Few politicians can match Lindsey Graham at his craft. The Republican senator from South Carolina is a master of hypocrisy, and the Trump era has been a breakout time for his robust talents, with his finest work on display. In 2015, he famously called Donald Trump “a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot,” then became his golfing … Continue reading Lindsey Graham’s hissy fit hypocrisy
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
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’
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
Here's what I wrote for The Baltimore Sun on the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks. My own children were 11 and 8 at the time of 9/11, so I was thinking about them, their schoolmates, teammates and friends, a whole generation stuck with the memory of what happened on that day in 2001. I … Continue reading From the archive: A letter to the children of 9/11
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
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
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.
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.
Seventy-five years ago, September 2, 1945, the Empire of Japan signed articles of unconditional surrender in a solemn ceremony on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay thus bringing the Second World War to its formal end. Stephen H. Sachs, who grew up in Baltimore and served as U.S. Attorney here and as … Continue reading On V-J Day, a hero’s wisdom remembered
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
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
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
I had an exchange of text messages with a friend from Maryland who went back home to Canada for a visit with family. He, his wife and their two children were in quarantine in Manitoba for two weeks. After that, they visited a province that, according to the global coronavirus tracker at Johns Hopkins University, … Continue reading Only Trump could have gotten us here
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.
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?
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
There's a bounty of plum tomatoes in the Covid Victory Garden so I deal with them in two ways -- fresh for a quick meal, and slow for a savory sauce you can freeze or can for a taste of summer later in the year. First way: Fresh tomato and basil on pasta al dente … Continue reading Dan Can Cook: Two ways to celebrate Italian plum tomatoes
It is a federal crime to obstruct mail delivery in the United States. I cite 18 U.S. Code § 1701. Here’s what it says: “Whoever knowingly and willfully obstructs or retards the passage of the mail, or any carrier or conveyance carrying the mail, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six … Continue reading A federal crime unfolding in plain sight
For late arrivals to this blog and my social media accounts: I have great respect and admiration for the longtime Washington Post sportswriter Tom Boswell. In July, as the COVID MLB Season was about to begin, he coined a phrase: The Awful Baltimore Orioles. The Awful Orioles has a certain poetic lift, wouldn't you say? … Continue reading Rooting for the Awful Orioles of 2020
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
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
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
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.
I'm going to guess that some of you, during the pandemic, have had more time than usual to look around and appreciate your immediate environment -- from the living room to the backyard to neighborhood streets. It's possible you've taken walks on roads and avenues you previously only traversed by motor vehicle. I'm wondering if, … Continue reading Time to pick a favorite tree
Not sure how I missed this World War II thriller from 1964, directed by John Frankeimer and starring Burt Lancaster and Paul Scofield. The Train tells the story of French railroad workers and their hard-edged manager Paul Labiche (Lancaster) who, as members of the Resistance, try to stop a train packed with valuable French paintings … Continue reading Recommended film: “The Train”
Did I learn about this in Earth Science class? Or was it something I heard from one of the many people I know who know many things -- like where to look for arrowheads or which mushrooms are edible, or why the sun looks red at times, or which feathers to use in tying a … Continue reading The science of an earthly delight
Let me take four or five of your precious minutes to acknowledge some people trying to make the best of these challenging times — the pandemic, the emotional tsunami over the death of George Floyd by police up in Minneapolis and the ongoing catastrophe of the Trump administration. First, about the face masks: A niece … Continue reading Bakeries, Bells and Better Than This
After you read this, please click here and watch and listen to this 2-minute, 30-second video of a moment from the North Branch of the Potomac River during the morning of June 7, 2020. When you’re out fishing in a tranquil, seemingly secluded place, the dominant sounds are the river riffles in front of you … Continue reading The old sound of the modern world
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.
I am awed by the Baltimore protests — powerful and, for the most part, peaceful. You can get all of the Sun’s coverage here, and see some great images by our staff photographers. I was struck by a sign carried by one of the thousands of marching protesters. It said, “A Future Without Cops Is … Continue reading May the march continue right through the November election
It's as hard to imagine Baltimore without The Sun as a day without daylight. The newspaper’s motto, after all, is “Light For All,” an elegant and egalitarian expression of the desire to keep Baltimoreans and Marylanders as informed as good citizenship requires. Arunah Abell, the top-hatted founder of The Sun in 1837 (at center in … Continue reading Toward a brighter Sun
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
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
I didn't think about it at the time I interviewed her, but Downing Kay lived long enough to have survived the pandemic of 1918-1920 and to have seen the arrival of another. I didn't put that together until news arrived Friday night of Mrs. Kay's death at 112, and it would not have occurred to … Continue reading Unforgettable: Downing Kay passes on at 112
Jack Kramer, my college roommate and co-editor of the University of Bridgeport student newspaper way back when, has died at the age of 65, and I didn’t get to say goodbye, and that’s what you get for not staying in better touch. Except . . . I had been in touch as recently as April. … Continue reading Jack Kramer’s Gift: A farewell letter that champions local news
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.
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 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?
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
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
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
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
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
Ever go up there? Ever go up past the bend in the river, up past the section you’ve fished many times before? You almost always catch fish within 200 yards of the parking lot, so why bother? Why go up there? No one else ever does. There are probably no trails; you'll get caught in … Continue reading On the river: Why go up there?
I don't usually pull columns from the old days, but this is the one I wrote on 9/11/2001 for the Baltimore Sun print edition of 9/12/2001, and it came to mind as the coronavirus pandemic became very real here in Maryland across the United States. I wrote the column at my desk in the Sun … Continue reading Remember that 9/11 feeling? Feeling something like that again?
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
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
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
It's official: Whatever light leash was on Trump is gone. The “grownups in the room,” the generals, John McCain and the Republicans McCain might have pushed toward the last line of moderation and bipartisanship in the Senate -- all gone. On Friday, Trump started a purge of witnesses who testified in the House impeachment hearings: … Continue reading Trump Unleashed