Archive for Politics and Government

Donald Trump and the Law of Unintended Consequences

By : January 30, 2017

No one should have a fuller experience with and understanding of the law of unintended consequences than Donald Trump. Serious blunders are inevitable for a president who is impulsive, narcissistic, and willfully and profoundly ignorant (of culture, history, economics, science . . .). Serious blunders are inevitable for a president who considers his intuition more […]

10 ways to improve the presidential debates

By : October 6, 2016

All reality TV is boring and only pretends to be spontaneous, but the worst reality TV shows are probably the presidential and vice-presidential debates. They are not really debates at all, and probably never will be, but here are ten ways to make them much more honest and useful to voters. 1. Get a competent […]

The Myth of the Missing Welcome

By : July 4, 2016

The Napa Valley Register reported a June 28, 2016, program to honor Viet Nam veterans at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville, an event sponsored by the Veterans Home of California. I am always glad to see veterans of different generations and their families get together. But the article title suggests that the event perpetuated a […]

Why the American jury system is endangered

By : June 6, 2016

As the United States Balkanizes into hostile political and racial demographics, one obvious victim ahead is our jury system. I have no clue as to how the jury system will be modified, but I do not see how it can possibly survive in its current, flawed form, however important it is to democracy. Our jury […]

Review: Eye in the Sky

By : April 24, 2016

Gavin Hood’s 2015 film Eye in the Sky is a very well constructed thriller, crispy written and mostly well acted. And it is a film with an important central issue. The ethical dimension The central subject of Eye in the Sky is not drone warfare per se, no matter what some reviewers say, it is […]

Who Made Donald Trump a popular candidate?

By : April 24, 2016

One of the many amusements of the 2016 presidential primaries is watching establishment Republicans panic as Donald Trump elbows his way to the nomination and endangers down-ballot races. That establishment should find Trump’s appeal easy to understand, since they prepared his way: the Southern strategy’s appeal to less-educated working class white men, their relentless and […]

Sarah Palin and PTSD

By : February 1, 2016

Track Palin was charged in January 2016 with “fourth-degree assault, interfering with the report of a domestic violence crime and possession of a firearm while intoxicated.” Sarah Palin blamed President Obama, even though she has tried to deny it since. On Feb. 1, Donald Trump supported her, and also blamed Obama. Only a fool could […]

Review: Suffragette

By : November 15, 2015

Suffragette is a well made film, but might ultimately be the victim of the classic trap of hagiography: two-dimensional characters. The film’s strength— its successful depiction of an era and two of its most important political issues — is to some extent weakened by a somewhat flat characterization. The fiend who manages the women at […]

Confederate and other flags

By : June 23, 2015

By now nearly every American understands that it is way past time to take down the Confederate battle flag, whose appearance outside of museums should have ended when Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia surrendered April 10, 1865. Confederates lowered the flag then, and their spiritual descendants should accept that. That was the battle flag of […]

Marco Rubio’s lunatic notion of war

By : May 28, 2015

Thank goodness presidents seldom get to put into effect all of their bold, insincere, and self-serving campaign promises. And thank goodness Sen. Marco Rubio is unlikely to ever be president. But if you like cool wars and exciting international crises, and if you wish we would spend lots more on the military than either political […]