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Theo Emery
Washington, DC
Theo Emery is a freelance reporter and writer based in Washington, DC.
Recent Activity
A new week, and the president's troubles continue to mount. His porn star problem. His special prosecutor problem. His gun problem. And now, come Monday morning, his Putin problem. On Monday morning, the Trump administration ordered the expulsion of 60 Russians -- 48 diplomats and 12 intelligence officers -- in response to what Britain and the US believe was a Kremlin assassination attempt, using a banned chemical weapons agent, of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Salisbury, England, earlier this month. He also ordered the Russian consulate in Seattle closed. The expulsion was an extraordinary act against the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2018 at Hot Type
As my last post indicates, my neglect of this blog is profound. Which is why it's all the more embarrassing that my book Hellfire Boys came out in November and I didn't even post so much as a word about it. So here's the belated correction to that: a link to my Web site, in all its glory. From the Washington Post review: "Though squarely a crackling history, “Hellfire Boys” is also a relevant primer on the past 100 years and on a kind of total warmaking that continues to haunt us — sometimes from another hemisphere, sometimes in our... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2018 at Hot Type
Monday was my first day back at my desk after a parental sabbatical. My book Hellfire Boys had been published, and wobbly stacks of used books on a half-dozen potential topics for future research framed my laptop screen. I clawed through unopened bills and paperwork. Unmailed Christmas cards sat next to my keyboard. Crumpled receipts littering my desktop reminded me that April 15 is right around the corner. I began the day determined to restart my on-again, off-again blogging that I had doggedly begun years ago with my site Hot Type. I had started it to plug back into the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2018 at Hot Type
My take in the New York Times on chemical weapons and the threat of war on the Korean Peninsula. Read the article here: The war of words between President Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un over Pyongyang’s nuclear program has rattled nerves around the world. But the trial of two women in Malaysia for using the nerve agent VX to kill Mr. Kim’s half brother is a reminder that North Korea’s lethal arsenal isn’t limited to nuclear weapons. The North’s chemical weapons pose a grave risk to South Korea and to regional stability. Experts say chemical munitions have... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2017 at Hot Type
A week and a half after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz delivered a blunt message to President Trump on Friday evening: "I am asking the president of the United States to make sure that somebody is in charge that is up to the task of saving lives." "If anybody out there is listening to us, we are dying, and you are killing us with the inefficiency, and the bureaucracy," she said, struggling to contain her emotions. "If we don't get the food and water into people's hands, we are going to... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2017 at Hot Type
Sunday morning dawned hot and clear over Washington, a lazy day that meant rest for some and prayer for others. At the Episcopal Ascension Church in Silver Spring, the reading was from Matthew 20:1-16, the parable of the workers: "So the last will be first, and the first will be last." When the service ended, some in the congregation streamed toward the coffee in the fellowship hall, while others headed for the doors. For some of them, no doubt, Sunday also meant NFL game day By the time football-loving church members reached home, a day of rest had become a... Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2017 at Hot Type
As the lights dimmed in my local multiplex, latecomers to the sold-out Wonder Woman screening fumbled through the darkened aisles. Parents shushed their young children. A woman to my right, who had been chatting excitedly with the man next to her, fell silent as the trailers began. The July opening of Wonder Woman was an exuberant, pop-culture moment, and my wife and I wanted to share the thrill of being among the first to see the powerful female superhero Diana bound onto the big screen. The daughter of a god, she is a peerless warrior, a female paladin protected with... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2017 at Hot Type
Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was killed with the nerve agent VX when he died in Malaysia on February 13, the New York Times is reporting. VX is one of the deadliest chemical weapons agents in existence. The full story is here: Continue reading
Posted Feb 23, 2017 at Hot Type
