A kangaroo court

Dear Sen. Warner, I know the public documents, videotape, and proffered evidence at the former president’s trial yesterday was damning, but it hardly registered with half of our country. What would still register — miraculously, perhaps, at this late stage of our national unraveling — is courtroom testimony. Take the Constitution seriously concerning the court… Continue reading A kangaroo court

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What I read this year

Here’s what I read this year, alphabetized by last name: Genesis, translated by Robert Alter Exodus, translated by Robert Alter Leviticus, translated by Robert Alter Jonah, translated by Robert Alter On Revolution by Hanna Arendt (third read) Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism by Benedict Anderson (second read) The Poetics of… Continue reading What I read this year

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Transcendent matters

From today’s New York Times: A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that Congress could not sue to enforce its subpoenas of executive branch officials, handing a major victory to President Trump and dealing a severe blow to the power of Congress to conduct oversight. In a ruling that could have far-reaching consequences for executive… Continue reading Transcendent matters

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Have you never read?

They were indignant and asked him, ‘Do you hear what they are saying?’ Jesus answered, ‘I do. Have you never read the text, “You have made children and babes at the breast sound your praise aloud”?’ – Matthew 21:15 – 16, REB What haven’t I read this year? This year I never read Rhinoceros. I’ve thought about… Continue reading Have you never read?

On the wing

After drinking her smoothie, Bethany said, “I must make haste.” “Do you have a recipe for haste,” I asked, “or do you just wing it?” She paused. “I usually just wing it.” And she left.

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Sadism and civic impotence

A friend’s homely benediction last week: “Well, now that we’ve solved all the world’s problems . . .”  It was perfect: all we had said had the force of cliches. We “solve the world’s problems” because we sense we were made to tend our land together. But we have no civic plot to tend. So… Continue reading Sadism and civic impotence

Restoring the middle class

America taught Hitler that need blurred into desire, and that desire arose from comparison. . . . Families observed other families: around the corner, but also, thanks to modern media, around the world. . . . “Through modern technology and the communication it enables,” wrote Hitler, “international relations between peoples have become so effortless and… Continue reading Restoring the middle class

The church rescues Il Duce

In June of 1924, Mussolini was in trouble. Fascist thugs with ties to him had murdered Italy’s top Socialist parliamentarian, Giacomo Matteotti. The public assumed that Mussolini had ordered it, and Italy was in an uproar. Even conservatives were beginning to distinguish between nationalism, which they embraced, and the overthrow of democracy, which they weren’t… Continue reading The church rescues Il Duce