WASHINGTON—The report was so "seismic"—Daniel Patrick Moynihan's word—that Lyndon Johnson's administration released it on the Fourth of July weekend, 1966, hoping it would not be noticed. But the Coleman report did disturb various dogmatic slumbers and vested interests. And 50 years on, it is pertinent to today's political debates about class and social mobility. So, let us now praise an insufficiently famous man, sociologist James Coleman, author of the study "Equality of Educational Opportunity."
WASHINGTON—The progressive drive to broadly define and thoroughly eradicate political "corruption" has corrupted politics. But discord is not altogether pandemic in Washington, and last week a unanimous Supreme Court, in this term's most important decision, limited the discretion prosecutors have to criminalize politics.
"See that little stream? We could walk to it in two minutes. It took the British a month to walk to it—a whole empire walking very slowly, dying in front and pushing forward behind." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Tender Is The Night"
"There's an old adage about a vat of wine standing next to a vat of sewage. Add a cup of wine to the sewage, and it is still sewage. But add a cup of sewage to the wine, and it is no longer wine but sewage. Is this what Donald Trump has done to our politics?" -- Martha Bayles, in the Claremont Review of Books
WASHINGTON—The Caligulan malice with which Donald Trump administered Paul Ryan's degradation is an object lesson in the price of abject capitulation to power. This episode should be studied as a clinical case of a particular Washington myopia—the ability of career politicians to convince themselves that they and their agendas are of supreme importance.
WASHINGTON—Sen. John Cornyn recalls visiting a Texas prison where some inmates taking shop classes could not read tape measures. Cornyn, who was previously a district court judge and Texas Supreme Court justice, knows that prisons are trying to teach literacy and vocations, trying to cope with the mental illnesses of many inmates and trying to take prophylactic measures to prevent drug-related recidivism by persons imprisoned for drug offenses. "The criminal justice system," he says, "has become by default a social services provider."
WASHINGTON — Frequently predicted but never reached, “peak oil” — maximum possible production — has been postponed yet again, this time because of fracking. “Peak Sanders” was prematurely announced because...
WASHINGTON—Lyndon Johnson simply was exasperated. Barack Obama's mischief was methodical. Four days before the 1966 congressional elections, Johnson, asked about criticism from Richard Nixon, testily responded: "I do not want to get into a debate ... with a chronic campaigner like Mr. Nixon." Johnson's disparagement endeared Nixon to Republican voters, thereby propelling him toward the presidency.
WASHINGTON—Antonin Scalia, who combined a zest for intellectual combat with a vast talent for friendship, was a Roman candle of sparkling jurisprudential theories leavened by acerbic witticisms. The serrated edges of his most passionate dissents sometimes strained the court's comity and occasionally limited his ability to proclaim what the late Justice William Brennan called the most important word in the court's lexicon: "Five."
WASHINGTON—It is frequently said that, unfortunately, Americans disdain government. It is more usefully said that, unfortunately, they have abundant reasons for doing so. In coming days, the Supreme Court, by deciding to hear a case from Connecticut, can begin limiting a contemptible government abuse that the court's passive deference to legislatures has encouraged.