Saturday February 13, 2016
Archive - Feb 2014
Is it possible that the 2016 presidential campaign is already a mess? You're probably not thinking much about it, which is healthy. No wonder you're looking so trim and your cheeks are pink. But the candidates in the thick of it can't ignore the noise, and that's not healthy.
Many American viewers of the Olympic Games in Sochi were no doubt disappointed that the Russian and U.S. hockey teams meet in a rematch of their historical 1980 clash for the gold medal. That huge upset sent roars of "USA! USA!" across what was then the Cold War world, as if it were the triumph of freedom itself.
Republicans are unhappy that President Obama is invoking his executive powers to govern in the face of a do-nothing-in-2014 House of Representatives. To hear them talk, you would think our chief executive is modeling himself on the late Hugo Chavez and wants to seize dictatorial control.
This, of course, is nonsense. In fact, Obama has in many ways been less aggressive in his use of executive authority than his predecessors.
"What is stopping us from moving to this kind of technology?" asked a perplexed Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. It was last Tuesday, and the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which Klobuchar sits, was holding a hearing about the recent breaches of Target and Neiman Marcus in which the data from tens of millions of credit and debit cards were stolen.
Recent events should help the public back away from some of its furor over last year's disclosures of National Security Agency activities and the Justice Department's use of subpoenas to get journalists' phone and email records.
Right now, though, it doesn't seem that's going to happen.
A news flash for every straight man out there: You've been naked in front of a gay man.
In fact you've been naked, over the course of your life, in front of many gay men, at least if you have more than a few years on you. And here you are - uninjured, uncorrupted, intact. The Earth still spins. The sun rises and sets.
The Republican Party was supposed to be getting its act together for the midterm election. Instead, judging from the disarray on immigration reform, things may be getting even messier.
I'm referring to House Speaker John Boehner's embarrassing climb-down. After vowing for months that the House would finally take action on immigration, last week he surrendered. The bitterly divided Republican majority cannot agree on how to proceed. Apparently, this is supposed to be President Obama's fault.
One of my favorite moments during the 2012 Republican presidential contest came when Ron Paul, fresh from his strong showing in Iowa, triumphantly told his supporters: "We're all Austrians now!"
I imagined many Americans scratching their heads and wondering: Why do we want to be Austrians? They live in a nice country with stunning mountains and all that, but aren't we perfectly happy to be Americans?
When something bad happens to a rich person, it is never the rich person's fault. That's No. 1 in the chief executive officer playbook.
No. 2 is that the rich person should use their greater power to make a lesser person pay the price of the bad thing that's happened.
Don't expect the Chinese Communist Party to have a sense of humor when it comes to the Olympics. Long before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the games were already serious state business, providing an ambitious government the means by which to demonstrate to itself, its citizens and maybe the world, that China, too, is a great power.