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You know how you can get an earworm - a song that plays in your head in an endless loop that prevents you from falling asleep? Or you obsess on a certain topic to such a degree that even a Valium and a TV tuned to "Forensic Files" won't do the trick?

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WASHINGTON - If Sen. Ben Sasse is right - he has not recently been wrong about anything important - the nation's most-discussed political problem is entangled with the least-understood public health problem. The political problem is furious partisanship. The public health problem is loneline…

For somebody like me, the Major League Baseball playoffs serve as a splendid diversion from the squalor of partisan politics. For serious fans, the drama of an October Red Sox-Yankees series provides the kind of emotional release others derive from a night at the symphony or a hike through a…

WASHINGTON - President Trump apologized to Justice Brett Kavanaugh and his family for the "terrible pain and suffering" they endured during his confirmation process, declaring that "what happened to the Kavanaugh family violates every notion of fairness, decency and due process." Democrats s…

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As I watched the sights and sounds of the very powerful and much-appreciated protest at the U.S. Supreme Court, I recalled our country embroiled in U.S. Supreme Court controversy before.

WASHINGTON - Like many Americans struck by the liberal versus conservative political and social divides in America, I have been trying to make some sense of it all these last few tormenting weeks.

Not long after a 2017 meeting in which Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reportedly discussed wearing a wire to secretly record conversations with President Trump, two top officials in the meeting, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and bureau lawyer Lisa Page, went to the office of a th…

WASHINGTON - The descent of American capitalism into a racket is being greased by professed capitalists in government, in collaboration with professed capitalists in what is called, with decreasing accuracy, the private sector. This is occurring under the auspices of Republicans, and while m…

Pity the poor white man. He can't catch a break in this country. The nation's capital in particular is filled with persecuted Republican dudes crying woe. No less an authority on male victimization than Donald Trump Jr. complains that he fears for his young sons. In Washington, see, all it t…

WASHINGTON - The decision by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley to have Arizona sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell question Christine Blasey Ford may well be remembered as a brilliant - and quite possibly pivotal - choice.

WASHINGTON - One of the things that has occurred to me this last week - besides the idea of moving alone to a cabin in northern Siberia or offering myself as a sacrifice to some Amazonian tribe - is that it used to be the woman's "past" that was vilified, ogled over and deliciously relished,…

Conspiracy theories are always something that intrigued me. It is interesting to me that some people could just casually start pontificating on a particular historical subject, and before you know it, the person spinning conspiratorial darkness on every subject from the Japanese invasion of …

WASHINGTON - President Trump, in the Rose Garden on Monday morning to celebrate a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico, displayed a side seldom, if ever, seen before: a flash of self-awareness.

Ask any casual observer what the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court confirmation fight is about, and the answer will be the allegation that at a high school party 36 years ago, when Kavanaugh was 17, he drunkenly forced then-15-year-old Christine Ford onto a bed, tried to undress her and, when sh…

A high-end retail chain is selling what looks like a pair of used tennis shoes that have a large strip of tattered duct tape across the toe - for $530.

WASHINGTON - Without being aware of it, Vernon Madison might become a footnote in constitutional law because he is barely aware of anything. For more than 30 years, Alabama, with a tenacity that deserves a better cause, has been trying to execute him for the crime he certainly committed, the…

WASHINGTON - Senate Democrats seeking to derail Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination knew they had a problem. In other prominent cases of the #MeToo era, multiple victims had come forward to corroborate each other's stories and present a pattern of predatory behavior. But in K…

Where do Republicans place a higher priority: on confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, or retaining their majorities in Congress?

WASHINGTON - This week marked the anniversary of a war most Americans scarcely remember, but which definitively influenced our times. Most of the rest of the world has forgotten about it, too, except of course the families of the million who died in it.

One of the world's largest and stateless ethnic minorities are the Kurdish people. There are anywhere between 30-40 million Kurds in the world today.

Here's what baffles Senate Republicans. Democrats on the Judiciary Committee insisted that Brett Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford be given a chance to tell her story. Everybody knows the wrangling that took place over the last week, as Ford's legal team and committee chairman Chuck Gr…

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A friend of mine told me the other day her granddaughter, in middle school, was grousing about how "mean" her teachers are. One of these tyrannical educators had the nerve to send her to the principal's office for texting her boyfriend in class.

