Local columns

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Wednesday, March 9, the 69th day of 2016. There are 297 days left in the year.Today's Highlights in History:On March 9, 1916, more than 400 Mexican raiders led by Pancho Villa attacked Columbus, New Mexico, killing 18 Americans. During the First World War, ...

The albatross of a Trump endorsement

WASHINGTON - Donald Trump's distinctive rhetorical style - think of a drunk with a bullhorn reading aloud James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake" under water - poses an almost insuperable challenge to people whose painful duty is to try to extract clarity from his effusions. For example, last week, ...

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Monday, March 7, the 67th day of 2016. There are 299 days left in the year.Today's Highlight in History:On March 7, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell received a U.S. patent for his telephone.On this date:In 1793, during the French Revolutionary Wars, France declared ...

Regulating the Future

NEW YORK - Government pretends it's the cause of progress. Then it strangles innovation.We know government understands that new technologies are important. The military invests in robots and traffic cops use radar guns. But when the rest of us use robots or fly drones, government gets eager to ...

How to reform institutions

WASHINGTON - In the film "Girl, Interrupted," the character played by Winona Ryder is watching TV in a psychiatric hospital. There is a news report about a demonstration and the narrator says: "We live in troubled times. The institutions we once trusted no longer seem reliable."As I begin the ...

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Saturday, March 5, the 65th day of 2016. There are 301 days left in the year.Today's Highlight in History:On March 5, 1946, Winston Churchill delivered his "Iron Curtain" speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, in which he said: "From Stettin in the ...

Who has a ‘glass jaw’?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's former chief security officer knew two people he hired in 2011 had criminal backgrounds, an inspector general's report has revealed. Once others in FEMA found out, the two were fired.What about the official who hired them? FEMA will say only that he - ...

Sewer politics

WASHINGTON - I was going to write about how the Republican presidential campaign has become gutter politics, but given Donald Trump's horrid statements, the gutter would be a step up, because things have descended into the sewer.Never in modern times has there been a presidential candidate who ...

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Friday, March 4, the 64th day of 2016. There are 302 days left in the year.Today's Highlight in History:On March 4, 1966, John Lennon of The Beatles was quoted in the London Evening Standard as saying, "We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will ...

Driving in the Snow 101

FLINT - In light of last week's (downstate) snowstorm, I have decided to perform a public service about how to drive in the snow. From all the cars in the ditch, it's clearly needed.My qualifications for writing such a piece are thus: Not only did I grow up in the U.P., where winters are ...

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Thursday, March 3, the 63rd day of 2016. There are 303 days left in the year.Today's Highlights in History:On March 3, 1991, motorist Rodney King was severely beaten by Los Angeles police officers in a scene captured on amateur video. Twenty-five people were ...

Paranoid Politics

WASHINGTON - Amid all the media analyses of the prospects of each of the candidates in both political parties, there is remarkably little discussion of the validity - or lack of validity - of the arguments these candidates are using.It is as if what matters this election year is the fate of a ...

How They Voted

House Bill 5105, Extend Medicaid health insurance claims tax: Passed 21 to 17 in the SenateTo extend until 2020 the 2017 sunset on a 0.75 percent tax on health insurance claims, which is designed to game the federal Medicaid program in ways that result in higher federal payments to Michigan's ...

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Wednesday, March 2, the 62nd day of 2016. There are 304 days left in the year.Today's Highlight in History:On March 2, 1836, the Republic of Texas formally declared its independence from Mexico.On this date:In 1793, the first president of the Republic of Texas, ...

The end of the establishment?

BERKELEY - Step back from the campaign fray for just a moment and consider the enormity of what's already occurred.A 74-year-old Jew from Vermont who describes himself as a democratic socialist, who wasn't even a Democrat until recently, came within a whisker of beating Hillary Clinton in the ...

The Schumer-Biden test

WASHINGTON - Everyone knows the meaning of the word "hypocrite" and no one can claim absolute constancy when it comes to living a life consistent with one's stated values. But in this election year, hypocrisy is on full display. It is now being practiced with neither shame nor irony by leading ...

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Tuesday, March 1, the 61st day of 2016. There are 305 days left in the year.Today's Highlight in History:On March 1, 1966, the Soviet space probe Venera 3 impacted the surface of Venus, becoming the first spacecraft to reach another planet; however, Venera was ...

How to cool down Trump

WASHINGTON - "Hell," said Alabama's Democratic Gov. George Wallace before roiling the 1968 presidential race, "we got too much dignity in government now, what we need is some meanness." Twelve elections later, Wallace's wish is approaching fulfillment as Republicans contemplate nominating ...

The ‘itching ears’ of Trump followers

WASHINGTON - Since religious language has again infected this unpredictable and turbulent political season, here is a verse that could describe the followers of Donald Trump. It is found in Paul's second letter to his protege Timothy (or as Trump might call it, Two Timothy): "For the time will ...

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Monday, Feb. 29, the 60th day of 2016. There are 306 days left in the year. This is Leap Day.Today's Highlight in History:On Feb. 29, 1916, singer, actress and TV personality Dinah Shore was born Frances Rose Shore in Winchester, Tennessee. (Shore, who claimed ...