The first words of every new president are carefully parsed, but two words in particular stood out in President Trump's inaugural address on Friday. Partway through his speech, the president called for "a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power." "From this day forward, it’s going to be only 'America first, America first,'" he said, as the crowd on the National Mall broke out in applause. Despite Mr. Trump's assertion, "America First" is hardly a new decree at all. Some observers quickly pointed out that "America First" was a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2017 at Hot Type
ISIS has used chemical weapons at least 52 times since 2014, according to the New York Times. The IHS Conflict Monitor, a London-based intelligence analysis service, compiled the information based on local news reports, ISIS propaganda, and social media. Mosul has been the epicenter of such attacks -- roughly one-third of the chemical weapons attacks took place in the city, which Iraqi forces and its allies have launched an offensive to retake from ISIS, also known as Islamic State, ISIL or Daesh. Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2016 at Hot Type
America was in a frenzy by election day. In a blistering speech, a former Republican president warned that the nation teetered on a precipice with a bleak future ahead if the Democrat prevailed. The Democrat spoke confidently of continued prosperity, promising to keep the country out of a barbaric war that had turned a distant continent into an abattoir. Turmoil in Mexico sent residents scrambling over the border. Headlines in West Virginia reported ballot stuffing. The outlook was too close to call, but favored the Republican, who voted in his home city of New York. A century ago this week,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2016 at Hot Type
On a cold and raw spring afternoon in the thick of World War I, James Thayer Addison returned to his wartime billet in Humes, France, to find several packages waiting for him. It was April 24, 1918, and the U.S. Army chaplain was thousands of miles from home and only a few miles from the front. Addison, the pastor for the 30th Engineers (Gas and Flame), known as the Hellfire Regiment, had spent part of the day visiting a hospitalized fellow officer whose hand been mangled in a training accident with a grenade. Returning home on that dank day, he... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2016 at Hot Type
January blew in with a blast of snow and rattling wind that scraped across the Midwest and the Northeast. Welcome to 2014, and please turn up the heat. For many, the new year arrived with popped corks and showers of confetti. But the holiday also has a somewhat gloomy underpinning, thanks to the prognostications of historians mulling over the upcoming 100-year anniversary of the start of World War I. From this glum centennial crowd comes a raft of resolutions: avoid sweets and excessive drinking, go to the gym more often, and don't start World War III. Some, like Margaret Macmillan,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2014 at Hot Type
Piety being a recommended trait for elected officials in Washington, no doubt some members of Congress in Shutdown City begin the week with admonitions from the pulpit ringing in their ears. At the Red Mass at St. Matthew's Cathedral, Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas delivered a plea for overcoming "petty partisanship and ever-politicizing rhetoric" on Sunday. For senators who, say, failed to set their alarm in time for services, they can expect a rumbling tongue-lashing from Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black when the chamber returns today at 2 p.m. “Save us from the madness,”he said last week. The junior senator... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2013 at Hot Type
On Saturday morning -- day five of the government shutdown -- a friend and I met up to juggle. We both learned circus skills years ago, and both of us have clowned at one time or another. Not metaphorical clowning, actual clowning -- unicycles, red foam noses, performances in front of giggling children. Neither one of us have done it for years, but both of us want to keep from getting too rusty. We meet up every few weeks, spend a few hours talking politics and current events as we juggle, trying not to bean the goggle-eye children who suddenly... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2013 at Hot Type
Spring has sprung but winter lingered. Overnight camping for a coveted gallery seat has become a Washington ritual when high-profile cases come up on the Supreme Court docket. An inch or more of sticky snow turned that urban adventure into a slushy challenge this Monday morning, with the tents and tarps on the sidewalk in front of the court somewhat resembling a mountaineering basecamp as dawn arrived. The arguments for the twin cases of Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor ,the first aimed at California's gay marriage ban known as Proposition 8 and the second challenging the legality... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2013 at Hot Type
