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harassment, sexual, assault, public, private, training, Al Franken, John Conyers

New Standards?

“This is a country trying to establish, and certainly a U.S. Senate trying to establish new standards for acceptable behavior,” Peggy Noonan told her fellow panelists on Meet the Press yesterday. She is at least half mistaken. Groping a woman who is stuck posing for a photo with you at






Illinois, Supreme Court, term limits, initiative, democracy, gerrymandering

Illinois’s Chicken-and-Fish Supreme Court

A constitution is the law of the land only to the extent that it’s enforced. And in Illinois, the right of citizen initiative — provided for in the state constitution — is not enforced. The constitution’s wording is explicit: “Amendments . . . may be proposed by a petition signed






The Onion, satire, humor, CFPB, bureaucracy

Peel Back the Onion

Yesterday, an Onion title caught my attention: “Hooded Members of Congress Drown Another Love Child in the Potomac to Prevent Affair from Getting Out.” This is not funny because it is true, but because it is so close to the truth. Too close for comfort. A similar story, the day






cfpb, Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, director, Richard Cordray, Mick Mulvaney, deep state, administrative state, bureaucracy

Invulnerable Government

As of this week, there are two heads of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Two claimants to the throne, so to speak. The bureau’s previous director, Richard Cordray, resigned last week, and as he left he appointed a deputy director, Leandra English. Ms. English sent out a nice Thanksgiving email,






term limits, sexual abuse, sexism, accountability, settlements, taxpayer, hush money

Power Abuse

At the core of sexual harassment and misconduct is an unchecked power dynamic permitting the abuse. No surprise, then, that our unaccountable Congress is rife with it.  What to do? Our sicko congressmen must immediately stop using taxpayer funds to provide “hush” money to keep their victims from telling their stories,






George Orwell, Kaya Henderson, Washington D.C., equal, Animal Farm, favors, corruption, crony, cronyism, politicians,

More-Equal-Ness

“All animals are equal,” wrote George Orwell, “but some animals are more equal than others.” That was the regime’s final slogan in Orwell’s allegorical novella, Animal Farm . . . and it currently serves as the operating principle for local government. Well, at least in Washington, D.C., our country’s pig trough. Washington Post






special prosecutor, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Russia, corruption, Trump, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates

Stranger Counsels

The office of special counsel, like that of the special prosecutor in days (and administrations) of yore, is a strange one. Not mentioned in the Constitution, it is institutionally slippery. An executive branch position designed to investigate the executive branch — there is no way it cannot be . .






Democratic Party, gubernatorial nominee, governor, Frank Northam, Lt. Governor, Justin Fairfax, racism, politicians

Omission of Character

One downside to jumping to the wrong conclusion is that the failure to even look for the correct, accurate conclusion inevitably follows.  This sleepy odd-year campaign for governor of Virginia has recently been riled by charges of racism. Democratic Party gubernatorial nominee Frank Northam made the “mistake” of “omitting” the






Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Thad Cochran, term limits, age, retirement, politics, placeholder

Frail and Disoriented

Senator Thad Cochran sure is experienced: eight years in the House of Representatives followed by 36 years in the upper chamber. So who better to chair the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee? Rephrase that: who wouldn’t be better? “The 79-year-old Cochran appeared frail and at times disoriented during a brief hallway






Truth in Accounting, TIA, Financial State of the States, Sheila Weinberg, initiative, democracy

Initiative Surplus?

Only nine out of 50 states can pay their bills and meet their obligations; 41 cannot, barring major tax increases or spending cuts. That’s what we learn in last month’s “Financial State of the States” report from Truth in Accounting (TIA). Alaska is in the best shape, “with $11 billion






Seattle, City Light, corruption, security, police, scandal, cronyism

Interfering With a Sweet Racket?

One way for governments and enterprises to save money is to contract out some or all of their services. Towns, cities, counties, states — even the federal government — engage in such practices all the time. It is really just outsourcing, as business lingo dubs it.* But, like any system






great fiction, government, citizen, initiative, term limits, Paul Jacob

The Great Faction

Politics isn’t a pretty business. Frédéric Bastiat called the beast it serves “that great fiction” not because it doesn’t exist — intrusive state power sure persists — but rather because what it promises cannot really happen: “everyone living at the expense of everyone else.” What can we do? How do






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