Wednesday December 11, 2013
Archive - Aug 2013
Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves.
Christopher Columbus discovered America.
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had a "dream."
We like to remember history in short and snappy bumper-sticker sound bites. Real life is a bit more complicated.
Columbus "discovered" a "New World" that was new to him anyway, not to the people who already lived in it.
President Obama, in a sea of foreign policy troubles, accepted his leadership responsibilities in a CNN interview last week while lamenting the complexity of these challenges.
He noted the old Harry Truman dictum that "the buck stops" in the Oval Office and asserted U.S. power and influence in the world must be "in our long-term national interests." He mentioned both in the context of the developing civil wars in Egypt and Syria and growing calls for American intervention.
How do cities reduce and control -- before they get out of hand -- the challenges they know they'll be facing?
Prevention and invention are the magic words. And increasingly imaginative cities are finding keys, with a fascinating cross-section identified in recent studies by two New York City institutions: the Center for an Urban Future and New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Are you ready for the Big Magilla of American politics? This fall, every important domestic issue could crash into every other: health care reform, autopilot budget cuts, a government shutdown, even a default on the national debt.
If I were betting, I'd wager we will somehow avoid a total meltdown. House Speaker John Boehner seems desperate to get around his party's Armageddon Caucus.
Steubenville. The Naval Academy. Vanderbilt University. The stories of young men sexually assaulting young women seem never to stop, despite all the education we've had and all the progress we've supposedly made, and there are times when I find myself darkly wondering if there's some ineradicable predatory streak in the male subset of our species.
As hundreds of lawmakers fan out to their home districts this month, there is a genuine political conundrum.
Approval ratings for Congress are at an all-time low, rivaling those of junkyard dogs. Republicans are seen as the main villains; the party's standing with the public keeps falling.
President Obama's message about the government's massive electronic surveillance programs came through loud and clear: Get over it.
The president used more soothing words in his pre-vacation news conference Friday, but that was the gist. With perhaps the application of a fig leaf here and a sheen of legalistic mumbo jumbo there, the snooping will continue.
Unless, of course, we demand that it end.
The slow summer political season is inevitably leading to speculation about what may happen in next year's congressional elections, on which President Obama's prospects for his final two years in the Oval Office may rest. It's widely assumed that if he doesn't somehow gain control of Congress in 2014, he'll wind up with a host of unrealized legislative ambitions,
Could it get any worse for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Last week, even President Barack Obama joined the growing chorus of those who want to put them out of business.