Last Thursday, my father and I pulled on our boots for a hike through a wildlife sanctuary in Charlotte, Vermont. The winding climb up the hillside led me, unexpectedly, to a less-than-peaceful subject: war. When we set out on the trailhead from the parking lot, the Pentagon budget and the 10-year anniversary of the Iraq invasion couldn't have been further from my thoughts. Enormous bur oaks towered in the woods, limbs gnarled with ancient burls. We followed the path over brooks gurgling with runoff, up the hillside, and through a row of sumac and buckthorn trees. We crossed a wide... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2013 at Hot Type
From the Lincoln Memorial, I could hear the crowd roar. On Monday morning, I reached the monument just as the inauguration program got underway. At the top terrace, the fluting of the pillars made for a smooth backrest, and the polished curve of the marble at the bottom was a comfortable seat. I sat looking east toward the Washington monument and, beyond that, the wings of the U.S. Capitol. From the chamber behind me, the statue of Abraham Lincoln gazed over my shoulder. In front of me, an inscription in the terrace marked the spot where King delivered his "I... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2013 at Hot Type
The line stretched all the way around the block. I craned to look down Ninth Street NW to Constitution Avenue, where the ragged queue turned the corner toward the National Archives entrance. I tapped the arm of the woman in front of me. "Excuse me, is this the line to see the Emancipation Proclamation?" I asked her. She nodded. Like me, she was by herself, and she had pulled the hood of her parka up over her head. I checked the time. It was just after 1 p.m., and cold. The line didn't seem to move. After about 10 minutes,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2012 at Hot Type
My latest in the New York Times published in the Sunday, Nov. 25 edition. Read the entire story here: WASHINGTON — It was just after 4 a.m. when the young man turned down his street toward his apartment. In the dark, another man fell in step behind him, demanding his bag. The young man ran, as shouted slurs trailed him. On the front steps of his apartment building, under a security camera, the pursuer’s fists began pummeling his face. The beating of the 23-year-old gay man last month in the city’s Columbia Heights neighborhood was among dozens of episodes reported... Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2012 at Hot Type
My story from Nov. 11 about a surprise archaeological find in Fredericksburg. Had a lot of fun reporting this fascinating story: FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — The first bullet surfaced just after lunch. As Jon Tucker sifted soil through a screen in September, a corroded lead slug jiggled into view amid the sand and ash excavated from a pit just a few feet from a fenced-off sidewalk and rushing traffic. Mr. Tucker waved to his supervisor, Taft Kiser, the lead archaeologist on the site, and held up the bullet for him to see. It would not be the last time. Hundreds of... Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2012 at Hot Type
I had only a few minutes until closing time, and Highgate Cemetery was a mile and a half away. On our last afternoon in London, my wife and I had each gone off on our own for several hours. While she prowled Oxford Street, I decided to visit Highgate, the cemetery where Karl Marx and numerous literary figures are buried. I invited our host, Frederick, to go with me -- he'd never been. In Frederick's kitchen, we debated whether we could get there before it closed at 5 p.m., and decided we could make it if we took a taxi.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2012 at Hot Type
• When I sat down with the newspaper on Friday morning, I almost overlooked the brief on page A-6. It was short -- fewer than 120 words. "China: Protestor Killed as Police Fire on Demonstration." As many as 1,000 people had gathered to protest plans for a mine in Tibet. Citing Radio Free Asia, the brief reported that security forces used tear gas and live rounds against the protesters. It took about as long to read as to take a slow sip of coffee. • It felt as though half the news that morning had sprung from the barrel of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2012 at Hot Type
Two years, two months and 24 days ago, I signed off from this blog, Hot Type. My last post announced the start of a new reporting job covering Congress that would leave little time for blogging. I disabled Hot Type's optimizing function, making the site invisible to web search engines. I bought two new suits off the rack. I found a desk that suited me in the cramped Senate Periodicals Gallery. I began hunting for stories on Capitol Hill. Some reporters thrive on covering government. I discovered that I am not one of them. Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2012 at Hot Type
A change in jobs has ended my blogging experiment for the time being. Hot Type is going into hibernation. To my loyal readers -- and I mean each and every one of the three of you -- you have my heartfelt thanks. Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2010 at Hot Type