A sure-fire bet and cause for doubt

Mike Castle does not lose elections in Delaware. I don't claim to be an expert on politics in the First State, but I read the paper there every day and the pattern is obvious. Castle won his first election in 1966 and he hasn't lost since then. He won the governor's seat easily in 1984 [Read More...]

The Clod and the Pebble and the politics of resentment

"Blessed is anyone who takes no offense" — Luke 7:23 Here is a story from Sunday's paper that will make some people happy and some people unhappy. That's not quite it. What I mean to say is that it will be a source of happiness for happy people and a source of further unhappiness for [Read More...]

Glenn Beck’s Voiding the Promissory Note Rally

Look, I understand the suspicion. Glenn Beck's support for "states' rights" raises some red flags. That phrase has, for centuries here in America, been the shorthand euphemism of choice for racists seeking to restrict the rights of minorities in this country — from Calhoun to the Klan to George Wallace to David Duke. But maybe [Read More...]

Fortune cookies

I don't like proverb cookies. When I open a fortune cookie, I want exactly that — a fortune cookie. I want to be told my fortune. I don't want to be told that "He who is rich in friends is rich indeed." I want something more like, "If you lend that $50 to Eddie you're [Read More...]

Charleston and Billings

The day of the big vote came and, as an intern, I was assigned the task of checking off delegates' names after they had voted. This was a Baptist gathering — the biennial convention of the convention — so the vote was largely symbolic. Baptists don't have a formal hierarchy. We don't really even have [Read More...]

A bank run in reverse

I’ve been advocating — requesting, demanding — a massive public works effort to repair America’s aging infrastructure because 1) that infrastructure is in desperate need of repair, and 2) we have 14.6 million jobless Americans who could really use some productive work. But from what I understand, there’s another reason this is logical, effective, efficient, [Read More...]

Scissors for Hitler

STEP ONE: Someone claims to be deeply offended that members of some minority are being treated just like members of the majority are. Equality under the law is portrayed as an attack on the majority, an insult and an affront to their way of life. Left-handed children need to assimilate. Our schools are bending over [Read More...]


"Sanction" is one of those words — like "cited" or "sanguine" — that can mean opposite things. This can be confusing. "The bus driver received a citation from the city" might mean she was ticketed — punished — for a traffic violation. Or it might mean she was rewarded and commended for excellence. In the [Read More...]