Author: John Foster
John Foster is a librarian, writer, and musician based in Cleveland, Ohio. When not writing or attending shows, he can usually be found cursing at his television during Arsenal matches.

There was a time in the long, long ago when the politics of eastern Washington were moderate and relatively civilised. People there tended to be more conservative than they were in Seattle, but that was a pretty low bar. In any case, it was generally the case that politicians from either party could get a reasonable hearing. (More…)

Long ago, while earning a library science degree, I worked as a manuscripts processing archivist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. I handled letters and materials from the 17th century up through modern times. (More…)

In Walla Walla, Washington during the early 1980s I could count the punks on the fingers of one hand. We felt like we had it pretty tough. There was the ever-present possibility that some random person would decide they wanted a piece of you. (More…)

It is now more than 30 years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, bringing at least a nominal close to one of the most brutal and intractable conflicts in European history. The major paramilitary organizations decommissioned their stockpiles of weapons, the savage tit-for-tat rhythm of atrocity and reprisal ended. People in England, the Republic, and Northern Ireland moved on. Except for those who didn’t. (More…)

Teeth have been gnashed and garments rent across the liberal world ever since the release of the special counsel’s report. For more than a year, American liberals had been living in hope and expectation that Robert Mueller would deliver unto them a magic bullet, a neatly packaged means of removing the stain on the national escutcheon that Mr. Trump represented. (More…)

News broke late Friday that Robert Mueller had finally delivered his report on the investigation into Donald Trump’s electoral campaign. No one but the report’s authors and the Attorney General’s office knows what’s in it, but ignorance never stopped an American from sounding knowledgeable. (More…)

The House of Representatives, it was announced on Thursday evening, passed a resolution condemning “all forms of hatred.” On its face, there is much to recommend this. Who, after all, is not against hate? (More…)

The scheduling of a meeting of the Visegrád 4 (Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia) in Jerusalem at the end of January was a seen as a moment worthy of remark even at the time. As Israeli media noted, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu had originally offered to host a meeting of the V4 in 2017, and this was the first time that the group would meet outside of Europe. (More…)

The signs that the wheels are coming off the empire are all around and, contrary to what you may have read, Marie Kondo’s lack of English has nothing to do with it. (More…)

Could there be a more fundamentally depressing thought than that the Democratic Party might somehow contrive to run Joe Biden for president in 2020? Yet, even in the season of change that has seen an unprecedented number of women (and women of colour) elected to Congress, it remains the case that the indefatigable Mr Biden is a leading contender. (More…)

A lifetime ago, I wrote a paper on the semantics of threatening for a course I took at the small liberal arts college where I was an undergrad. I don’t remember what my line of argument was. I do remember being complimented by the professor for my thoroughness. I am sure, however, that it was only later that I grasped a fundamental fact about my topic: the need to utter a threat is inversely related to its power. (More…)

A large number of chickens have been coming home to roost lately. Most prominent among them are those associated with Mr. Trump’s much vaunted negotiating skills. But across the political spectrum, the consequences of the decisions made by past selves are emerging to shape the present. (More…)