George Washington versus Chuck Hagel on Military Chaplains

In the world according to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, military chaplains are not essential personnel who can continue working during a government shutdown. But family counselors are. George Washington must be spinning in his grave. Indeed, Hagel must have worked really hard to twist existing congressional provisions into a prohibition on paying chaplains. The […]

The Founders, the Ugly Fact of Slavery…..And What We Do With That Today

It seems almost inevitable.  If the Founders are extolled as wise men who gave us great and abiding constitutional principles that mean something, someone will bring up slavery.  The contempt drips from their voices.  They roll their eyes.  HOW can you admire the Founders?  HOW can you value anything they have to say?  They owned slaves!  Period. […]

FDR, the Constitution, and Obamacare

  What on earth does FDR — an early 20th century President — have to do with 21st century health care issues like Obamacare?  More than you might think. FDR laid the groundwork for American expectations that the federal government could intervene in matters such as health care.  He did this despite language to the contrary […]

#TDIH — America’s First Thanksgiving Proclamation

On this day in 1789, George Washington issued his first Thanksgiving Proclamation.  Earlier in the week, Congress had asked him to do so. Interestingly, the congressional request for thanksgiving and prayer came mere days after the Congress had approved several constitutional amendments, including the one that would eventually become the First Amendment to the United […]