Archive - Mar 2014

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March 20th

Congress hard at work at nothing at all

    Sadly, the American public does not have a thunderbolt to throw at Congress to get its members to quit acting like petulant children and focus on doing the work of the nation.

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Dems in Distress

    Scott Brown, the Republican who admitted he wore pink leather shorts on his first date with his wife-to-be, is back.

    And Democrats are scared to death.

    It's not that Democrats are particularly scared that the 54-year-old former Massachusetts senator is going to get elected as a New Hampshire senator - although it's conceivable that a charming, carpetbagging, middling politician could jump across the border and unseat Jeanne Shaheen.

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Hitler analogy overstates situation in Ukraine

    In American domestic politics, messing with Social Security is known as "the third rail," referring to the power source for trains that is fatal to the touch. In foreign policy discussions, invoking the name of Adolf Hitler promises the same lethal result.

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Lettuce Look at Some Prices

    I was resting at home when Marshbaum called to ask if I wanted to go with him to look at the lettuce.

    “The supermarket’s got lettuce for less than two bucks a head,” he said enthusiastically.

    “What’s so unusual about that?”

    “Because it’s going to be extinct in a few weeks.”

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The CIA as own worst enemy

    Watching Dianne Feinstein tear into the Central Intelligence Agency on the Senate floor the other day brought to mind a 1970s-era television commercial about a margarine supposedly indistinguishable from butter.

    "Chiffon's so delicious, it fooled even you, Mother Nature," says the narrator.

    "Oh, it's not nice to fool Mother Nature," she replies, her voice becoming steely as she raises her arms to summon thunder and lightning.

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The politics of hopelessness

    Listlessness is bad politics. Defensiveness is poor strategy. And resignation is never inspiring.

    You can feel elements of all three descending around President Obama as he fends off attack after attack from his conservative foes who vary the subject depending on the day, the circumstance and the opportunity.

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March 12th

The Inflation Obsession

    Recently the Federal Reserve released transcripts of its monetary policy meetings during the fateful year of 2008. And boy, are they discouraging reading.

    Partly that's because Fed officials come across as essentially clueless about the gathering economic storm. But we knew that already. What's really striking is the extent to which they were obsessed with the wrong thing. The economy was plunging, yet all many people at the Fed wanted to talk about was inflation.

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Clinton's run blocks would-be Democratic contenders

    If Hillary Clinton doesn't run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 - and there's 1 chance in 5 of that - the party could have a nervous breakdown.

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History suggests Ukraine has lost Crimea forever

    Crimea is probably lost to Ukraine. Within the space of a few days, it has become the latest in a string of "frozen conflict" zones that Russia has used to strong-arm ex-Soviet neighbors ever since the Union collapsed.

    The history of these unrecognized statelets suggests that authorities in Kiev are unlikely to regain control of Crimea for decades, if ever. There are few better ways of understanding events on the peninsula right now than to look at how these other "frozen" zones emerged.

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Bazookas and the founding fathers

    Principle.

    The NFL hinted it would move the Super Bowl, and Apple said it could find a new place for a planned plant if Arizona legitimized discrimination most foul, most un-American, against gays and lesbians.

    In a similarly principled stand, arms maker Magpul Industries has moved its plant to Wyoming.

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