William Murchison from Creators Syndicate https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Tue, 14 Jul 2020 16:12:29 -0700 https://www.creators.com/ http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss William Murchison from Creators Syndicate https://cdn.creators.com/features/william-murchison-thumb.jpg https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison 14b3aca497d396cc90401ecc40d29c5b The Look of Things, Headed Toward November for 07/14/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/07/20/the-look-of-things-headed-toward-november Tue, 14 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>A man of the mass entertainment world, President Donald Trump, would be familiar with vaudeville, where audiences that tired of a particular performer would cry with a single voice, "Get the hook!" Out from the wings would emerge a long pole with hook on the end, perfect for emptying the stage.</p> <p>Recent polls are seen as suggesting hook time may have come for a president whose audience already is deriding him with nostrils clamped between thumb and forefinger. The polls show Trump fading fast among independents, especially independent suburban women. One major reason in this virus season: the president's incapacity for steady, empathetic leadership, as contrasted with his solipsistic delight in tweeting. <p>Updated: Tue Jul 14, 2020</p> 157a46390b2b273e5c6b681ba40b9937 Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie for 07/07/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/07/20/bye-bye-miss-american-pie Tue, 07 Jul 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Help me with a provocative question. I've pondered; I've thought; I give up. </p> <p>The question: Why don't the Chinese Communists seize the present golden opportunity and land 5,000 or 10,000 members of the People's Liberation Army in San Francisco or, better yet, Seattle, where the police have been replaced, apparently, by the homeless and the graffiti artists and the drug purveyors running, until recently, the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone? If you call it "running." <p>Updated: Tue Jul 07, 2020</p> 170c50c29f032eadeb2c4d3e9caab54e How Loose the Foundations for 06/30/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/06/20/how-loose-the-foundations Tue, 30 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The U.S. Supreme Court weighed in Monday with another example of its divided wisdom on abortion, refusing by a single vote to uphold a Louisiana law seen as making access to abortion unconstitutionally difficult.</p> <p>Unconstitutionally difficult? What about less likely to result in another medical blockade of a developing life on the outskirts of developed life? The court split 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the progressives in their preference for levelling barriers to "reproductive choice." Louisiana had enacted a requirement in 2014 that abortion doctors obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The court's 1-vote majority said this wouldn't do. The law erected an obstacle to abortion. This wouldn't do. Roe v. Wade, way back before half of today's Americans had drawn breath, turned abortion into a constitutional right wherewith no government entity could interfere. So it remains.</p> <p>In our famously ambiguous times, Americans can no more figure out what they want to do about abortion than they can get their arms around the problem of "systemic" racism. Whatever "systemic" means. Not to mention "racism." <p>Updated: Tue Jun 30, 2020</p> ce09af138d4ec95575355f795d649cf0 Systemic Ignorance for 06/23/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/06/20/systemic-ignorance Tue, 23 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"Systemic racism"? I wouldn't call that America's present problem. "Systemic ignorance" comes a lot closer to it &#8212; a wonderful and telling phrase coined by an attorney friend of mine.</p> <p>If you don't know much of anything, what right have you to instruct those who do know? Every right, it would presently seem. In acknowledgement of which right &#8212; oh, boy! &#8212; you commission instructive pieces of testimony like the San Francisco overthrow of a statue representing &#8212; are you ready? &#8212; former President and Gen. Ulysses Simpson Grant. U.S. Grant! Grant, who accepted, at Appomattox courthouse in 1865, the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia on the initiative of its commander, Robert E. Lee! Thus writing "finis" to the Civil War/War Between the States. </p> <p>I have read that the rap on Grant, from the standpoint of the San Francisco mob, was that for a year, he personally owned one slave &#8212; <i>one</i> &#8212; who he freed a couple of years before the war.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 23, 2020</p> ca05bf905bc49733792bb7d26203872a Breaking Out the Winchesters for 06/16/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/06/20/breaking-out-the-winchesters Tue, 16 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The apparently unstoppable nuttiness of the present moment has more faces and features than a Summit supercomputer could keep up with. Here, possibly, is the most incredible of those features: the call to "defund" the cops. Whatever "defund" may mean. </p> <p>That nobody can explain the meaning of "defunding," or the need for it, shows the rushed and improvised quality of policy &#8212; er &#8212; "thinking" in a world currently run by those whose pusillanimous elders, back in the late '60s, routinely labeled them "the brightest generation in history." If they ever were that bright, I believe it's time we changed the bulb. Defunding law enforcement is the dimmest notion on public display.