National Columnists

Are we now trapped in a debt spiral?

WASHINGTON — From Scotland, where Adam Smith pioneered systematic thinking about economics, comes an adjective, “carnaptious,” that fits people who are allergic to economic euphoria. It means cantankerous. Let’s think carnaptiously about this fact: The interest rate on 10-year Treasury ...

Upstream from culture

In the book "After the Ball," psychologist Marshall Kirk and ad man Hunter Madsen painted a picture of what the gay rights movement should do to normalize and advance their agenda in America. The book came out in 1990. Kirk and Madsen treated their book as a manifesto and we have witnessed ...

Memo to Trump: Defy Mueller

If Donald Trump does not wish to collaborate in the destruction of his presidency, he will refuse to be questioned by the FBI, or by a grand jury, or by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his malevolent minions. Should Mueller subpoena him, as he has threatened to do, Trump should ignore ...

Are we now trapped in a debt spiral?

From Scotland, where Adam Smith pioneered systematic thinking about economics, comes an adjective, "carnaptious," that fits people who are allergic to economic euphoria. It means cantankerous. Let's think carnaptiously about this fact: The interest rate on 10-year Treasury bonds recently rose ...

Cecile Richards and the Culture of Death

There's a swagger in Cecile Richards' step as she conducts a book tour around the media surrounding her departure from the summit of Planned Parenthood after 12 years. Call it a victory lap. Everywhere she goes, adoring liberal interviewers ask her if she'll run for office next. After all, it's ...

Cultural-appropriation outrage shows people are desperate to be offendedI

I am very critical of China's government. It's corrupt, authoritarian and in some respects totalitarian. I have deep reservations about Chinese culture as well. The Chinese government bans sex-selective abortions -- i.e., killing females in utero -- but Chinese people still do it in staggering ...

The primary season has arrived

After months of speculation and shifting expectations, the midterm elections will start to really take shape in the coming two months. A dozen states will host primaries in May and a dozen and a half more in June. In the battle for control of the U.S. Senate, we currently know both parties' ...

The vulgar goes mainstream

To be vulgar once earned societal disapproval, ostracism from polite company and -- in my grandmother's era -- put a young person in danger of having his mouth washed out with soap. Today, vulgarities are now mainstream. People speaking in a way that "would make a sailor blush" are now on ...

Smut night at the press dinner

Saturday's White House Correspondents' Association dinner, billed as a celebration of the First Amendment and a tribute to journalists who "speak truth to power," has to be the worst advertisement in memory for our national press corps. Comedian Michelle Wolf, the guest speaker, recited one ...

Learning from North Korea’s history

efore meeting with North Korea's "very honorable" (Trump's words) dictator, Kim Jong-Un, the president should bone up on the history of that country's duplicity and deception, including ways it has used the wishful thinking of some past U.S. presidents to achieve its objectives. A good place ...

When will machine-like thinking prompt moral panic?

In Frank Herbert's "Dune" series (my favorite-science fiction books), he made a bold writerly decision. In a genre famous for robots and computers (particularly in the 1960s), Herbert imagined a futuristic universe with neither. In his telling, some 10,000 years prior to the story of the book, ...

Romancing Trump, Macron shows his own skill at the art of the deal

Holding hands, the old song tells us, is nice work if you can get it. French President Emmanuel Macron apparently got it with Donald Trump during his visit here last week, visibly cozying up to him as television cameras recorded their bromance for all to see. It was a rare display of elegance ...

Who is Jim Jordan?

Ohio Republican Congressman Jim Jordan has confirmed that he is looking to run for House speaker when current Speaker Paul Ryan departs at the end of the year. This puts Jordan up alongside the other principal candidates, current Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., whom Ryan has ...

Microtrends, not politics, lead the nation

If you want to understand where America is heading, a good place to start is with Mark Penn's new book, "Microtrends Squared." Penn came to fame in the 1990s as a pollster in the Clinton White House, later served as chief strategy officer for Microsoft, and is now chairman of the Harris ...

Teachers with guns

What should be done about school shootings? After the horrible shooting in Parkland, Florida, President Trump suggested that some teachers carry guns. "We need to let people know, you come in to our schools -- you're gonna be dead." Anti-gun activists were horrified. But they ...

Alfie and Haleigh and Charlie and Jahi

When British hospital officials tried to pull the plug on 23-month-old toddler Alfie Evans on Monday night in arrogant defiance of his parents' wishes, many Americans took to Twitter to count their blessings that they live in a country that would not allow such tyranny. "Stories like Alfie ...

America’s unsustainable empire

Before President Trump trashes the Iran nuclear deal, he might consider: If he could negotiate an identical deal with Kim Jong Un, it would astonish the world and win him the Nobel Peace Prize. For Iran has no nuclear bomb or ICBM and has never tested either. It has never enriched uranium to ...

Touching the Nation

She was born into comfort in Manhattan and raised in Rye, a leafy, exclusive suburb in New York's Westchester County. She would leave college before graduating to marry. She never had a career beyond wife, mother and citizen. But her death, in her 10th decade, evoked an almost spontaneous ...

Educational fraud continues

Earlier this month, the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, aka The Nation's Report Card, was released. It's not a pretty story. Only 37 percent of 12th-graders tested proficient or better in reading, and only 25 percent did so in math. Among black students, only 17 percent tested ...

America not as intolerant as we make it out to be

I don't normally watch the GLAAD Media Awards. Not that there's anything wrong with them. GLAAD, by the way, originally stood for "Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation" before the organization declared that GLAAD was its name and not an acronym. But I did see a video of Britney ...