Book Review 400: The Holocaust and the Book

Restating the Obvious

THE HOLOCAUST AND THE BOOK: Destruction and Preservation, edited by Jonathan Rose. 314 pages, illustrated. Massachusetts Just days after Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany, university students organized a series of book collections and carefully staged burnings across the nation. This ...

Thoughts and prayers

Restating the Obvious

So, another big shoot-'em-up in a gun-crazy state. Somehow or other, the presence of heavily armed citizens did not deter the shooter. Rightwingers -- specifically Attorney General Ken Paxton, than whom you can get no further right -- offered thoughts and prayers. They never say what they are ...

The mistake in the tax bill

Restating the Obvious

It probably isn't a mistake. More likely it's a con job from the rightwing. But for the purpose of elucidation, it doesn't matter, so let's be generous and assume that the Republicans pushing the tax changes are stupid. Hey, it could happen! The details in the bill don't matter, only the ...


Book Review 399: Female Complaints

Restating the Obvious

FEMALE COMPLAINTS: Lydia Pinkham and the Business of Women’s Medicine. 304 pages, illustrated. Norton. You can still buy Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound, although it is now called “Herbal Compound” and its ingredients are not the same as in the 1875 product that launched billions ...



Restating the Obvious

A wise and prudent man who holds a high government position would probably not want to reveal that he is a fanboy of the Lost Cause and an apologist for slavery. John Kelly was presented, uncritically, as a disciplined, sharp, controlled ex-Marine when he became WBD's chief of staff. A sort ...


Book Review 398: A Pint of Plain

Restating the Obvious

A PINT OF PLAIN: Tradition, Change, and the Fate of the Irish Pub by Bill Barich. 242 pages. Walker, $25 The Irish pub was reeling when Bill Barich wrote”A Pint of Plain” in 2007-8. At the time, it appeared that modernity would do for them, in two ways — first, prosperity was making pubs ...

Pence is a nazi too

Restating the Obvious

America used to be a free country. In theory anyway. You didn't have to pass a religion test to go to college -- like in England-- and you did not risk your job by voting for the wrong party. There were exceptions. Individual employers could be unfair, and the FBI tried to keep people it ...


Book Review 397: The politics of the Prussian Army

Restating the Obvious

THE POLITICS OF THE PRUSSIAN ARMY 1640-1945, by Gordon A. Craig. 538 pages. Oxford paperback. A detailed study of “The Politics of the Prussian Army” might not have seemed to have had any relevance to American politics when it was published 60 years ago, but circumstances change and today ...

Sessions the nazi

Restating the Obvious

Attorney General Jeff Sessions attacked federal judges yesterday. He sounded like a nazi. That's because he is. " 'Some judges have failed to respect our representatives in Congress and failed to appropriately respect the prerogatives and perspectives of the executive branch,' the ...


A case of fruit beer

Restating the Obvious

About 50 years ago, I read about fruit beer, but it was decades before I ever saw any. If ever there was a monoculture, it was American beermaking between 1945 and about 1976. But eventually, I found myself in an Austrian restaurant on Long Island which had raspberry beer on the menu. They ...

Mutually assured destruction

Restating the Obvious

The votes in Britain to withdraw from the European Union and in the United States to elect Trump were at bottom the same thing: an assertion of racism slightly veiled in a tissue of crackpot economic notions. The racism is coming along nicely in both countries, thank you very much, but ...

The Price is wrong

Restating the Obvious

How real news gets reported. Also noted: It ain't cheap. A thousand hours of reporting time is tens of thousands of dollars. Fine work at Politico. (See


Book Review 396: The Civilian and the Military

Restating the Obvious

THE CIVILIAN AND THE MILITARY: A History of the American Antimilitarist Tradition, by Arthur A. Ekirch Jr., 340 pages. Independent Institute paperback More polemic than history, Arthur Ekirch’s rehearsal of the argument against American militarism was published in 1955 and has ben reissued ...

We used to welcome immigrants and refugees

Restating the Obvious

Once upon a time, when America believed in itself, before it was taken over by frightened, incompetent nativists, we used to welcome immigrants and refugees. Like the Forty-eighter Carl Schurz, who became a Civil War general and later an influential United States senator. He was a refugee. Or ...


Restating the Obvious

The New York Times notes a silence in the District. The deficit hawks in the Republican Party are not screeching at the new deficits in the president's tax proposal. (See ...

Coming out party

Restating the Obvious

This week the Republican Party, which has been genteelly racist since Nixon's time, came out as openly and proudly racist. I'll speculate as to timing in a moment, but the key event got little attention: "Nigel Farage will speak in Fairhope, Alabama on Monday night, in support of Alabama ...

Health-care fraud

Restating the Obvious

I have not seen it stated explicitly, although the fact is implicit in analyses of the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare Repeal Bill, but it's a short-change scam. (See ...

Screech of the chicken hawk

Restating the Obvious

Trump is the first antiAmerican president. (See Let's allow the waspish eunuch of Roanoke to explain: "The military parade which meets the eye in almost every direction excites ...


Echoing history

Restating the Obvious

There are several problems with using history to illuminate the present. First, there's too much of it. Second, no two of us learned the same history. Third, most of us never learned any of it. Fourth, the more we need to know history, the less time we have to do so. Nevertheless, I keep ...