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 16, 2020</p> c43e56aee449d172282dbbaba35c5823 Shut Up, They Explained! for 06/09/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/06/20/shut-up-they-explained Tue, 09 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>I know, I know; don't remind me. People of the political right go on and on these days about speech censorship by people of the political left. </p> <p>I grieve to say the case they present grows more and more immediate, the danger they point to more and more real.</p> <p>The danger may abate. I would not take that for granted. Attitudes on the political left are hardening &#8212; as at The New York Times, our second most prestigious newspaper after The Wall Street Journal.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 09, 2020</p> 61a9b94fdcd5a93ddb16c21f7066ea14 Back to the Mayflower for 06/02/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/06/20/back-to-the-mayflower Tue, 02 Jun 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>An overlooked irony of these terrible, horrible, awful, no good, very bad times (as the great children's author Judith Viorst would have described them) is the 5-4 Supreme Court decision last week upholding California's restrictions on church attendance, the whole matter playing out on the sterile card table of constitutional law.</p> <p>Constitutional law?! Horsefeathers. Hooey. The present situation is only by recent habit a matter for the perusal of courts and learned justices. We're in a moral mess, and to sort it out, we need the help not of lawyers but of angels, archangels and all the company of heaven &#8212; in the ancient liturgy's words. </p> <p>California should not be restricting religious witness. It should be flinging wide the portals of all its religious places so that Californians, in the company of the rest of their fellow Americans, may commence relearning the various precepts and understandings that animate the good life and restrain the bad.<p>Updated: Tue Jun 02, 2020</p> c58cd3c30f50dd3538acf4906ab16cc0 The People Speak for 05/26/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/05/20/the-people-speak Tue, 26 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"We the people" is the phrase that comes trippingly to mind.</p> <p>We the people, over Memorial Day weekend, initiated an urgent referendum on the means and methods of battling the novel coronavirus. Early returns pour in even as we speak. We the people of the United States, after a couple of months in a state resembling genteel captivity, seem increasingly ready to rock 'n' roll. The markets are up sharply. The Wall Street Journal reports on the pending return of sports. Polls show respondents feeling, if not dramatically better about the state of things in general, marginally better. Marginally better ain't bad these days, wouldn't you agree? </p> <p>I would not have the reader confuse this news with a cry of exultation. Blessed, or whatever, with the same chronology and cultural memories as Joe Biden and Tony Fauci, I mean to go sheltering more or less in place. But I am not trying to decide the question of when-are-we-going-to-beat-COVID-19? I'm suggesting the people themselves are going to decide that in their own good time, and in their own way, with a whole lot less "expert" direction than a standing army of self-appointed experts has been ladling out to us. The people are a little tired of experts, a bit impatient with how often the experts, in trying to order our coronavirus offensive, wield the word "science." Science says this; science says that. It may. Or it may not. In any cases, the architects of lockdown, shutdown, shut-your-mouth, quiet-I'm-talking may have overplayed their hand.<p>Updated: Tue May 26, 2020</p> d54c344343bda19e8d7492e8cde5dbfb Ain't We 'Deplorables' Deplorable? for 05/19/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/05/20/aint-we-deplorables-deplorable Tue, 19 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>So. A Texas day care center can open now. I said "right now." Come Friday, May 22, Texas bars and bowling alleys, by gubernatorial writ, are allowed to pry their doors partly &#8212; and, yes, cautiously &#8212; open. </p> <p>On the same day, and under the same dispensation, Texas restaurant owners can beckon inside their premises a larger contingent of customers: up to 50% capacity. By the end of the month, Texas sports camps have gubernatorial permission to resume operations &#8212; c-a-a-a-a-r-r-r-efully &#8212; to see how things go. No Texan is obligated to take advantage of these opportunities. They're there if you want them.