known as the Great Depression. What troubled the British economist was that humanity "is solving its economic problem."

When Protectionism Is Rampant, No Bad Deed Goes Unrewarded

January 29, 2018 - 7:00am

Like Horatius at the bridge, or the boy who stood on the burning deck whence all but he had fled, or the Dutch boy who saved the city by putting his finger in the dike -- pick your analogous heroism -- the Trump administration last week acted to stanch the flood of foreign-made washing machines that are being imported because Americans want them.

Some Policy Dentistry Could Combat Truth Decay

January 25, 2018 - 7:00am

It cannot be a sign of social health that the number of tweets per day worldwide exploded from 5,000 in 2007 to 500 million six years later. And this might be related, by a few degrees of separation, to the fact that whereas in the 1992 presidential election more than one-third of America's 3,113 counties or their equivalents had a single-digit margin of victory, in the 2016 presidential election, fewer than 10 percent did. And to the fact that in 2016, 1,196 counties -- about 2.5 times the average over the preceding 20 years -- were decided by margins larger than 50 percent.

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