Public Nuisances

Public Nuisances

The Press Never Calls

By From the June 2014 issue

WASHINGTONMy telephone is not ringing off the hook. No intriguing or inquiring emails have arrived on my computer. Yet on Friday a document drop from the Clinton Library revealed that years ago, in the 1990s, I was at the very heart of the “vast right-wing conspiracy.” Now here we are almost a week later, and still no journalist, much less a historian, has called to ask me if I really was actively conspiring with the British press, select American newspapers, obscure right-wing political operators, and, who knows, possibly foreign powers to create the gossamer of scandal over the Clinton White House. All this was reported in the documents.It has always struck me as curious how news stories are reported in America or not reported. What standards must be met to land a story on the front page or even to decide that it is a story worth reporting at all.
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Public Nuisances

Ukraine and the Return of the KGB

By From the May 2014 issue

Ukraine and the Return of the KGB—WASHINGTON—
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Public Nuisances

The Liars’ Club

By From the January-February 2014 issue

WASHINGTON—It is now apparent that our President has lied to us. He lied when he crooned soothingly about improving the healthcare of millions of Americans through vast changes in health policy that would actually lower their costs. Those costs are now going up, and they are going up for almost everyone. They will not come down. He lied when he said we could keep our present healthcare policy. Those policies are rapidly disappearing. He lied again when he said we could keep our doctors. He lied when he said his plan would not involve rationing. I could go on, but in sum he is lying about most aspects of the most massive social policy in American history. It is also the greatest disaster in social policy in the history of social policy. President Barack Obama is a rank amateur.
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Public Nuisances

Grow Up, Parents

By 11.8.13

A couple of weeks ago Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, who is running for governor, made the “Today” show and most major news outlets for a picture placing him at a wild high school beach week party in Delaware in June.

It showed him with his arm up, phone extended, looking like he was about to take a photo of a bikini-clad girl doing a dance Miley Cyrus made popular recently.

He said he visited the party to speak with his son. And the attorney general, an outspoken critic of underage drinking, denied he knew any alcohol was being consumed. Besides, he told the Baltimore Sun, “Assume for purpose of discussion that there was widespread drinking at this party. How is that relevant to me? The question is, do I have moral authority over other people’s children at beach week in another state? I say no.”

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Public Nuisances

Catnip From the Egotists

By From the March 2012 issue

WASHINGTON - An underlying theme of our times that has gone unperceived by the high and mighty in media, gov-ernment, and other locales where the politically alive come to roost is the thumping failure of an increasing number of counterproductive old Progressive reforms. Once they were beheld as prodigies from the minds of superior citizens, such stars of yesteryear as Robert M. La Follette and Woodrow Wilson. Now they are revealed as hollow shams or at best curiosities. Surely soon they will be seen for what they are, catnip from the egotists.

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Public Nuisances

Barney Shuffles Off

By From the February 2012 issue

WASHINGTON - When barney frank announced the other day that he was shuffling off stage after three decades in the congressional limelight, I was brought back to 1980 when some very thoughtful friends from Harvard told me to watch him. Paul H. Weaver had been an aide to Irving Kristol, the Godfather of Neoconservatism, which was lustrous in those days and rightly so. Paul was one of the brightest young Neocons of his generation. I always took him seriously. He thought that Congressman Frank was principled, stupendously intelligent, and of good cheer—a wit. It seemed Frank was going to be another Daniel Patrick Moynihan or at least an Allard Lowenstein, the former congressman and principled Liberal activist who had recently been murdered.

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Public Nuisances

Useless Wonks

By From the February 2012 issue

WASHINGTON - Do you recall in reading President Harry S. Truman's very good memoir, Years of Trial and Hope: 1946-1952, his scholarly dissection of the Federal Reserve System and discussion of low inflation's influence on relatively unstable growth? Actually, I do not either, and I read the book from cover to cover. Or how about Dwight D. Eisenhower, the man who led our forces in vanquishing Hitler's war machine, became the first Supreme Commander of NATO and eventually president, serving until 1960? Do you remember his erudite discussions of domestic policy during his 1952 campaign? His plan to pare down the national debt with a temporary "surcharge" on the top 1.5 percent of income earners? And then there was, of course, his education policy that would include highly nutritious lunches to low-income students so the students would not be a burden on our healthcare system in future years? Well, I do not recall these discussions either.

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