In November 1964, the historian Richard Hofstadter published, in Harper's magazine, what would become a famous essay on some disturbing tendencies in American political life. "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" traced the history of what Hofstadter described as "the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy" that, at different points in America's past, has characterized panics over the Illuminati, Masons, Jesuits, Catholic immigrants, and communist subversives.
I am sorry to burden you, but this is fair notice that I will be sending out morality/patriotism questionnaires to all my friends. I do not want to be blindsided in the future and accused of guilt by association, which is the trendy thing this presidential campaign season.
It used to be that an American could make friends based on his (or her) assessment of someone's character without regard to what other people, including the government, thought about it. Not any more.
Hate doesn't just happen.
Not in life -- as lyricist Oscar Hammerstein reminded us in "South Pacific," in a message so memorable that it became culturally and politically controversial when first sung on Broadway in 1949: "You've got to be taught/To hate and fear,/You've got to be taught/From year to year.../You've got to be carefully taught."
Be honest. What have you learned from the first two presidential debates? Do you expect to be any more enlightened by Wednesday night's third and final showdown between Barack Obama and John McCain?
If you're like my friends and associates outside the newsroom, you're setting the bar pretty low. If these "debates" have proven anything, they confirm our two-party choice is dumb and dumber (you pick).
The Alaska state Personnel Board investigation of Gov. Sarah Palin's firing of Walt Monegan has broadened to include other ethics complaints against the governor and examination of actions by other state employees, according to the independent counsel handling the case.
The investigator, Tim Petumenos, did not say who else is under scrutiny. But in two recent letters describing his inquiry, he cited the consolidation of complaints and the involvement of other officials as a reason for not going along with Palin's request to make the examination of her activities more public.
Danny Yamonico had three strikes against her when she enlisted in the Army.
A back injury. A history of mental health problems. A girlfriend.
She says her recruiter knew she knew she was gay and about the other issues but pressed her to join anyway. At the end of boot camp, her back was aching. She knew she'd made a mistake. She wanted out.
"There's just no way ... I should have been in the military," Yamonico said.
Falling behind in the polls, Republican candidate John McCain hopes to shake up the presidential race in his final debate with Democrat Barack Obama, who will be looking to close the deal with voters unhappy with the country's direction.
Both are likely to emphasize pocketbook issues, a burning concern as financial institutions wobble and voters feel the pinch of a faltering economy. Each released proposals this week for how to boost the economy.
Republican presidential nominee John McCain on Monday sought to assure supporters he can come from behind to defeat Democrat Barack Obama, who proposed new ways to address the economic turmoil.
"My friends, we've got them just where we want them," McCain told rallies in Virginia and North Carolina as he tried to breathe new life into his campaign after a two-week tailspin due largely to his reaction to the U.S. financial crisis.
Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin mistook some of her own fans for hecklers Monday at a rally that drew thousands.
A massive crowd of at least 20,000 spread across the parking lot of Richmond International Raceway, and scores of people on the outer periphery more than 100 yards from the stage could not hear.
They don't vote for Democratic presidential candidates very often in this state. The last time was 1964 and Lyndon Johnson had managed to scare the stuffing out of the electorate with allegations that if they voted for Republican Barry Goldwater the result would be an extended war in Southeast Asia, and rioting in the streets at home.