Restating the Obvious

Book Review 405: The Whiskey Rebellion

THE WHISKEY REBELLION: Frontier Epilogue to the American Revolution, by Thomas G. Slaughter. 291 pages, Oxford In 1794, just six years after it began, just about everyone expected the strange American political experiment to fail. President Washington, the British and the Spanish governments, ...

Self-defense, NRA style

If you set out to write a script that exposed every last NRA argument for guns for the pluperfect nonsense that they are, you could not top this real-life example. (See http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/crime/article194070489.html) Now, I don't know that the dead gun-owner kept a ...

Going two directions at once

I find it interesting, but not at all surprising, to watch Trumpeters, especially the overtly religious kind, simultaneously embrace incompatible positions. Interesting because it destroys all their credibility but unsurprising because I grew up among holy rollers, and this is their constant ...

Do not be Florida Woman either

COCOA BEACH -- A Florida woman is recovering from serious injuries after a cat jumped into her car and attacked her, causing her to be run over by her own vehicle. . . . Authorities said she jumped out of the car to escape the feline, forgetting it was in reverse and was run over by her own ...

Bringing the world’s respect back to America

I urge you to read the entire Washington Post story about Ambassador Hoekstra and the Dutch reporters. (See https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/01/10/trumps-ambassador-to-netherlands-was-asked-to-name-a-person-burned-because-of-islam-he-couldnt/?utm_term=.ac1d01c665a3) It ...

High finance

I have for many years said that the real divide in America is not north/south, or urban/rural, or right/left or white/colored or any of the usual categories by which the political demographers split us up. The real divide is between those who have too much to do and those who have nothing to ...

30 reviews

During 2017, RtO reviewed 30 books. Only one, Timothy Snyder's "On Tyranny" was newly published. The rest were old books about subjects I either knew nothing about or wanted to know more about. Two were about censorship, "Out of the Flames" about the burning of Servetus; and "The Holocaust ...

Book Review 405: My Opposition; The Diary of Friedrich Kellner

MY OPPOSITION: The Diary of Friedrich Kellner, edited by Robert Scott Kellner. 493 pages, illustrated. Cambridge, $34.99 It seems improbable that a World War II diary published as late as 2011 could have caused a sensation, but it did in Germany. Now that Cambridge University Press is ...

That would be something to see

I hope WBD does sue Bannon for libel. It would be a treat to see a federal judge opine that a man has to have a reputation before he can be libeled. It's true, a well-settled principle of the law.

Grifter, racist, despot

It is often said, by liberals --who don't know any more about the history of their own country than rightwingers -- that Trump is unique among presidents for using his office to promote his private fortune. Washington not only used the office of president to line his own pockets, he also used ...

Shut the Overton Window

I'd never heard of this Overton Window, so I looked it up. Wikipedia sez this about it: "According to Overton's description, his window includes a range of policies considered politically acceptable in the current climate of public opinion, which a politician can recommend without being ...

When it all began

Because I am seeing all over the place claims that the FBI opened l'affaire Trump on the basis of the Steele dossier, I thought I'd link to this story at documents that it began before there was a Steele ...

A positive story about Trumpery

From Bloomberg's Max Nisen, an apparently deeply-informed story about drug policy and a bureaucrat who is able to make decisive -- and perhaps mostly positive-- changes, from the point of view of consumers. (See ...

Do not be Florida man

Florida is not the most populous state but it leads the nation in ridiculous mishaps, usually attributed by headline writers to "Florida man." For example, on Christmas Eve the Gainesville Sun reported: FLORIDA MAN FIGHTING FOR HIS LIFE AFTER CHASING MONKEY "DESTIN -- A Florida man now ...

Meta-fake news

Recall all those rightwing hoaxes about voter fraud? Then the president appointed the vice resident and serial liar Kris Kobach to lead an inquiry into voter fraud. Turns out that is fake, too. (See ...

More fake news

Sometimes it's hard to keep up. F'rinstance: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/21/opinion/republican-tax-bill-trump-corker.html?hpw&rref=opinion&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well&_r=0

Eschew foreign entanglements

If you read this story carefully, you will learn that foreigners are not allowed to buy beer at baseball games in New Jersey. USA! USA! USA! See ...

The shallow state

Private citizens are not supposed to conduct foreign policy in the name of the United States, although this has never been prosecuted. Perhaps because in nearly every instance except one, the private citizen was attempting, however ineptly, to support the policy of the government. That was the ...

Merry Christmas

Figgy pudding and a buche de Noel (in progress) Last year I didn't have opportunities to bake for Christmas, so I bought a rather expensive Christmas pudding. Mistake. It was no good. Figgy pudding is one of those foods that just won't submit to industrialization. This year I did a little ...

Waiting for howls of outrage

There is no question a lot of national legislation is too complex. One of my first business stories, over 40 years ago, was about ERISA -- the Employees Retirement Income Security Act. Even its admirers said it was so complex that no one understood all of it. It was designed to protect ...