Thursday October 08, 2015
January 8th, 2015
What did President Barack Obama mean when he declared that Washington will normalize relations with Cuba?
Will they become the same as U.S. relations with any other country? Will all Americans be free to travel there? To do business with Cuba?
Uh-oh. Now that the economy is doing well, what are Republicans -- especially those running for president -- going to complain about? And what are Democrats willing to celebrate?
Congress, which had been so tied up in a partisan knot by right-wing extremists that it became unable to move, suddenly sprang loose at the end of the year. Before heading home for the holidays, it put on a phenomenal show of acrobatic lawmaking.
With the New Year comes a new slate of officeholders whose careers warrant close attention and whose fates could have broader political implications. Put Gina Raimondo near the top of that list.
She's the first woman to be elected governor of Rhode Island, and when she's inaugurated next week, she'll become, at 43, one of just two Democratic women, alongside Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, at the helms of their states.
Every year, Google releases a variety of lists that reveal the world's favorite search terms. The American tech corporation also distinguishes between countries and categories, which allows an examination of global differences in search behavior.
More power started to be vested in the White House staff in 1969, during Richard Nixon's administration. Today, there are about twice as many full-time White House staff members as there were then.
Yet if more administrations handled domestic issues in the way the Nixon White House did in 1969, there would be many fewer complaints about powerful White House staffs.
The Cuba embargo sounded like a good thing in 1960. So did the hula hoop, and Bobby Darin.
You can still find a hula hoop, but it has long since stopped being state-of-the-art childhood fare anymore -- except maybe in Cuba, where the 1959 Chevy remains king of the road.
Will President Barack Obama approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline?
Suppose that for some reason you decided to start hitting yourself in the head, repeatedly, with a baseball bat. You'd feel pretty bad. Correspondingly, you'd probably feel a lot better if and when you finally stopped. What would that improvement in your condition tell you?
There will never be another politician like Mario Cuomo, a man shaped by a different age. Yet he taught lessons about racial reconciliation, the role of religion in politics, the purposes of politics itself and -- oddly for a politician -- humility that will always be fresh.