|

Is stupidity making a comeback in American politics?

  Eight years ago, somebody whose name I don’t recall wrote an essay in some publication or another about how the election of Barack Obama as president seemed to signal a pronounced turn away from anti-intellectualism in American politics. The piece made fun of the stupid things said and done by the likes of Republicans George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, Dan Quayle and other fools of their ilk. The author hopefully predicted that Obama’s presidency would open a new age of popular respect for brains among our national leaders. One...

read more

Whatever became of the Founding Fathers?

  Is it my imagination, or have today’s American politicians completely forgotten the nation’s Founding Fathers? I can’t remember the last time I heard a prominent Republican or Democrat invoke the thoughts — imaginary or otherwise — of the authors of the Constitution to justify some current political scheme. It used to be that barely a day would pass without somebody on the left or right expounding on what the Founding Fathers “intended” when they invented this republic. But we shouldn’t...

read more

Here’s the real minority crime problem

  The most frequent commenter among the regular readers of this blog made some predictable point or another the other day about black crime in America. But he, like so many other people of his ilk, seems oblivious of the real problem of minority crime in this society. It’s about time that the truth of the matter be laid bare: The problem of crime, violent or otherwise, is mostly the fault of our largest minority group —  men. Our failure to face this fact squarely, to deal with all of its implications and to seek gender-based...

read more

I have a love-hate relationship with air conditioning

  The month of June arrives next week, signaling the approach of summer and warmer weather,  about which I have mixed feelings. You see, I have a problem with air conditioning. Let me explain. I went to an afternoon party a few years ago at the lovely home of a solidly middle-class couple who seemed oblivious to the increasingly uncomfortable temperatures of the day. “Is their AC on the fritz?” I asked a friend. “It’s not like they can’t afford it.” They didn’t have  air conditioning, I was told....

read more

Objectivity in journalism often is a misunderstood concept

  In his campaign last year, Donald Trump repeatedly declared that crime and illegal immigration had increased greatly during the presidency of Barack Obama.   But that wasn’t true, as most fact-checkers eventually reported. Still, Trump’s claims rang true in the minds of most of his supporters. Americans generally are inclined to think that social pathologies are worse than they actually are. If I reported here that murders were significantly less common when Ronald Reagan was president than when Obama was in the White...

read more

Regarding our debt to advertising

  More than half a century ago, when I was a would-be junior executive at an advertising agency in Chicago, a cynical copywriter with whom I worked opined that it was our job to persuade people to buy things they neither wanted nor needed. It was a joke, but it had a ring of truth. And on that very same day, by great coincidence, I first heard Bob Dylan sing this lyric: Advertising signs that con you/Into thinking you’re the one/That can do what’s never been done/That can win what’s never been won/Meantime life outside...

read more

When will we learn that “media” is not a singular word?

  In this morning’s edition of the Boston Herald, the following headline appears: “Adriana Cohen: The media has lost its marbles.” Nothing remarkable about that, right? A conservative newspaper is complaining about the mainstream media. So what else is new? But there’s a problem with the headline. It uses the word “media” as a singular. When I studied Latin in a Catholic school some 60 years ago, “media” was said to be the plural of “medium.” But things have changed over the...

read more

Barack Obama was the smartest president of my lifetime

  The declaration in the headline above is intended mainly to start an argument. After all, the term “smart,” like the term “effective,” can have different meanings in a political context, and we can disagree about such matters. Pundit David Corn put it this way a few years ago: Whenever I ponder the relationship between political success and smarts, I recall an interview I conducted with a particular George W. Bush supporter at a Wisconsin campaign rally shortly before the 2000 election. At that event, Bush had...

read more

Is the Trump presidency a warning from God?

  Over the years, right-wing televangelists have been quick to tell us that certain big disasters in America are warnings from God that our libertine ways have gone too far. For example, Pat Robertson and  Jerry Falwell (who has since deceased)  appeared jointly on television just two days after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and declared that these events were signs of God’s disapproval of abortion, homosexuality and other increasingly popular evils. But a question has occurred to me of late: Why have preachers of this...

read more

Trump has strange theories about physical exercise

  Donald Trump may have glaring shortcomings as chief executive of the federal government, but what about his claim to expertise regarding matters of human biology? The Washington Post reported Sunday that Trump doesn’t  go much for physical exercise “because he believes it drains the body’s ‘finite’ energy resources.” As one who’s four years older than Trump and similarly overweight, partly because I don’t exercise as much as I should, I’m almost tempted to cite the president as an...

read more

Some Republicans are embarrassed by their party’s anti-science bent

If you’re surprised by the headline above, your collection of Republicans friends is too narrow. There are, in fact, members of the GOP who don’t share the antipathy toward science that is so common among their party-mates. I’m personally acquainted with a few of them. The big problem seems to be that Republican politicians who know better usually are afraid to openly challenge the anti-science attitudes embraced by the dimwits who hold sway in the GOP. The situation reminds me of an intelligent comment I saw a few years ago...

read more

My prediction of Trump’s fall is looking pretty good

  Three months ago this coming Sunday, I wrote here that Donald Trump’s “unsavory connections” to Russian boss Vladimir Putin’s regime eventually will lead to Trump’s impeachment or resignation as president of the United States. That hasn’t happened yet, but the odds against it are falling amid the fuss over Trump’s clumsy dismissal of James Comey as director of the FBI. On Feb. 14, I wrote that  Trump’s “gentle release of national security adviser Michael  Flynn from his team is just...

read more
Share: