Jay Bookman blog posts

Opinion: A conspiracy of silence, then a reckoning

Opinion: A conspiracy of silence, then a reckoning

The massive, 1,300-page report on child-sexual abuse in the Catholic Church issued by a Pennsylvania grand jury this month makes for horrific, soul-numbing reading. In plain language, it tells the story of more than 300 predatory priests operating in six Pennsylvania dioceses over decades, preying upon more than 1,000 identifiable child victims as well as thousands more whose stories will probably...
Opinion: Trump flunks the Trump test

Opinion: Trump flunks the Trump test

I suppose we should call it “the Trump test,” the standard proposed by the Trump White House to justify its decision to strip former CIA Director John Brennan of the security clearance that has long granted as professional courtesy to those who have held that position. You see, Brennan’s error was not leaking a top-secret, highly sensitive Israeli spy program to the Russians. Donald...
Opinion: Four decades of pay stagnation

Opinion: Four decades of pay stagnation

When I graduated from high school in 1974, the average hourly wage paid to American workers was less than $5 an hour. That sounds absurdly low today, but here’s a hard fact: Forty-four years later, the average hourly wage is still less than $5 an hour, at least if you account for inflation. Put another way, for almost two generations now in this country, the paycheck for the average worker...
Opinion: Omarosa and Trump, two peas in a pod 

Opinion: Omarosa and Trump, two peas in a pod 

Condemn Donald Trump as harshly as you want for bringing an unstable reality-star like Omarosa onto the White House staff -- he has earned every bit of that criticism and more. Call her hiring irresponsible, because it was. Call it deeply disrespectful, because it’s that as well. Trump knew long ago -- all of America knew -- who and what Omarosa is. He knew from her “Apprentice”...
Opinion: ‘He didn’t lie, but if he did ....”

Opinion: ‘He didn’t lie, but if he did ....”

<iframe width="480" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N-2ZFjjvmKs?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> In an appearance Monday on “Fox & Friends,” Rudy Giuliani laid out a multi-layered defense strategy against possible charges of obstruction...

Opinion: A little healing

I’ve posted these guys a couple of times in the last few months because I really like their stuff. Here’s some background on them, and here’s a cut from their brand new album, officially released today. Ladies and gentlemen, “The War and Treaty:” <iframe width="480" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NewN2Mw2b78?feature=oembed"...
Opinion: Anti-immigrant bigotry embraced

Opinion: Anti-immigrant bigotry embraced

The mask is slipping, allowing all to see the white-nationalist ugliness that always lurked beneath it. Just a few years ago, the line was that anti-immigrant groups weren’t offended by immigration in general, but only by those who came here illegally. At that time -- not so long ago, really --being opposed to legal immigration and legal immigrants would still have been considered unAmerican...
Opinion: Donald fears Big Bob, bigly

Opinion: Donald fears Big Bob, bigly

When Donald Trump is scared, all the bluster in the world can’t disguise his fright. And it has become pretty clear that the three things that scare Trump the most are Robert Mueller, Vladimir Putin and telling the truth. For the moment, let’s set aside the mysterious intimidation that Putin wreaks on Trump, reducing the American president to a quivering, eager-to-please kiss-up whenever...
Opinion: This is on us, America

Opinion: This is on us, America

The Bible tells us the story about two women who both claimed to be mothers of a single child, with King Solomon asked to decide custody. In his wisdom, Solomon demands a sword, announcing that out of fairness he will have to slice the baby in two and give each woman half. One woman then begs him to stop, telling Solomon that she would rather give up the child than see him killed. The second woman...
Opinion: ... when lies no longer suffice

Opinion: ... when lies no longer suffice

In a White House press conference last week, the head of the U.S. intelligence community was asked about the impact of President Trump’s discussions with Vladimir Putin during a recent summit in Finland. "I’m not in a position to either understand fully or talk about what happened in Helsinki," Dan Coats told reporters. And why is Coats “not in a position” to understand...
Opinion: Cruelty for the sake of cruelty

Opinion: Cruelty for the sake of cruelty

The Trump administration was warned explicitly and repeatedly, by its own experts, that separating refugee parents from children would do serious long-term damage to those children. Commander Jonathan White, a career Health and Human Services official, told Congress this week what he and others had told the administration months earlier: "There is no question that separation of children from...
Opinion: The GOP eats its own

Opinion: The GOP eats its own

Politics is a mean business, as Casey Cagle and David Shafer can attest. The two Georgia Republicans have spent most of their adult lives building resumes, reputations and relationships, carefully preparing for the opportunity to step into the most powerful offices in the state. They shook the hands, smiled the smiles, went to the meetings, fought the fights, said the words and toed the lines. But...
Opinion: ‘Ask, and you shall receive’

Opinion: ‘Ask, and you shall receive’

Note the date of the video below: July 27, 2016, in the heart of the presidential campaign. It’s important, and we’ll come back to it in a moment. <iframe width="480" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OsvWg2FBnts?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen=""></iframe>...

Opinion: No good time to go ...

If I could schedule these things for a slow news time, well, then I’d never be able to schedule these things. I’ll be gone on vacation for the next two weeks, and for much of that time will be wilderness camping and not be reachable. If something big breaks while I still have access, I’ll pop in. In the meantime ...  <iframe width="480" height="270" src="...
Opinion: The truth is not in him

Opinion: The truth is not in him

Upon returning from his summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, Donald Trump held a campaign-style rally in Minnesota in which he reveled in his alleged success. Among other things, he told the crowd, “We got back our great fallen heroes, the remains, in fact today already 200 have been sent back.” The date was June 20, and what Trump told America and the families of the fallen...
Opinion: Anything for you, Vlad ....

Opinion: Anything for you, Vlad ....

Let’s set aside the unanimous conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community that Vladimir Putin tried to aid the election of Donald Trump. Just wipe it from your minds. For the sake of discussion, let’s also set aside the decades of business ties between Trump and Russian oligarchs. Ignore the Trump campaign’s repeated, impassioned claims of no contact with Russian nationals, and...
Opinion: Roe v. Wade is on the line

Opinion: Roe v. Wade is on the line

Well, they’re lying to somebody. For more than a generation, Republican politicians have told anti-abortion groups that their highest priority was to create a Supreme Court majority that would overturn Roe v. Wade. That was their promise; that was their goal. That was the holy cause toward which many conservative Republicans worked. Donald Trump, who at one point in life had been strongly pro-choice...
Opinion: The GOP’s goober-natorial runoff

Opinion: The GOP’s goober-natorial runoff

Georgia’s 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary might better be described as goober-natorial. With its absence of policy discussion and cartoonish ads, it has been an embarrassment to the state, to the Georgia Republican Party and to those participating in it. I would guess that it has also given pause to corporations and business leaders looking for jurisdictions that are capable of 21st century...

Opinion: Here’s to romantic failure

England prides itself as the original home for football, the game that we in America call soccer because, well, the word “football” was already taken. But since winning the World Cup in 1966 and collecting the iconic Jules Rimet trophy, England’s performance in major tournaments has been one disappointment after another, often in heartbreaking and even humiliating fashion. In...
Opinion: “ ... with malice toward some”

Opinion: “ ... with malice toward some”

With unemployment at 4 percent, the U.S. military is having a hard time meeting its recruitment goals. Even after raising signing bonuses and reducing standards, the U.S. Army was forced to announce in April that it was lowering its 2018 goal from 80,000 to 76,000 recruitments. In making that announcement, Army Secretary Mark Esper acknowledged that without additional recruits, it will be difficult...
Opinion: We have no trade strategy

Opinion: We have no trade strategy

Donald Trump is right about this much: China’s approach to free trade is unfair to the point of being predatory, especially on issues such as intellectual property and its refusal to let foreign companies compete fairly in the Chinese market.  That said, however, Trump has so thoroughly botched efforts to address those and other issues that progress on these fronts has become almost impossible...
Opinion: What unites us as Americans

Opinion: What unites us as Americans

It begins with words that ought to be familiar to every American, regardless of political creed, the opening words to what has become our mutual heritage: “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws...
Opinion: Where is this headed?

Opinion: Where is this headed?

On the eve of our national birthday, our public life is a mess: Our nation’s immigration policy, for example, is a complete mess.  In our founding document, The Declaration of Independence, our forefathers explicitly listed King George’s efforts to curtail immigration among the reasons that a breach was necessary. But the Dreamers have been abandoned and may soon face mass deportation...

Opinion: Life to fix

I love that it’s Friday afternoon. Also, this. Have a great weekend, see ya’ll Monday unless the world goes to hell in the meantime. <iframe width="480" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RWO-D9hNgKU?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen=""></iframe>
Opinion: The love that dare not speak its name

Opinion: The love that dare not speak its name

Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence and a Trump appointee, says point blank, without equivocation, that Russia intervened in a major way during the 2016 election on behalf of Donald  Trump, and that it will intervene again. “There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence...
Opinion: The time of choosing is near

Opinion: The time of choosing is near

If you want to understand how Donald Trump sees himself and his place in the world, he’s quite willing to tell you. It’s one of the few topics on which his word can be trusted. For example, when news broke this week that 81-year-old Anthony Kennedy had finally decided to retire after 30 years of service on the U.S. Supreme Court, potentially altering the court for a generation, here's...
Opinion: Trump built this