WASHINGTON - The current era of scorched-earth politics began five years after there was, according to Christine Blasey Ford, in 1982, an alcohol-soaked party in a suburban Washington. There her 15-year-old self was, she says, assaulted by 17-year-old Brett Kavanaugh, who categorically denie…

Probably it's not possible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt whether or not Judge Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted then-15-year-old Christine Blasey Ford at a high school house party back in 1982. However, that's not the issue. Kavanaugh's not being charged with a crime, but with being a creep.

WASHINGTON - In his new book "Fear," Bob Woodward recounts that in April 2017, after President Trump saw images of dead Syrian children with their mouths foaming from a sarin attack, he called Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and issued an order: Get me a plan for a military strike to take out S…

WASHINGTON - When you read about the tragic deaths in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria, you'll find two "real" stories pulling you to tears and anger with their drama, pathos and sense of injustice.

Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, has agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department's Special Counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Republicans know what the midterm election polls say. They hear the talk about a blue wave. They're aware of historical party-in-power midterm losses in the House. But they still see something else, seven weeks out from election day.

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Anyone who's been to Walmart recently has seen them: shelves full of colored bags of candy, just in time for Halloween, and although I didn't look, I have no doubt there are several racks full of chintzy costumes.

HOUSTON - Nationally, the Democratic Party, which gave indispensable assistance ("Basket of deplorables"!) to the election of today's president, seems intent ("Impeach!"; "Abolish ICE!"; "Free stuff!", "I am Spartacus!") on a repeat performance. Here, however, in the 7th Congressional Distri…

Unless you're a serious tennis fan, you probably don't know that exactly one player was expelled from the 2017 U.S. Open: Fabio Fognini, for calling a chair umpire a "whore" and worse in Italian during a losing match. He was also fined $96,000 and threatened with banishment from Grand Slam e…

WASHINGTON - When Barack Obama took the oath of office as president in 2009, George W. Bush wished him well and left the political stage, determined to never publicly criticize his successor. It is a vow he kept for the entire eight years of Obama's presidency. Indeed, Bush has given only on…

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In "All the President's Men," Robert Redford, who plays Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, tells Deep Throat - who we all now know was the late FBI Associate Director Mark Felt: "The story is dry. All we've got are pieces. We can't seem to figure out what the puzzle is supposed to look like."

WASHINGTON - Last week, while the specter of The New York Times' "anonymous" editorial haunted the White House, and this week as we again mourned our losses 17 years ago on 9/11, I have been deep into watching the old documentary about Robert McNamara and how he led us to our national disast…

WASHINGTON - So this is how retiring House Speaker Paul D. Ryan wishes to leave public service: with lies, name-calling and racism?

There is growing buzz among Hill Republicans that President Trump will act this week to declassify some key documents in the Trump-Russia investigation. Some in the GOP had hoped the documents would be released weeks ago - they've been asking with increasing urgency - but an internal White H…

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I've made abundantly clear my belief that women of a certain age are prone to recess into their childhoods. We home in on bling for our shirts, shoes and jeans. We dye our hair shades normally seen only in sherbet and cotton candy, and we say whatever we darn well please.

WASHINGTON - Since the founding of our republic, there have been precisely 1,974 members of the United States Senate. John McCain is only the eighth senator who was not also president or vice president to lie in state in the rotunda of the Capitol - and only the 31st individual overall to be…

Nobody wants to see criminals on the sidelines or in big-league dugouts. They beat up women or rob banks? Be gone with them. But am I the only one who's worn out with excessive moralizing on the sports page?

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In the wake of the social media explosion, people from all over the world voice their opinions about the major issues from opposite ends of the spectrum. You can see on Facebook, for example, some very well-articulated arguments with facts to support those arguments. At other times, there is…

Beverly invited us to dinner the other night, telling us she'd just found a new fish stew recipe she was dying to make.

WASHINGTON - When I first went overseas as a foreign correspondent in the 1960s, the style of foreign coverage fit the stories of the time. But those stories were tremendously different from the important stories of today, and we ignore the startling changes facing us only at serious risk.

National leaders of all stripes have complained for decades that Washington keeps too many secrets. Too much of the government's information is classified, the argument goes, making it nearly impossible for Americans to know what their leaders are doing.

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