Author Archives: Thomas L. Knapp

Gridlock just ain’t what it used to be

The 2022 midterm election results “stand as an expression of overwhelming lack of confidence in the major parties,” J.D. Tuccille writes at Reason magazine, “with a resulting breather for the country resulting from the split decision’s ensuing, and quite welcome, gridlock.” Continue reading

“Respect for marriage?” Not really.

On November 16, the Respect for Marriage Act achieved 62 votes for “cloture” in the US Senate, meaning that it will proceed to floor debate and likely—after reconciliation with the House version, which passed in July—become law. Continue reading

Cryptocurrency: Don’t blame the medium for the scam

As cryptocurrency exchange FTX falls into bankruptcy and its principals seem likely to face various criminal charges over the activities leading to that bankruptcy, it’s time for another round of crowing from opponents (and would-be regulators) of cryptocurrency. Which means it’s time for another round of pointing out where those opponents and would-be regulators are all wet. Continue reading

And now we return to our scheduled programming: presidential election theater

The day after every midterm congressional election, conventional wisdom turns to “the presidential campaign starts today.” Continue reading

Election 2022: Time for the “spoiler” whining

Here we go again. Yet another “third party” candidate has “spoiled” “major party” candidates’ victory party plans by “stealing” votes that rightfully belong to … well, someone else. Continue reading

Election 2022: The more things change …

“Election Day” has become a fuzzy concept lately: Officially it falls on “the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November,” but most states offer early voting in person or by mail these days. Continue reading

Capital punishment places too much trust in an untrustworthy institution

On Valentine’s Day in 2018, Nikolas Cruz murdered 14 students and three school employees at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. More than four years later, a jury determined that Cruz’s crimes made him eligible for the death penalty, but did not unanimously vote to recommend that penalty. That absence of unanimity means Cruz will instead serve life in prison without the possibility of parole. Continue reading

Pentagon’s information warfare review should cover the domestic side, too

The US Department of Defense has ordered “a sweeping audit of how it conducts clandestine information warfare,” the Washington Post reports. The apparent reason for the review is an August disclosure, by Graphika and the Stanford Internet Observatory, that Twitter and Facebook, of social media accounts opened under fake identities and used to feed disinformation to “audiences overseas.” Continue reading

Ron DeSantis’s immigrant trafficking stunt keeps looking weirder and dumber

When I wrote my last column on Florida governor Ron DeSantis’s latest scheme to use his state’s treasury as a presidential campaign fund, the whole thing looked pretty silly and counter-productive. With more than half a million unfilled job openings in his state, why is he scooping up immigrants and flying them to Massachusetts instead of letting them improve Florida’s economy? Continue reading

Cotton Mouth: Political careerist vs. ranked choice voting

US Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) doesn’t like ranked choice voting. It’s “a scam to rig elections,” he tweeted on August 31, after Democrat Mary Peltola defeated Republican Sarah Palin in a special election for US House in Alaska. “60% of Alaska voters voted for a Republican, but thanks to a convoluted process and ballot exhaustion—which disenfranchises voters—a Democrat ‘won.’” Continue reading

Elizabeth II and Marsha Hunt: Two passings that impoverish our memory

As the world knows, the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8 at the age of 96, kicking off weeks of national mourning and ceremonies of transition. Continue reading

Does sparing the rod really spoil the child?

“When police found a kindergarten boy who had walked off from school after attacking his teacher and classmates,” Elizabeth K. Anthony writes at The Conversation, “it didn’t take them long to start guessing about the cause of his behavior.” Continue reading

More young Americans are using cannabis and hallucinogens. That’s good news.

According to a recent National Institutes of Health survey, United Press International reports, “use of marijuana and hallucinogens among young adults in the United States reached an all-time high in 2021.” Continue reading

Don’t wait; get into the encryption habit now

In early August, a Nebraska prosecutor charged a mother and daughter with violating the state’s ban on abortion after 20 weeks. That ban was passed in 2010, but didn’t go into effect until the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year overturning Roe V. Wade. Continue reading

One screen, two movies? Think again.

Another week, another scandal, but the latest—the August 8 FBI “raid” on former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida—looks set for a run of a month or more. Continue reading

Cracker Barrel’s offering a new sausage option. The response is bananas.

