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Laws That Subvert the Rule of Law

August 24, 2017 - 7:00am

When John Adams wrote into Massachusetts' Constitution a commitment to a "government of laws and not of men," he probably assumed that the rule of law meant the rule of laws, no matter how many laws there might be. He could not have imagined the modern proliferation and complexity of laws, or how subversive this is of the rule of law.

When a Diminishing President Is a Good Thing

July 31, 2017 - 7:00am

Looking, as prudent people are disinclined to do, on the bright side, there are a few vagrant reasons for cheerfulness, beginning with this: Summer love is sprouting like dandelions. To the list of history's sublime romances -- Abelard and Heloise, Romeo and Juliet, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy -- add the torrid affair between Anthony Scaramucci and Donald Trump. The former's sizzling swoon for the latter is the most remarkable public display of hormonal heat since -- here a melancholy thought intrudes -- Jeff Sessions tumbled into love with Trump. Long ago. Last year.

Air Force Has Dug into the Equivalent of Trench Warfare

July 22, 2017 - 7:00am

It is said that America's armed forces have been stressed by 16 years of constant warfare, the longest such in the nation's history. For the Air Force, however, the high tempo of combat operations began 26 years ago, with enforcement of the no-fly zone in Iraq after Desert Storm. With an acute pilot shortage, particularly in the fighter pilot community, and with a shortfall approaching 4,000 among maintenance and staffing personnel, the service is, as Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson says, "too small for what the nation expects of it."

A Measure to Rein in Medicaid's 'Mission Gallop'

July 10, 2017 - 7:00am

Were it not for the provision that Pat Toomey, the Pennsylvania Republican, put into the Senate's proposed health care reform, this legislation would be moderately important but hardly momentous. Toomey's provision, however, makes it this century's most significant domestic policy reform.

The Scars of Our Nation's Violent Birth

July 3, 2017 - 7:00am

Some American history museums belabor visitors with this message: You shall know the truth and it shall make you feel ashamed of, but oh-so-superior to, your wretched ancestors. The new Museum of the American Revolution is better than that. Located near Independence Hall, it celebrates the luminous ideas affirmed there 241 Julys ago, but it does not flinch from this fact: The war that began at Lexington and Concord 14 months before the Declaration of Independence was America's first civil war. And it had all the messiness and nastiness that always accompany protracted fratricide.

The Demolition of a 1931 Law Would Make Building Much Cheaper

June 19, 2017 - 7:00am

"Contrary" does not quite capture Steve King's astringency. The Iowa native and conservative congressman was born, appropriately, in Storm Lake, and carries turbulence with him. He also carries experience of actual life before politics, when he founded a construction company, which is one reason he has long advocated an excellent idea -- repeal of the Davis-Bacon law.

Nurturing Our Capacity for Regeneration

June 15, 2017 - 7:00am

Sparkling in the sunlight that inspired 19th-century romantic painters of the Hudson River School, Sing Sing prison's razor wire, through which inmates can see the flowing river, is almost pretty. Almost. Rain or shine, however, a fog of regret permeates any maximum-security prison. But 37 men -- almost all minorities; mostly African Americans -- recently received celebratory attention. It was their commencement -- attended by Harry Belafonte, 90, and the singer Usher -- as freshly minted college graduates. Their lives after prison will not soon, if ever, commence, but when they do these men will have unusual momentum for success.

Get the Shovels in the Ground

June 12, 2017 - 7:00am

Sensing that his Scottish enemies had blundered at the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, Oliver Cromwell said, "The Lord hath delivered them into our hands." Philip K. Howard, were he the exulting type, could rejoice that some of his adversaries have taken a stand on indefensible terrain. Because the inaccurately named Center for American Progress has chosen to defend the impediments that government places in its own path regarding public works, it has done Howard the favor of rekindling interest in something he wrote in 2015.

Public Broadcasting: Superfluous yet Seemingly Immortal

June 6, 2017 - 7:00am

As changing technologies and preferences make government-funded broadcasting increasingly preposterous, such broadcasting actually becomes useful by illustrating two dismal facts. One is the immortality of entitlements that especially benefit those among society's articulate upper reaches who feel entitled. The other fact is how impervious government programs are to evidence incompatible with their premises.

How to Restore American Self-Reliance

May 30, 2017 - 7:00am

When in the Senate chamber, Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican, sits by choice at the desk used by the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan. New York's scholar-senator would have recognized that Sasse has published a book of political philosophy in the form of a guide to parenting.

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