Thursday December 12, 2013
Archive - 2013
I neither spotted a psychotherapist nor heard mention of therapy in Woody Allen's newest movie, "Blue Jasmine," which pokes fun at faddish, pampered New Yorkers, as Allen tends to do. But a personal trainer flits across the screen and factors into the plot.
That pretty much says it all.
When you puzzle over why the elegant Huma Abedin is propping up the eel-like Anthony Weiner, you must remember one thing: Huma was raised in Saudi Arabia, where women are treated worse by men than anywhere else on the planet.
Many present-day Republicans seem bent on making "Backward, Christian Soldiers" their marching song in their relentless determination to "repeal and replace Obamacare," even to the point of repeating their lemming-like plunge over the cliff of another government shutdown.
New polls tell us that the public's attitudes about race relations have taken a bad hit since President Barack Obama's historic election. Can we all get along? Obama's election was a marvelous measure of how far we have come in race relations. His taking office revealed how far we still have to go.
Over the last two weeks, three federal judges have issued rulings on the legitimacy of the recent rough treatment being doled out to the detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Under normal circumstances, two of the rulings would add up to a resounding victory for the detainees. But at Guantánamo Bay, where prisoners the government itself acknowledges are not security threats can see no end to their decade-plus imprisonment, nothing is "normal."
There are countless oddities in the way Washington works, but few as mystifying as lawmakers' definition of the word "friend."
In other, saner walks of life, it means someone you yearn to see. In the Senate, it can also mean someone you yearn to see under the wheels of your sport utility vehicle, writhing in agony and wheezing surrender.
American politics has gone through a gender revolution that has barely been noticed. Take the discussions of the 2016 presidential election which, as a matter of habit, we have begun even before the end of the first year of the current president's second term.
In 1991, Zell Miller, then governor of Georgia and a Democrat, advised his colleague Bill Clinton of Arkansas that there were two guys he needed to run his likely presidential campaign: James Carville and Paul Begala.
The first thing you notice when you arrive at the home of the other Joe Nocera is the New York Yankees' flag that hangs from his porch. Joe, 46, who lives with his family in Randolph, N.J., has rooted for the Yankees for as long as he can remember. A regional manager for a big fast-food franchisee, Joe is as passionate about the Bronx Bombers today as he was growing up in Queens. So passionate that, a few years ago, he decided to start writing about the Yankees on Twitter. His handle - is that what you call it? - is @joenocera.
It is disorienting to watch the French try to be nice.
They don't scorn you as much when you try out your pidgin French. France's first unmarried first lady, Valérie Trierweiler, is conducting a global charm offensive in an effort to escape her nickname, "The Rottweiler." And the slinky former first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, is promoting the virtues of being genial as she hawks her latest CD of breathy French songs and her husband breathlessly hints at a comeback.