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 Sun, 19 Jan 2020 10:35:27 -0800 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 4a776e738cc75d12cafa353d9c46860b Still Feeling the Bern? for 01/14/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/01/20/still-feeling-the-bern Tue, 14 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p>The best thing about Bernie &#8212; need I explain, in the year of grace 2020, <i>which</i> Bernie? &#8212; is how a frosty-haired old coot, old enough to have been a high school classmate of mine, fires up kids who never heard of our era's icons: Leo Durocher, say, or Robert Q. Lewis. </p> <p>This happens, coincidentally, to be the worst thing about Bernie. A youthful constituency for socialist measures and methods in the Bernie manner is a scary thing to behold. In a less mixed-up political environment than ours, candidate Sanders might rise, with some exertion, to the level of Marianne Williamson.</p> <p>That is because of a once generally obvious point &#8212; that America needs a socialist president, even a self-billed "democratic" one, the way it needs reparations for the War of 1812.<p>Updated: Tue Jan 14, 2020</p> c9462f2cebf64a073c21157bf5ef0e5a Actions Have Consequences for 01/07/2020 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/01/20/actions-have-consequences Tue, 07 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0800 <p><i>"If you ... intend to be first in, and hit your enemy in the belly, and kick him when he is down, and boil your prisoners in oil (if you take any!), and torture his women and children, then people will keep clear of you." &#8212; John Arbuthnot Fisher, Baron Fisher of Kilverstone (1841-1920)</i></p> <p>Well. Um. Yes. We can agree, probably, that the mighty commander of the Royal Navy at its mightiest (the early 20th century) was talking for effect, much to the relief of potential captives of the world's mightiest empire. What a point all the same: Don't cross the British line; you'll be very, very sorry you did.</p> <p>I wouldn't bet on President Donald Trump's having ever heard of the great Fisher. But the understanding Fisher wished to convey &#8212; that of the need for deterrence and punishment of bad behavior &#8212; is as old as humanity.<p>Updated: Tue Jan 07, 2020</p> 07bd3f50051dbec2789ca448a22270e0 A Mission for the '20s for 12/31/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/12/19/a-mission-for-the-20s Tue, 31 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>So. Another decade behind us, another in front. </p> <p>Journalists love nothing more than the opportunity to gaze analytically in either direction. "Fills up the paper," we used to say, back when newspapers needed constant filling to complement the ads on which our business model rested. </p> <p>The fun part was looking ahead; no reader could say to a jury of 12 good men that what hadn't happened never would happen. You could predict the descent of little green men upon New York City or Harvard's makeover as a dog-training school (a prospect not without charm), and no one could prove you wrong. You still can. <p>Updated: Tue Dec 31, 2019</p> bde95ed404ce938e60add2c4f1883aeb Again and Again and Again for 12/24/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/12/19/again-and-again-and-again Tue, 24 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Memorizing the Middle English of Geoffrey Chaucer &#8212; as required in the senior English curriculum of long ago &#8212; I found sheer repetition the ticket to success. "Whan that Aprille ... whan that Aprille...whan that Aprille ..." over and over and over. Then, finally, the achievement: command in some sense, however limited, of the tongue of another place, another world.</p> <p>I wonder whether "command" of Christmas, and its world, is not akin to that experience. Now then, hear it once more: "And it came to pass in those days ... And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger ... And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host ... "<p>Updated: Tue Dec 24, 2019</p> a8383f0ce06d9a54f10af1404dc3bb50 Revival Time for 12/17/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/12/19/revival-time Tue, 17 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Pretty much every American lacking a cemetery address understands the purpose of the rhetoric of the House Judiciary Committee's report this week on impeachment: "betrayed the nation," "threat to the Constitution," "engaged in a pattern of misconduct." And so on. </p> <p>It is how prosecutors talk, knowing the need to throw the kitchen sink at the accused, hoping to hit him with, at the very least, the soap dispenser. Likewise, every American above ground will have noticed that the President himself lays on a mean rhetorical bullwhip, his intemperance being a major reason for the whole impeachment foofaraw. </p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Many, without parsing the language of the Judiciary Committee report, agree in general that President Donald Trump should be tossed from the top of the Washington Monument, sans parachute.