Opinion: Trump built this

You can’t condemn a company for responding logically to economic conditions that you yourself created. Not unless you’re Donald Trump, and the company is Harley-Davidson. As you probably recall, tariffs imposed unilaterally by Trump have raised the cost of steel by as much as 25 percent. With its top-end bikes weighing in at 900 pounds each, Harley-Davidson uses a lot of steel in its product...
Opinion: No excuse for meddling in airport

Opinion: No excuse for meddling in airport

Since its inception, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport has been the invention and creation of the City of Atlanta. City leaders envisioned it; city taxpayers funded it; city workers built it and run it, and the state as a whole has prospered immensely as a result. Under city ownership, Hartsfield-Jackson has served more passengers than any airport on the planet for 20 consecutive years now...
Opinion: We have seen this type before

Opinion: We have seen this type before

It may have been 40 or 50 years ago, but we Americans have seen the likes of Donald Trump before. We have seen men who are willing to stoke the furnaces of fear and hatred as a means to forge political power; we have seen those with little skill or competence other than a canny, amoral capacity to divide “us” from “them,” and to prey upon the weaknesses of others. We have also...
Opinion: A cruel and telling indifference

Opinion: A cruel and telling indifference

Often it’s just a detail, a seemingly small thing, that turns out to be most revelatory and most damning. In the case of President Trump’s policy of separating parent from child at the border, the detail that tells all involves the difficulty of trying to reunite the hundreds of families that were split apart under the now-abandoned program. The administration has no process by which...
Opinion: GOP tattoos itself with Trump

Opinion: GOP tattoos itself with Trump

We have put very small-minded, small-hearted people in positions of very large responsibility and power.  All else that we witness today follows naturally and inevitably from that decision. And if you want it to stop, if this is not your idea of America, then you have to remove these small-minded, small-hearted people from power, through the voting booth. Today we watch as they separate mother...
Opinion: Cruelty, deception and incompetence

Opinion: Cruelty, deception and incompetence

The most damning aspect of the Trump policy of forced family separation is its inherent, intentional cruelty. It is not cruelty inflicted as an unfortunate side effect. Cruelty is itself the goal, the purpose, the product that is being manufactured. “What is the pressure point that can give us the most leverage?” members of the Trump administration seem to have asked themselves. &ldquo...
Opinion: Trump vs. Trump

Opinion: Trump vs. Trump

I have to profess a degree of respect and even admiration for Trump supporters these days. It can’t be easy to keep believing all the things that the faith requires you to believe, particularly when they so often contradict each other. For example: ---------- According to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, “we don’t have a policy of separating families at the border.&rdquo...

Opinion: Fathers are cool

I’m going up to visit with my parents this weekend, to share Father’s Day with them.  To mark the occasion, here’s the great Luther Vandross, telling his own version of that age-old story.  Have a great weekend, folks, and as they say in the Good Book, “Honor thy father and mother”: <iframe width="459" height="344" src="https://www...
Opinion: Trump speaks; Trump lies

Opinion: Trump speaks; Trump lies

In comments on the White House lawn Friday morning, President Trump told at least three blatant, major and unquestionable lies. 1.) Trump said the new inspector’s general report totally exonerates him and proves there had been no collusion between his campaign and Russia. The report says NOTHING about that. Not a damn thing. He is trying to redefine reality for those Americans willing to surrender...
Opinion: The bombshell that ... wasn’t

Opinion: The bombshell that ... wasn’t

The inspector general for the Department of Justice has released its long-awaited, much-anticipated 568-page report into the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of official email as secretary of state. These are its six most important findings: 1.) There was never a criminal case to be made against Clinton. FBI Director James Comey’s public statement that...
Opinion: The war on health insurance

Opinion: The war on health insurance

Soon after the passage of the Affordable Care Act -- quickly dubbed ObamaCare by its opponents -- the number of Americans without health insurance began to drop significantly for the first time in decades. In states that allowed the expansion of Medicaid, such as Arkansas and Kentucky, the rate of uninsured fell by half or more. For the first time, millions of Americans who had never had access to...
Opinion: RIP, GOP

Opinion: RIP, GOP

Stick a toe-tag on that sucker and send it to the morgue: The Grand Old Party, the party of Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, John McCain and certainly that of Abraham Lincoln, is officially dead. The name lives on, of course. In some ways the organization lives on as well. But if the purpose of a political party is to advance a given set of principles and policies, then what we know as the Republican...
Opinion: The Trump moonwalk

Opinion: The Trump moonwalk

Last fall, China proposed what it called a “double freeze” to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Under their plan, the United States would end defensive military exercises with its South Korean and Japanese allies; in turn, North Korea would end its missile and nuclear tests, but be able to keep its nuclear arsenal. The Trump administration immediately rejected the idea, with U.N....
Opinion: Trump the destroyer

Opinion: Trump the destroyer

I want to apologize to the people of Canada for the attacks launched by Donald Trump and his minions against Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the weekend. Those attacks were disgraceful and destructive and dishonored the long friendship between our nations. Of course, the disrespect began at the top, from Trump himself. <div></div><br><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"...