<p>Updated: Tue May 19, 2020</p> 7cd6668c181817fb58e5c78bd1501f16 Rules and Regulations for 05/12/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/05/20/rules-and-regulations Tue, 12 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Rules, rules, rules &#8212; and don't we hate 'em? They restrict some of our most personal notions, retard our experiential growth, run contrary to modern suppositions as to our human rights. </p> <p>Modern culture reflects and magnifies the I'll-do-what-I-want spirit that took us by storm around the time the counterculture appeared on the scene, promising fulfillment of our inner wants and desires while occluding any view of potential consequences. Oh, isn't it wonderful?<p>Updated: Tue May 12, 2020</p> 134d10edb5710a3d7264a8706c08fcb5 Prophets and Loss for 05/05/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/05/20/prophets-and-loss Tue, 05 May 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Brothers and sisters, we are living in Prophets' Heaven! I never before knew there was such a place, but there is. We should enjoy it while we can. </p> <p>In Prophets' Heaven, a gentleman or a lady can prophesy anything and get away with it for a time, at least, such is the appetite for moral satisfaction stimulated and encouraged by the internet &#8212; the overthrow of President Donald Trump, the rout and ruination of Joe Biden, a depression, a quick recovery, a June peak to the infection, a December peak, markets up, markets down. No basis other than hunch, or the need to capture an audience, is required for a prophecy. The internet is a hungry beast; the more attention-capturing the forecast &#8212; e.g., "Trump's had it!" &#8212; the louder the response from the cheap seats. <p>Updated: Tue May 05, 2020</p> b2590a9ed8c11ede0ef5b34d38574c40 Revolt of the Plain Folks for 04/28/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/04/20/revolt-of-the-plain-folks Tue, 28 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>"So the city was filled with the confusion...Now some cried one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together."</p> <p>&#8212; The Acts of the Apostles, 19:29-32, Revised Standard Version.</p> <p>And, hey, that wasn't even Washington, D.C., or New York City. It was Ephesus during the first century, with the theological credentials of Paul the Apostle at the center of the storm as he undertook, in the city's view, to dislodge the goddess Artemis from her accustomed centrality in local piety. <p>Updated: Tue Apr 28, 2020</p> 1b66c7fd559e569bba9387244f8076e2 The Poisonous Road to November for 04/21/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/04/20/the-poisonous-road-to-november Tue, 21 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Wouldn't it be fun if people weren't actually dying or losing their livelihoods due to a virus no one had heard of until a few months ago? </p> <p>We could prop our feet on the porch railing and howl at or make faces over the differing, sharply conflicting account of who's to blame for our too-long-deferred victory over COVID-19; how the virus started in the first place; why it wasn't throttled in its incipience; how many more may die; and how long it will take the economy to get off the canvas, rub its sore jaw and get back to making us rich. </p> <p>Except that, according to the narrative circulating in precoronavirus days, we had &#8212; past tense &#8212; so many rich people that some powerful process of social and economic leveling needed to go forward. Whereupon ... well, who knew? We just knew America to be in a mostly unfixable fix, due to all the stuff we're seeing and saying about the virus. <p>Updated: Tue Apr 21, 2020</p> e5e963560d20a75ee404e8a5ef6c542e 'Get Us out of This!' for 04/14/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/04/20/get-us-out-of-this Tue, 14 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>We can admit to ourselves and to one another, without fear of contradiction, that nobody knows the perfect way of reopening American life. </p> <p>We're going to make mistakes and miscalculations, no matter our schedule or plan. What kind of mistakes and miscalculations? Haven't a clue. We just know it's that kind of show. </p> <p>The need of the hour, all the same, is committing to make those mistakes in a spirit of good judgment and common sense &#8212; rarities in today's public discourse. <p>Updated: Tue Apr 14, 2020</p> 622c9b977b79202dc541878f7b9a073e The Citizens Just Get On With It for 04/07/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/04/20/the-citizens-just-get-on-with-it Tue, 07 Apr 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>You can tell we're getting restless &#8212; twitching and twisting and otherwise maneuvering ourselves into the familiar postures that characterized life, say, last January. We're homesick &#8212; sick of being at home and making allowances for spouses, children, boarders, TV personalities. And presidents.</p> <p>We're ready to blame others and cast aspersions &#8212; poor-mouth according to our wont. Back to our personal standards of perfection: we the blame-casters against the fools and rogues around us. Don't they see what we see? Rarely. </p> <p>I exempt no political tribe: though I cannot forbear to note the contribution of a New York Times writer, one Jennifer Senior, to the current quest for enlightenment and assurance. Senior ascribes our current health and economic problems, numerous of them, to what she represents as President Donald Trump's, ah, mental and psychological challenges.