Thursday January 29, 2015
April 6th, 2014
As I waited for the body of a man who jumped in front of my train to be cleared from the tracks -- less than a week before another train I was riding struck a suicide victim -- it occurred to me that (a) I should check whether suicide rates are increasing due to the bad economy (they are, especially among men in their 50s), and that (b) talking about suicide is long overdue.
Today, we are going to discuss the Supreme Court decision on political donations. Already, we have run into a terrible problem, which is the difficulty in having a fun conversation about campaign finance laws.
It has been more than 40 years since the United States Supreme Court held in Roe v. Wade that a woman, in consultation with her physician, has the right to decide whether to have a child in the early months of pregnancy.
Inevitably, considering the absence of a clear Republican frontrunner for the 2016 presidential election, the name of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush of the family dynasty has been rushed to the fore. On his record in office and his soft-spoken personal appeal, he would seem a natural to go to the head of a list of only moderately impressive wannabes.
In January, superstar Chinese film director Zhang Yimou was fined the equivalent of $1.24 million for having three children in excess of the country's strict, so- called "one-child" family planning standards. It was a significant, possibly record fine, meant in theory to compensate the state for the social and material costs associated with those pesky, extra three lives.
We in the United States grow up celebrating ourselves as the world's most powerful nation, the world's richest nation, the world's freest and most blessed nation.
Sure, technically Norwegians may be wealthier per capita, and the Japanese may live longer, but the world watches the NBA, melts at Katy Perry, uses iPhones to post on Facebook, trembles at our aircraft carriers, and blames the CIA for everything. We're No. 1!
Is there any accountability in American politics for being completely wrong? Is there any cost to those who say things that turn out not to be true and then, when their fabrications or false predictions are exposed, calmly move on to concocting new claims as if they had never made the old ones?
The Supreme Court is pondering Hobby Lobby's argument that Obamacare unlawfully burdens its corporate religious freedom by requiring it to offer employees health insurance coverage for certain forms of contraception.
If the Republican Tea Partiers get their way this nation will soon be by the rich for the rich with no place for the poor. As if the minimum wage was not hurtful enough a national survey has now found that many in the ever popular fast food industry are not even getting that for all the hours they put in. Then there is the latest national budget proposal from Representative Paul Ryan (R. Wis).
There is something truly spectacular about Sheldon Adelson. Witness the parade of Republican supplicants paying tribute in his Las Vegas lair. They would include Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.