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Is Personnel Policy?

In politics, there is an old saying: personnel is policy. What a president does is determined to a large extent by the people he hires. Consider the rumors that Donald Trump is considering appointing Mitt Romney as his Secretary of State. Trump’s stated foreign policy involves a much friendlier approach toward Russia. But he’s not […]

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Post-Mortem

Last week, I got knocked down by something that sure felt like the flu—or maybe it was just a really severe case of post-election depression. I don’t think that’s the case, though, because I was already pretty depressed before Election Day. At any rate, I’m sorry for not sending out much in the past week. […]

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Our New Reality TV President

One of the more intriguing facts to emerge from Tuesday’s vote is that Donald Trump won a greater share of black and Hispanic votes than Mitt Romney. Chew on that a little. A man widely denounced as a racist (and not totally without basis) who launched his campaign with disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants should […]

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Politics Without Principles

I have already given some suggestions for how to vote (or possibly why not to vote) in this rotten political year. I can’t say I have any really great alternatives to offer. Fortunately, it will all be over by tomorrow night and we can focus on what comes next and how to rebuild from the […]

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How to Vote When There’s Nobody to Vote For

How do you vote in an election when there is no lesser of two evils? We’re used to having to make a tough choice between candidates we don’t like. But what do we do in a year when there is no basis for making that decision? What about a year when it’s a choice between […]

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Are Humans Already “Augmented”?

A few years ago, I gave part of my answer to dystopian prognostications, borrowed from Hollywood, about the supposed danger of malevolent artificial intelligence taking over the world. The assumption is that we will keep increasing the power of our machines—and not want to use any of that power for ourselves. Yet the whole purpose […]

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All Over But the Shouting

It’s all over but the shouting, and judging from his reaction at the end of the third debate, Trump knows it. I’ll give some advice later about how to vote in a year when our votes probably won’t make much difference. Except that they will make a difference lower down: Hillary Clinton is now focusing […]

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Escape from Soviet Valley

I recently warned that the campaign against Palmer Luckey, one of the creators of the Oculus virtual reality headset, was an ominous sign that Silicon Valley is adopting a Soviet-style code of all-pervasive political conformity. The goal of the campaign against Luckey was to get his new boss, Mark Zuckerberg—Facebook bought out Oculus in 2014—to […]

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Choose Your Sexual Predator

Just when you think 2016 can’t get any worse, it does. The presidential election now boils down to asking Americans to choose which sexual predator they prefer. That’s the upshot of Sunday night’s debate. I suppose some policy issues were discussed, but nobody is talking about them and nobody really believes that the candidates (particularly […]

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Systemic, Institutionalized Brophobia

I wrote recently about the virulent new campus threat of “brophobia.” This is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek borrowing of the style and terminology of campus crusades against “homophobia,” but it serves to underscore the hypocrisy. The same people who plead for “tolerance” have adopted the practice of taking a large minority of the population—biological males who […]

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