Tuesday September 02, 2014
April 6th, 2014
Why does so much of our talk about race and poverty leave us Americans spinning our wheels? One big reason is etiquette. What is said often matters less than who says it.
An illustrative example of this paralyzing paradox recently was exposed, appropriately enough, by a comedian -- Bill Maher's guests on his HBO "Real Time" show.
There is more than one way to demolish a wall, physical or legal. Go at it with a bulldozer, or weaken its foundations and await the collapse.
When it comes to undermining the structure of modern campaign finance law, Chief Justice John Roberts has done it both ways.
The 2010 ruling in Citizens United, which Roberts joined, was a judicial bulldozer, willy-nilly toppling precedents that had restricted corporate spending on elections.
CNN is the 24/7 media trumpet for news about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that is presumed to have crashed in the Southern Indian Ocean, southwest of Australia. On that flight were 227 passengers and 12 crew members.
CNN grabbed every iota of information, pumped it full of digital frequencies, and broadcast it to what it thought was a world salivating for every syllable of thought.
An oligarchy, Webster's dictionary tells us, is "a form of government in which the ruling power belongs to a few persons." It's a shame that the Republican majority on the Supreme Court doesn't know the difference between an oligarchy and a democratic republic.
Yes, I said "the Republican majority," violating a nicety based on the pretense that when people reach the high court, they forget their party allegiance. We need to stop peddling this fiction.
Two newcomers, Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, are the hottest figures in the dominant conservative wing of the Republican Party. In markedly different ways, they both claim to be the heirs to the party's contemporary patron saint, Ronald Reagan.
Defeat can lead to defeatism, or it can lead to constructive rethinking. Which path will President Obama take after setbacks overseas?
By defeat, I do not mean, as some Obama critics would have it, that the U.S. president "lost Crimea." The bad guy there is Vladimir Putin, not Barack Obama, just as the bad guy in Syria is Bashar Assad.
A Quiz: Do You Speak Dictator?
With Vladimir Putin thuggishly stealing Crimea from Ukraine, and serious concern about whether he will also invade eastern Ukraine, a debate is unfolding about whether President Barack Obama is doing enough to stand up to tyranny. That leads me to offer a quiz, so test your skills: Do you speak dictator?
What would you say if someone told you that your state’s emphasis on algebra was undermining math instruction?
What would you say if that someone was a math instructor?
What would you say if someone said algebra as emphasized — overemphasized — was undermining democracy?
Well, I’m saying the latter.
Blaming poverty on the mysterious influence of "culture" is a convenient excuse for doing nothing to address the problem.
That's the real issue with what Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said about distressed inner-city communities. Critics who accuse him of racism are missing the point. What he's really guilty of is providing a reason for government to throw up its hands in mock helplessness.