Opinion: Still drivin’ and cryin’

The boys in “Drivin’ and Cryin’” have been around some 30-plus years now, and they’re playing Saturday at Oakland Cemetery as part of the “Tunes in the Tombs” festival. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend it. It’s one of the quirkiest events of the Atlanta calendar. Here they are doing one of the first songs that put them on the map: <iframe...
Opinion: The sins of Casey Cagle

Opinion: The sins of Casey Cagle

Casey Cagle was right, and also very very wrong. Georgia’s longtime lieutenant governor, now running for governor, knew that a bill to expand private scholarships was bad legislation that would hurt Georgia and its public school system. House Bill 217 would almost double a poorly designed tax subsidy handed out to private-school students, most of them from middle-class and upper-class families...
Opinion: No checks, no balances

Opinion: No checks, no balances

"What is the point of saying that there was a spy in the (Trump) campaign when there was none?” asks U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, Republican of Florida and a member of the House Intelligence Committee. “You know what I’m saying? It’s like, ‘Lets create this thing to tweet about knowing that it’s not true.’ … Maybe it’s just to create more chaos...
Opinion: Rudy, Rudy, Rudy ...

Opinion: Rudy, Rudy, Rudy ...

Rudy Giuliani is the perfect spokesman for Donald Trump. Who better to represent the president than an egomaniacal, thrice-married clown from New York City who can’t keep his big mouth shut? Appearing at an investment conference in Israel this morning, a mere six days before the scheduled summit between Trump and a notoriously touchy Kim Jong Un, Giuliani bragged that thanks to Trump, Kim had...
Opinion: The Trump ace that isn’t

Opinion: The Trump ace that isn’t

Caught up in the bustle of their daily lives, a lot of Americans don’t have time to follow the intricacies of the Mueller investigation — the 17 indictments, the five guilty pleas, the search warrant against President Trump’s private attorney and of course the various attacks on the probe’s integrity launched by Trump and his defenders. The storyline has more plot twists and...
Opinion: The limits of Trump’s power

Opinion: The limits of Trump’s power

On multiple occasions, President Trump has pressured the U.S. postmaster general to double parcel-delivery rates charged to Amazon, which is owned by Jeff Bezos. Bezos also owns the Washington Post -- “the Amazon Washington Post,” as Trump calls it -- and is viewed by Trump as a bitter political enemy. So far, that pressure from Trump has been fended off, but even to make the attempt to...

Opinion: Second time around

I first posted these guys just a month ago, after their appearance at JazzFest in New Orleans, but I’m bringing them back with a new song today because hey, they’re just that good! Ladies and gentlemen, “The War and Treaty”!  (And have a great, safe weekend.) <iframe width="480" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OB90sKJYtNM?feature=oembed"...
Opinion: A meek and useless Congress

Opinion: A meek and useless Congress

Across the board, the reaction from Republicans has been harsh, complete with dire predictions of its consequence: “This is a big mistake,” says U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander. “These tariffs will raise prices and destroy manufacturing jobs, especially auto jobs, which are one-third of all Tennessee manufacturing jobs.” "This is dumb," says Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska....
Opinion: The consequences of Trump

Opinion: The consequences of Trump

Over the past 16 months, we’ve all gotten a good idea of who Donald Trump is. We have seen his basic character and intelligence; we have witnessed how those traits manifest themselves in the presidency. We have seen how Trump operates, the quality of the people with whom he surrounds himself and the priorities that he chooses to pursue. What we have not witnessed yet are the consequences of...
Opinion: Trump and the question of why 

Opinion: Trump and the question of why 

<iframe width="480" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-hO6rLXx1L4?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> Donald Trump and his attack dogs, led by Rudy Giuliani, continue to insult the FBI, the Department of Justice and the intelligence of the American people...
Opinion: A Christian political party

Opinion: A Christian political party

In the eyes of many conservative Republicans, religion doesn’t get the respect and protection that it deserves. And by “religion,” they generally mean their own particular brand of conservative Christianity, which they believe is under assault. It’s a strange persecution complex, particularly in an era when their party controls every lever of governmental power -- judicial...
Opinion: A moment to remember

Opinion: A moment to remember

Somewhere in that field of white crosses at Normandy lies an uncle whom I never got the chance to meet. He drew the short straw, coming in with the first wave of glider-based paratroopers on D-Day, and he and everyone else on board were killed when his glider wrecked upon landing. My Aunt Dot, from West Virginia, never got the chance to say goodbye or even visit his grave, but when my Dad got transferred...
Opinion: No go with NoKo

