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CNN's Jim Acosta walks into federal court in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, to attend a hearing on legal challenge against President Donald Trump's administration. Trump's administration contends it has "broad discretion" to regulate press access to the White House as it fends off a legal challenge from CNN and other outlets over the revocation of Acosta's "hard pass." (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Restoring trust in the press

Reporting the news is difficult and expensive. Grandstanding is more fun and everyone has an opinion. That’s why reporters were once taught, often by a stern taskmaster, to leave opining to the columnists and the editorial page, and save their opinions for after work in the bar across the street. This particular affliction — grandstanding rather than reporting, advocacy rather than observing and distilling those observations before passing them on to press and tube, is the affliction of the modern media. And why not? Talking is cheaper than reporting.

The Capitol is seen in Washington, Monday, Nov. 12, 2018, before Congress returns to work Tuesday for the first time following the midterm elections. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Managing change, preserving what’s important

It’s difficult to deny the ring of truth in certain platitudes. Heads nod in agreement with the wisdom of “change is the only constant in life,” often attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus. But 23 centuries later, French journalist and critic Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr similarly nailed it again with his observation that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Common sense is a convenient tool for sorting out life’s inconsistencies and forming a suitable resolution. Some things change, but not everything, nor should it.

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Fox News announces U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, as the winner over challenger Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, during the Dallas County Republican Party election night watch party on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 at The Statler Hotel in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)

Disappointment for everyone

So much to be outraged about, so little time. The election results, The New York Times said with more than a little understatement, "it wasn't necessarily the night of either party's dreams." The Democrats got the House, though the blue wave that was supposed to wipe out Republicans for a generation was nowhere to be seen.

James Fitzgerald, of Boonsboro, Md., a poll worker for the last four months, sets up a voting booth at Northern Middle School in Hagerstown, Md., Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, on the eve of the 2018 midterm elections. (Colleen McGrath/The Herald-Mail via AP)

Be careful what you wish for

Americans revel in full-contact sport. Football, alas, has replaced baseball as the national pastime. No longer satisfied to put on their favorite team jersey, some parents stoke their competitive fires by dyeing their toddler's hair to match the team colors. But pigskin fanaticism is not politics, and Election Day isn't game day. Flush with acute political angst — some call it a prelude to a second civil war — voters face off Tuesday across the nation. More than bragging rights are at stake — the outcomes will determine decide the nation's future. (If only for the next two years.)

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Ca., speaks during a campaign event for Democratic candidate for Florida governor Andrew Gillum, Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, at Miami Dade College in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

A Halloween leftover

It's fun to dress up on Halloween and pretend to be someone else, the more unlikely the costume the better. The prize for dressing up as the unlikeliest of all goes this year to Kamala Harris, the junior senator from California. With an eye on 2020, and having discovered that millions of Americans are having difficulty paying their taxes and maintaining a comfortable standard of living, she pretends to be Donald Trump the tax-cutter. Just as the ghosts and goblins were gathering for their annual blow-out she introduced something called the Lift the Middle Class Act, providing a tax credit of up to $6,000 to families earning less than $100,000 annually.

Vigilante 'justice'

By the code of the streets, he got what he deserved. Hundreds of the kith and ken of the dozens of men and even some women who died at the hand of James Joseph "Whitey" Bulger would agree. Whitey, the notorious Boston mobster, was killed in prison this week at the age of 89. It was a fitting and violent end to an extraordinarily violent life.

This is a painted rock found Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, part of a makeshift memorial outside the Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, to the 11 people killed during worship services Saturday Oct. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The fruit of religiosity

Authentic religious faith teaches nothing if not the lesson that God breathes into every person a spark of the divine. Some master the core of that authentic religious teaching eagerly, some accept it in stages over a lifetime of experience and, a few, like the man of pure evil at the Pittsburgh synagogue, never get it at all.

