United States

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 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…)

Mr Trump brought his own brand of Christmas magic to US troops serving in Afghanistan this week. As is so often the case, there were complications. Before we address the particulars, we might well take the opportunity of the end of Mr Trump’s second year in office to take stock of his position. (More…)

Sunday, August 25th, 1968, Lincoln Park, Chicago. The Yippies had set up an event called The Festival of Life as part of the protest activities directed at the Democratic National Convention. They’d sent out invitations to a lot of heavy hitters (Janis Joplin, etc.) but the only band that showed up was the MC5. (More…)

On 11 December, the UK parliament will vote on the EU withdrawal treaty.  The May government is at imminent risk of collapse should parliament fail to ratify the Brexit treaty.  All of this matters in Arizona and every other US state. (More…)

Some of my best students are sex offenders.  These are the untouchable lepers of US prison systems.  (More…)

The furore over Mr. Trump’s recent visit to Europe has mostly dissipated now. His return to the United States has been accompanied by yet another round of angry and unbalanced tweets excoriating his enemies and wondering aloud for the umpteenth time why it was that the FBI hadn’t seen fit to carry off the DNC’s servers. (More…)

Donald Trump does not exist. This is not to say that there isn’t a guy with the initials DT sitting around the White House in a Trump Tower bathrobe live tweeting Fox and Friends. But Donald Trump the individual human being is trivial, merely the avatar of the spectacular complex bearing the designation “Donald Trump, successful businessman.” (More…)

It’s about ten blocks. Six west on Reynolds to Dallas; south a couple of blocks; then right on Wilkins, up a steeply bending street past Linden School and the Five Points Bakery to the top of the rise. At Shady and Wilkins the land crests; from here, Squirrel Hill declines past Negley and the old Wilkins School eventually into Oakland. This is my route to work when I ride my bicycle. Exactly 1.3 miles from my garage, at the top of Squirrel Hill, is the Tree of Life synagogue, the point at which my 8.4 mile commute goes from climb to coast. (More…)

US President Donald Trump is vowing to deliver an early Christmas present to the anti-immigration right: voiding the natural-born citizenship clause in the constitution.  (More…)

The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh for a seat on the highest court in the land is, in the current circumstances, roughly on par in terms of certainty with death and taxes. There is not that much to add at this point. It was a foregone conclusion as soon as Anthony Kennedy was convinced to retire. (More…)