Boomerang Blog

Fake News From Paul Revere to Iraq

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    Fake news is a troubling trend yet not new.     Ben Franklin admitted to paying for false stories of Indian scalpings to justify evicting them from British-controlled lands. In 1835, the fledgling newspaper The Sun reported telescoping views of advanced civilization on the moon. The editors knew it was false but wanted to spark circulation.    ….Read more

A Child’s Story of the 1902 Coal Strike Horrifies the Country

The witness sat, surrounded by powerful men in business suits, bracing for interrogation. The Anthracite Coal Strike Commission of 1902 was taking testimony. The witness would be questioned about his role. His name was Andrew Chippie. He was eight years old.   The boy explained to the commission how, after the strike, coal company owner John Markle cancelled the day-to-day leases….Read more

A Better World Without Journalists?

  During a flight on Air Force One, a  journalist once asked First Lady Jackie Kennedy what she fed her new dog. Her answer? Reporters.   Political journalists are even less popular today. People complain about how rude and pushy they seem on TV. The idea of anonymous sources is questioned. Media outlets are called “fake news,” a vague term….Read more

Why America Is An Idea

America is an idea. Senator Lindsey Graham said it, then others added that it’s also a country that exemplifies that idea.   Here’s what I wrote in 2016: “America isn’t a race or religion or language. America is a philosophy of government–a set of ideas about the relationship of the citizen to the state. Anyone can hold a set of….Read more

America First Is a False Dichotomy

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    In the World War Two film Darkest Hour, a phone call between Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt may have surprised you. With Britain on the brink of Nazi invasion, Churchill begged for American arms, ships, planes–anything to fight with. But FDR sadly explained that America could not help. US neutrality laws, passed by Congress in 1935 and 1937,….Read more

Washington’s Crossing: How Precarious Was the Victory?

    Imagine a high school football team defeating the Super Bowl champion, and you’ve got Washington’s Crossing, an episode that’s been proudly reenacted annually for 65 years.   But in the dark days of 1776, celebrating Independence Day with fireworks did not seem as natural and inevitable as it does from today’s vantage point. In fact, it looked completely unlikely.….Read more

How War Powers Are Abused to Sell Wars Like Hawking Cereal

    War powers are defined in the Constitution’s Article 1, front and center. Today I ask: Should war start because the people want it, or because a few military experts meeting behind closed doors say it’s necessary?     Congress builds and funds the military and has the power to declare war. But, the last time Congress actually declared….Read more

Children’s Coloring Book: “The Wagon Train”

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Whose Democracy? The 17th Amendment Changed How Senators Get to Congress

  American citizens are used to heavily contested Senate races, such as the frenzy set off by Judge Roy Moore’s special election in Alabama. Bleating ads on tv, robo-calls to homes, blizzards of mail. Yet in the original Constitution, Senators were selected by state legislatures, not elected by the people. Why was that?   The original Constitution of 1787 included….Read more

[VIDEO] Why the Seventh Amendment Is a Game Changer

        Ever been ripped off by a company or injured by someone else? Did you have to take that company or person to court? The Constitution says it’s your right to a jury trial when you confront someone for harming you. That’s enshrined in the Seventh Amendment of the Bill of Rights.   Alexander Hamilton opposed the….Read more