People stand cast their ballots ahead of the Tuesday, Nov. 6, general election at Jim Miller Park, Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, in Marietta, Ga. Less than two weeks before Election Day, early voting returns forecast a midterm election turnout not seen in decades, with Republicans and Democrats demonstrating engaged bases on each end of the political spectrum. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Wrecking the vote

Some things are simple and exact, like a chemical formula or the multiplication tables. Equally simple by logic: Everyone who votes should be eligible to vote, and before receiving a ballot should be able to prove it. Voting-rights activists find dark motives in the elementary desire for clean elections, and are eager to cry voter suppression. With the approach of crucial midterms, Americans have every right to make sure their votes still matter when relaxed rules make eligibility irrelevant.

A woman lights a candle, Monday Oct. 29, 2018, at a memorial outside the Tree of Life Synagogue, to one of the 11 people killed when a gunman opened fire during worship at the temple on Saturday Oct 27, 2018 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

A weekend from hell

The unspeakable anger after an unspeakable act, like the synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh and the attempted pipe-bombing assault on senior Democrats, including a former president, always follows as if a ritual. It's now drearily familiar.

This is an undated photo of a portrait of U.S. President Thomas Jefferson by artist Rembrandt Peale.  (AP Photo)

The working press

Almost from the founding of the republic, there has been a vibrant competition between the government and the media for expressing government policy and governing strategy.

U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Beto O'Rourke campaigns at Bert Ogden Arena on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, in Edinburg, Texas. (Joel Martinez/The Monitor via AP)

The fading blue wave

Elections rarely live up to the hype. Reporters and pundits in hot pursuit of clickbait had barely begun recovering from the 2016 election before they began confidently predicting a comeuppance for Donald Trump in the midterm congressional elections.

In this photo released by Saudi Press Agency, SPA, Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman addresses the Future Investment Initiative conference, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. The Crown Prince addressed the summit on Wednesday, his first such comments since the killing earlier this month of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. (Saudi Press Agency via AP)

The Muslim moment

The murder of Jamal Khashoggi encapsulates the crisis which has overtaken 1.5 billion Muslims, 22 percent of world population, their religion and their scattered and widespread civilization.

Better health care, state-style

No one is guaranteed a tomorrow, but expectations run pretty high for happy days in the here and now. Americans consider first-rate health care a right tucked somewhere in the Constitution, between baseball and free hot dogs. The lengthy struggle over the proper role of government in facilitating access to modern medicine — including the grinding Obamacare tug-of-war — has reached an exhausting stalemate. With voters soon to pass judgment on the well-being of the nation, legislators at every level would be advised to get on with devising a health care system that Americans can live with. The key could be loosening the bureaucratic rules and enabling states to do what they were meant to do.

FILE - In this Sept. 4, 2018 file photo, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., speaks during the confirmation hearing of President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Harris is making her debut in South Carolina as a potential presidential candidate and women are thanking the California senator for her role in the Supreme Court confirmation fight over Justice Brett Kavanaugh.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A disguise for Halloween

It's fun to dress up on Halloween and pretend to be someone else. This year, one Washington lawmaker seems set on donning the unlikely costume of President Trump: Kamala Harris. The junior senator from California is masking the fashion of her socialism-infatuated Democratic Party and calling for a lighter tax burden for America's middle class. Politics has always been about serving the needs and wants of constituents, but a Trumpian proposal from a dyed-in-the-wool liberal will fool no one.

Honduras migrants stand on the bridge that stretches over the Suchiate River, connecting Guatemala and Mexico, as they wait to be attended by Mexican migration authorities in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. Despite Mexican efforts to stop them at the border, about 5,000 Central American migrants resumed their advance toward the U.S. border early Sunday in southern Mexico. (AP Photo/Oliver de Ros)

Consequences of the caravan

In love as in politics, timing is everything. Hardball politics is hastening a caravan of immigrants rumbling north toward the United States, on course to arrive sometime around Election Day, Nov. 6. The sight of thousands of illegals from Central America crashing the border could haunt voters as they step into the voting booth. Rather than propel the media-predicted flood of Democratic Party victories, it could have the opposite effect, reinforcing the growing feeling among Americans that they're on the verge of losing their nation. Will Americans decide who crosses the border, or enable prospective immigrants to do it for them.