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There are no good outcomes: Thoughts on Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and impeachment

January 31, 2020

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comJan. 31, 2020 Author’s note: This post contains brief references to sexual assault and suicide. MEM Over the years, I’ve come to believe something that I suspected but tried to suppress at the time: That Bill Clinton disgraced and endangered his office of the presidency by conducting an extramarital affair in the […]

President Donald Trump’s Dec. 17, 2019, message to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on impeachment

December 17, 2019

Author’s note: President Trump’s letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on impeachment is widely available on the web in portable document format. However, I wanted to present it in text form, as many readers, myself included, find that easier to absorb. I’ll have some comments on the president’s message in an upcoming post. […]

Donald Trump and Barack Obama: Examining off-the-cuff American history lessons from our two most recent presidents

May 3, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken May 3, 2017 I was tickled to my cynical core Monday morning when I learned that President Donald Trump had bloviated about Andrew Jackson, one of his antecedents in the Oval Office, and the Civil War. After all, who better than Trump — who in February became the first to discover, regarding health […]

Why #ImWithHer: Considering Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

November 7, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken Nov. 7, 2016 On Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, I will vote for Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States of America. The Democratic candidate is an imperfect individual, but she is eminently qualified to serve as president, and I expect her to be an acceptable — and […]

Man on the run: Contemplating the intent and the future of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign

April 5, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken April 5, 2016 Eight days ago, a hitherto obscure public relations expert and New York University adjunct professor named Stephanie Cegielski generated a great deal of attention when she wrote an open letter explaining why she would no longer support Donald Trump’s run for president. The most notable thing about the letter […]

Two more major reasons why (some) people love Donald Trump

March 9, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken March 9, 2016 I wrote the other day that Donald Trump had bragged: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” I found that outlandish claim to be eminently believable, in part because voters supported Trump in large numbers after he issued that boast […]

The entertainer: Exploring why Donald Trump fans adore Donald Trump

March 5, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken March 5, 2016 If Donald Trump is so loathsome, why is he so beloved, or at least appealing? The short answer is that Trump isn’t that well-liked among the general population, even when “general population” is defined as Republicans who have participated in a primary or caucus this year. As Nate Silver […]

Whither America? The nation marks its 244th birthday in troubled circumstances

July 4, 2020

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comJuly 4, 2020 As America celebrates 244 years since it declared independence from Great Britain, I find it hard to be optimistic about the state of the union. I find it hard to be optimistic when the United States has been ravaged by Covid-19, sustaining more infections and deaths than any other […]

Washington Post reporters chronicle a chaotic White House in ‘A Very Stable Genius’

June 30, 2020

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comJune 30, 2020 Multiple books have been written about Donald Trump’s presidency by insiders or former insiders, or by journalists with access to such people. John Bolton’s recent publication, The Room Where It Happened, is but the latest example. But no matter the author, or the author’s ideology, the fundamental story remains […]

Covid-19 diary: Part 12

May 31, 2020

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comMay 31, 2020 One of the problems with having a scatterbrained lout like Donald Trump lead of the free world is that he does so many mendacious and malicious things that it’s virtually impossible to keep track of them all. I realized recently that my catalog of the inadequacies and missteps of […]

Covid-19 diary: Part 10

May 26, 2020

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comMay 26, 2020 The United States has started to reopen after around two months in which vast swathes of the public have been strongly encouraged to stay home. I’ve looked on this partial return to normalcy with major misgivings. As of Tuesday evening, according to data kept by The New York Times, […]

Surveying the Democratic presidential campaign

March 3, 2020

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comMarch 3, 2020 As the rain fell this afternoon, I drove to a nearby elementary school and cast a ballot in North Carolina’s primary election. I am not a Democrat; back in the spring of 2004, shortly after my move to the Old North State, I registered as an unaffiliated voter. But […]

Let’s look back on four years of fun and adventure as leap day comes to a close!

February 29, 2020

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comFeb. 29, 2020 How’s your leap day been? Feb. 29 comes no more than once every four years, so I hope you’ve had a special one! Just think: Four years ago, we had no idea that Donald Trump would… • lose the popular vote — by a lot! — but win the […]

The theoretical impartial senator and the very real imperial president: Thoughts on the impeachment trial

January 29, 2020

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comJan. 29, 2020 If there were such a thing as a truly impartial senator, then he or she might be in quite a pickle right now. Before start of the ongoing proceedings against the president, senators took the following oath: “I solemnly swear [or affirm] that in all things appertaining to the trial […]

What if the Senate impeachment trial results in conviction?

