You are, perhaps, already familiar with the Republican List of Things You Cannot Say. If not, here's a quick refresher:
This is for Gigi, who can't figure out why I don't like Bill Maher.
Gigi, a reader in West Palm Beach, wrote me last week noting that I agree with the star of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" on most political issues. Yet I have, on previous occasions in this space, expressed distaste for him. "I just don't understand," wrote Gigi, "why you profess to dislike someone who is so like-minded. It baffles me."
Every once in a while the universe arranges itself to make you look smarter than you are. Lucky me, I am having such a moment now.
By now, it should come as news to no one that Ferguson, Missouri, has a lousy excuse for a police department.
First, they sang "God Will Take Care of You."
Then they walked out of Brown Chapel to a playground where they organized themselves into 24 groups of 25 each and set out marching. Their route out of Selma took them onto Highway 80, which is carried over the Alabama River by a bridge named in honor of Confederate general and Alabama Ku Klux Klan leader Edmund W. Pettus.
I am not insane. For this, I have Jon Stewart to thank.
That was the subject line of an email a colleague sent me last week. In it, she forwarded a link to a story that had Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst telling a Des Moines radio host that Congress should outlaw vaccines because they "manipulate brains."
In June, it will be 52 years since George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door.
There's this speech I give my students. Distilled, it goes like this.
"Your primary asset as a journalist is not your dogged curiosity, your talent for research or your ability to make prose sing on deadline. No, your one indispensable asset is your credibility. If you are not believable, nothing else matters."
I call it the Secret Knowledge.
Meaning that body of information not everyone has, that body known only to those few people who had the good sense to go off the beaten path and seek it. It is information you'll never see in your "newspapers" or "network news" or any other place overly concerned with verifiable "facts" and reliable "sources."
He had his first major breakdown when he was 26.
A man who had been known for his sunny, outgoing temperament became suddenly sullen, silent and withdrawn. He spoke openly of suicide. It got so bad that a couple took him into their home to ensure he did not hurt himself.
Marissa Alexander got out of jail last week, but she is not free. At best, she enjoys only a species of freedom, a defective freedom that imperfectly resembles the real thing.
We should have seen this one coming.
This is America, after all, a country having no shortage of people with, apparently, too much time on their hands. So someone should have predicted Cake Wars II.
Tucker Carlson said on Fox that more children die of bathtub drownings than of accidental shootings. They don't.
or what it's worth, there are a few that are acceptable. You don't threaten or incite violence. You don't defame. You don't produce child pornography. And you don't falsely shout "Fire!" in the proverbial crowded theater.