Local columns

On democracy and dictatorship

BERKELEY — The wonderful thing about Donald Trump’s presidency (I never thought I’d begin a column this way), is that he brings us back to basics. The basic difference between a democracy and a dictatorship comes down to means and ends. Democracy is about means, not ends. If we all ...

Almanac

By The Associated Press Today in History Today is Tuesday, Jan. 22, the 22nd day of 2019. There are 343 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Jan. 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court, in its Roe v. Wade decision, legalized abortions using a trimester approach. Former ...

Shutdown ‘Crisis’

NEW YORK — This government shutdown is now longer than any in history. The media keep using the word “crisis.” “Shutdown sows chaos, confusion and anxiety!” says The Washington Post. “Pain spreads widely.” The New York Times headlined, it’s all “just too much!” But ...

Now playing in Puerto Rico

WASHINGTON — “He who excuses himself, accuses himself.” — Puerto Rican proverb More than 109 lobbyists and 39 Democrat Members of Congress attended a “winter retreat” last weekend in Puerto Rico, ostensibly to help raise funds for damage caused by hurricane Maria in 2017, reports ...

Almanac

By The Associated Press Today in History Today is Saturday, Jan. 19, the 19th day of 2019. There are 346 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Jan. 19, 1955, a presidential news conference was filmed for television and newsreels for the first time, with the permission ...

Donald Trump is no Earl Long

WASHINGTON — Shortly after the cooling of the earth, I was privileged to be given a firsthand look at a Louisiana statewide campaign. It was then that I learned about former Louisiana Gov. Earl Long, who was portrayed by Paul Newman in the movie “Blaze,” which allegedly told the story of ...

Does Trump have to give State of Union speech? No.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Constitution spells it out clearly in Article II, Section 3: The president “shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” But ...

Almanac

By The Associated Press Today in History Today is Friday, Jan. 18, the 18th day of 2019. There are 347 days left in the year. Today’s Highlights in History: On Jan. 18, 1957, a trio of B-52’s completed the first non-stop, round-the-world flight by jet planes, landing at March Air ...

Memo to Trump: Declare an emergency

WASHINGTON — In the long run, history will validate Donald Trump’s stand on a border wall to defend the sovereignty and security of the United States. Why? Because mass migration from the global South, not climate change, is the real existential crisis of the West. The American people ...

Almanac

By The Associated Press Today in History Today is Wednesday, Jan. 16, the 16th day of 2019. There are 349 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Jan. 16, 1920, Prohibition began in the United States as the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution took effect, one year ...

Old year, new year

TRAVERSE CITY — My whole life, it’s taken me three months each January to stop thinking it was still the old year. This year I immediately started writing 2019 on checks (yes, I still write a few of those) and saying 2019 when I’m talking about … 2019. What I can’t figure out is why. ...

Cough up, America

WASHINGTON — When you receive your paycheck and look at the withholding for federal, state and sometimes city taxes, along with Social Security and Medicare, you probably don’t think you’re underpaying governments and want them to take more. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio believes ...

Almanac

By The Associated Press Today in History Today is Thursday, Jan. 17, the 17th day of 2019. There are 348 days left in the year. Today’s Highlights in History: On Jan. 17, 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered his farewell address in which he warned against “the acquisition ...

What to expect of House Democrats

WASHINGTON — Democrats are now in control of the House of Representatives, under Speaker Nancy Pelosi. After two years of Republican control over both chambers of Congress and the presidency, some balance has been restored to our democracy. I know and have worked with many members of the ...

Can the President alone build a border wall?

WASHINGTON — When Donald Trump was looking for a catchy phrase during his 2016 presidential campaign to address the issue of immigrants entering the United States unlawfully — a line that would resonate with his supporters — he came up with the phrase “build the wall.” The reference, ...

Almanac

By The Associated Press Today in History Today is Tuesday, Jan. 15, the 15th day of 2019. There are 350 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Jan. 15, 1929, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta. On this date: In 1559, England’s Queen ...

How direct democracy can be dangerous

“In my country the people can do as they like, although it often happens that they don’t like what they have done.” — Winston Churchill, 1946 — — — LONDON — During the Second World War, as U.S. power was eclipsing Britain’s, Harold Macmillan, a future prime minister, ...

Almanac

By The Associated Press Today in History Today is Monday, Jan. 14, the 14th day of 2019. There are 351 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Jan. 14, 1963, George C. Wallace was sworn in as governor of Alabama with the pledge, “Segregation forever!” — a view ...

Legal marijuana no disaster

NEW YORK — Ten states and Washington, D.C., have now legalized adult use of marijuana. Supporters of America’s long war on drugs said legalization would create disaster. Has it? No. Colorado and Washington offer the longest points of comparison because weed has been legal in those ...

How the government shutdown might end

WASHINGTON (AP) — Somehow, some day, the nasty deadlock between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats that’s shuttered federal agencies for a near-record 20 days will end. The only real questions are when, how and who will be crowned the winner in public opinion polls and ...