History Lesson
A Jew’s Guide to New Year’s Eve

As everyone knows, the evening of December 31 is New Year’s Eve. But why is December 31 New Year’s Eve? And why is the next year the number 2020?

photo by ccarlstead via Wikimedia Commons
The Spice of Life
In a Pickle with a Peck of Pickled Peppers

What do elocution, spices, Shakespeare, baseball, and Social Security reform have in common?

(Wikimedia Commons)
Singapore the Improbable Part III
The Coolidge Proposition

Calvin Coolidge once said, “The business of America is business.” The same is true of Singapore, perhaps even more so than America.

Ramir Borja, via Wikimedia Commons
Singapore the Improbable Part II
The Puzzle of Singapore

Capitalist para-democracy with Chinese characteristics? Non-socialist social corporatism? Illiberal-democratic liberalism? The characteristics that make Singapore improbable are themselves an improbable combination of characteristics.

No Defense At All
Impeachable Offenses Are Not Necessarily Crimes

Two things are true: Trump’s defenders are disingenuous when they talk about criminality when arguing against impeachment. And our society’s sense of what is properly criminal has been severely degraded in recent times.

(Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)
Missing the Point
Ukrainegate and Political Decay

From Mick Mulvaney to the mainstream media, just about everyone has failed to grasp the full meaning of the infamous Trump-Zelensky conversation.

(Wikimedia Commons)
Singapore the Improbable Part I
A Primer for Innocents at Home and Abroad

Singapore does not contain the same multitudes as does Walt Whitman’s America; it contains multitudes of its own, and they are remarkably capacious for such a small place whose modern history does not antedate America.

American Ideals and Interests
Is Pompeo’s Rights Commission More or Less Than Meets the Eye?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s Commission on Unalienable Rights isn’t about rolling back abortion and same-sex marriage, as some critics contend. It’s about resisting the modern trend of conflating civil rights with human rights in the service of parochial political claims.

Victor Gillam, “The Immigrant” (1903) via Wikimedia Commons
Skills-Based Immigration
Good Idea, Bad Reasons, Worse Context

On the merits, Trump’s push for skills-based immigration is sound policy. But he may end up discrediting it with his own bigotry.

Bill Witt, “Greeting at $2.00 Shoes, Lower East Side, New York City,” Art Institute of Chicago
All Politics Is Local
The Elite Blind Spots on Immigration

Immigration is a lot more complex than the simple morality-play version we typically get from the media. If you want to understand why, try talking to your neighbors.

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