Channel 6 in Lawrence, Kansas airs its last newscast tonight. Once upon a time, I had the privilege of trying to become a TV reporter while still writing for print; I spent my 30th birthday ad-libbing crazy stuff on live TV because the city commission election results were very, very, very late coming in. And some of you may remember the time I went to Columbia MO dressed in KU gear to get on-camera reaction in advance of a "Border War" basketball game.
You hear me say journalism will never love you. It won't. I thought at the time we were building something new, something that might survive the then-nascent turmoil of the business. Wrong. So many things I've tried to build during my career have disappeared. Poof. And I cannot lie: That hurts. A lot. My ego wants a legacy, and it's hard to leave a legacy in institutions that no longer exist.
But what would I have done differently?
Truth is, I enjoyed the hell out of being a jackass on Channel 6. I loved being a blog…
The culture wars are all Trump has left:
Trump can't pass a health-care bill (at least so far). Getting a tax cut looks like it might be tricky. The wall he promised looks no closer to reality than it did six months ago. There are real questions these days about whether Republicans are capable of governance.
In that climate, all Trump and the Republicans will have left are identity politics and the culture wars. It's why Trump — after promising to be a president who would protect LGBTQ rights — came out against them. It's why he spent a Tuesday night speech describing the crimes of illegal immigrants in torture-porn detail.
And it's the reason conservatives are cheering the prospect of Kid Rock making a Senate run against Stabenow; policy, these days, matters to them much less than all the "real America" virtue signalling that the entertainer provides. For Trump Republicans, that posturing is all that seems to really matter.
For 20 years or more, I've been used to thinking of Jerry Moran as the "good cop" in a state full of bad cops. Some of that's personal: He's got a background among Kansas Mennonites, like I do, and I was predisposed to the tribe, I guess. When I'd encountered him in a professional setting, he was far more congenial than, say, Pat Roberts, whose good humor leaves a sour aftertaste.
But after his vote today to proceed on a Senate healthcare bill that doesn't exist, I must finally concede: He is a congenial coward. The Hamlet act he pulls is a way of luring moderates and the occasional liberal (guilty!) to his side even as he votes conservative when push comes to shove.
This is possibly purely a fault of my own interpretation: Moran has never claimed to be anything but conservative. But his unwillingness to commit until very late on controversial issues — the characteristic that defines his political career — fooled me into thinking maybe it was possible to p…
I've got a story to tell, one that's out there on the public record, but one that hasn't been much remarked upon.
It takes place during the Obama-Romney campaign of 2012. During the campaign, Mitt Romney was proving reluctant — as Donald Trump was, after him — to release some pertinent personal financial information. So Sen. Harry Reid, then the leader of Democrats in the Senate, decided to make a big deal about it.
Saying he had “no problem with somebody being really, really wealthy,” Reid sat up in his chair a bit before stirring the pot further. A month or so ago, he said, a person who had invested with Bain Capital called his office.
“Harry, he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years,” Reid recounted the person as saying.
“He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain,” said Reid. “But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?I wrote at the time that "Reid’s allegations look and smell a lot like bullcr…
Three thoughts about “Spider-Man: Homecoming” just as soon as I learn that with great power comes great blah-blah. (Also: Spoilers.)
• There’s really not much interesting to say about most Marvel movies anymore. They’re big, they’re expensive, they’re usually reasonably entertaining for a couple of hours and that’s it. I’ve been partial to the “Captain America” movies — the first because it took place in a different era and thus felt substantially different from the rest of the MCU — and the second because it so effectively echoed 1970s paranoid thrillers, right down to the Robert Redford. I’m not sure that the new “Spider-Man” movie is all that different, but it has two scenes going for it that I want to linger on. Again: Spoilers! • The first scene: When Peter Parker shows up at his date’s house to take her to homecoming. The door opens and what do we realize: The dad of Peter’s crush is also the movie’s villain — Michael Keaton, playing the Vulture. The next few minutes are both some…