In an effort to keep up with the times and serve a profitable market segment, southern-style comfort-food restaurant chain Cracker Barrel recently added a new item to its menu. Continue reading

Kansas: What it looks like when the “center” wins

On August 2, voters in Kansas rejected an amendment to the state constitution which would have increased the legislature’s power to regulate (or ban) abortion. Continue reading

Can a third party “fail Forward?”

Near the end of July, Andrew Yang—whose previous political projects include an unsuccessful run for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, an unsuccessful run for the 2021 Democratic mayoral nomination in New York City, and what initially looked likely to be an unsuccessful new “third party,” the Forward Party—announced a re-launch of that last effort. Continue reading

Get Brittney Griner back? Sure—but release her counterparts in America, too

On July 27, the Biden administration offered their Russian counterparts a deal: Release WNBA player Brittney Griner and alleged US spy Paul Whelan, in return for the US releasing Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. Continue reading

The Respect for Marriage Act doesn’t go far enough

The sound of the US Supreme Court’s June ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning half a century of abortion jurisprudence under Roe v. Wade, is the sound of multiple cans of worms popping open, particularly in light of associate justice Clarence Thomas’s concurrence, which calls for the court to “correct the error” of “substantive due process” by overturning other previous court decisions based on it. Continue reading

The Constitution versus “independent state legislature” theory

Democrats, the Cato Institute’s Andy Craig points out at The Daily Beast, are trafficking in panic over an upcoming Supreme Court case, Moore v. Harper. Continue reading

Public university patents are a racket

If I gave you a million dollars to invent a better mousetrap, and told you that if you succeeded you could keep any and all profits associated with the invention, you’d probably consider that a pretty good deal. Continue reading

Nuclear deal: It’s Iran doing the “waiting”

“We’ve laid out for the leadership of Iran what we’re willing to accept in order to get back into the JCPOA” US president Joe Biden said at a press conference in Jerusalem on July 14. “We’re waiting for their response. When that will come, I’m not certain, but we’re not going to wait forever.” Continue reading

On “democracy” metrics, the US lags Britain

Boris Johnson, the United Kingdom’s scandal-saddled premier, is finally stepping down as leader of the Conservative Party—which, as British politics are structured, means he’s also stepping down as prime minister. Continue reading

Third party? America doesn’t even have a second party.

A June 29 Associated Press/NORC finds that 85% of Americans—including 92% of self-identified Republicans and 78% of self-identified Democrats—say “things in this country are headed in the wrong direction.” Continue reading

Don’t expand NATO, disband it

“The decisions we have taken in Madrid,” North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said as a summit of the alliance’s members closed in Madrid on June 30, “will ensure that our Alliance continues to preserve peace, prevent conflict, and protect our people and our values.” Continue reading

Who’s murdering immigrants? It’s no mystery.

It’s a grisly affair: Dozens of immigrants locked in a semi-trailer in San Antonio, Texas, apparently abandoned by those attempting to smuggle them into the United States. After their cries for help were heard and rescuers arrived, 48 were found dead at the scene, four more died shortly thereafter, and 16 were hospitalized. Continue reading

Free Assange? Yes, but that’s not nearly enough.

On June 17, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel approved the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States to face 18 criminal charges: One count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, and 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917. If convicted on all charges, Assange faces up to 175 years in prison. Continue reading

Florida: So much for “parental rights”

In late March, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was all about “parental rights,” signing what critics called a “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which he insisted was really all about protecting the ability of parents to guide their children’s upbringing, control what subject matter they were exposed to in the classroom, and be informed by schools of matters pertaining to their “mental, emotional, or physical well-being.” Continue reading

Voting: Don’t buy the guilt trips

“Elections have consequences,” then-president Barack Obama reminded House Minority Whip Eric Cantor in 2009. Obama was correct. Elections do have consequences. Continue reading

Note to Biden administration: Election years are particularly bad times to call black voters stupid

A year ago, the Washington Post reported that the Biden administration was poised to propose a ban on menthol cigarettes. Continue reading

Will Ron DeSantis’s latest Mickey Mouse political tantrum cost him his career?

On April 22, Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill dissolving the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Put that way, it sounds rather routine, but it isn’t. DeSantis called a special session of the legislature just to get this done. The only thing routine about it is that it’s an example of Rule Number One in Florida politics since 2018: Don’t publicly disagree with Ron DeSantis, or he’ll throw a tantrum and try to punish you. Continue reading