Saturday January 31, 2015
January 14th, 2015
Je suis Charlie Hebdo. If "freedom of expression" is to be more than an empty slogan, Wednesday's terrorist attack in Paris cannot be allowed to have the chilling effect its murderous perpetrators intended.
A week into the new year and I am taken aback when someone wishes me a happy new year. I've already forgotten. Of course, realistically no one expects a dramatic change just because the calendar changes but we do go through a lot of hoopla of fireworks and all manner of promises for great things to come. Alas, in looking all around today was like yesterday, that was like the day before and on and on.
The pen, by the way, is not mightier than the sword.
There's no equation between the two.
If you fight words with violence, the violence wins every time.
Mitch McConnell's debut as the new Senate majority leader served at least one worthy Republican cause. It made Speaker of the House John Boehner, who easily turned back an intraparty challenge on the other side of the Capitol, seem the soul of sweet reasonableness by contrast.
In preparing his path for a 2016 presidential bid, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is unlikely to emulate the brash and even flippant style of his brother, the 43rd president. He is too level-headed and thoughtful for that. But on the tactical side, he appears to be firmly in step with the George W., who ran and won in 2000.
Many of us in the econ biz were wondering how the new leaders of Congress would respond to the sharp increase in American economic growth that, we now know, began last spring. After years of insisting that President Barack Obama is responsible for a weak economy, they couldn't say the truth - that short-run economic performance has very little to do with who holds the White House. So what would they say?
This will be no ordinary Congress, so there are no ordinary ways for judging how effective it will be at governing.
That is, in any event, a preposterous standard to hold up as a brand spanking new goal. Isn't governing what Congress was supposed to be doing all along? Imagine an everyday citizen making a New Year's resolution promising that this year, for a change, he or she would actually show up for work.
Suddenly, satire is the great issue of our time.
Last month, North Korea's Stalinist dictatorship launched a cyberattack, accompanied by threats of physical violence, against the makers and distributors of a silly film that dared to violate the cult of personality surrounding Kim Jong Un, according to the FBI. Pyongyang's alleged hack succeeded, at least temporarily, in blocking the movie's release.
The most touching moment of bipartisanship on the opening day of Congress came not on Capitol Hill but 100 miles away in Richmond, Virginia, at former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's sentencing hearing on his multiple-count public corruption conviction.
Friends of Obamacare, horrified that the Supreme Court has taken a case that could blow up the federal health insurance exchanges, should recalibrate their dread. While the health reforms were safely humming along, there was little political price for demanding their demise. Thanks to the Supreme Court, now there is.