</span> Which, in my estimation, he won't be &#8212; unless he confesses proudly, in so many words, "I slipped Zelenskiy a C-note to lie about Biden." Which, of course, he won't. I think. And then we'll be past this stuff &#8212; the biggest waste of public time since the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction.<p>Updated: Tue Dec 17, 2019</p> ac2e5978b2fa4350296b744e032a1cc4 Much Ado Over Not Very Much for 12/10/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/12/19/much-ado-over-not-very-much Tue, 10 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p>A history professor I once studied under tended to offer weary responses to technical and highly dispensable questions of the sort that arise in weary seminars. To wit: "But what's that got to do with the price of eggs?" Or, more pointedly sometimes, "the price of eggs in Arkansas?"</p> <p>I thought of this aptly characterized boredom threshold as I watched the impeachment &#8212; um &#8212; hearings on Monday. Hearings? Snorings seems more to the point: a canopy of mingled objections and arguments and the preening of elected officials who know well enough they are on television. I make no attempt at distributing the credit or blame to particular actors, the defense or the prosecution. The occasion is large enough for censures of various kinds. </p> <p>What had it all to do with the price of eggs in Arkansas? So little that a disinterested sitting hen would scarcely have noticed. <p>Updated: Tue Dec 10, 2019</p> 679e07b0340ed10b10039c34b55fe7df Ain't It the Truth? for 12/03/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/12/19/aint-it-the-truth Tue, 03 Dec 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>The Anglican Church of Canada clutches its throat at the prospect of &#8212; Lord have mercy &#8212; shutting down its ministries and works 20 years from now. You know &#8212; putting up the "Closed" sign, the public demand for said ministries dwindling more with every passing year. So sharply have Anglican membership rolls declined since 2000 that, according to an internal study, naught but the buildings will remain in 2040. </p> <p>Which, as many will recognize, is an odd assumption to entertain concerning any of the Lord's enterprises &#8212; the same Lord who parted the Red Sea (I'll come back to this) and seems easily capable of repopulating empty churches and moving powerfully forward. Canadian Anglicanism's prospects nevertheless put in mind the consequences of life in an age when, seemingly, you don't have to believe anything. <p>Updated: Tue Dec 03, 2019</p> fb77723ac6a75b2dfa7636213fc12803 Of Impeachers and Extra Drumsticks for 11/26/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/11/19/of-impeachers-and-extra-drumsticks Tue, 26 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Beyond the impeachment mess surrounding President Donald Trump, which is due to be settled one of these days &#8212; I think in Trump's favor, but what do I know? &#8212; beyond the impeachment mess, I was starting to declare, sprawls before us ... what, exactly? More messes of similarly degrading character?</p> <p>I shouldn't wonder. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Impeachment, successful or the reverse, will settle nothing in these Disunited States of America.</span> Where everything's a brawl. And nobody likes anybody. And working your opponents over with brass knuckles is the accepted way of making known your devotion to the joys of Free Speech and Discussion.<p>Updated: Tue Nov 26, 2019</p> a14aa7cb185698f1e63484fd96f0ec0a Will Democrats in 2020 Again 'Fall in Love'? for 11/19/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/11/19/will-democrats-in-2020-again-fall-in-love-58422 Tue, 19 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>There are large historical differences between America's two major political parties in how they choose their presidential nominees. </p> <p>Consider this: Since 1952, there have been 11 presidential elections where there wasn't a Republican president running for reelection. In 10 of those 11, the Republican candidate who led in the major polls in the year before the election went on to win the presidential nomination.