The IRS scandal -- the denial of essential tax-exempt status to conservative advocacy groups, thereby effectively suppressing the groups' activities -- demonstrates this: When government is empowered to regulate advocacy, it will be tempted to suppress some of it. And sometimes government will think like Oscar Wilde: "The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it."
Americans have been betting on sports since the first time a Puritan pilgrim boasted that his horse was the fastest in Massachusetts Bay Colony and another said, "Wanna bet?" But fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly and government gotta fret about gambling on fantasy sports. Torrential television advertising by DraftKings and FanDuel is creating millions of customers for these sports fantasy businesses, thereby creating government anxiety lest Americans make unregulated choices inimical to their material and moral well-being.
The Republican Party, like Sisyphus, is again putting its shoulder to a boulder, hoping to make modest but significant changes in the Electoral College arithmetic by winning perhaps 12 percent of the African- American vote. To this end, they need to hone a rhetoric of skepticism about, and an agenda for reform of, the criminal justice system. They can draw on the thinking of a federal appellate judge nominated by Ronald Reagan.
WASHINGTON -- A supremely important presidential issue is being generally neglected because Democrats have nothing interesting to say about it and Republicans differ among themselves about it. Four Supreme Court justices are into the fourth quarters of their potential centuries -- Stephen Breyer (77), Antonin Scalia (79), Anthony Kennedy (79), and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (82). So, presidential candidates should explain the criteria by which they would select judicial nominees.
"Look," wrote Lois Lerner, echoing Horace Greeley, "my view is that Lincoln was our worst president not our best. He should [have] let the [S]outh go. We really do seem to have 2 totally different mindsets." Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, was referring to Southern secessionist states when he urged President-elect Lincoln to "let the erring sisters go in peace."
Twinkling stars are pretty but, for astronomers, problematic. Twinkles are caused by the interference of Earth's atmosphere with light radiating throughout the breathtakingly beautiful and unimaginably violent universe. In 1990, however, the Hubble telescope went into orbit 370 miles above Earth, beyond the atmospheric filter, peering perhaps 12 billion years into the past, almost to the Big Bang of 13.7 billion years ago.
America's loopy left is enamored of someone who becomes cranky about bobblehead figurines. Sober Democrats are queasy about nominating Hillary Clinton, who has much to apologize for but no aptitude for apologies. Those Republicans who hope she is denied the nomination are perhaps imprudent. And even Republicans who recoil from Donald Trump's repulsiveness might want to defer the delicious pleasure of witnessing his apoplexy when he joins, as surely he will, the ranks of those he most despises -- "losers."
"I remember, when I was a child, being taken to the celebrated Barnum's Circus, which contained an exhibition of freaks and monstrosities, but the exhibit on the program which I most desired to see was the one described as 'The Boneless Wonder.' My parents judged that that spectacle would be too revolting and demoralizing for my youthful eyes, and I have waited fifty years to see The Boneless Wonder sitting on the Treasury Bench."
-- Winston Churchill in the House of Commons, referring to Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, 1931
WASHINGTON -- Every sulfurous belch from the molten interior of the volcanic Trump phenomenon injures the chances of a Republican presidency. After Donald Trump finishes plastering a snarling face on conservatism, any Republican nominee will face a dauntingly steep climb to reach even the paltry numbers that doomed Mitt Romney.
WASHINGTON -- We could wearily shrug, say "Oh, well," and economize waste and annoyance by just building the proposed $142 million Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial. But long after its perpetrators are gone, it would squat there, representing Washington at its worst and proving that we have forgotten how to nurture our national memory with intelligent memorials.