Thursday September 18, 2014
September 11th, 2014
In the wake of President Obama's surprising comment to reporters that "we don't have a strategy yet" to deal with the surging terrorist threat of the Islamic State threat in Syria and Iraq, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein has observed: "I've learned one thing about this president, and that is he's very cautious. Maybe, in this instance, too cautious."
Say what you will about the Chinese, but they know how to make wholesale changes, and sometimes those changes are inarguably for the good. As noted in an editorial in The Lancet last week, the life span of the average person in China in 1950 was 40 years; by 2011 it was around 76. (The average life span in the United States in 2011 was 79.)
New York Times reporter James Risen may soon have to decide whether to testify in a criminal trial or go to jail for contempt of court.
In Virginia, a hot-dog cart, a nail salon and a pet shop require more licensing and regulation than some of the places that care for our tiniest, most vulnerable humans.
The subtitle of Beth Macy's new book, "Factory Man" - "How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local. and Helped Save an American Town" - gives every impression that it is going to be an upbeat read, a capitalistic feel-good story.
When fire hoses sent black bodies skidding and writhing along the sidewalks of Birmingham in 1963, a lot of white people, high and dry, nodded, “Well, if that’s what it takes to keep the peace . . . ”
And so it goes, 51 years later: different police-tactic horrors, but the same nodding of the self-satisfied and oblivious.
There are things that you think and things that you say.
There's what you reckon with privately and what you utter publicly.
There are discussions suitable for a lecture hall and those that befit the bully pulpit.
These sets overlap but aren't the same. Has President Barack Obama lost sight of that?
The battle for control of the Senate, the grand prize of the 2014 elections, with Republicans needing to win a net of a half-dozen seats to take charge, is well-framed after Labor Day.
Republicans have the advantages of a friendly turf, the history of this political cycle - which favors the party that doesn't hold the White House - and the waning popularity of President Barack Obama, who sometimes seems indifferent.
So, what do you think about those Medicare numbers? What, you haven't heard about them? Well, they haven't been front-page news. But something remarkable has been happening on the health-spending front, and it should (but probably won't) transform a lot of our political debate.