Saturday February 28, 2015
I can't breathe.
Those were Eric Garner's last words, and today they apply to me. The decision by a Staten Island grand jury to not indict the police officer who killed him takes my breath away.
The events in Ferguson, Mo., have actually led to that national conversation on race we regularly recommend to ourselves. But it is the same conversation we always have: not a dialogue but entirely separate discussions in which participants reinforce each other in the views they had going in.
In the summers of their youth, they worked as a groundskeeper, a rec department counselor, a youth leadership organizer, a crossing guard, a nurse.
Marion Barry gave them those jobs. That's what you'll hear most anytime you talk to native Washingtonians of a certain age: "Marion Barry gave me my first summer job."
It's easy to understand why Republicans wish health reform had never happened and are now hoping that the Supreme Court will abandon its principles and undermine the law. But it's more puzzling - and disturbing - when Democrats like Charles Schumer, senator from New York, declare that the Obama administration's signature achievement was a mistake.
It's one of the best-known lines of any English-language poet -- Robert Burns' reflection on the upper-class church lady who doesn't realize there's a louse crawling around on her bonnet. "O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us, To see oursels as ithers see us!"
In 1916, Wanamaker's department store in Philadelphia sponsored a children's parade with heralds, a brass band, Jack the Giant Killer, clowns, girls as snowflakes, boys as silver stars and Santa Claus transported by four Eskimos to his throne in the Royal Red Theater -- every morning it was open during the Christmas season. You don't get that on Facebook.
With barely a week to go before another government shutdown could be upon us, the Republican leaders in Congress vow it won't happen this time. They have been huddling over ways to avert it, while other congressional Republicans plot other ways to continue their effort to undermine the presidency of Barack Obama in the little time he has left.
Three years after the Occupy movement first directed long-overdue attention to the scourge of inequality in America, the gulf between rich and poor has gotten too big for even the Federal Reserve to ignore.
As Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen recently pointed out, half of us now own a mere 1 percent of America’s household wealth.
Sometimes a tragedy is just a tragedy, and not necessarily a melodrama pitting good against evil. No heroes, no villains, just a terrible misfortune and a damned shame.
We accept that when people are killed by tornadoes. Otherwise, however, many prefer the illusory comforts of a well-told tale -- particularly one that reflects favorably upon their own ethnic tribe or political cohort, and unfavorably upon others.