Mini-Trump Spins the Dials

In 1878, the State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan was an unpreposessing, two-story wooden building topped by a tin cupola. It was replaced the next year by a colonnaded stone structure, the dome of which soars to an imposing 267 feet. It’s a good thing, too. Otherwise the dozens of gun-toting, camo-wearing protestors who mobbed the place last week would have looked pretty silly, cramming into that run-down old barn, acting like they were about to liberate Venezuela. Their stated intent was to protest Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order, which they call tyrannical. In addition to semi-automatic weapons, some carried Confederate flags, nooses, and swastikas as …

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Can’t Give It Away

On Monday, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil had less value on the market than a printed copy of this newspaper—which, under normal circumstances, is free. Anyone willing to accept delivery could expect to receive $40 along with each 42-gallon barrel. Demand for oil was already falling early in March, due to the coronavirus. Because Vladimir Putin was resisting his plan to keep oil prices comfortable by lowering production, Saudi Arabia’s fun-loving Prince Mohammad Bin Salman decided to start an oil price war against Russia. He jacked up production and offered big price breaks on Saudi crude. The combined effect was a glut …

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The New, Improved Five O’Clock Follies

Noted epidemiologist, Vietnam War draft dodger, and President, Donald J. Trump now conducts televised daily briefings on the Federal Government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic—and whatever other random thought-substitutes may then be fluttering around, bat-like, in his belfry. We hope that scientists in the future—if there is one, and there are any—will study this phenomenon and confirm or deny the following theory, which is ours: when he gets in front of the cameras and talks, the nation’s collective IQ plummets. Collective intelligence is not exactly a commodity which we have in surplus. He should be grateful to the President’s handlers, though, for inducing him to …

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This Lent, Think of Primus

The Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, which has earned a reputation for relative enlightenment, decided that each day in Lent this year, beginning Feb. 14th, Ash Wednesday, they would offer a short reading to promote reflection on a person in the African American community who has shaped New Hampshire’s history. Their hope is that those reflections will help the congregation to use Lent as a time to broaden their knowledge, to say prayers in a way that assists in repentence and fosters appreciation of the contributions of those named. The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire invited us to write about Primus. Being deeply in …

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