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Defining hardscape and how to use it

Curb appeal is beneficial in various ways. Curb appeal can make a home more attractive to prospective buyers and give existing homeowners a place they want to come home to. In its study of the worth of outdoor remodeling projects, the National Association of Realtors found standard lawn care ...

Roe v. Wade is yesterday’s fight

If the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade, the right to an abortion might no longer be law of the land. But the ability to obtain one would remain a fact of the land. It might be harder to end a pregnancy in some states, but there would be no returning to the pre-Roe world. That's ...

Trump’s NATO ask is reasonable

No doubt President Donald Trump, visiting four countries in Europe this week, expected a frosty reception from some leaders. Those whose nations are members of NATO are upset with Trump for demanding they pay a fairer share of the alliance’s defense costs. Some already do bear reasonable ...

Our strange relationship with the word ‘patriotism’

There are many definitions of patriotism. Mark Twain said patriotism means supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it. I like this, but it's flawed. Sometimes your country -- i.e., the people -- can do things that require the government to correct its ...

Shooting ourselves in the foot when it comes to international trade

The Canadian government, lining the pockets of its dairy producers, imposes high tariffs on American dairy imports. That forces Canadians to pay higher prices for dairy products. For example, Canadians pay $5.24 for a 10.5-ounce block of cheddar. In Washington, D.C., that same amount of ...

Don’t let reveling ruin our natural places

It’s as simple as removing shoes when entering a friend’s home, but for some reason throngs of visitors to the Grand Traverse region don’t see fit to pick up after themselves. Most who flock to northern Michigan’s breathtaking natural places take thoughtful steps to “leave no ...

At Marquette, conservatives got it wrong in speech case

WASHINGTON — Free speech won; decency lost. This has become such a common observation that it hardly merits a headline. But in a Wisconsin Supreme Court case resolved Friday, the plaintiff was that rarest of victors these days — a conservative professor defending his freedom of speech ...

America at 242: A nation of self-imposed segregation

A recent editorial cartoon by artist Gary Varvel features what appears to be a biracial couple at the maitre d' podium at an upscale restaurant. The pompous-looking greeter's line has stuck in my mind ever since I saw the cartoon in my local newspaper: "Dinner for two ... liberal or ...

Drawing conclusions about Senate race

One of the reasons voters like debates is it gives them a chance to compare and contrast the candidates and discern differences that could help the citizen make a decision on whom to support. That was the intent behind the recent joint TV appearance with John James and Sandy Pensler and ...

Something has to be done about burgeoning deficit

The $21.2 trillion national debt today is worrisome enough. But it is going to get worse, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. You may want to sit down for this: Within 30 years, the national debt will top $100 trillion, if nothing changes, the CBO is ...

The truth behind what is Amy Coney Barrett’s ‘cult’

When Notre Dame law professor and possible Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett was nominated for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, her affiliation with a religious group called People of Praise raised red flags. It was some sort of cult, they implied. Sen. Dianne Feinstein famously ...

What might a socialist American government do?

Polly: He's a socialist but he doesn't like people. Brian: Nor do I, much. Polly: You're a conservative. You don't have to. — From "Getting On," by Alan Bennett WASHINGTON — This, one of the pleasures of being a conservative, is not for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 28. She ...

Taking the Benjamin Disraeli test

Benjamin Disraeli, a 19th-century British prime minister and writer, shrewdly advised that to be a successful political leader, a man (even though it was the Victorian era, it was still a man's game) must first know himself and then know and understand the times in which he ...

Will the odd couple narrow the U.S.-Mexico gap?

Will NAFTA survive? Last week, Mexico elected as president longtime NAFTA critic Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (always called "AMLO") by a wide margin. He promptly had a cordial telephone conversation with longtime NAFTA critic President Donald Trump, who remains U.S. president for the next 30 ...

Readers find things we all can agree on

Relax, America. It’s OK to talk to your neighbors again. I have proof that we are not as hopelessly and irretrievably different from one another as our recent political differences would suggest. What is this proof? “Michigan roads suck.” That’s one of the indisputable comments ...

How to protect democracy

There was a time in recent history when conservatives understood the dangers of an imperial presidency. I, along with most conservative commentators, railed against the overreach of the Obama administration in everything from health care to environmental policy. Even when I agreed with the ...

Is populism a bless or curse? 

As we celebrate our nation's 242nd birthday, America is caught up in a populist moment. Whether this is a good thing or not depends largely upon how you define populism. For some, populism is nothing more than a belief that, in America, the people are supposed to be in charge. It's ...

Asylum phenomenon on the southern border

People hoping to settle in the United States wait years for a green card to be legal residents. They play by the rules. These law-abiding newcomers must feel like idiots, watching what's happening on the southern border. Hundreds of thousands of Central American migrants are walking ...

After the attack in Annapolis, the anger stage of grief

It's a big deal, as a journalist, to work for The New York Times, The Washington Post or The Wall Street Journal. Wielding the press badge of one of the biggest newspapers in the country is a fast-track pass onto talk shows, including ones that cover the practice of journalism. Even as just ...

Trump is turning America into a TV reality show

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump's greatest political trick in his first term may be his success in dominating our public discourse with lies and distortions while leading the discrediting of the constitutionally protected freedom of the press. At every opportunity, even as the Fourth Estate has ...