Opinion: No go with NoKo

At every stage of this process, Donald Trump has seen himself as the master negotiator on his way to the Nobel Peace Prize, and at every stage of this process he was played for a stooge. He got played by the flattery of South Koreans into initiating this summit, he got played by the North Koreans in their false dangle of “denuclearization,” he got played by the Chinese using this as leverage...
Opinion: Surviving peak idiocracy

Opinion: Surviving peak idiocracy

Really, nobody should be surprised. We elected a man who rode to political prominence by claiming that Barack Obama isn’t a natural-born citizen, who dismissed the substantial documentation of Obama’s Hawaii birth as some sort of international conspiracy that was hatched way back in 1961 to prepare for Obama’s illegitimate election as president some 47 years later. Seriously. That...
Opinion: Trump demands your self-respect

Opinion: Trump demands your self-respect

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen claimed Tuesday that she was unaware of any intelligence finding that Russia intervened in the 2016 elections on behalf of Donald Trump. That’s quite odd. As DHS secretary, Nielsen is charged with election security and protecting the nation from Russian cyberattacks. Yet she is claiming to be ignorant of basic, freely available information about...
Opinion: A gross abuse of power

Opinion: A gross abuse of power

President Trump is demanding -- no, ordering -- a federal investigation into the investigation that is dogging his administration and that he wants desperately to end. <div></div><br><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether...

Opinion: A little Low Cut Connie to go

Here’s a band out of Philly that I’ve been following for a few years now.  It’s tough to find that sweet spot, that balance between melody and good old-fashioned rock and roll, but these guys hit it pretty good. Enjoy, and have a great weekend. <iframe width="480" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UHeNnHqJoec?feature=oembed" frameborder="...
Opinion: If you’re innocent, act like it

Opinion: If you’re innocent, act like it

Remember the great “unmasking scandal” of 2017? Maybe not. But for a hot minute last year,  defenders of President Trump were screaming to the skies, claiming to have found proof that the Obama administration had used the nation’s intelligence-gathering powers to spy illegally on the Trump campaign. The “mastermind” behind that claim, House Intelligence Chairman...
Opinion: Mueller is Trump’s creation

Opinion: Mueller is Trump’s creation

One year ago today, Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel to investigate Russian interference into our 2016 elections as well as possible collusion by Americans with that foreign interference. As we mark that anniversary, it’s important to remember two things: 1.) Mueller’s appointment became necessary only when President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, and when he bragged...
Opinion: The con man becomes the mark

Opinion: The con man becomes the mark

At some point, it was going to happen. At some point, the bluebirds-singing-kumbaya, happy-castles-built-on-sand fantasy that North Korea was willing to shed its nuclear arsenal, the notion that it’s time to schedule a flight to Oslo for the Nobel ceremony because, really, “everyone’s saying” that President Trump has earned it -- at some point, all of that was going to collide...
Opinion: Two Georgias, one governor

Opinion: Two Georgias, one governor

Georgia Republicans are obsessed with guns -- guns guns guns guns guns -- and they’re downright terrified of immigrants.  Also, guns. At least, that’s the impression left by most of the campaign commercials being aired in the GOP gubernatorial primary. Those ads were created by political consultants paid to know their audience, on behalf of politicians competing to lead their party...

Opinion: An embarrassment of riches

As some of you know, I took a couple days off last week to attend the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and it more than lived up to its billing. The food, the friendly crowds and the music -- the music was everywhere. Gospel, jazz, blues, zydeco, country, soul, roots rock, Cajun -- it was awesome. Unfortunately, with 12 different stages featuring an ever-rotating list of bands, you can&rsquo...
Opinion: Our small-hearted, small-minded nation

Opinion: Our small-hearted, small-minded nation

Earlier this month, the Trump administration ordered 56,000 Honduran refugees out of the country no later than Nov. 4, 2019.  Those people have been living and working in the United States legally since 1998, when Hurricane Mitch devastated their homeland, killing 7,000 and leaving as many as 1.5 million people homeless. They are not alone. In January, the administration ordered the ouster of...
Opinion: Who hears that ka-ching?

Opinion: Who hears that ka-ching?

