What follows is a quick note about a political story that is more significant than it might seem. Jonathan Martin of The New York Times last night reported the following:

Calling former President Donald J. Trump “a cancer for the country,” Representative Anthony Gonzalez, Republican of Ohio, said in an…


A number of subscribers have asked about the gubernatorial recall referendum in California. Following are the basics:

(1) Election Day is 14 September, 2021.

(2) All “active” registered voters in California are eligible to vote. Every one of them has already received a ballot in the mail. All mail-in ballots…


Afghanistan. Lynsey Addario for Getty Images.

What do you suppose the chances are that Secretary of State Anthony Blinken thinks the U.S. abandonment of Afghanistan — the “handover to the Taliban,” as Former U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker put it the other day — is a good idea? “None” would be…


Illusion #1: Biden is not too old.

People who have been around American politics for a long time know Joe Biden well. The eldest among them have known Joe Biden for nearly five decades. What they will tell you is that he didn’t seem to age during his two terms…


One of the staples of the 2021 political news diet is: “Whither the GOP?” Political journalists of all stripes weigh in on this subject in “big picture” analysis pieces and countless opinion columns. Various Republican “strategists” you’ve never heard of offer their views on the subject on cable news networks…


What follows is a short piece about the gubernatorial recall campaign in California. It’s taken from the Weekend News Items newsletter. To sign up for News Items, click here.

Is it possible that California will have a Republican governor this fall? Yes, it is. It’s not probable, but it’s possible.


News Items is a collection of news stories, commentaries, analyses, essays and research reports that I think are interesting or important (or both). The items are usually 2 or 3 sentences long.

The preamble to the daily dispatch describes what News Items is about:

Three baskets: (1) World in Disarray…


News Items “covers” three baskets: (1) World in Disarray, (2) Financialization of Everything and (3) Advances in Science and Technology. The bonus basket: Electoral politics in the US and around the world. It’s distributed mornings before 7am, six days a week, not Sundays. Contributors: Ema Schumer and Jack Ellis. That’s…


In the Nicklaus-Palmer-Watson era, professional golfers, after playing their rounds, smoked, drank, “lay with pretty women,” never (ever) went to the gym. One of the things that Tiger Woods brought to the game was the idea that you had to be in peak physical condition to compete. Another was iron…


Are we looking at Big Joe Biden? It doesn’t feel that way, when you watch the president on television. As Andrew Sullivan wrote after last year’s first presidential debate: “The age issue — however unfair — remains….In the primary debates, he managed at times to look vigorous, even sharp, to…

John Ellis

Founder and Editor, News Items. Political analyst. Founder of and contributing editor to Bird News Items. Former columnist for The Boston Globe.

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