Archive

Date

February 19th, 2015

A Kaffeeklatsch on Race

    In our collective imaginations, we tend to conceive of the constantly called-for "national conversation on race" as having the formality of some grand conclave of consciousness - an American Truth and Reconciliation equivalent, a spiritual spectacle in which sins are confessed and blame taken and burdens lifted.

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Unpaid, Unarmed Lifesavers in Syria

    Who would have thought there could be an uplifting story from Syria?

    Yet side by side with the worst of humanity, you often see the best. In Syria, that's a group of volunteers called the White Helmets. Its members rush to each bombing and claw survivors from the rubble.

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Too Much Prayer in Politics

    God had a busy week. Alabama alone was a heavy lift, what with all those God invocations by state leaders trying to cast out the demon of gay marriage, then London called as well. Scott Walker was on a trip there, and he tugged God into the picture when he was asked about evolution and declined to answer, as if embracing it would be a heathen outrage.

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Call Off the Dogs

    I'll pay for this column.

    The Rottweilers will be unleashed.

    Once the Clintons had a War Room. Now they have a Slime Room.

    Once they had the sly James Carville, fondly known as "serpenthead." Now they have the slippery David Brock, accurately known as a snake.

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Scott Walker Needs an Eraser

    Lately, the big star in the race for the Republican presidential nomination has been Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin. He gave a rip-roaring speech at a conservative confab in Iowa last month, and it's been his moment ever since.

    Unless the moment ended this week when Walker went to London on an alleged trade mission and refused to say whether he believes in evolution. Or pretty much anything.

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Obama's ambivalent war logic

    President Obama's request to Congress for authority to use military force against the Islamic State explains his view of why to fight this war. But it doesn't really tell us how.

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Americans only figured out free speech 50 years ago; how the world can follow our lead

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Why the Fed needs 'extended patience'

    John Williams, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, gave a good interview to the Financial Times this week. Williams is seen as a moderate on monetary policy, a centrist on the dove-hawk spectrum. He thinks the economy is now close to full employment and the time for raising interest rates is getting "closer and closer."

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Stewart, Williams and thick skins

    Many years ago, a politician complained to me about journalists who loved to dish it out but bristled at any criticism directed their way. "Look," he said, "we politicians may have thin skins, but you guys in the media have no skins."

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Stewart will no longer be looking out for us

    It was only minutes into an interview with Jon Stewart before a screening of his film, "Rosewater," last November when I knew he would never fully return to "The Daily Show." Working on that heartfelt and effective movie about an Iranian journalist who was imprisoned by the regime for 118 days made the comedian wax poetic about how lasting and indelible film was compared to a television show.

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