Thursday December 05, 2013
Archive - May 2013
What makes us happy? In America, we’ve been asking this question ever since 1776, the year we declared for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Back then, Americans seeking more happiness had little more than guesswork to go by. Now we have help: a new science of happiness with years of research findings behind it.
Despite what you may hear from some of his more fevered critics, President Barack Obama's recent scandal-quakes don't appear to fall anywhere near the level of Richard Nixon's Watergate disaster. But by another Nixonian yardstick, trying to put a muzzle on press freedoms, Team Obama appears to have surged into the lead.
It’s not an easy task, defending President Barack Obama from his enemies.
The “scandals” keep popping up like dandelions — all of them explainable, after a fashion. Taken together, the explanations begin to sound like “the dog ate my homework.” For example:
In the pell-mell rush in some quarters to equate the IRS scandal with Watergate, a question that featured prominently in the latter is bubbling up. That would be then-Sen. Howard Baker's query about Richard Nixon: "What did the president know, and when did he know it?"
I have a suggestion about how to help instantly reduce sexual assaults in the military. Round up those in charge of handling sexual-assault cases.
Whenever one of our cities gets a star turn as host of some super-sparkly event, such as a national political gathering or the Super Bowl, its first move is to tidy up — by having the police sweep homeless people into jail, out of town, or under some rug.
When White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough told his colleagues last week to spend no more than 10 percent of their time responding to scandals, he didn't know a tornado would devastate entire stretches of Oklahoma. He knew something like it would happen though. A chief of staff knows that White House plans are always being upset, so he reminds his staff: Don't get too distracted, bigger distractions are always on the horizon.
Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when every jackleg news organization in Washington -- that is, virtually all of them -- was feeding out of Kenneth Starr's soft little hand like a Shetland pony.
President Obama should spend his remaining years in office making the United States part of the solution to climate change, not part of the problem. If Congress sticks to its policy of obstruction and willful ignorance, Obama should use his executive powers to the fullest extent. We are out of time.
While listening to an NPR report out of Moore, Okla., this week, I was genuinely shocked. Not by the scale of the devastation or the tenacity of people who have grown stoically accustomed to the damage tornados can do, but by a political sentiment that, in almost any other era, would not have been surprising at all.