February 8, 2023

Isiah Smith, Jr. | Author

Isiah Smith, Jr. is a retired government attorney. He was born in Blakely, Georgia, but considers Miami, Florida, his adopted hometown.

Starting the Year with Hope

Jan. 14, 2023

My wife and I return from several weeks in Sweden and Italy with renewed feelings of hope. Taking a page from the Greek Stoics, we resolve to worry only about those things which we can control. It is humbling to realize how short that list is, and how painfully long the list is of the thi... Read More >>

A Season for Second Chances

Dec. 17, 2022


“Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.” —Thomas Jefferson

As 2022 draws mercifully to a close, putting to rest yet another annus mirabilis, it is customary to pause, peer back at the year in repose, make new plans, then pr... Read More >>

1943: The Gathering Storm

Nov. 5, 2022

“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.” —Leonardo de Vinci

1943 proved to be a critical year in the annals of American history. That year foreshadowed the disruptions that impact our lives to this day. On Jan. 1, Project Y—The Manhat... Read More >>

The Man Who Hated Women

Sept. 24, 2022

The Dobbs v. Jackson decision presented the Supreme Court with an opportunity to reaffirm women’s right to choose and to reassure them that the law respected their lives and their dignity. Justice Alito declined that opportunity, however, and instead gave them Hale.


The Sun Sets on the Right to Privacy

Aug. 6, 2022

It turns out that all we have to fear is the Supreme Court itself.

Alexander Hamilton thought the judiciary was the least dangerous branch of government since it controlled no armies and lacked spending power. It had neither force nor will. All the judiciary had was its judgments.... Read More >>

Slouching Toward Reform

June 25, 2022

A recent Pew Research Center study found that only 2 in 10 Americans say they trust the government in Washington to do what is right. Trust in the government has declined somewhat since last year, when 24 percent said they could trust the government at least most of the time. The Brooking... Read More >>

Reading as a Subversive Act

May 7, 2022

In Reading Dangerously, Azar Nafisi writes that books “represent the unruly world, filled with contradictions and complications, a world that threatens the totalitarian mindset by being beyond its control.” Perhaps that is why numerous governors and school boards in A... Read More >>

Diplomatic Dreams of Russia

March 19, 2022

Russia’s unprovoked aggression in Ukraine has the West, and the rest of the world, scrambling to understand Putin’s motives and motivations. Churchill’s description of Russia rings as accurate today as it did in 1939, when he said, “Russia is a riddle, wrapped in a... Read More >>

Running Out the Clock

Nov. 27, 2021

As the birthdays accumulate, piling up like so many layers of dry leaves freshly fallen on fallow ground, one can’t resist the urge to ask, for the 73rd time, “What’s next?” It’s both a micro question, like “What to write next?” and a macro one: &... Read More >>

A Clearing in the Distance

Oct. 2, 2021

“It feels as if nothing can be overcome. Everything is being relitigated.” – Maureen Dowd

The halfway point of our 34-mile bike ride is Harbor Springs – our favorite destination, rich with Michigan history. 

Ancient glaciers wrote the ...

Einstein: Civil Rights Icon

Aug. 7, 2021

More words have been written about Albert Einstein than almost any person who has ever lived. In all those mountains of words, consisting of facts every reasonable well-educated student knows, there is almost no mention of his devotion to civil rights.

Books about Einstein continu...

The Big Tech Threat

June 12, 2021

Behind every great fortune lies a great crime. — Honore de Balzac

Big Tech is not really who we think they are.  We think they are simply hotbeds of innovation that represent the pinnacle of human ingenuity and creativity.  They are also symbols of technol... Read More >>

Racism is Having a Moment

May 1, 2021

It pierced me to my core when I read the local news accounts of the racist Snapchat that several students from TCAPS and other local school districts had exchanged messages on a “Slave Trade” Snapchat group, in which they posted racist, homophobic, antisemitic, anti-disability... Read More >>

The DIY Lobotomy

April 17, 2021

“Did you read the review in The New Yorker of the new Philip Roth biography?” I asked my well-read conservative cousin. (Yes, Black conservatives do exist!)

“No,” he responded. “I don’t read The New Yorker; too liberal.”<... Read More >>

That Good Thing That Trump Did

Feb. 13, 2021

“Each of us is more than the worst thing we've ever done.” — Bryan Stevenson, in his 2014 memoir, "Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption."

Leo Tolstoy wrote, “There are no conditions to which a man may not become accustomed, particular... Read More >>

Till It's Over, Part 1 & 2

Jan. 16, 2021

Whew! Glad that's over. It looks like we have survived the worst!

As America's annus horribilis limps to a merciful close, we must resist the impulse to celebrate, assuming the worse is over. While it is true that we somehow managed to avoid a total American apocalypse, we came al... Read More >>

The Drugging of the American Mind

Nov. 28, 2020

America’s war on drugs was a fraud. Paraphrasing Shakespeare, it was a “tale … full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Nothing, that is, but a pretext to punish disfavored individuals and groups. Addicts needing medical care were treated like hardened crimina... Read More >>

What Are You Gonna Tell Her?

Oct. 10, 2020

Ludwig Van Beethoven wrote, “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy. Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks, and invents.”     

Two new songs by country music singer Mickey Guyton accomplish that and... Read More >>

Truman and the Dawning of McCarthyism

Aug. 8, 2020

Picture it: The last day of July 2020. We are social distancing in a backyard in Traverse City, with friends, bemoaning the state of our country. We represent different cultures, ethnicities, and national origins. We are united in our despair.

“How did this happen?” so...

Chess in the Time of Corona

June 6, 2020

Benjamin Franklin was a serious chess player who was captivated by the game’s metaphorical possibilities. During the American Revolution, Franklin was playing chess when his French opponent put Franklin’s king in check. The rules required Franklin to protect the king, but inst... Read More >>