All posts by Mark Caleb Smith

Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for Political Studies at Cedarville University.

A Mild Defense of Congress

I could wax eloquent on behalf of used car salesmen, or guard the virtue of attorneys, and even preach on the positivity of out-sourced corporate customer service. All those efforts would pale, it seems, in comparison to a defense of the United States Congress. With approval ratings that read like a Fairbanks weather report, Congress struggles to stave off perceptions of either feckless imbecility or craven self-interestedness. Ideologues and partisans pressure members for purity, sometimes at cross-purposes. RINOs and DINOs… Continue Reading ››

Dunkirk: A Breathtaking Portrayal of a Beautiful Disaster

Turning the battle of Dunkirk into a film presents obvious challenges, for it was less a battle and more a retreat. Filming a strategic withdrawal that occurs at the beginning of a protracted war harbors no obvious moments of glory and only a muted climax. Christopher Nolan, the director and obvious driving force behind the entire production of Dunkirk, is more than up to the task. Dunkirk weaves three separate strands of narrative. The Mole (the soldiers on the beach… Continue Reading ››

Spectre: Russia Investigation Hovers Over Trump

Baby Driver, written and directed by Edgar Wright, is a cinematic marvel. Though ostensibly a heist film from the wheel man’s perspective, it is really a soundtrack with a movie layered on top. Gunshots punctuate the percussion. Disembarkations are done in musical time as precisely as a ballerina’s twirl. Music is not a background element, but an organic component that both propels and reflects the action on screen. If I were sitting in an editing room, trying to splice together… Continue Reading ››

SCOTUS Gets Religious Liberty Right–For Now

The issue seems paltry at first glance. A preschool/daycare affiliated with a church applies for state funding to help with some playground improvements. The goal of the Missouri program is to put recycled tires to good use. Trinity Lutheran Church Child Learning Center’s application for the funding was judged to be fifth out of forty-four applicants, but was ultimately denied on religious grounds. According to the Missouri Constitution, “…That no money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly… Continue Reading ››

In Search of the Ties that Bind

As all our readers know, a deranged gunman opened fire on a group of Republicans in Alexandria, VA this morning. The partisans were preparing for a charity baseball game. As of now, five people were shot, including U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), and the gunman was killed by Capitol Hill Police officers. Nothing I’m about to write should be construed as a way to explain this lunatic’s decision to turn his politics into violence. He chose this. In spite of… Continue Reading ››

Trump and the Consciousness of Guilt

Vincent Bugliosi was a famed criminal attorney. He prosecuted Charles Manson and defended a handful of clients accused of murder. He documented his exploits in Helter Skelter, And the Sea Will Tell, and other true crime tales. In his book Outrage, Bugliosi turned his gaze toward the O.J. Simpson trial, particularly the failure of the prosecution. Bugliosi claimed, grandiosely, he could have convicted Simpson with only a legal pad and a closing argument. Bugliosi’s critique of Simpson’s prosecutors was very… Continue Reading ››

ESPN and Politics

ESPN laid off more than 100 staffers yesterday, ranging from SportsCenter anchors to frontline reporters. Here is a running list of those who lost their jobs. The internet, to put it mildly, was interested. #ESPN was trending on Twitter yesterday. SI.Com ran two stories on the layoffs, including a behind-the-scenes view of what happened and how the news was received. Clay Travis, of Outkick the Coverage, has covered this story and predicted these results for some time. His write-up is… Continue Reading ››

Bereans in Chapel!

This past week, we were asked to serve on a panel during Cedarville’s chapel hour. Dr. White, our president, facilitated the discussion. Topics included: An evaluation of the Trump presidency so far Health Care Immigration News in the era of Fake News Here is link to the audio file. You can download or stream it.