<p>Updated: Tue Apr 07, 2020</p> 5bca855d92318db18f97c9a9db322cef The Old Political Game for 03/31/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/03/20/the-old-political-game Tue, 31 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Politics being politics, and politicians being politicians, Americans have figured out how, along with sore throats and violent coughing, the coronavirus causes finger-pointing, loud talking and endless credit-claiming. </p> <p>The best remedy I know of: huge handfuls of salt for sprinkling on the gratitude that comes with seeing government now and then live up to its legitimate role as protector of the public.</p> <p>Clearly, the finish line in this saga of the virus that ate the world is far distant. There's ample time to note the holes in the view that all humans must do to be happy is turn over every problem to government. It's the view now best associated with the presidential candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders &#8212; of whom, mercifully, very little is heard these days. <p>Updated: Tue Mar 31, 2020</p> 7a68c14cc68566d7713758969be061b8 By the Skin of Our Teeth for 03/24/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/03/20/by-the-skin-of-our-teeth Tue, 24 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>We seem to be in what Bernie's and Joe's and my generation called a "mell of a hess," back before the media and the political class routinized the words that were formerly common to override with: #%$#%^!!%$%.</p> <p>Which made for a politer time, but we're not there any more. At the present point, no one really, honestly, deep-down knows what to do, the "experts" least of all. The experts all know their own fields: medicine, politics, finance. They don't know much outside those fields. Nor does anyone else. The current problem is that the media can't get past the fantasy that experts, always unnamed, know what to do in a given impasse and therefore should be hearkened to. Whatever the case, experts never seem to prevent more mellacious hesses from arising.</p> <p>It's a good time for thinking about Thornton Wilder and his timeless play, "The Skin of Our Teeth" &#8212; which premiered on Broadway two days before Joe Biden was born. We were going through a lot at that time. The U.S. was embroiled in the century's second international war. <p>Updated: Tue Mar 24, 2020</p> f854a6b4114cfae08f4d37d3161d7230 So, Now What? for 03/17/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/03/20/so-now-what Tue, 17 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>This virus thing has gotten crazy. San Francisco ... closed down due to the coronavirus' spread?! A whole American city on hold? And other localities set for like privations? </p> <p>Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders' contemporaries may remember (as I do, being one of them) a Gregory Peck/Ava Gardner movie from 1960: "On the Beach." Following a nuclear war, an unharmed American sub ventures to San Francisco for a look. There is only stillness; no one is in sight. No one. </p> <p>It gives one the willies to contemplate the shutdowns that government officials, here and abroad, are implementing or contemplating: so extended, so complete as to invite ridicule. Few seem to regard them as ridiculous. That, too, gives one the willies. We are entering an age nobody imagined just weeks ago. We do not know what lies at the end of the tunnel when the light is switched back on.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 17, 2020</p> 7460e1cd88708e378d79bfd35b197fb5 Bye Bye Bernie for 03/10/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/03/20/bye-bye-bernie Tue, 10 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The stock market on Monday took a look at the world around it and swooned, delivering a decisive blow to the Sanders candidacy and its proposed revolution.</p> <p>Who wants a political revolution when economic forces are hard at work wringing vitality and optimism out of the economy? Isn't that the question? The less we see and hear of Comrade Bernie amid the crash of his prospects, the sooner we can recover a measure of common sense in our deliberations.</p> <p>Common sense is the commodity that's coming-apart in recent years has made the greatest noise. The retreat of common sense from its necessary place in the middle of public affairs has left the field to the wildest notions, not least Sen. Bernie Sanders' notion, derived from all the socialist enterprises you ever heard of, that government can bludgeon a nation and people into bliss. <p>Updated: Tue Mar 10, 2020</p> a231e654e033ffcf4cdaa93e4994ffea Hooray for Democracy! for 03/03/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/03/20/hooray-for-democracy Tue, 03 Mar 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>There is occasionally good sense in just standing back and watching the grand spectacle known as democracy.</p> <p>The presidential tryouts, known as the primaries, have been a strong prop of that reasoning. People who want, or say they want, to be president step on the stage and tell us why. They strut their stuff, for better or worse. They talk (almost interminably) about their challenging childhoods, the sacrifices their parents made on their behalf, the flash of inspiration that led them to the political trade. They lay out their strategic plans for the first 100 days after the inauguration.<p>Updated: Tue Mar 03, 2020</p>