What we take from the amazing life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

We are long past the point where things “go without saying.” So much of what we took for granted — that, for instance, medical science would predominate and prevail in a pandemic — has been attacked or left for dead that I no longer assume that a majority of Americans agree on basic values and … Continue reading What we take from the amazing life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Richard Striner, Maryland historian, on the Eisenhower Memorial and the ‘Trump nightmare’

Attention must be paid: The presidential historian, Lincoln scholar and prolific author Richard Striner, longtime professor at Washington College, served as a senior writer and advisor to the Eisenhower Memorial Commission. In fact, Striner and Louis Galambos, professor emeritus of Johns Hopkins University, were among scholars who recommended Eisenhower quotes for inscription in the stone … Continue reading Richard Striner, Maryland historian, on the Eisenhower Memorial and the ‘Trump nightmare’

Climate clock: What a colossal waste of time the Trump presidency has been

What a colossal waste of time these Trump years have been. Look at California. Look at Oregon and Washington. Look at the weather maps. Listen to what the climate scientists tell us. Go back and review their warnings, their predictions.  What a colossal waste of time the Trump years have been. His first year in … Continue reading Climate clock: What a colossal waste of time the Trump presidency has been

Direct connection: Trump’s admitted dereliction and Kushner’s scrapping of a national testing plan

Given what the Woodward book confirms, with Trump’s own recorded words, Americans might want to note -- because you don't have enough to be outraged about yet, right? -- its connection to the nation’s lack of a diagnostic testing plan as an early check on the spread of the deadly coronavirus. Other reporting, and Trump’s … Continue reading Direct connection: Trump’s admitted dereliction and Kushner’s scrapping of a national testing plan

Don’t panic. Just look up your ballot status for the November election

Marylanders: Did you do what I did last month and request an absentee ballot from the Maryland Board of Elections? Are you worried that you haven't seen it yet, or confused because you received by mail a "Maryland Application for a Mail-in Ballot"? Let me help you out. (Of course, all these explanations and reminders … Continue reading Don’t panic. Just look up your ballot status for the November election

After Trump, we need a new Selective Public Service effort.

It is impossible to imagine any American saying what Trump is reported — reported, and now verified — to have said about soldiers killed in France in World War I, or while attending the grave of General Kelly’s son, or saying what he did about John McCain in 2016, questioning why we considered the late … Continue reading After Trump, we need a new Selective Public Service effort.

The peppers-and-eggs sandwich is the official meal of Labor Day in the U.S.

A reminder that, while Labor Day was never identified with a particular food item -- in the way Thanksgiving demands roasted turkey, St. Patrick's Day requires corned beef and cabbage, or the Fourth of July comes ringed in hot dogs -- the peppers-and-eggs sandwich has been the official sandwich of the first Monday in September … Continue reading The peppers-and-eggs sandwich is the official meal of Labor Day in the U.S.

Letters: About the rare American elm trees, and where to find some that survive

Here is some reader mail on Sunday's column in The Baltimore Sun about the rare American elm I discovered in my neighborhood. Always like to see an Elm get it's due. There are some stupendous Elms on the North East side of town. There is one on Harford Road at Kentucky Avenue that has some … Continue reading Letters: About the rare American elm trees, and where to find some that survive

Over-Wired: Calling on Baltimoreans who want to do something about this problem

Unless you live in a Baltimore neighborhood — and, more specifically, a Baltimore rowhouse neighborhood — you might not be able to relate to this problem: Wires. Not wires that are needed for electric power or communications, but wires now dormant and left hanging in tangled messes by the companies that installed them. I wrote … Continue reading Over-Wired: Calling on Baltimoreans who want to do something about this problem

Democrats must talk it up because Republicans don’t anymore, and for good reason

At last week's Republican National Convention, speakers mentioned Obamacare exactly once. This from the same party that consistently opposed government-backed health insurance for millions of lower-income Americans, whose members in Congress refused to support it and whose House members voted to repeal it dozens of times. The GOP's favorite policy for ridicule and court challenges … Continue reading Democrats must talk it up because Republicans don’t anymore, and for good reason

Who needs a Republican platform? We know what it is.

