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Local columns

Price gouging or capitalism

NEW YORK — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is upset about “price gouging” during hurricane Harvey. Some stores raised prices to $99 for a case of bottled water — $5 for a gallon of gas. “These are things you can’t do in Texas,” he says. “There are significant penalties if you ...

almanac

By The Associated Press Today in History Today is Saturday, Sept. 2, the 245th day of 2017. There are 120 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On September 2, 1945, Japan formally surrendered in ceremonies aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, ending World War II. On ...

Needing an ‘Enemy’

WASHINGTON — Eric Hoffer, a San Francisco longshoreman and philosopher who died in 1983, the year President Ronald Reagan awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, could have been analyzing contemporary American politics when he wrote, some 66 years ago, that ‘’mass movements can ...

Texas GOP misstates Sandy aid package

WASHINGTON (AP) — Texas Republicans now clamoring for federal money to aid their flood-stricken state overwhelmingly opposed a disaster relief package after Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast in 2012. They insisted then — and have repeated in recent days — that the legislation was packed ...

Empty nest in the near future

TRAVERSE CITY — If I were to write the headline for this column, it would be “That stupid, stupid school bus.” Eighteen years ago, Sam, our oldest, stepped onto one for the first time. I remember getting misty about it because I’m a great, big, giant sap about that sort of thing. I ...

Diana, still our goddess of beauty

WASHINGTON — What is it about the month of August that finds so many celebrities dying? Just this month we’ve seen the passing of Glen Campbell, Barbara Cook, Dick Gregory and Jerry Lewis. Thomas Meehan, who wrote the book for the musical “Annie,” died last week. Marilyn Monroe died ...

Almanac

By The Associated Press Today in History Today is Friday, Sept. 1, the 244th day of 2017. There are 121 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On September 1, 1939, World War II began as Nazi Germany invaded Poland. On this date: In 1807, former Vice President Aaron ...

What still unites us?

WASHINGTON — Decades ago, a debate over what kind of nation America is roiled the conservative movement. Neocons claimed America was an “ideological nation” a “creedal nation,” dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal.” Expropriating the biblical mandate, ...

Almanac

By The Associated Press Today in History Today is Wednesday, Aug. 30, the 242nd day of 2017. There are 123 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On August 30, 1997, Americans received word of the car crash in Paris that claimed the lives of Princess Diana, her boyfriend, ...

Trump is on the road to irrelevance

BERKELEY — We have endured Donald Trump for seven months. In that brief time he has almost single-handedly destroyed the moral authority of the presidency of the United States at home and abroad, brought us to the brink of a nuclear war without consulting anyone, and sown division and hatred ...

Almanac

By The Associated Press Today in History Today is Tuesday, Aug. 29, the 241st day of 2017. There are 124 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On August 29, 1967, the series finale of “The Fugitive,” starring David Janssen as a doctor on the run after being wrongly ...

Laws that subvert the rule of law

WASHINGTON — When John Adams wrote into Massachusetts’ Constitution a commitment to a “government of laws and not of men,” he probably assumed that the rule of law meant the rule of laws, no matter how many laws there might be. He could not have imagined the modern proliferation and ...

Afghanistan: A bottomless pit?

WASHINGTON — President Trump is not the first U.S. leader to pivot when it comes to foreign policy. His speech Monday night before American military personnel at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia, was in stark contrast to his campaign pledge to put “America first” and his promise to avoid ...

Almanac

By The Associated Press Today in History Today is Monday, Aug. 28, the 240th day of 2017. There are 125 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On August 28, 1917, ten suffragists demanding that President Woodrow Wilson support a constitutional amendment guaranteeing women ...

Al Gore’s Hype

NEW YORK — I was surprised to discover that Al Gore’s new movie begins with words from me! While icebergs melt dramatically, Gore plays a clip of me saying, “‘An Inconvenient Truth’ won him an Oscar, yet much of the movie is nonsense. ‘Sea levels may rise 20 feet’ — absurd.” ...

Almanac

Today in History Today is Saturday, Aug. 26, the 238th day of 2017. There are 127 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing American women’s right to vote, was certified in effect by Secretary of ...

Mindset of a Boucher in victory

POWERS — One of Anthony McVay’s favorite movies is “The Waterboy.” It’s a movie starring Adam Sandler, who’s a little-known waterboy named Bobby Boucher on a winning college football team. Boucher gets fired as the waterboy, but joins a losing rival college team to become an ...

Historical hysteria

WASHINGTON — “The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.” — Friedrich Hegel We will learn even less from history if we wipe it clean, as some are trying to do by removing statues of Confederate leaders whose beliefs about slavery and race most, ...

If you can’t change your mind, change the subject

WASHINGTON — On the heels of his worst week in office, during which his crude comments about race were widely perceived as defending racism and hatred — comments that sent some of his natural domestic allies fleeing — President Donald Trump could not bring himself to articulate a mea ...

Trump’s press conference good for the country

TRAVERSE CITY — Donald Trump’s mouth-foaming press conference is turning out to be a very good thing for this country. Say what? Yes, a good thing. For decades now, white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Confederate wannabes have existed on the far flung fringes of society, occasionally ...