<p>Updated: Tue Nov 19, 2019</p> 927c07c2bb3f81fc103b6ed6430bf9bc After the Great Orange Whale for 11/12/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/11/19/after-the-great-orange-whale Tue, 12 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>"Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord" &#8212; a pretty flat declaration as reported by the Apostle Paul, leaving few gaps for politicians to fill at their own discretion. But you know politicians. Here we go with the impeachment hearings, an intended spectacle meant more as payback to President Donald Trump for winning the election than as a high-minded act of democratic reprobation. </p> <p>Vengeance from parties other than the Lord God Almighty doesn't always work out as intended. It can lead down twisted and unforeseen paths. Tempers get lost. Rage rules the roost. Butchery of one kind and another takes place, inspiring retaliation that provokes counterretaliation. <p>Updated: Tue Nov 12, 2019</p> ae1d7e76e357c0a9a21774c54ae83603 And I Solemnly Promise You for 11/05/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/11/19/and-i-solemnly-promise-you Tue, 05 Nov 2019 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>Beto O'Rourke's pullout from the presidential race leaves the Democrats with, oh, a mere dozen and a half or so candidates available to run the country. The country's corresponding task is to keep awake for the remainder of the race.</p> <p>The pressing question is, or should be, what goes on here? What's the mission &#8212; to can President Donald Trump or to move us in new, as yet hazy, directions? Or both at the same time? <p>Updated: Tue Nov 05, 2019</p> 14317bf136b2d5b5dbf7e8d02f43bea7 The Church and Donald Trump for 10/29/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/10/19/the-church-and-donald-trump Tue, 29 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>So, <i>you're</i> surprised? Sorry not to join in the sentiment. </p> <p>Our eyes and our instincts have noted silently the growing disappearance of religious commitment, as revealed in a new survey by the Pew Research Center. The famous "nones" &#8212; whose interest in religion approximates mine when it comes to superhero movies &#8212; are a quarter of the U. S. population, compared with 17% a decade ago. "The U.S.," says Pew, "is steadily becoming less Christian and less religiously observant."<p>Updated: Tue Oct 29, 2019</p> 3cb85d08651892fd051c8a16860dab7c The Young, the Restless and Bernie for 10/22/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/10/19/the-young-the-restless-and-bernie Tue, 22 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>A New York Times opinion column acquaints humanity with the injustice of forbidding the vote to 16- and 17-year-olds &#8212; who, nevertheless, would gain the franchise once a budding movement to that end came to fruition and then would impose the superior wisdom of the young by handing the presidency, so we are entitled to infer, to Sen. Bernie Sanders.</p> <p>The well-ripened alliance between various young folks and snowy-haired Sanders &#8212; a 78-year-old heart attack victim going on age 5, to judge by his simplistic politics &#8212; is hard to sort out. The truth seems to be that old-time political alignments &#8212; e.g., Democratic populists against Republican country club types &#8212; no longer hold. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Nobody seems happy, not even the young, once famous for generally ignoring politics in behalf of more sensible activities, such as homecomings and the new car styles.</span><p>Updated: Tue Oct 22, 2019</p> 11c3567aee3e8bf67bcd3b27a28c58b2 What in Heaven's Name Goes On? for 10/15/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/10/19/what-in-heavens-name-goes-on Tue, 15 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>At its best, Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke's high-octane assault on religious freedom calls for brandy and an extended lie-down in a dark room. That's the best that can be said of it. Its worst has to do with the disdain a midlevel presidential candidate exhibits for supernatural religion.</p> <p>That's if he really meant what he affirmed at a CNN town hall about stripping federal tax exemption from churches that are profoundly serious about the need for long-honored moral arrangements (e.g., two-sex marriage) that are now being heatedly contested.<p>Updated: Tue Oct 15, 2019</p> a2c425cff2e5ce5e78413dc7511fbbab A Moral Tale of Two Cities for 10/08/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/10/19/a-moral-tale-of-two-cities Tue, 08 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The "progressive," so to speak, vision of politics and public life envisions tighter and tighter government control over economic life, along with looser and looser controls over human behavior. I think you'd refer to the overall design as a paradox: a clash of methods and objectives. </p> <p>Elizabeth Warren wants corporations subjected to unprecedented government oversight. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Austin's and San Francisco's ruling classes favor, for the homeless, just about all the freedom you could imagine to use the public streets as a bedroom or restroom, in the name of, I don't know ... liberty? </span>Liberty for those who avail themselves of these governmentally granted entitlements? Everyone else enjoys the right to step over the trash, the used drug needles, the discarded food and the excrement left lying around by the governmentally entitled. <p>Updated: Tue Oct 08, 2019</p> 5188d96e739aac4dd47e12d68c13794a Impeachment: The Hearsay Conundrum for 10/01/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/09/19/impeachment-the-hearsay-conundrum Tue, 01 Oct 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>There's so much to say about Nancy Pelosi's impeachment gig that one hardly knows where to start. But here's a live possibility: We start with Sen. Lindsey Graham's characterization of how this game is to be played.