Wednesday August 20, 2014
May 26th, 2014
The developing furor over waiting times for military veterans needing critical care for war wounds and trauma is a particular political dilemma for President Obama. It comes in the midst of his central effort to shift the nation's agenda of fighting wars away from what he calls a "perpetual wartime footing."
Of all the scandals and pseudo-scandals of which President Barack Obama has been accused, the Department of Veterans Affairs debacle is the most damaging for at least three reasons:
One, health care -- including VA health care -- was the signature issue of his election and re-election.
They call him "No Drama Obama" for a reason. Most of the time, it's Professor Obama who meets with us White House reporters: notorious for showing no emotion and taking so long to answer questions that, by the time he stops talking, everybody forgets what the question was in the first place.
A century ago, Europe tore itself apart in what was, for a time, known as the Great War - four years of death and destruction on an unprecedented scale. Later, of course, the conflict was renamed World War I - because a quarter-century later Europe did it all over again.
Happy Memorial Day Weekend! Time for summer fun! So let's discuss congressional gridlock.
Really, what did you expect? If you want a barbecue, go light some charcoal.
It's been awhile since we've talked about Congress. Do you remember when we used to complain all the time about how our legislators can't get things done? Now we can go for weeks - months! - without even wondering what the little devils are up to.
A kiss is nothing. On the sidewalks, in the park, I see one every few minutes, a real kiss, lip to lip. It barely registers. It's as unremarkable as a car horn in traffic, as an umbrella in rain.
And yet a kiss is everything. A kiss can stop the world.
The football player Michael Sam recently demonstrated as much. So did my experience last Sunday, in a Broadway theater, of all places.
Of the many things being said about climate change lately, none was more eloquent than the point made by Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state in the Showtime series "Years of Living Dangerously," when he observed: "We're the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it."
Some people have such a radical vitality, such an electric consciousness, such a lifelong love affair with the world that when they stop breathing, it's like a wind dying, like the waning and disappearing of a light.
And the world feels duller and dumber and more lackluster without them.
Tay Thi Nguyen is one of the mightiest people I've met, at 94 pounds. She has a towering presence, at a bit more than 5 feet tall. She is so strong that she probably could bench press 25 pounds.