Recent Posts by Tim Rutten

Note to Donald Trump: Interrogation Under Torture Just Doesn’t Work

Of all the things I ever anticipated about the pursuit of opinion journalism, having to argue against torture was not one of them. And yet here we are again. The Bush-Cheney White House took advantage of the panicked aftermath to 9/11 to make the torture of captured Islamic extremists national policy, and had the CIA put together a secret international gulag in which to work their will out of sight. There’s probably a psychoanalytic explanation for all this—Bush and Cheney’s guilt over failure to prevent the deaths of so many Americans; perhaps panic over the blow to their masculinity delivered by ...

The People v. O. J. Simpson: Recalling the Trial and Johnnie Cochran

I’ve always been fascinated by space exploration and, as a boy, watched all of the Mercury, Gemini and early Apollo manned launches on television. Nowadays, I take a keen interest in the Martian exploration directed from the nearby Jet Propulsion Laboratory. But in all the imaginative literature about man’s adventures into the cosmos, I don’t think there was anyone who foresaw what actually has occurred—that we would go to the moon, and then, just stop going. It’s been more than half a century since the crew of Apollo 17 set foot on the lunar surface and there currently are no ...

Critics of Obama’s Mosque Visit are Profoundly Mistaken

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President Barack Obama’s remarks during his visit to a Maryland mosque this week were as uplifting as the immediate reaction to them was wearily depressing. Like the best of his addresses on race, ethnicity and religion, the president’s address to the congregants of the Islamic Center of Baltimore was thoughtful, humane, generous in spirit and faithful to the realities of our national history. It is in settings such as the mosque that Obama’s appeals to the better angels of our nature are most persuasive. This one is worth reading at length, and you can read the full text of his remarks ...

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