Columns

From the New York Times, Time magazine, and the complete Chicago Tribune syndicated columns

It’s poetry month, so write one, Terence

April is Poetry Month, a painful reminder for some, who suffered under English teachers who made them write about the cherry tree wearing white for Eastertide or “The Love Song of J. Alfred Pruneface” by T.S. Eliot, that small dark cloud of a poet.

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Trump has no idea how to tend his garden

What a world. I spend an evening looking at a friend’s video he shot in Uganda, impoverished people dancing with hands over their heads, overjoyed that a well has been dug and they can drink good water without having to hike for miles. The next day I read about a foundation grant to create storytelling programs in small towns to create radical reimaginings of narratives that lead to healing. And then the Boy President is on TV with Angela Merkel looking at him and thinking, “Who is that old game-show host standing at the lectern? What movie am I in?”

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The Donner Party understood health care — so does Trump

Last fall when he was winning hearts and minds in the Midwest, Mr. Red Cap promised to remove the curse of Obamacare from the nation and replace it with something beautiful that would cover everybody. Now that Trumpcare is out for previews, he is still upbeat and says he is in a “beautiful negotiation” and will wind up with a “beautiful picture,” but it’s no longer about everybody. And the picture seems more like a watercolor than a photo.

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The Epic of Donald Trump

The $54 billion bonus heading for the Pentagon is a beautiful thing, and so far I haven’t heard a dog bark against it, even though we don’t appear to have $54 billion worth of new enemies and we’ve now come to admire former enemy Vladimir Putin, and the idea of throwing billions at the Islamic State is like going after bedbugs with bazookas, so there it sits, a big lake of cash waiting for water skiers.

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Confessions of the most important man in the universe

Joe Biden is following me. I go to lunch at Mickey’s Diner and he’s sitting two stools away, wearing a stocking cap and a fake mustache with a fake nose and glasses but he says, “Hey, how’s it going, fella?” It’s Joe Biden. So pathetic. Sad.

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Trumpology is your old uncle with better lighting

“Maniacal” is not a word you care to hear about the president of the United States, especially not from his close adviser. Previously, “maniacal” was reserved for the Joker, Doctor Doom, Dr. No, Lex Luthor, and the boy fuehrer of North Korea, but there it was, uttered by Stephen Bannon to the conservatives congregated in Washington — “maniacally focused” — which tells you why Mr. Bannon is not allowed out very often: he would scare the bejabbers out of the good Republican voters in the Midwest. He is a Crusader and out here in flat country, where we don’t have huge boulders to hide behind, we try to get along with the neighbors.

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Donald Trump’s tremendous Sermon on the Mount

The Lord is my shepherd. OK? Totally. Big league. He is a tremendous shepherd. The best. No comparison. I know more than most people about herding sheep. And that’s why I won the election in a landslide and it’s why my company is doing very very well. Because He said, “I’m with you, Donald. You will never want.”

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Strangers meeting in a snowstorm in Vermont

I flew into Boston in a snowstorm Sunday, coming in low over little white houses in the gray murk, and my connecting flight to Vermont was canceled, so I rented a car and set out into the storm. I had told Vermont I’d be there and once you start canceling things, where do you stop?

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What Mark Twain killed, Donald Trump has revived

The Constitution does not allow 13-year-olds to become president and after last week we can see why. The Boy President proudly holding his latest executive order up for the cameras, to show that he knows right-side-up from upside-down. Bringing his Supreme Court nominee onstage (“So was that a surprise? Was it?”) Hanging up on the prime minister of Australia. His homage to Frederick Douglass (“someone who’s done an amazing job”) for Black History Month. Twittering about the “so-called judge” who stopped the Muslim travel ban. Pictured in full smirk at the National Prayer Breakfast, preening, bloviating (“In towns all across our land, it’s plain to see what we easily forget — so easily we forget this, that the quality of our lives is not defined by our material success, but by our spiritual success”) on a scale of bloviation equal to Warren G. Harding and the great gasbags of the 19th century. You think, let the man be president but please don’t put him in charge of the Weather Service or Amtrak or the TSA.

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Republicans, the nation looks to you

What we know so far is that the man is who he is. There is no larger, finer man inside him trying to get out. Everyone who is paying attention knows this. Flags flying at the Capitol, the U.S. Marine Band, gray eminences in black coats, and He Who Is Smarter than Those With Intelligence delivers 16 minutes of hooey and horse hockey about corrupt politicians betraying the people, and American carnage, and patriotism healing our divisions, though the division is mainly about Himself and love of country does not necessarily make people stupid.

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