Wednesday August 20, 2014
July 20th, 2014
Kalydeco is truly a wonder drug.
Developed by Vertex Pharmaceuticals, it is the first drug that attacks not just the symptoms but the underlying cause of cystic fibrosis, a genetic lung disease that usually kills victims by the time they reach their 40s. It doesn't work for every sufferer of the disease but rather for a small subset - probably around 2,000 people - who have a specific genetic mutation that the drug targets. But for those it helps, it is life-changing.
The thing about him is, he just keeps going.
At 67, he continues to be, as Anna Quindlen once wrote, like one of those inflatable toys with sand weighting the bottom - you knock him over and he pops back up.
As Hillary stumbles and President Obama slumps, Bill Clinton keeps getting more popular.
With Israeli troops again invading Gaza and the death toll rising, some of the rhetoric from partisans on each side is oddly parallel. Maybe it's time to correct a few common misconceptions among the salvos flying back and forth.
- This is a struggle between good and evil, right and wrong. We can't relax, can't compromise, and we had no choice but to act.
From Ukraine to the Middle East, some bad actors - Hamas, Vladimir Putin and Israeli settlers to name but a few - are trying to bury the future with the past and divide people. Instead of focusing on them even more, I prefer to write about a company that is burying the past with the future, and actually bringing strangers together.
Tragedies concentrate the mind.
American politics was trundling along on its usual unserious and trivial trajectory when news of the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine shook the world. Suddenly, the stakes in public life and foreign policy were very high.
How many Americans know how health reform is going? For that matter, how many people in the news media are following the positive developments?
I suspect that the answer to the first question is "Not many," while the answer to the second is "Possibly even fewer," for reasons I'll get to later. And if I'm right, it's a remarkable thing - an immense policy success is improving the lives of millions of Americans, but it's largely slipping under the radar.
In trying to lay the blame for the border crisis on the White House's doorstep, House Speaker John Boehner exploded at a news conference on Thursday, saying of the president:
"He's been president for 5 1/2 years! When is he going to take responsibility for something?"
The suggestion in the question - that the president doesn't take responsibility for anything - is so outrageously untrue that it demands strong rebuttal.
Last week, Standard & Poor's issued a short report about Boeing. "Boeing Co. Faces Long-Term Credit Risks If The U.S. Export-Import Bank Isn't Reauthorized," read the alarming heading.
Barack Obama's Justice Department on Monday announced that Citigroup would pay $7 billion in fines, a move that will avoid a humiliating trial dealing with the seamy financial products the bank had marketed to an unsuspecting public, causing vast damage to the economy.
Citigroup is the too-big-to-fail bank that was allowed to form only when Bill Clinton signed legislation reversing the sensible restraints on Wall Street instituted by President Franklin Roosevelt to avoid another Great Depression.
On behalf of all liberals -- living and dead -- I'd like to apologize to Adam Bellow. In 1976, Bellow was at a Michigan State University writing workshop when a radical feminist publicly rebuked him for saying she had "balls." He says he meant that as a compliment.
Some formative experiences are forged in the hell of war, others in the crucible of writing class.