Now that we’re a little more than a month into this period of unprecedented global pandemic sparking unprecedented economic collapse, we’re being forced to confront some tough questions about what went wrong and how we get out of this mess. Some folks have decided the answer, as always, is to latch onto the latest conspiracy theories, grab their assault rifles and call for a revolution. Step two in the process remains murky for these folks, but they’ll cross that bridge after they’ve blown it up. …


Nixon’s fatal error was recognizing the criminality of his own behavior and trying to hide it. Donald Trump won’t make the same mistake.

The impeachment investigations have sent Republicans scrambling for alibis and excuses to offer up on behalf of their utterly indefensible president and his nakedly corrupt behavior. “It’s all hearsay,” they began. Then, “There was no quid pro quo.” By the end of the public hearings, Will Heard, the GOP’s most reasonable man, had fallen back to the final trench line. It was bad behavior, he admitted, but the behavior was not so incredibly, horribly, bad and the evidence was not so incredibly, horribly obvious that we should actually do anything about it.

But Donald Trump, the Criminal in Chief, was…


During the last presidential campaign, back when I fervently believed that there was no way the voters of the United States could possibly put such a man in the White House, I wondered just how best to define the essence of Donald J. Trump. Trying to pin down the man’s faults is a bit like stepping into one of those wind machines that blows money all around you. …


If you’re a woman and you decide that you will not have an abortion six weeks after conception or later, that’s your right. If you’re not in that position but want to express the opinion that it would be wrong for a woman to have an abortion after six weeks, you’re free to say so. But if you’re making either of those choices because you’ve heard that a fetus has a beating heart at six weeks, you might want to rethink your position.

Six weeks after conception, a fetus does not have a heart or a heartbeat. In fact, six…


Clarence Thomas and Actual Malice

In the news: Clarence Thomas wants to reverse Times v Sullivan. (So does Donald Trump, at least as long as he’s President.)

I always loved teaching students about Actual Malice, because I think it’s one of the SCOTUS decisions that make ours such a great country.

In a nutshell: During the Civil Rights Movement, the Times ran an ad rallying support for the cause that described oppressive behavior on the part of law enforcement against Martin Luther King and other protesters. Some of the accounts were inaccurate, but the gist of the story was spot…


If you don’t think you know anyone who’s a victim of sexual assault, you’re almost certainly wrong. If you don’t think you know anyone who’s been subjected to sexual harassment in a workplace or at school, you’re kidding yourself.

There’s tons of data out there that indicate about one in five American women has experienced some form of sexual assault. For women who’ve spent time on college campuses, the incidence is higher, and for women who’ve been on campuses that have fraternities, the number is higher still. You might not have heard these accounts from women — and possibly men…


There’s a pretty common series of steps in intellectual development most people go through as their brains develop and they complete formal education. Some people choose to jump off the train before they reach the end of the line, however, and for them, further education is an exercise in futility. Unfortunately, some of these people go on to become powerful anti-intellectual advocates and suggest stupid reforms to our educational systems.

Dennis Baxley of Florida’s state legislature is one of those people. Baxley wants to allow local school boards to deviate from the state’s curriculum so they can teach kids that…


The day after Christmas, we learned that a second Guatemalan child had died in U.S. Customs and Border Patrol custody. The boy was 8 years old.

My wife had to check once again to see if the kids she had met during a one-week stay at a Guatemalan orphanage more than six years ago were OK. You can’t get much news off the orphanage website, but every once in awhile, there’s a note about a child. There were two kids, in particular, that Dee had gotten close to. I’ve written before about Ana Maria; Juan Carlos was the second. He’d…


My wife delivered some shocking news to me last week. She was talking to a couple of friends about Christmas movies and learned that they had no recollection of ever having seen “Scrooge (1951 and/or 1970),” “The Bishop’s Wife (1947),” and — gasp! — they weren’t sure if they’d ever watched “It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)” all the way through.

Keep in mind, these friends are not Millennials who’ve grown up in an era when the Hallmark Channel runs 300 consecutive Christmas movies that all look and sound the same from Thanksgiving Day through Dec. 25. These friends of hers…


(Author’s note: I’ll add to this entry from time to time, as more terms gain essential status.)

Historians will no doubt emphasize the anti-educational emphasis of the Trump presidency, pointing out that he appointed the least qualified and most destructive Secretary of Education of all time. They will note, also, that Trump’s shocking electoral victory came thanks to overwhelming support among Whites who had, at most, a high school education. (“I love the poorly educated,” Trump crooned during the run-up to the election. )

But Trump has inadvertently helped educate many Americans over the past two years, simply by bringing…

Chet Ohlman

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