April 2023

Like lots of alert readers (ARs) I’m preparing to send a check to the Internal Revenue Service on or before April 18th. And, perhaps like some ARs, I often wonder what happens to the trillions of dollars we collectively send to the federal government every year. We have been told, for example, that none of the $1.2 trillion that was pumped into the economy under The Inflation Reduction Act came from individual taxpayers.

March 2023

Like me, most alert readers (ARs) have probably heard of ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence (AI) tool that some college students are using to write papers. Before any ARs even ask the question, I want to say for the record that every word in every column I’ve ever written has been my own. I’ve never used ChatGPT for anything and have no intention of doing so. As long as we’re on the subject, I should add that, unlike the 19-year old grandmaster Hans Niemann, I have never used AI to cheat at chess nor been accused of doing so. I have also never sought romance or friendship through Replika or any other AI chatbot mobile app.

February 2023

It’s hard to believe that it was just a year ago that the horrors in Ukraine began to unfold.  As may be the case with many alert readers (ARs), my initial shock and disbelief have gradually  turned to numbness.  It’s almost as if I’ve become inured to the barbarism that now seems sickeningly mundane.  I can’t help but be reminded of  Hannah Arendt’s memorable phrase “the banality of evil” in writing about The Third Reich.  It’s in this context that I want to share part of the Christmas message  my wife and I sent out two months ago.

January 2023

In early 2022 the eyes of the sports world were on the Winter Olympics in China. At the end of the year they had turned to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Both of these events were quadrennial spectacles featuring the best athletes in the world in their respective sports. In addition to TV audiences consisting of billions of viewers around the globe, the Winter Olympics and FIFA World Cup had something else in common: the appalling human rights abuses committed by the two host nations.

December 2022

On November 13, 1789 Benjamin Franklin famously wrote, “Our new Constitution is now established, everything seems to promise it will be durable; but, in this world nothing is certain except death and taxes.”  Two and one third centuries later this statement is as true as when it was first written.

November 2022

One of the perks of office that King Charles III is now able to enjoy is celebrating his birthday twice a year. As some alert readers (ARs) may recall, his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, who was born on April 21, 1926, traditionally celebrated her official state birthday on the second Saturday in June, when the weather was better. Considering that Charles was born on November 14, 1948, a time of year when English weather can also be inclement, he will undoubtedly want to continue the tradition observed by his mother. Some ARs may also know that Charles has selected May 6, the birthday of his grandson Archie, as the date of his coronation, meaning he will have been officially crowned by the time he celebrates his official birthday.

October 2022

One of the byproducts of the COVID pandemic has been a phenomenon known as The Great Resignation. For a variety of reasons tens of millions of workers have left their jobs and declined to seek other employment. In my humble opinion the greatest resignation of all was that of Britain’s Prince Harry. As some alert readers (ARs) will recall, Harry and his wife Meghan Markle famously announced that they were “stepping down” from their work as members of the royal family. The first question some ARs might be inclined to ask is, what exactly is the “work” from which these overworked royals are stepping down?

September 2022

Some alert readers (ARs) may recall that I have on two previous occasions written in this space about the Golden Lane of supporters of women’s suffrage who lined Locust Street during the 1916 Democratic Convention in St. Louis. What I did not realize when I wrote either of these columns was that something else of historic importance happened on Locust Street three years later. From May 8-10, 1919 The St. Louis Caucus of The American Legion was held at The Shubert Theatre on the corner of Locust and what is now Tucker Boulevard. It was at this site, generally viewed as the birthplace of The American Legion in America, where the organization’s constitution and preamble were drafted and formally adopted.