By James A. Kidney The worst thing that can happen to an entertainer like Donald Trump happened last week when he tweeted the visual of his faux physical attack on CNN. Trump jumped the shark. He is not only a boor, which we have known for years, but his antics are old and tired. Of course, he is still news. He is still a huge, perhaps existential, threat to our Constitution and even our world. But his personality, upon which he relies for his dwindling popularity, has moved from entertaining or curious to “what else is new?” If you are unfamiliar with the term “jump the shark,” it means that a tv series has outlived its entertainment value. It originates from a really boring, extended shot of the Fonz in the 1970s show “Happy Days” water skiing over a shark. That was viewed by critics as a sign the show … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney There is a battle going on in Washington. No, not health care. Not Democrats and Republicans, either; at least, not the current crop. It is being fought at two corners of Constitution Avenue and 14th Street, N.W. It is a battle in which we all are winners. I am speaking of the “battle” between the newly energized Smithsonian National Museum of American History and the nine-month-old Smithsonian Museum of African-American History and Culture. Don’t let anyone tell you there is not competition among the Smithsonians in Washington. As a volunteer at both of the aforementioned, I can assure you that, although it is friendly, these museums across 14th Street from each other know they are competing. It is a grand contest. African-American opened last September with a speech from President Obama and has been pretty much packed ever since — deservedly so. It is a wonderful … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney The Supreme Court appeared split 4-4 Tuesday during oral arguments over whether the family of an unarmed Mexican teenager can sue the U.S. Border Patrol agent who shot and killed him. The agent was on U.S. soil firing into Mexico to kill the boy. You can find the details here and here. The matter was being argued before the Court. A decision is expected by summer. But the description of the argument raises troubling issues. Foremost among them, but not directly raised in the dignified court arguments 20,000 feet above reality: Is it OK for the Border Patrol and civilians to kill Mexicans across the border without liability to the families of those murdered, or even to the country whose land was invaded by U.S. bullets? Briefly, an unarmed teen-aged Mexican was playing with friends at a culvert dividing the two countries. The game was to … Read more of this post . . .
by James A. Kidney I was fortunate enough to get a sneak preview of the new National Museum of African- American History and Culture (“the African American Museum”) on the National Mall six days before it is to be formally opened to the public with a ceremony featuring the President. It is the nearest building on the Mall east of the Washington Monument and is across 14th Street from the Museum of American History. One of my first questions when I plan to visit a city for a couple of days is whether it has a museum. If the answer is affirmative, I always visit it. I am familiar with many museums around the world and, as a native Washingtonian, the Smithsonian museums in particular. I am no curatorial expert, but believe I know a good museum when I see one. In my judgment, the African-American Museum is spectacular. It is a model which … Read more of this post . . .