</p> <p>We're trying to "try the president of the United States based on hearsay," the South Carolina senator says &#8212; that is, on the claims of unidentified actors and agents for whose credentials Pelosi isn't prepared to vouch publicly. Although, inasmuch as these claims seem to put the president in constitutional jeopardy, Pelosi apparently believes them. She says to take her word for it: "A president of the United States would withhold military assistance paid for by taxpayers to shake down the leader of another country unless he did him a political favor &#8212; that is so, so clear."<p>Updated: Tue Oct 01, 2019</p> 4206e82dec42bcb95d91e957604f13f0 Lynch Law, Anyone? for 09/24/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/09/19/lynch-law-anyone Tue, 24 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>We can't seem to have a news event (and everything that happens in our capital city is a capital-E event these days) without the searing cry in the background, drowning out all other discourse: "Impeach! Impeach!" You might call it an echo of the old exhortation, "Hey, somebody get a rope!"</p> <p>One thing must be clear before we proceed: Nothing that follows can be construed as laughter at a whole range of voter frustrations with the style and performance of Donald Trump, who, as the Wall Street Journal has rightly noted, is his own worst enemy. My point, I hope, is larger. <span class="column--highlighted-text">It is, namely, the growing exhaustion of our moral resources and capacity for patriotic outrage on account of how we're fast turning into a hang-'em-high society.</span><p>Updated: Tue Sep 24, 2019</p> 9d93f9c54cc8cc1cbeeb64f4b45c31cb Daily Life in the Pigpen for 09/17/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/09/19/daily-life-in-the-pigpen Tue, 17 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>We live in extraordinary times, do we not? No one I know can remember, so far as I am aware, discussion of the sexual apparatus of a Supreme Court justice accused, prior or subsequent to confirmation, of reprehensible sexual behavior at a college party. </p> <p>Was Earl Warren so accused? Was David Souter? Was Ruth Bader Ginsburg? There was the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill mashup, to be sure, the facts of which &#8212; Coca-Cola cans and all &#8212; proved to be beyond proof, with many hoping we'd seen the last of he said, she said battles over, at bottom, matters of constitutional interpretation.<p>Updated: Tue Sep 17, 2019</p> a665f0d07d17ae69eb2deb1812fbf336 We the People ... for 09/10/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/09/19/we-the-people- Tue, 10 Sep 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>The world, my friends, is going to ... and that's just the point: We don't know where in the world the world is going. Only that it's moving at a high speed, in ways likely to upset existing orders.</p> <p>And the People are driving this show &#8212; the People, yes, as Carl Sandburg entitled his last major book of poetry, back when things, noisy as they were, were stiller than now. Everything is rolling around like steel balls on a hardwood floor. Not much of anything is in repose. And it's hard to say why. We just know that nothing is still.<p>Updated: Tue Sep 10, 2019</p> 499838495c0491918a32559de37b90dc The Gambler: RBG and the Trump Campaign for 08/27/2019 https://www.creators.com/read/william-murchison/08/19/the-gambler-rbg-and-the-trump-campaign Tue, 27 Aug 2019 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Over the weekend, the media took notice of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's apparently successful treatment for a malignant tumor on the pancreas. "No further treatment is needed at this time," said Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City &#8212; which wasn't the same thing as saying "Justice Ginsburg's Supreme Court tenure is locked down and guaranteed."</p> <p>Possibly the least edifying phenomenon you run across in politics &#8212; a highly unedifying pursuit these days, full of noise and rancor &#8212; is what might be called the death watch, as in how-long-before-we-get-to-replace-old-so-and-so-on-whatever-it-is. Few are the political folk whose disappearances for one reason or another excite public rejoicings. Ginsburg &#8212; a smart, snappy and rigorously honest jurist &#8212; isn't among their number. <span class="column--highlighted-text">"Long may she wave!" we need to exclaim so as to keep up some pretense of humanity amid all the grossness.</span><p>Updated: Tue Aug 27, 2019</p>