Sick children, corrupt party

Restating the Obvious

CNN doesn't get a lot of credit from other news organizations, who often are quick to report on others' exposes, or even to follow with their own versions. I cannot say why that is. But CNN's lengthy story about how Florida Republicans schemed to cut medical care for the sickest children in ...


21st-century iconoclasm

Restating the Obvious

As we contemplate storing Confederate statues (in New Orleans) or pulling them down (in Durham), it is worth asking, how did we react when Poles, Germans, Czechs etc. pulled down statues of Lenin and Marx, or when Iraqis pulled down (with some help from the US Army) statues of Saddam? With ...

Racists and cars

Restating the Obvious

The news from Charlottesville that a racist had plowed his car into a crowd of peaceful protesters reminded me of how far we have not come. "Witnesses said a crowd of counterdemonstrators, jubilant because the white nationalists had left, was moving up Fourth Street, near the mall, when a ...

Christians I knew

Restating the Obvious

I grew up among Southern Baptists. I didn't like them. Still don't. But I was interested to see recently that the church's national conference voted to condemn the "alt-right." (A name I deplore; we already have a name for them: neoNazis.) It was not unanimous. Southern Baptists have always ...

Funniest story of the month (so far)

Restating the Obvious

So Kellyanne Conway says the White House is considering introducing lie detectors into the West Wing. I predict some liars would be discovered. (See

Tough talk

Restating the Obvious

Regular readers of RtO may recall an exchange about whether WBD encouraged violence at his campaign rallies. (He did.) He's done it again, but when he did it to cheering Republican crowds nobody in the party had the guts to call him on it. This time, a different group had a different ...


Book Review 392: Out of the Flames

Restating the Obvious

OUT OF THE FLAMES: The Remarkable Story of a Fearless Scholar, a Fatal Heresy and One of the Rarest Books in the World, by Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone. 353 pages, illustrated. Broadway, $24.95 You wouldn’t guess it, even with help from the lengthy subtitle, but “Out of the Flames” is ...

Why is this business operating?

Restating the Obvious

Why has the state of South Dakota not canceled the charter of Wells Fargo bank? It is nothing but a continuing criminal enterprise, and if Jeff Sessions were sincere about cracking down on criminals, he'd be using the RICO statute to shut Wells Fargo down. Of course, Wells Fargo is not run ...

Immortal ideas

Restating the Obvious

When I moved to Hawaii in 1987, there were several studies under way. One was from the state Department of Business and Economic Development, and it predicted that deepsea mining of minerals like manganese was "25 years away." The other was by the county, for a garage to expand parkng space ...

The funniest news story ever

Restating the Obvious

Anthony Scaramucci Called Me to Unload About White House Leakers, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannon Funnier than the guy who drowned in a vat of melted chocolate and almost equally fatal. Funniest line: "Scaramucci said he had to get going." (See ...

Who WBD admires

Restating the Obvious

"Get out of there, I’m telling the Lumads now. I’ll have those bombed, including your structures,” the president said. “I will use the armed forces, the Philippine air force. I’ll really have those bombed … because you are operating illegally and you are teaching the children to ...

Who will be Trump’s Bork?

Restating the Obvious

It wasn’t until later that the weirdness of the scene imposed itself on me. Three of us, two Americans and a Briton, were sitting at a table overlooking the sea, sharing a basket of pappadums and drinking beer and lassi and asking: Will Trump fire Mueller? We were all old enough to ...

The conservative liberals

Restating the Obvious

This post expands on the previous one about how the major parties switched their orientation. From the beginning, it has not been simple to determine whether Americans, or any particular American, was liberal or conservative. In this discussion it is useful to stick to left/right, even though ...


Under pressure

Restating the Obvious

Hmmm. So repealing Obamacare depends upon the level of sophisticated health care available to an 80-year-old man. Golly, if I were a rightwing kook, I'd hope he has good insurance.

Jumping the rails

Restating the Obvious

A reader says, “Republicans used to be liberal, Democrats conservative. “Conservatives are the new RINOs. “I understand that it was a Southern Democrat who killed President Lincoln. Democrats, conservative and Republicans, liberal. I was having an identity crisis and confused. I am ...


Book Review 390: Lincoln at Gettysburg

Restating the Obvious

LINCOLN AT GETTYSBURG: The Words that Remade America, by Garry Wills. 315 pages. Simon & Schuster, $23 As usual, when Garry Wills takes a closer look, American myths get debunked. In “Lincolh at Gettysburg” we learn that our most eloquent president did not scratch out his Gettysburg ...


Fools rush in

Restating the Obvious

Tricia and I like to watch a Youtube channel called "18th Century Cooking with Jas Townsend & Son." The host, Jon Townsend, (and occasionally his young daughter Ivy) have an infectious enthusiasm for 18th century foodways; and, somewhat unusually for the re-enactor community, he does solid ...

Inoperative statements

Restating the Obvious

Younger readers may not know about it, but before rightwingers called their own lies alternative facts, they called them inoperative statements. That was back in Watergate days, and it resulted in the departure of a crooked, crazy president in disgrace. A cautionary tale, one might ...


Book Review 391: Siege: Malta 1940-1943

Restating the Obvious

SIEGE: Malta 1940-1943, by Ernle Bradford. 304 pages, illustrated. Morrow, $19.95 A few years ago, I would have predicted that sieges were a thing of the past. Under 21st century conflict conditions, with light-armed guerrillas usually having the upper hand, there seemed hardly any ...