The Original Was So Much Better

When you run a newspaper that’s two decades older than the nation in which it’s published, nostalgia is an occupational hazard. Out of respect for our readers, we try not to let it get out of hand. That has recently become more and more difficult. We’ll stop short of yelling “Get off our lawn,” but some other things simply must be said. The phrase “disappointing sequel” has bordered on redundant ever since comics took over the movie business. Now that term has become relevant once again. Tim Burton’s 2010 version of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland drew mixed reviews. Today’s Republican party considered that lackluster …

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OK, OK, It Was Broke—But This Ain’t Fixing It

Well, Republicans have gotten their meat hooks on the House of Representatives. God help the Republic as they set to work. No one is more likely than a Republican Member of Congress to posture as the soul of common sense, that elusive quality best summed up by the adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Yet here we are, just a few days into the 118th Congress, and the GOP is clearly taking a different tack. Perhaps they’re trying to plagiarize Disney’s movie “Wreck-It Ralph,” but got lost in the plot. The things they say they’ll fix are those few that are still working—which …

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Simplicity, Complexity, History, and Mystery

It is only natural that when chaos looms all around us, we humans—mortal, featherless bipeds, stumbling blindly, ever forward, into what we cannot know—should seek out symbols that seem to embody endurance, strength, and resolution. They offer us the hope that we, too, may survive. So now, as each of us grapples with our own petty travails, against a catastrophic panorama of persistent pandemic, stubborn inflation, and increasingly violent weather produced by an ever more unstable climate, it is only natural that so many of us are deeply moved by images of the Ukrainian flag. Never mind that a year ago, most Americans could not …

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New GOP Platform: Old School Fascism

Long ago, in the year 2020—because in times like these, two years can seem interminable—there was a minor flap because, for the first time in living memory, a major political party held a presidential nominating convention without bothering to write a new platform. Many will have forgotten all about that breach with tradition; these days they do die like mayflies. Instead, in what now seems a quaintly reality-based gesture, the GOP admitted that it had “significantly scaled back the size and scope of the 2020 Republican National Convention in Charlotte due to strict restrictions on gatherings and meetings, and out of concern for the safety …

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Helluva Way To Run A Railroad

For most of Monday the word “railroad” was absent from the online front pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Boston Globe. Maybe all those editors were girding their loins, in preparation for whatever comes next. After all, if railroad workers go on strike, half the stories they publish will suddenly revolve around that mode of transportation. Finally it appeared, at the end of the day. President Biden called on Congress, wrote the Times, to “pass legislation to impose an agreement that his administration helped broker but that has failed to win the support of all the rail labor unions.” Earlier …

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Reality, By The Numbers

It’s…interesting. The party which acts like it owns law and order—and does seem to own the courts—now has a leading candidate for the nation’s top job who is running for the White House to stay out of the Big House. Situations like that make it a challenge to treat the news with the seriousness it deserves. Then along comes a missile exploding in Poland and suddenly everyone on Twitter is pointing to NATO’s Article 5 and calculating the odds of a nuclear war with Russia. We exaggerate, of course. “Everyone on Twitter” amounts to more than 200 million people. They can’t all be debating the …

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