‘Downton Abbey’ lessons appeal to U.S. audiences

It is fitting that PBS offers “Downton Abbey” to its disproportionately progressive audience. This series is a languid appreciation of a class structure supposedly tempered by the paternalism of the privileged. And if progressivism prevails, America will be Downton Abbey: Upstairs.

The rise and fall of widely shared prosperity

As the gap between America’s wealthy and the middle has widened, those at the top have felt even richer by comparison. Although a rising tide would lift all boats, many of America’s richest seem to prefer a lower tide and bigger yachts.

The health care myths and policies we live by

After “first, do no harm,” medicine’s second great motto should be “above all, humility.” Even the tried-and-true may not be true. Considering how dicey biological “facts” can be, imagine how much more problematic are the handed-down verities about the workings of our staggeringly complex health care system.

King’s legacy: A family bickers over money

What would Martin Luther King Jr. think of the fact that these bickering, tiresome children of his are forever in litigation and public squabbles with one another and that money always seems to be at the root? Especially since he famously disdained “shallow things” like personal gain?

Please practice what you preach, Mr. President

At the recent National Prayer Breakfast, President Barack Obama lamented eroding protections of religious liberty around the world. Just not, apparently, in America. It is true that our religious-liberty issues are tamer than those mentioned by Obama, but we are in the midst of a muddle about where religion and state draw their red lines.

Thanks, Nancy Pelosi, for the word ‘job-lock’

All of this talk of Democrats as the Job-Lock Liberators is pathetic and hilarious at the same time. Virtually every promise has been broken, every prediction falsified. And now, at a time when millions want work that doesn’t exist, Democrats are claiming victory by trimming the amount of work actually being done.

Political stakes are high in March special election

If Democrat candidate Alex Sink loses the March 11 election to fill the congressional seat vacated by the death in October of Florida Republican C.W. “Bill” Young, it could be an early predictor of President Barack Obama’s negative effect on House races in the November elections.

Democrats try to sneak past abortion realities

Wendy Davis, a Democratic state senator running to replace Rick Perry as governor of Texas, owes her political stardom to two things: a pair of pink sneakers and her unstinting support for a woman’s right to terminate a late-term pregnancy in a substandard clinic. Yay Feminism!

Obamacare’s four-word Waterloo?

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and some kindred spirits might accelerate the Affordable Care Act’s collapse by blocking another of the Obama administration’s lawless uses of the Internal Revenue Service. The four words that threaten disaster for the ACA say the subsidies shall be available to persons who purchase health insurance in an exchange “established by the state.”

Why conservatives prefer to focus on poverty over inequality

The only things that have trickled down to the middle and poor besides fewer jobs and smaller paychecks are public services that are inadequate because they’re starved for money. Unequal political power is the endgame of inequality — its most noxious and nefarious consequence.

Stop kicking Canada around on Keystone XL pipeline decision

The only rationale for denying the Keystone XL pipeline is political — to appease Barack Obama’s more extreme environmentalists. Here is an easily available piece of infrastructure, and yet the president, who has been incessantly pushing new “infrastructure” as a fundamental economic necessity, can’t say yes.

On race matters, conservatives are silent

You will wait in vain for a conservative to speak against the profiling of Trayvon Martin, the mass incarceration of black men under the failed war on drugs or, ahem, the myriad racially tinged attacks against President Obama. Indeed, other than their cries of pious indignation when some black conservative is mistreated, you'll wait in vain to hear them say anything about race at all.

The devil is in the details of government reliance

The controversy surrounding a proposal from Satanists to build near the Oklahoma Capitol a 7-foot-high statue of a goat-headed pagan idol is of course absurd, but absurdities are often useful in illuminating more substantial issues. America is becoming vastly more diverse. In a great many ways that’s a good thing. But in this life, no good thing comes without a downside.

Obama’s complexity is attractive and trouble

The largest question raised by David Remnick's remarkable interview with President Barack Obama in The New Yorker goes unasked: Is the intellectual style that journalists find so amenable actually an effective governing strategy? The answer, it turns out, is complex.

Judicial activism is more desirable than restraint

Many judges, practicing what conservatives have unwisely celebrated as “judicial restraint,” have subordinated liberty to majority rule. Today, a perverse conservative populism panders to two dubious notions — that majorities should enjoy a largely untrammeled right to make rules for everyone, and that most things legislatures do reflect the will of a majority.

We knew it all along: Obama’s failings on war

If President Barack Obama wasn’t committed to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, why did he throw these soldiers into battle in the first place? Because for years the Democrats had used Afghanistan as a talking point to rail against the Iraq war — while avoiding the politically suicidal appearance of McGovernite pacifism.