I don’t think it’s accurate to say, as The Washington Post does today in an editorial, that the Republican Party “stands for nothing.” The GOP officially offers no platform -- no policies or ideas -- at its 2020 convention and, instead, fully endorses Trump. Critics say that makes the Republican Party nothing more than a … Continue reading Who needs a Republican platform? We know what it is.

Are Republicans just going to let Americans go hungry?

The neglect by Senate Republicans of Americans out of work because of the pandemic is about to compound the misery already out here. Supplemental unemployment benefits expired at the end of July. Even if the additional funding Trump authorized were to materialize, it won’t reach anyone until the end of September. Eviction protections expired and … Continue reading Are Republicans just going to let Americans go hungry?

America’s Shame: Stephen Miller and Official Cruelty

Let us not forget, swamped as we are with outrages from four years of Donald Trump as president, the cruelty this nation inflicted on migrant families seeking asylum here. We separated at least 3,000 children from their parents, and Stephen Miller, this dark and racist young man who advises Trump on immigration policy and who … Continue reading America’s Shame: Stephen Miller and Official Cruelty

$25,000 if you know who killed Bryan McKemy; FBI develops leads in senseless 2018 murder

The FBI has established a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the men who killed Bryan McKemy in August 2018 as he worked on the renovation of a house on Woodlea Avenue in northeast Baltimore. Bryan was 27 years old, an innocent bystander. Police believe that the two gunmen who killed Bryan … Continue reading $25,000 if you know who killed Bryan McKemy; FBI develops leads in senseless 2018 murder

Two Minutes to Midnight: Hamill and the first draft of history

A note about a journalist I admired, Pete Hamill, who died this week in New York after a long, rich life as a reporter and editor. Years ago, the late Nick Yengich, Baltimore Evening Sun reporter and rewrite man, handed me a book of columns and essays by the New York journalist Pete Hamill. Published … Continue reading Two Minutes to Midnight: Hamill and the first draft of history

Quick history: The 1932 landslide election and the establishment of Social Security

In refreshing my memory for a recent column about the New Deal and the establishment of the Social Security system in 1935, I was struck by the facts about the previous presidential election, in 1932. That was the year Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat and governor of New York, won his first of four terms in … Continue reading Quick history: The 1932 landslide election and the establishment of Social Security

My fellow Americans: It’s time to be done with Trump. He’s gone off the cliff for good.

As my old friend Bush Hog says: "Every time I think we’ve reached the end of the line, Trump lays more track." And this time he’s gone off the cliff for good and free floating in some mystical neverland. He retweeted and defended a nutty video of “America’s Frontline Doctors,” who claim against all medical … Continue reading My fellow Americans: It’s time to be done with Trump. He’s gone off the cliff for good.

Here’s what LBJ said after the riots of 1967. The same could be said today.

Former Baltimore Sun reporter and editor Arnold "Skip" Isaacs, right, did some digging this week and came across the text of the televised speech of President Lyndon B. Johnson after the riots in Detroit, Newark, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Cambridge, Md. and other cities in the long, hot summer of 1967. Johnson's opening words on July 27 … Continue reading Here’s what LBJ said after the riots of 1967. The same could be said today.

Wide Awake: Great song, and now an unearthly video to go with it

The subject of Aaron Yealdall’s song and music video, “Wide Awake,” is what the Navy calls “unidentified aerial phenomena,” or what we’ve always called UFOs. My reaction to Aaron’s song is much like my reaction to UFOs — I neither accept nor understand it all, but I believe there’s something deep there and I’m intrigued. … Continue reading Wide Awake: Great song, and now an unearthly video to go with it

Past presidents of Baltimore ministers alliance protest its leadership, endorsement process

Five Baltimore pastors who once led the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance released a statement Tuesday bemoaning the IMA's diminished role in civic life and its process for endorsing a mayoral candidate in the June 2 primary election. I refer to this in my May 20 Sun column, but not at the length it deserves. So I … Continue reading Past presidents of Baltimore ministers alliance protest its leadership, endorsement process

Rep. Andy Harris embraces Hungary’s dictator while chiding Maryland’s governor over loss of freedoms in health emergency. What a hypocrite.

