Climbing the Walls

by Michael Liss What is it about immigration that causes us to lose our minds? I’m not even referring to the absurd spectacle of toilets overflowing at national monuments and hundreds of thousands of federal workers going without pay. In theory, at least, there’s a reason for that: The President promised his supporters a magnificent…

Return to The Atomic Cafe

by Michael Liss Will you know what to do when the atomic bomb drops? This question, and others like it, are vividly on display in the 4K restoration of Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty, and Pierce Rafferty’s 1982 documentary, The Atomic Café. Having seen the movie when it was first released (my kids’ reaction to this information was…

Is 2020 Rabbit Season?

by Michael Liss “You should look into this, perhaps write a little something about it.” When Ed suggested something to you, it always emerged gently from his mouth as if on a cloud, and somehow morphed into a command by the time it reached your ears. He beckoned, I came, and now we were sitting together…

Preston Brooks Canes the Union

by Michael Liss History is fractal. Zoom out, and you see grand themes, mass movements, stirring oratory, and profound ideas. Zoom in, and it is countless individual acts and choices, smaller moments that often seem to be just footnotes, but are, on closer inspection, immensely revealing. On May 22, 1856, South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks…

The 25th and the 45th

by Michael Liss What happens when you get a bunch of lawyers together to discuss the possibility of a coup d’état? A Constitutional coup d’état? Don’t faint. To the obvious disappointment of a journalist who attended, this wasn’t some Trotskyite meeting in a small room with nicotine-stained walls, but a conference at the Fordham University…