“Ka-ching!” That’s the sound made by coins pouring out of a slot machine that just paid off big time, and Sheldon Adelson knows it well. Las Vegas Sands, the casino company owned by Adelson, last month reported that its first-quarter net income jumped by a remarkable 179 percent. Most of that gain came as a direct result of last year’s huge corporate tax cut, touted by Republicans...
Opinion: Big money in Trump’s Swamp

Opinion: Big money in Trump’s Swamp

Pharmaceutical giant Novartis now acknowledges that it paid $1.2 million in carefully structured payments to Trump fixer Michael Cohen, allegedly for Cohen’s expertise on “U.S. health-care policy matters.” That’s odd. Beyond financing the occasional abortion for girlfriends of GOP bigwigs, Cohen has no discernible expertise on “U.S. health-care policy matters...
Opinion: Trump’s Iran disaster

Opinion: Trump’s Iran disaster

Back during the campaign, Donald Trump told an audience of conservative American Jews what they wanted to hear: If elected president, “My number-one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.”  "I’ve studied this issue in great detail — I would say actually greater by far than anybody else," Trump bragged, a claim that drew mocking laughter...

Opinion: On good weeks, Friday comes early

I’m posting my Friday music offering on Wednesday this week, because, well, it’s Friday for me, if not for you! I’m headed down to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival for a few days of music and other delights, and won’t be back until next week.  So be good, and here’s some of what you’ll be missing: <iframe width="480" height="270"...
Opinion: Our absurd gun-safety debate

Opinion: Our absurd gun-safety debate

<iframe width="480" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4ABRz_epvic?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> As Georgia secretary of state for the past eight years, Brian Kemp has not exactly wowed people with his competence and judgment. Even his fellow Republicans...
Opinion: ‘Mr. Mueller will see you now’

Opinion: ‘Mr. Mueller will see you now’

The gross incompetence of the Trump White House in handling the Mueller probe is pretty stunning, and the problems begin at the top.1 For example, from Tuesday morning: <div></div><br><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">So disgraceful that the questions concerning the Russian Witch Hunt were “leaked&rdquo...
Opinion: Please, spare me the sanctimony

Opinion: Please, spare me the sanctimony

With her scorching comments at the White House Correspondents Dinner, comedienne Michelle Wolf has touched off a national debate about decency and civil debate in our political life, led by conservatives professing outrage at her harsh attacks on President Trump, Kellyanne Conway and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, among others. I say fine, let’s have that discussion. And let me begin by stipulating...

Opinion: Song for a beautiful weekend

The weather folks are calling for a beautiful spring weekend here in the ATL, which means my Inman Park neighborhood will once more play host to tens of thousands of visitors to the annual Inman Park festival. Welcome, Atlanta! Music is always a big part of the festival’s draw, and one of the highlights will be Sandra Hall and the Shadows, playing Saturday evening at little Delta Park. To whet...
Opinion: The taint of Reed’s legacy

Opinion: The taint of Reed’s legacy

In last fall’s campaign to be mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms had to dance a delicate line. On the one hand, she had to reassure angry voters that she was sincere when she talked about addressing serious issues of corruption in the city bureaucracy uncovered in a major federal investigation. In sending that message, though, Bottoms had another audience that she had to please in the person...
Opinion: An epic, Trumpian rant

Opinion: An epic, Trumpian rant

Calling into his buddies at Fox & Friends, President Trump went off on an epic, multi-topic rant this morning, with ramifications that will probably haunt his presidency for as long as that presidency lasts. How epic was it? It was so epic that with the president of the United States rambling on in anger and frustration, making dumpsters-full of breaking news on Fox News air, it was panicked host...
Opinion: An administration of charlatans

Opinion: An administration of charlatans

The best gauge of a leader’s character, competence and intelligence is the quality of people whom he chooses to surround him and act on his behalf. As proof of that assertion, I offer up the example of Donald J. Trump. As former GOP strategist Steve Schmidt describes it, “we’ve never quite seen the assemblage of crooks, just outright weirdos, wife beaters, drunk drivers, complete...
Opinion: Trump and the N. Korea dilemma

Opinion: Trump and the N. Korea dilemma

President Trump has set himself up for a massive, perhaps humiliating failure in his upcoming summit with North Korea. Hundreds of thousands of lives -- at a minimum -- will depend on how maturely he deals with that failure. Other than that, though, we have no cause to worry. Let’s start with the basics: 1. Trump has set the bar for success so high as to be unattainable. What he wants out of...