Regarding Rep. Andy Harris, the Freedom Caucus Republican and Donald Trump Mini-Me urging constituents to protest the coronavirus shutdown in Maryland, I’d just like to point out his hypocrisy: This right-wing politician, who compares Gov. Larry Hogan’s emergency order to something that might happen in China or North Korea, is the same right-wing politician who … Continue reading Rep. Andy Harris embraces Hungary’s dictator while chiding Maryland’s governor over loss of freedoms in health emergency. What a hypocrite.

Europe cares for its own more than we do; with Trump, McConnell we will never catch up

May marks 80 years since the start of Hitler’s invasion of France and his establishment of Festung Europa, the Nazi plan to fortify the whole of occupied Europe against a counterinvasion by the Allies in World War II. The rest is history, as every American high school graduate knows: The war went on for five … Continue reading Europe cares for its own more than we do; with Trump, McConnell we will never catch up

What? You still support Trump because you think Biden will be worse?

What was that? You're still thinking of voting for Trump? He just suggested that ultraviolet light and the ingestion of disinfectant could kill the coronavirus in people. You did hear that, right? Everyone did, unfortunately. People were calling emergency hotlines on Friday to ask about it, and companies that produce disinfectants had to put out … Continue reading What? You still support Trump because you think Biden will be worse?

Nesting and fixing stuff during the pandemic

People in Maryland, and the Baltimore area, in particular, go a little nutty when there's snow in the forecast. Between 1989 and 1993, when I hosted evening shows on WBAL-AM, I used to have to read weather-related cancellations, and there were a lot of them: Chair-caning classes, meetings of Overeaters Anonymous, yoga classes, lamaze classes, … Continue reading Nesting and fixing stuff during the pandemic

The Trump crowd hates the smart people, even in a matter of life or death

Trump and his crowd want to defy governors who have issued stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of coronavirus and save lives. Maryland’s only Republican member of Congress, the extreme conservative Andy Harris, is among those saying it’s time to loosen things up and let people return to work. (Harris has a medical degree and … Continue reading The Trump crowd hates the smart people, even in a matter of life or death

Comparative history: How Obama managed the Ebola outbreak

Because Trump and his administration delayed — with willful ignorance and claims of hoax and media sensationalism — our nation’s response to the coronavirus, I went back to 2014, Obama and Ebola. I had to. I wanted (needed) to review how a wise and well-informed American president responded to the outbreak of a lethal disease … Continue reading Comparative history: How Obama managed the Ebola outbreak

Living the dream: An inspiring film about a professional fly fisherman

The two brothers are on their backs in the grass, talking about what they’d like to be when they grow up. “What are you gonna be?” the older brother, Norman Maclean, asks the younger. “A professional fly-fisherman,” says Paul. “There's no such thing,” Norman snaps. “There isn't?” Of course, that would have been Paul Maclean’s … Continue reading Living the dream: An inspiring film about a professional fly fisherman

Need comforting? Watch Grandma Gina cook Italian comfort food

If you want to be comforted in this terrible time in American life, I recommend watching 85-year-old Gina Petitti cook Italian comfort food on her Buon-A-Petitti YouTube channel. These 15- to 35-minute videos are well-produced, but without a lot of slick editing. They are shot almost in real-time, in Grandma Gina's home in New Jersey, … Continue reading Need comforting? Watch Grandma Gina cook Italian comfort food

Trump’s assault on good government, science and expertise

Just as a followup to my March 3 column, about Trump's attacks on the "bad people" -- read that "disloyal people" -- he claims to have purged from the federal government, let me offer this: Trump brags about spending billions more on national defense and building a border wall, yet he shuttered a special unit … Continue reading Trump’s assault on good government, science and expertise

Damages: Trump’s costly smears of honorable public employees

Trump’s smearing of career intelligence officials, FBI agents and federal prosecutors -- his hounding of the bloodhounds -- is repugnant, and it remains stunning to me that the Republican Party, once the law-and-order party, stands by and lets this happen. Trump's trashing of honorable federal employees inflicts profound damage -- and not just superficial wounds -- … Continue reading Damages: Trump’s costly smears of honorable public employees

Stop with the panic talk, it’s primary season

Now that Bernie Sanders has come out on top in New Hampshire, after a strong showing in Iowa, Democrats are supposedly panic-stricken at the prospect of the senior senator from Vermont getting the party’s nomination. I’m not sure what it is -- that we are approaching the most important presidential election in American history? -- … Continue reading Stop with the panic talk, it’s primary season