Wednesday December 04, 2013
Archive - Jul 2013
There are countless oddities in the way Washington works, but few as mystifying as lawmakers' definition of the word "friend."
In other, saner walks of life, it means someone you yearn to see. In the Senate, it can also mean someone you yearn to see under the wheels of your sport utility vehicle, writhing in agony and wheezing surrender.
American politics has gone through a gender revolution that has barely been noticed. Take the discussions of the 2016 presidential election which, as a matter of habit, we have begun even before the end of the first year of the current president's second term.
In 1991, Zell Miller, then governor of Georgia and a Democrat, advised his colleague Bill Clinton of Arkansas that there were two guys he needed to run his likely presidential campaign: James Carville and Paul Begala.
The first thing you notice when you arrive at the home of the other Joe Nocera is the New York Yankees' flag that hangs from his porch. Joe, 46, who lives with his family in Randolph, N.J., has rooted for the Yankees for as long as he can remember. A regional manager for a big fast-food franchisee, Joe is as passionate about the Bronx Bombers today as he was growing up in Queens. So passionate that, a few years ago, he decided to start writing about the Yankees on Twitter. His handle - is that what you call it? - is @joenocera.
It is disorienting to watch the French try to be nice.
They don't scorn you as much when you try out your pidgin French. France's first unmarried first lady, Valérie Trierweiler, is conducting a global charm offensive in an effort to escape her nickname, "The Rottweiler." And the slinky former first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, is promoting the virtues of being genial as she hawks her latest CD of breathy French songs and her husband breathlessly hints at a comeback.
Free time is the great hunger for so many productive Americans, often trumping money. Studies show a huge desire for more self- and family-time, especially among parents. But Americans remain stuck in work schedules drawn up early last century. That doesn't make sense today, so why do we continue punching the old time clocks?
Justice failed Trayvon Martin the night he was killed. We should be appalled and outraged, but perhaps not surprised, that it failed him again Saturday night with a verdict setting his killer free.
Our society considers young black men to be dangerous, interchangeable, expendable, guilty until proven innocent. This is the conversation about race that we desperately need to have -- but probably, as in the past, will try our best to avoid.
We can’t know exactly what happened when Trayvon Martin died. We do know, however, the answer to that infernal chicken-egg riddle the NRA uses to mesmerize policymakers.
The answer: Guns kill people. Period. End of riddle.
George Zimmerman says he wouldn’t have done anything differently. That depends. Let’s say that he left his handgun on his dresser that night, then . . .
Russian President Vladimir Putin had little trouble subduing the liberal, middle-class Muscovites who led mass demonstrations against his government last year. He may have a harder time dealing with the country's nationalists.
Samantha Power's Senate confirmation hearing to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations begins Wednesday with a show of bipartisan support that contrasts sharply with the rancor that has marked the standoff over the use of the filibuster to block the appointment of several other presidential nominees.