Saturday November 01, 2014
Archive - Mar 2014
It's been quite a week in Arizona. First, the Legislature passed a bill that, in effect, gave businesses the right to discriminate against gay couples. The state's actual business community was horrified. Everybody from Mitt Romney to Newt Gingrich was ticked off.
Oy. By the time the Bushes and Clintons are finished, they are going to make the Tudors and the Plantagenets look like pikers.
The Egyptian strongman Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi was recently in Moscow visiting with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. Putin reportedly offered el-Sissi $2 billion in arms - just what a country like Egypt, where half the women can't read, needs. The whole meeting struck me as so 1960s, so Nasser meets Khrushchev - two strongmen bucking each other up in the age of strong people and superempowered individuals. Rather than discuss arms sales, el-Sissi and Putin should have watched a movie together.
Some readers collectively hissed after I wrote a week ago about the need for early-childhood interventions to broaden opportunity in America. I focused on a 3-year-old boy in West Virginia named Johnny Weethee whose hearing impairment had gone undetected, leading him to suffer speech and development problems that may dog him for the rest of his life.
If Arizona legislators were being perfectly candid, they would have labeled their so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act precisely what it was, the Right to Use Religion as an Excuse to Discriminate Against Gay Men and Lesbians Act.
Supporters insist it was not an anti-gay bill. But what else do you call a bill that uses religion to "protect" the right of businesses to discriminate against gay consumers?
While other Republicans zero in on November's midterm congressional elections in the hope of derailing the Obama presidency, the GOP National Committee is busy making plans for its 2016 national convention. Seven cities are finalists to host it, including three in Ohio -- Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus. The others are Denver, Dallas, Kansas City and Las Vegas.
To understand the country's frustration with politics, we shouldn't focus primarily on "gridlock" and "polarization." The larger problem is a disconnect between what the nation's capital is talking about and what most citizens are worried about.