January 24, 2020

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comJan. 24, 2019 2020 I’d originally planned to post a review of Ted Chiang’s outstanding recent anthology Exhalation this week, but life got in the way. There was the big January charity Scrabble tournament, which took up most of Saturday and Sunday and about half of Monday. Then, of course, the impeachment […]

Marriage, money and inequality haunt the four March sisters of Greta Gerwig’s strangely delightful ‘Little Women’

December 30, 2019

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comDec. 30, 2019 Little Women, Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of the classic Louisa May Alcott novel, is a charming chronicle of a Massachusetts family, particularly the challenges faced by the four young daughters. Alcott’s book, published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869, was based on her own life. In reality, her family […]

President Trump’s impeachment message to the Speaker of the House: A close read

December 18, 2019

By Matthew E. MillikenMEMwrites.wordpress.comDec. 18, 2019 Let’s look at some of the more interesting parts of the letter that President Trump sent yesterday to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. This impeachment represents an unprecedented and unconstitutional abuse of power by Democrat Lawmakers… Two American presidents have been impeached to date; Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 when […]

A rudderless prodigy enters a bizarre tournament in a distant, barbaric space empire in Iain Banks’s ‘The Player of Games’

July 17, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken July 17, 2019 Iain Banks’s 1987’s novel Consider Phlebas chronicled a shape-shifting secret agent undertaking a dangerous secret mission on behalf of the Idirans, a species of giant three-legged lizards locked in a bloody galactic struggle with a foe called the Culture. The following year, the British author published the second entry […]

In the executive and judicial branches, Trump appointees will advance ever more severe conservative principles

July 20, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken July 20, 2018 When the history of Donald Trump’s presidential administration is written, a chapter will likely be devoted to Scott Pruitt’s feckless reign over the Environmental Protection Agency. The former Oklahoma attorney general’s 17-month tenure at EPA was a microcosm of Trump’s chaotic rule. Disdain for science, contempt for […]

Rebels on the run: The evil First Order tirelessly hunts good guys in the sprawling ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’

May 4, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken May 3, 2018 Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the eighth entry in the projected nine-movie space opera sequence that George Lucas launched in 1977, is a messy but entertaining addition to the saga. Writer-director Rian Johnson, who’s best known for the 2012 time-traveling drama Looper, splits his sequel to 2015’s The Force […]

Thoughts on James Comey, the law-enforcement official who helped elect a corrupt president

April 21, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken April 21, 2018 When Donald Trump’s rampage through politics is fictionalized — assuming civilization survives the Trump administration — the figure of one James Comey will loom large. This will be especially true, I imagine, in any operas that might be written about final days of the 2016 campaign and […]

The movie version of ‘The Martian’ is surprisingly relevant to our historical moment

February 28, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken Feb. 28, 2018 Mars isn’t a very hospitable environment for humans. It’s cold and it lacks breathable atmosphere, accessible water and arable soil. In short, you wouldn’t want to be left behind there by your five crewmates when your base is suddenly hit by a massive sandstorm and a piece […]

My public comment in support of preserving America’s national monuments

July 12, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken July 12, 2017 On Monday, I happened across this essay by Brent Rose about more than two dozen national monuments that could lose their protected status. This spring, after President Donald Trump ordered Ryan Zinke, the Secretary of the Interior, to conduct a review process that may lead to the revocation […]

The 2016 ‘Star Trek’ movie urged viewers to tolerate and embrace differences even as some Americans sought safety in homogeneity

April 28, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken April 28, 2017 Author’s note: I am once again on a bit of a Star Trek kick. Having just written, respectively, about the most recent and the first Trek movies, I now intend to discuss the cultural and political implications of the latest Star Trek and Star Wars features (that’s the purpose of this post). Be […]

Two reporters search for truth in the nation’s capital in the taut 2009 thriller ‘State of Play’

April 18, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken April 18, 2017 State of Play, the 2009 feature starring Russell Crowe and Rachel McAdams as Washington newspaper reporters, is a well-paced political thriller with some conventional notions about power and some curious notions about journalism. The movie, co-written by Matthew Michael Carnahan (World War Z, Deepwater Horizon), Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton, Duplicity and Rogue One) and Billy Ray (Breach, Shattered […]