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April 27, 2017 2:08 PM

Smart money?

You voted for Trump last fall, and this spring undocumented immigrants are rolling sod onto your vast suburban lawn. Did you lose the number for ICE? You donated to Trump, and the insurance business you run will not cover Florida coastal properties because they’re shrinking. Don’t you know it takes nerve to be great? You supported Trump and all things Republican, and your company is going solar despite government obstruction, because coal  makes less financial…

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April 27, 2017 2:07 PM

Trump Tax Ideas – Real Reform?

We finally have an outline of President Trump’s tax proposals, but not the gritty details.  From what we can glean so far, the president wants to lower rates for everyone, including corporation. He wants to enact a big increase in the standard deduction up to $24,000 for married couples, gutting personal deductions other than home mortgage interest and charitable contributions.  Personal tax rates would be reduced to three brackets – 10%, 25% & 35%.  Corporate…

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April 19, 2017 1:41 PM

The “Best People”

A recent article in the New York Times reflected upon Trump’s relationship with Steve Bannon (which appears to be unraveling). The article was one of many focusing on disarray in the White House and tensions between Bannon and the various others who have the President’s ear. But this paragraph caught my eye: In a way, to believe in Mr. Bannon’s genius is to adopt the president’s belief in a sort of vulgar technocracy — the…

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April 14, 2017 3:21 PM

Bye, bye, American guys

Trump voters are dying. Earlier and earlier. A groundbreaking Princeton  University study conducted over the past two years shows a dramatic rise in mortality rates among white American men of middle age, especially those of low education. How dramatic? In 1999, the mortality rate of middle-aged white Americans without a college degree was 30 percent lower than that of all black Americans. Now, it’s 30 percent higher, said researcher Anne Case. The reasons? Principally, drug…

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April 9, 2017 12:49 PM

Kurt Vonnegut and ‘original virtue’

So it goes. April 11 marks the 10th anniversary of Kurt Vonnegut’s death. He and I were friends – actually, “pals” was the term he used – during the last years of his life. Whenever I traveled to New York, generally four or five times a year, we would get together to swap stories and talk about life over Italian food (for lunch) or French cuisine (for dinner) at two of his favorite haunts in…

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March 26, 2017 2:32 PM

Mr. President – Do You Really Think Tax Reform Will Be Easier?

President Trump seems to be saying that the Republican health care idea didn’t work out so well, so let’s do something easier, like tax reform.  Our nation’s chief executive is likely to find an even riskier political mine field taking on taxes. First, let’s clarify that tax cuts and tax reform are two very different things.  Tax cuts can be part of tax reform, but just cutting taxes is not reform. If all Trump wants…

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March 13, 2017 9:42 AM

Our long national Knightmare

Once upon a time, Bob Knight was a hero of mine. When I was in high school in the mid-1970s, my friends and I planned large swathes of our lives around Indiana University basketball. When star Scott May, who apparently dated a girl from our high school for a time, was injured in 1975 and the Hoosiers failed to win the national title, we grieved. The next year, when IU went undefeated and claimed the…

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March 9, 2017 5:34 PM

Sticks and stones, softly

I hope I’ll never utter sexist slurs against Kellyanne Conway or send death threats to Indiana Congressman Luke Messer, and I won’t bother to take up the free-speech sword on behalf of those who do. At the same time, though,  I don’t much feel much like joining the chorus of mainstream folks, liberal and conservative, who’ve themselves embraced the right-wing umbrage over these latest episodes of nastiness toward men and women in power who wield…

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March 7, 2017 5:48 PM

Taking the Temperature on Capitol Hill

After spending a few days in Washington, there was one word spoken often by Congressional staffers – uncertainty.  No one knows how the big issues will handled by this President and this Congress. Tax reform is something nearly all elected officials say they want.  So, you would think passage of a new tax overhaul will happen this year? It’s unlikely, for one big reason.  Although there is a consensus tax reform is needed, there is…

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February 26, 2017 3:31 PM

Media Needs To Wise Up

The recent flare-up between the White House Press Office and reporters covering the president is more than just a conflict between the media and the Trump Administration.  It is an opportunity for the media to start covering the Trump White House in a smarter way.  However, I am not optimistic. Why did Press Secretary Sean Spicer exclude certain news organizations, seen by the White House as unfriendly to the president, from a “gaggle?” (a gaggle…

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