Jeff Jacoby
Jeff Jacoby
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Latest Articles

In nature and in government, sunsets are beautiful

May 16, 2021  •  The Boston Globe

YOU WOULDN'T think Thomas Jefferson would have anything to contribute to the looming legislative clash over the Massachusetts film tax credit, but history can surprise you.

Writing from Paris to James Madison in 1789, Jefferson argued that every law ought to have an expiration date. Once a law is in place, he contended, the impediments to undoing its flaws can be intractable. Political pressure and the influence of vested interests often make it impossible to dislodge a bad or outdated measure. So it should be evident "to every practical man," Jefferson remarked, "that a law of limited duration is much more manageable than one which needs a repeal."

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A Democrat in the White House? Cue the FDR analogies

May 12, 2021  •  The Boston Globe

WISHFUL COMPARISONS of President Biden to Franklin Delano Roosevelt have been coming fast and furious.

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Cancelling 'anti-Semitism'

May 9, 2021  •  The Boston Globe

IT ISN'T OFTEN that a hyphen, or the absence of one, draws attention. But when the Associated Press announced recently that it was changing the spelling of "anti-Semite" and "anti-Semitism" in its highly influential style guide to "antisemite" and "antisemitism," it made news — and drew cheers from historians and civil rights activists.

There is a good deal of history behind that detail of punctuation, and it begins with the fact that the father of "anti-Semitism" was an antisemite.

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Is America racist? Kamala Harris and Tim Scott say no.

May 5, 2021  •  The Boston Globe

LAST WEEK, from opposite ends of the political spectrum, two of America's most prominent Black elected officials affirmed that the United States is not a racist nation.

The first was Senator Tim Scott, the conservative South Carolina Republican who delivered the GOP response to President Biden's address to Congress on Wednesday.

"Hear me clearly: America is not a racist country," Scott said. He acknowledged that racial bigotry has not been eradicated — indeed, he said, he has himself "experienced the pain of discrimination." But he insisted that race not be deployed as "a political weapon" and that "it's wrong to try to use our painful past to dishonestly shut down debates in the present."

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A jewel in the crown of California's democracy

May 2, 2021  •  The Boston Globe

CALIFORNIA'S SECRETARY of state made it official on Monday: The drive to recall Governor Gavin Newsom from office has qualified for the ballot. For only the second time in history, voters in the nation's largest state will decide in a special election whether to give their governor the boot before his term is up and replace him with someone else.

To trigger a recall vote, Newsom's opponents had to gather at least 1,495,709 valid voter signatures — the equivalent of 12 percent of all ballots cast in the last gubernatorial election. They surpassed that threshold easily, submitting well over 1.6 million, with additional signatures still waiting to be verified and tallied.

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