Wednesday December 11, 2013
Archive - Oct 2013
Writing in Forbes in September, 1958, John D. Williams, a mathematician at the RAND Corporation, suggested the United States was getting a little carried away with its interest in auto safety. "I am sure that there is, in effect, a desirable level of automobile accidents - desirable, that is, from a broad point of view; in the sense that it is a necessary concomitant of things of greater value to society."
Congress is often compared to pre-K, which seems defamatory of small children. But the similarities also offer hope, because an initiative that should be on the top of the national agenda has less to do with the sequester than with the ABCs and Big Bird.
Just as the Nixon White House tapes have been for years "the gift that keeps on giving" for the Democrats, Obamacare seems destined to be a recurring basis for political mischief by the Republicans.
Observing Washington politics close-up has given me a new appreciation of Shakespeare. Now I see where he got his ideas.
"Today, you could say that almost all of our political rhetoric, comes from two books from the 16th and 17th centuries: the King James Bible and Shakespeare's plays," Michael Witmore, director of Folger Shakespeare Library, told me last year.
Here's the mistake made by President Obama and the Democrats that nobody is talking about: They have been too fearful of confronting our country's three-year obsession with the wrong problem.
And here is the tea party's greatest victory: It has made the wrong problem the center of policymaking.
The wrong problem is the deficit. The right problem is sluggish growth and persistent unemployment.
It had every ingredient of Election Day — the crispness of autumn, the electricity of pronouncements, the winners, the losers.
It was as if Americans had voted. In fact, they had. And for the second time in two years, Republicans finally conceded defeat. They would cede to the popular will and, in this case, let our government govern.
So lopsided was the result this time that not even Karl Rove could say it wasn’t so.
Once upon a time, walking around shouting "The end is nigh" got you labeled a kook, someone not to be taken seriously. These days, however, all the best people go around warning of looming disaster. In fact, you more or less have to subscribe to fantasies of fiscal apocalypse to be considered respectable.
Arguably, there is no organization in America more demonized by the radical right than Planned Parenthood. The criticism could hardly be more unfair.
Unencumbered by the truth, critics feel free to spout off any false story that they can dream up. Obviously, they focus on that one word: abortion. In their efforts to ensure that all live by their standards they would have us think that Planned Parenthood is a synonym for "abortion mill." Nothing could be further from the truth.
Fewer people know the names of the recent Nobel laureates than the starting quarterbacks for Division I college teams. To find out why, I went to Green Valley College where the regional chief accreditor, unable to find a tailgate party, was grilling the president.
“How’s your football team doing this season?” was the first question.
“Our football team?” asked the president.