On election night 2016, Mark Schlissel, the University of Michigan's president, addressed more than 1,000 students, declaring that the 90 percent of them who had favored the losing candidate had rejected "hate." He thereby effectively made those who disagreed with him and with the campus majority eligible to be targets of the university's "bias response teams." That his announced contempt for them made him a suitable target of the thought police is a thought that presumably occurred to no one, least of all him.
The path to today's problems with Iran passed through the University of Chicago squash court where on Dec. 2, 1942, for 4.5 minutes physicist Enrico Fermi, making calculations on a slide rule, achieved the controlled release of energy from an atomic nucleus. Historian Richard Rhodes says that Fermi and his colleagues were risking "a small Chernobyl in the midst of a crowded city."
From Scotland, where Adam Smith pioneered systematic thinking about economics, comes an adjective, "carnaptious," that fits people who are allergic to economic euphoria. It means cantankerous. Let's think carnaptiously about this fact: The interest rate on 10-year Treasury bonds recently rose briefly to 3 percent, and soon may move above this. This is more than evidence of the economy's strength. It also is a harbinger of a coming day when the great driver of the national debt will be ... the national debt. Pour a Scotch and read on.
Trey Gowdy's emotions sometimes bubble disconcertingly close to the surface, but unlike many members of the political class, he is not all surface. At a breakfast four years ago, the South Carolina Republican had tears in his eyes as he explained when he would leave Congress: after Tim Scott, a Republican congressman who had been appointed to the Senate in 2013 when Jim DeMint resigned, had been elected in his own right. This, Gowdy said at that breakfast, would close the circle of his state's history.
Because John Bolton is five things President Trump is not -- intelligent, educated, principled, articulate and experienced -- and because of Bolton's West Wing proximity to a president responsive to the most recent thought he has heard emanating from cable television or an employee, Bolton will soon be the second-most dangerous American. On April 9, he will be the first national security adviser who, upon taking up residence down the hall from the Oval Office, will be suggesting that the United States should seriously consider embarking on war crimes.
Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District, which ripples over the steep hills of this Pittsburgh suburb and stretches south to the West Virginia border, has not had a competitive congressional election since 2006. The fact that it will have one on March 13 makes this the most important 2018 voting before Nov. 6.
Overturning mistaken decisions is an occasional duty of the Supreme Court, whose noblest achievement was the protracted, piecemeal repudiation, with Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and subsequent decisions, of its 1896 ruling that segregated "separate but equal" public facilities were constitutional. This Monday, the court will hear oral arguments that probably will presage another overdue correction.
To get there you follow Highway 58, going northeast out of the city, and it is a good highway and new."
-- Robert Penn Warren, "All the King's Men" (1946)
Even if, inexplicably, you occasionally think about things other than major league baseball, consider this: Why are many premier free agents, particularly sluggers and starting pitchers, unsigned even while we are hearing the loveliest four words, "Pitchers and catchers report"? The Major League Baseball Players Association angrily says some teams are more interested in economizing than in winning. The real explanation is that teams are intelligently aligning their behavior with changing information.
When next you shoehorn yourself into one of America's ever-shrinking airline seats, you might encounter a new wrinkle in the romance of air travel. You might be amused, or not, to discover a midsize -- say, 7-feet long -- boa constrictor named Oscar coiled contentedly, or so you hope, in the seat next to you. Oscar is an "emotional-support animal." He belongs to the person in the seat on the other side of him, and he is a manifestation of a new item, or the metastasizing of an old item, on America's menu of rights. Fortunately, the federal government is on the case, so you can relax and enjoy the flight.