The Commencement Speech You Never Hear

My youngest son‘s college graduation ceremony was scheduled to be held outdoors. The invitation specified that it would be moved inside to the gym only in the event of “severe” weather. As it turned out, the day was unseasonably cold (low 50s) with occasional drizzle — probably about as nasty as the weather gets in May without qualifying for severe […]

NFL Stands Up for America

The NFL is standing for America. It finally displayed leadership Wednesday, announcing that it has banned players from kneeling on the field while our national anthem is played. Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement, “This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.” Players can remain in the locker room […]

A Conspiracy of Idiocy

Many people love to concoct grand, elaborate conspiracies to explain the world around them. Instead of realizing they made bad decisions, it must have been some malevolent force out to get them. Instead of recognizing they are surrounded by incompetence, there must be some mysterious force pulling the strings working several steps ahead. Many people sleep better at night convinced […]

The Democratic Holiday

Chiefly observed as summer’s kickoff, a weekend of auto racing, shopping, American flags, and grilling out – Memorial Day was originally dedicated to solemn remembrance of the nation’s war dead. That’s still the holiday’s nominal purpose. It honors all kinds – well-to-do and hardscrabble, bright and dim, genteel and loutish. The only requirement, but a stern one, is dying in […]

Obama Administration's Spying on Trump a Departure From Norms

“F.B.I. Used Informant to Investigate Russia Ties to Campaign, Not to Spy, as Trump Claims,” read the headline on a lengthy New York Times story May 18. “The Justice Department used a suspected informant to probe whether Trump campaign aides were making improper s with Russia in 2016,” read a story in the May 21 edition of The Wall Street […]

Donald Trump and the Clash of Communities

As a political scientist, I’ve always preferred maps to polling data. Don’t get me wrong, I think that well-conducted polls, when properly interpreted, provide valuable information about voter preferences. Maps, however, can provide clues to the more important question of why voters arrive at their choice. That’s why I was so intrigued when I opened up “The Great Revolt,” the […]

Is US Bellicosity Backfiring?

U.S. threats to crush Iran and North Korea may yet work, but as of now neither Tehran nor Pyongyang appears to be intimidated. Repeated references by NSC adviser John Bolton and Vice President Mike Pence to the “Libya model” for denuclearization of North Korea just helped sink the Singapore summit of President Trump and Kim Jong Un. To North Korea, […]