Teachable Moments

When we were in college, in the late Seventies, there were some Iranian students on campus as well. They were easily identifiable — by their Trans Ams, went the joke. Oil money, y’know.

But they weren’t all spoiled rich kids. Some took the opportunity of being outside their country to protest conditions within — conditions of living under the Shah. Such protests weren’t casual. They covered their faces with masks. The SAVAK — the Shah’s secret police — might be watching.

Being young and American — and in sleepy Eugene, Oregon, no less — we didn’t understand this at first, the ostentatious precaution of it. And Eugene being a hippie mecca — Berkeley North, we joked — the masked Iranians were just one protest group among many, a sideshow, really, part of the ongoing campus circus.

That all changed our junior year — November 4, 1979, to be precise. The day the Tehran embassy was overrun.

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The only thing fixed in stone — or the Constitution — about the Supreme Court is that it exists. Nothing about its size, and, famously, nothing about its authority.

Judicial review of laws? Marbury v. Madison, 1803. But you knew that.

Unanimous decision, as it happens. 4-0.

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Our guest columnist is CNBC.

10 am, Friday, August 23

BREAKING: Fed chair Powell in Jackson Hole speech: No ‘rulebook’ on trade, pledges the Fed will ‘act as appropriate’ to sustain the economy

10:07 am

Stocks jump to session highs & Dow turns positive after Powell’s Jackson Hole speech

10:43 am

Dow, Nasdaq, S&P 500 now all in positive territory after Powell speech

10:45 am

BREAKING: After Fed chair’s Jackson Hole speech, Trump tweets: “Who is our bigger enemy, Jay [Powell] or Chairman Xi?”

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Experiment #1

Methodology: Open the front door.

Result: Cat does not go out. Nor does cat stay in.

Conclusion: Cats are incapable of making up their own damn minds.

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1. Watch this! It’s adorable!

2. Did you see how he shoved his daughter out of the way? If a woman did that, she would be accused of child abuse!

3. The desperate nanny is everything that’s wrong with patriarchal society.

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That’s me in the spotlight.

The night of John F. Kennedy’s funeral — three days following his assassination — Lyndon Johnson met at the State Department with the world leaders who had traveled to Washington to pay their respects.

Although LBJ had been vice-president almost three years, he was not considered a vital part of the Kennedy Administration, and had been excluded from any significant role from the start. That fall, rumors had been circulating that he might be dropped from the ticket in 1964. JFK’s Harvard-educated Best & Brightest regarded Johnson as an embarrassing Texas throwback.

And now he was the most powerful man in the world.

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America’s Superhero.

There’s a certain frustration that sets in after every mass shooting. We’re all too familiar by now with the dance that follows: Thoughts & Prayers, consoling words from the President, recitations of the history of gun violence in America, condemnation of the NRA for perverting the Second Amendment like extremists pervert Islam.

And then, always, nothing.

Really: If shooting up a grade school or a church doesn’t lead to reform, why should anything else?

The Senate filibuster to force an inevitably losing vote on a couple of weak measures was a fine gesture — truly — but destined to be forgotten, filed away even as it happened with Ted Cruz’s earlier Green Eggs and Ham marathon. The moment had passed, and we were back to our general dread of a Clinton-Trump race.

And then John Lewis stepped up.

Or, rather, sat down.

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