The recent news of positive COVID-19 tests for a valet for President Trump and an aide to Vice President Pence revive a thorny question:  What happens if the president gets sick?  As shown by the corona-related illness of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the virus can incapacitate those in high office.  What happens if we…

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Today, before the heavens poured more rain on us, I conducted a quick tour of four new bookstores in the Washington area. While Barnes & Noble’s retailing strategy in the area involves closing its stores in an agonizingly slow decline to full corporate disappearance, other book retailers are jumping into the market — a heartening…

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More echoes of the benighted Andrew Johnson Administration of 1865-69 reverberate around President Trump with the current logjam at the top of the Consumer Financial Protection Board.  Deputy Director Leandra English asserts the statutory right to direct the agency following the resignation of its director; claiming to act under a different law, President Trump has…

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Wrapping up my blog tour for my historical mystery, The Babe Ruth Deception, I want to honor ten mystery/thriller writers who made me want to write that type of book.  The list reflects my tastes, freely acknowledged here: Not a lot of gore or mass violence.  They’re distractions. Smart, polished writing. Close, loving attention to the people in the…

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Coming home from 17 days in East Africa last month, jazzed by how fascinating our visit had been and conscious of how little I know about Africa, I scooped up Ryszard Kapuscinski’s The Shadow of the Sun while wandering around the Arusha (Tanzania) Airport.  What a stroke of luck! We went to Africa mostly to see…

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I’m delighted to be among the first to proclaim the 225th anniversary of the ratification of America’s Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution.  Those amendments protect individual liberties that Americans hold most dear, and became central to our national character after the Fourteenth Amendment (adopted in 1868) applied them against state…

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When Babe Ruth led the New York Yankees into their first World Series ever in 1921 — 95 years ago — he had just finished what may have been the best season a hitter has ever had:  59 home runs, 161 RBIs, a .378 batting average.  He scored 177 runs.  Opposing teams hated to pitch…

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Babe Ruth was a great pitcher before he was a great hitter.  Doesn’t it seem likely that one of the reasons he was a great hitter was because he had been a great pitcher? Playing for the Boston Red Sox from 1915 to 1918, the Babe was probably the best left-handed pitcher in the American League.  He…

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With less than three weeks to go until my novel concerning Babe Ruth debuts, The Babe Ruth Deception, I find myself wondering why Babe Ruth movies are so bad.  In fairness, though, not all of them are terrible, at least not when he wasn’t the focus of the film. He played himself in The Pride…

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Partly because he loved to play baseball, partly because he loved to spend money, Babe Ruth played lots of exhibition games in the offseason across the country and in the Caribbean.  After his astonishing 1921 season, the formed the Babe Ruth All Stars, which played against multiple Negro League teams, including the Kansas City Monarchs and…

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