Stephen Harper returns, and he has plenty to say

The former Conservative prime minister has advice for us on Trump, economics, immigration and more

Stephen Harper returns, and he has plenty to sayStephen Harper is back. After flying under the radar for the last three years, Canada’s former prime minister has returned to the arena, albeit not as an active politician. Instead, he’s a commentator with several messages to impart, all of which are packaged in his new book Right Here Right Now. Not everyone is impressed.…

The man who shot Billy the Kid

Pat Garrett has been maligned for killing his "friend" in a "cowardly" way. Neither indictment is persuasive

The man who shot Billy the KidTo the extent he’s remembered at all, Pat Garrett (1850-1908) is known as the man who shot Billy the Kid. Reputation-wise, it’s been a mixed blessing. Although the shooting happened in Garrett’s capacity as a sheriff hunting down a convicted murderer, the fictionalizing of the Old West and the power of Hollywood storytelling often cast…

Fear and loathing in the realm of Donald Trump

In the Trump world, money is the key metric and the truth is relative. Can the midterm elections change anything?

Fear and loathing in the realm of Donald TrumpNow that I’ve read A Higher Loyalty (James Comey, 2018), War on Peace (Ronan Farrow, 2018), Fire and Fury (Michael Wolff, 2018) and Fear (Bob Woodward, 2018), I feel like I really know the ultimate protagonist. The portrayals of U.S. President Donald Trump are remarkably consistent. He is: vain, compulsively in-the-moment, intellectually lazy, a misogynist…

Hubert Humphrey’s futile dash for Presidential power

Humphrey tried and tried again but, ambition notwithstanding, he was never meant for the job

Hubert Humphrey’s futile dash for Presidential powerOn Sept. 30, 1968, an American vice-president made a dash for political independence. Speaking in Salt Lake City, Hubert Humphrey began the process of trying to separate his floundering presidential campaign from the spectre of his boss, President Lyndon Johnson. Humphrey’s initiative was to call for a change in America’s prosecution of the Vietnam War.…

Compassion is at the heart of the best of humanity

Those who show the greatest compassion are among the most powerful and influential, because they’re driving change

Compassion is at the heart of the best of humanityThe Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines compassion as “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with the desire to alleviate it.” What we rarely consider, however, is that compassion is a tremendous source of strength. The people who have shown the greatest compassion in our world are among the most powerful and influential. The Book of Joy is…

Was the 2008 financial crisis exacerbated by official misjudgment?

Countries as disparate as Ireland, Iceland and Greece showed that misplaced financial exuberance has many pedigrees

Was the 2008 financial crisis exacerbated by official misjudgment?We were on a train from London to Edinburgh when the financial crisis erupted in September 2008. The newspaper headlines were downright lurid and the detailed stories provided little comfort. A financial catastrophe was about to descend on all of us. As relatively recent retirees, we felt particularly vulnerable. There’d be no time or opportunity…

Is a run for the presidency in Ronan Farrow’s future?

The author of War on Peace demonstrates the kind of qualities that suggest a political career in the making

Is a run for the presidency in Ronan Farrow’s future?War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence (2018) by Ronan Farrow is a prescient work in the sense that it was five years in the writing, predating the diplomatic idiocy of U.S. President Donald Trump by a good three years. Its opening chapters detail the initial steps to weaponize the…

France’s phone hang-up is a conversation starter

Smartphones have undermined everyday social interactions by eroding our ability and desire to talk to one another

France’s phone hang-up is a conversation starterFrench legislators recently passed a law banning children between three and 15 from using smartphones in class. The government of President Emmanuel Macron said the move will help combat an epidemic of screen addiction among France’s children. At first glance, it looks as if the legislation will help to curb screen addiction. Even if it…

The tangled tragedy of Mary, Queen of Scots

Over the past four-plus centuries, Mary’s reputation has waxed and waned. A movie due out this year should put a positive spin on it

The tangled tragedy of Mary, Queen of ScotsThis Christmas, cinema patrons will be offered the historical drama Mary, Queen of Scots. With Saoirse Ronan in the title role and Margot Robbie as Elizabeth I of England, the movie casts two of today’s prominent actresses in a retelling of the 16th century’s most compelling personal rivalry. As the movie is based on John…