He always seemed happy—at least to my 9-year-old self. At my Little League games, he had his photo taken with each team. At the grand opening of a bakery owned by my friend's mom, he showed up at the last minute to personally cut the ribbon. He'd tuck into plates of pasta on Federal Hill, the historically Italian section of my hometown of Providence, Rhode Island. Vincent Cianci—you probably know him as "Buddy"—who died late last month, appeared to relish his job as mayor of "America's greatest city" (at least that's how Providence was described in his campaign literature).
From 1975 to 1984, and again from 1991 to 2002, Cianci held the title long enough to be crowned "The Prince of Providence" by theRead more
Except for one, that is.Read more
After delivering an endorsement speech on behalf of Donald Trump on Tuesday evening, Sarah Palin failed to appear at a joint rally scheduled for the following morning. Perhaps Trump doesn’t like sharing the stage with somebody who has (almost) as much start power as him. Or, maybe more likely, the fact that Palin delivered what was widely reported to be a rambling, bizarre speech for Trump on Tuesday led the property magnate to "fire" the half-term Alaska governor and reality show star. Too bad that scene wasn't broadcast live across the cable news networks.
Update: Palin rehired.Read more
Conservative critics like to carp about the New York Times and National Public Radio being woefully out of touch with, oh, about half the country. Events over the weekend demonstrate why those criticisms, while often tedious, continue to have merit.
Consider: In his current quest to out-Trump Trump, Ted Cruz has begun referring to illegal immigrants as "undocumented Democrats." This is hardly an original epithet; the phrase has been a staple of the Rush Limbaugh program for at least five years. (The joke migrated to a Jay Leno monologue in 2013 as well.) If there's any story here, it's that Cruz is making a strategic decision to appeal to dittoheads by lifting Rush's language.Read more
So dominant is Hillary Clinton's polling in the presidential primaries, notes the press critic Howard Kurtz, that the media have essentially stopped paying attention to the Democratic race at all. The logic, for a media organization, is simple: Why lavish limited resources on a fait accompli? The Democrats, after all, have spoken. They are fully ready for (or perhaps fully resigned to) Hillary.
That's certainly not the case on the Republican side, where, we are told (ad nauseam), that the race is still "wide open." With "no clear frontrunner" on the GOP side, the contrast between the Republican and Democratic contests could not be clearer.Read more
Take that, Gerald Ford. Donald Trump, if he becomes president, would be the "healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency." His blood pressure and lab test results are "astonishingly excellent." His most recent medical exam showed only "positive results."
And that's not (just) the opinion of Trump himself. The Donald's doctor, one Harold N. Bornstein, made the diagnosis himself in a public letter released Monday. Either that or Trump is now penning his own medical write-ups.Read more
In a television interview Thursday, during which he responded to the killings in San Bernardino, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan asserted, "What we have seen—and a common theme among many of these mass shootings—is a theme of mental illness." In the context of the slaughter in southern California, Ryan's remark was an utter non-sequitur. (It was a bit like those Democrats who call for gun control measures after mass shootings that would do nothing to prevent the attacks they are ostensibly designed to respond to.) While it's too early yet to determine the motive for Wednesday's shooting, it simply beggars belief that the husband and wife who perpetrated the attack were both mentally ill.Read more
It turns out that Hamlet isn't the only work whose central plot device is a play within a play. Cole Porter's musical Kiss Me, Kate, which is playing at Washington, D.C.'s Shakespeare Theatre until January 3, employs the same conceit, and to brilliant effect.
The central narrative of Kiss Me, Kate involves a group of actors putting on a musical version of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. The actors playing Shrew's two leads have previously been romantically involved; they reconcile briefly as the Kate opens, only to suffer a gross misunderstanding shortly thereafter. But the show must go on, of course. Thus, the drama of the two leads' disintegrating relationship plays out as they gamely perform their version of Shrew.Read more
How lucky is Hillary Clinton that her sole (credible) competitor for the Democratic nomination for president is a dyspeptic, self-described socialist who doesn’t appear to actually wish to be president? So lucky that nearly a year out from the 2016 election, she’s already running her general election campaign.Read more
Give a man a reputation as an early riser, as the old saw goes, and he can sleep until noon everyday. The same phenomenon evidently applies to bad reputations as well. Brand Donald Trump a bigot, and suddenly every policy he endorses, no matter how innocuous or mainstream, becomes repugnant.Read more
Maybe he is the Republican Obama after all. Like the outgoing president, Florida senator Marco Rubio is charismatic, self-assured, and intelligent, as his performance in Tuesday night’s debate displayed. Alas, also like the president, Senator Rubio harbors an anti-intellectual streak, one that is both wrong in its premises, as well as on the facts.Read more
President Obama announced today to much fanfare (and to much angst on the right) that he is killing the proposed KeystoneXL pipeline, which would transport Canadian tar sands oil through the United States. But as much as he would like to claim the mantle of environmentalism (this is the man who promised to slow the rise of the oceans, after all) the president is giving himself a little too much credit here. For President Obama is not killing Keystone; the economics of oil are.Read more
Ralph Nader, man-splainer?
That’s certainly what many across the Internet seem to believe today. It all began when Ben Casselman, a blogger at the New York Times, excerpted a recent Huffington Post piece by Nader thusly:
Nader: Fed Chairwoman Yellen should "sit down with her husband" so he can explain why she should raise rates. https://t.co/M1lkfCpo7eRead more
I’m a sophisticated guy. A deep thinker, even. Shallowness’s scourge, you might say.
At least that was my line 10 or so years ago, as my family embarked on a trip to Southern California. My younger sister, then around 14, proclaimed before our departure that she hoped we would see a celebrity on our trip.Read more
The Republican candidates for president were remarkably unified in the (few) policy preferences they espoused at their debates on Wednesday night. All support cutting taxes and reducing regulation, and all oppose crony capitalism. The candidates may be remarkably diverse in terms of ethnicity and race: Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are Hispanic (and, apparently, so is Jeb Bush); Ben Carson is black; Bobby Jindal is Indian, etc.Read more
Even if it were true that the “American people are sick and tired of hearing about [Hillary Clinton’s] emails,” as Vermont senator Bernie Sanders asserted on Tuesday (there is not a scintilla of evidence that that is the case, by the way), that’s an utterly irrelevant standard to apply when judging whether or not something is important.Read more
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