Archive - Jan 2014

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January 30th

Lawmakers Are Free Not to Become Narcissistic Jerks

    Mark Twain spoke for me when he said: “I’m opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position.”

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Are Two Hops Enough?

    Or do we really need three?

    And why are we announcing to the world what calls we won't be monitoring?

    Listening to our president, I am at a loss. He is giving a speech. That's what it sounds like. He is announcing that from now on, "We will only pursue phone calls that are two steps removed from a number associated with a terrorist organization instead of three."

    Is that good?

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A Brief Selection of Heterodox Opinions

    Recent weeks have seen a decline in the kinds of abusive reader emails that keep a columnist feeling feisty. It's a long time since anybody informed me that I'm a cowardly elitist doomed to spend eternity in hell watching NBA games with Barack Obama.

    So to stir the pot here's a brief selection of heterodox opinions:

 

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January 22nd

Enemies of the Poor

    Suddenly it's OK, even mandatory, for politicians with national ambitions to talk about helping the poor. This is easy for Democrats, who can go back to being the party of FDR and LBJ. It's much more difficult for Republicans, who are having a hard time shaking their reputation for reverse Robin-Hoodism, for being the party that takes from the poor and gives to the rich.

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Heroic Measures

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According Animals Dignity

    As of late Monday afternoon, when I was finishing this column, the most frequently emailed story on The Times' website for the previous week wasn't about the polar vortex, Chris Christie or "Downton Abbey."

    It was about cats.

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Christie's conservative problem

    What is the greatest fear of conservatives when they warn against the dangers of big government? It is that a leader or the coterie around him will abuse the authority of the state arbitrarily to gather yet more power, punish opponents and, in the process, harm rank-and-file citizens whose well-being matters not a whit to those who are trying to enhance their control.

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The Asbestos Scam, Part 2

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Christie traps himself on a bridge to nowhere

    Gov. Chris Christie had the best day he's going to have for a long time on Jan. 9. He had two hours to give his side of the lane closings on the George Washington Bridge that gridlocked Fort Lee, N.J., for four days in September.

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Disagree With Military Brass? How Dare He?

    From the moment Lloyd Bentsen uttered it, none could disagree with his televised jab that Dan Quayle was “no Jack Kennedy.” Few remember, however, that in ascending to the presidency, Jack Kennedy had his own damning comparison. He was no Dwight Eisenhower.

    It took a disaster at the Bay of Pigs, and then resolve in the Cuban Missile Crisis, for Kennedy to find his inner Eisenhower.

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