Opinion: The legend that is Aretha

Maybe you know this story, but if you don’t, you should. Twenty years ago, at the 1998 Grammy awards ceremony in New York City, tenor Luciano Pavarotti was scheduled to do a live performance of his personal showpiece, “Nessun Dormi,” from Puccini’s opera “Turandot.” A half hour into the national TV broadcast, however, Pavarotti suddenly announced that his throat...
Opinion: Right there in the middle of 5th Avenue

Opinion: Right there in the middle of 5th Avenue

WASHINGTON -- Congressional Republicans and conservative leaders rallied around President Trump Friday, attempting to minimize political damage after Trump shot down a man in the middle of Fifth Avenue in New York City. “I’m not going to put myself in the position of having to respond to every presidential shooting,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a hastily called press conference...
Opinion: Troubles mount for Kasim Reed

Opinion: Troubles mount for Kasim Reed

Kasim Reed was, in many ways, a good mayor for Atlanta. Maybe not great -- certainly not Beyoncé-at-Coachella great, as he himself sees it -- but good nonetheless. During Reed’s two terms in office, the city has prospered. The crime rate fell, transformative projects such as the BeltLine moved forward, corporate America bought into the Atlanta story and thanks in part to Reed, Atlanta&rsquo...
Opinion: The Donald and Vlad bromance, Part XVI

Opinion: The Donald and Vlad bromance, Part XVI

In a blistering speech last week before the U.N. Security Council, Ambassador Nikki Haley told her fellow diplomats that this time, she would not repeat the presentation she had given after a previous chemical-weapons attack launched by the Syrian government, with the backing of Russia. This time, she would not show the world the gruesome pictures of dead children, their bodies blue from a lack of...
Opinion: James Comey’s fatal vanity

Opinion: James Comey’s fatal vanity

James Comey loves the spotlight. After a while, the spotlight does not love him back. That’s because, in the harsh glare of the spotlight, you begin to see something unfortunate. You begin to see that it has never been enough for Comey to strive to be fair and honest and ethical, the guideposts by which he has lived his public life. You begin to see that his Achilles heel, his Kryptonite, is...
Opinion: We all drink the poisoned chalice

Opinion: We all drink the poisoned chalice

“You all know that I did not seek this job,” House Speaker Paul Ryan reminded the country in announcing his retirement. “I took it reluctantly.” That’s putting it mildly. Three years ago, Ryan had been adamant, refusing to drink from the poisoned chalice of becoming a GOP speaker. He relented and took the job only after being begged to do so by fellow Republicans, who...
Opinion: Things are going to hell

Opinion: Things are going to hell

In a series of tweets Wednesday morning, our commander in chief attempted to reassure the American people and the world that everything is fine and under control, that our self-described “very stable genius” in the White House was not ranting and raving in anger but in fact was, to use his own words, “very calm and calculated with a big focus on open and fair trade with China, the...
Opinion: The Founders v. Donald J. Trump

Opinion: The Founders v. Donald J. Trump

“It’s an attack on our country, in a true sense,” President Trump said Monday, sitting in the White House Cabinet room surrounded by generals and admirals. “It’s an attack on what we all stand for.” The president was not describing the well-documented attempt by Russia to interfere with our 2016 elections — he has never used words anywhere near that strong...
Opinion: Now, we await Trump’s eruption

Opinion: Now, we await Trump’s eruption

The office and home of Michael Cohen, personal attorney to President Donald Trump, have been raided by the FBI. That, ladies and gentlemen, is big news. According to the New York Times, which broke the story, one area of interest to the FBI was Cohen’s role in payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, aka Stephanie Clifford. Agents reportedly seized emails, tax documents and business records...

Opinion: Mary don’t you weep

Here’s one of my favorite gospel songs to honor Good Friday and swing us into Easter weekend.  <iframe width="480" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tebjshm7f_I?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen=""></iframe> I’m taking next week off, so absent some...
Opinion: Georgia will miss Gov. Deal

Opinion: Georgia will miss Gov. Deal

On the whole, Nathan Deal has been a good governor. Admittedly, those are words that I did not think I would be writing seven and a half years ago, in large part because of the ethical baggage that Deal brought with him to Atlanta from his time in Congress. Those concerns were real -- indeed, the biggest black mark of Deal’s tenure as governor remains his decision to push out employees of the...
Opinion: A vacuum of leadership

Opinion: A vacuum of leadership

It’s not merely that the modern Republican Party lacks the competence needed to govern responsibly, although it does. What ought to bother voters even more is that it has abandoned all pretense of trying. Exhibit A for that claim is of course Donald Trump and the ongoing chaos that he has wrought as president, both domestically and internationally. Exhibit A1 is the party’s profound...
Opinion: Zell Miller, a man out of time

Opinion: Zell Miller, a man out of time

Zell Miller always struck me as a man trapped in an era not his own, and his efforts both personally and politically to reconcile the tug of the past with his profound hope for the future accounted for much that made him fascinating to Georgians and to those of us who were lucky enough to cover him. That conflict was all the more poignant and symbolic because as Miller rose to statewide and then national...
Opinion: Buckle your seatbelts

Opinion: Buckle your seatbelts

It might seem a contradiction in terms to write that chaos is taking shape, but ... in the Trump White House, chaos is taking shape.  What we have witnessed in the last 14 months, as unsettling as it has been, has indeed been the calm, and that relative calm has come to its end, on a variety of fronts. We see it in Donald Trump’s legal team, where, in a matter of days and despite claims...
Opinion: Putin has Trump’s number

Opinion: Putin has Trump’s number

If Donald Trump had to choose a favorite word to describe himself, my bet would be on the word “tough.” In a recent speech to describe his approach to drug abuse, he used a version of “tough” 19 times. He’s tough on trade, tough on the media, tough on porn stars, tough on immigration. Suspected terrorists should be tortured; drug pushers should be executed. No matter...
Opinion: Our hypocritical horndog-in-chief

Opinion: Our hypocritical horndog-in-chief

A porn star is engaged in a highly public legal spat with the president of the United States over her ability to speak freely about their extra-marital affair. A second porn star has come forward to reveal the president’s effort to recruit her for a threesome. A third woman, a former Playboy Playmate, has also launched a legal battle to reclaim the right to reveal her own extra-marital affair...
Opinion: We can’t punish our way out of the opioid crisis

Opinion: We can’t punish our way out of the opioid crisis

Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans aged 50 and younger, claiming more than 60,000 lives each year. That’s more Americans than died in the entire Vietnam War, and despite increased attention the trend lines still point in the wrong direction. To some, the appropriate response to that crisis is to launch a renewed war on drugs, to treat the opioid epidemic as a law-enforcement...

Opinion: ‘If you are innocent, act like it’

U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy -- a conservative Republican, former prosecutor and Benghazi attack dog -- offered some advice to Donald’s Trump’s personal attorney over the weekend. "If you have an innocent client, Mr. Dowd, act like it,” Gowdy said on Fox News. "If the allegation is collusion with the Russians, and there is no evidence of that, and you are innocent of that, act...

Opinion: Take me away, sweet music

Another wild week in the news business has come to an end -- OK, you’re right -- these days it never really comes to an end. However, I’ve found that nothing changes your mood and focus better or more quickly than music, so give Mr. John Boutté a listen and have a great weekend.   <iframe width="480" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RBEhS0XNaYU?feature=oembed"...
Opinion: Stumbling down the path to war

Opinion: Stumbling down the path to war

Incompetence at the highest levels of government, particularly in the arenas of diplomacy and national security, can have enormous consequences. When that incompetence is blended with blind arrogance, with a conviction that gut instinct is a suitable, even preferable substitute for strategic thinking, the likelihood of a major blunder grows exponentially. It can easily lead to a war, or multiple wars...
Opinion: Tax cut can’t save GOP

Opinion: Tax cut can’t save GOP

Even though they control every lever of the federal government, Republicans can so far claim only one solitary accomplishment of any significance, the passage of a massive tax cut.  This week, in the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, they gave that singular accomplishment a test drive as a campaign issue, and it didn’t just fall flat, it backfired. It...
Opinion: The first swell of a blue tsunami

Opinion: The first swell of a blue tsunami

You’ve seen the numbers: In 2016, Donald Trump carried Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District by 20 percentage points. In 2012, Mitt Romney carried it by 17 points. It is the heart of Trump country, overwhelmingly white with strong working-class roots. Yet after Republicans invested more than $10 million in this week’s special election, vastly outspending the Democrats, after...
Opinion: Trump unshackled, Trump unhinged

Opinion: Trump unshackled, Trump unhinged

“No” is one of the shortest words in the English language. It is also one of the most powerful and effective. Donald Trump does not like to hear that word, not directed at him. He doesn’t like it from the media, he doesn’t like it from other countries, he doesn’t like to hear it from Congress. He particularly doesn’t like to hear it from those who in his mind owe...
Opinion: Tillerson gone, Russia smiles

Opinion: Tillerson gone, Russia smiles

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, standing behind the White House seal in the White House briefing room, with the American flag behind her, announced Monday that the United States was standing with its longtime ally, the United Kingdom. “The use of a highly lethal nerve agent against UK citizens on UK soil is an outrage,” Sanders said. “The attack was reckless, indiscriminate, and irresponsible...
Opinion: Trump’s a political coward

Opinion: Trump’s a political coward

In a White House meeting in the wake of the Parkland shootings, Donald Trump made a big, public demonstration of his courage in daring to buck the National Rifle Association, drawing a pointed contrast to the craven attitude of congressional leaders. “Some of you people are petrified of the NRA,” he said, taunting  senators and House members gathered around the table as the TV cameras...

Opinion: An ode to happiness

Years ago, Atlanta-based Oliver Wood fronted an excellent funk and blues band by the name of “King Johnson,” playing venues like the Northside Tavern and building an avid fan base around town. But bands come and bands go, and these days Oliver has joined up with his younger brother Chris to form -- good guess! -- the Wood Brothers! Here’s Oliver, preaching the virtues of happiness...
More Stories