Thursday December 12, 2013
September 19th, 2013
Some of my favorite people are the ladies at my credit union. Over the past couple of decades they put up with a lot from me, with hardly an audible sigh, although I am sure there was a lot of cheering when my wife took over balancing the checkbook a few years ago.
The Credit Union ladies know my account numbers and status better than I do, and have bailed me out of numerous problems.
There's a moment in the "David After Dentist" YouTube video when David, overwhelmed, stares blankly forward and asks, "Is this real life?" and then "Is this going to be forever?"
When it comes to the Internet, the answer is: probably, yes.
Carrie Mathison may be banished from the fictional CIA on "Homeland," but she was welcomed with open arms at the real one on Monday.
"Our field trip to Langley," Claire Danes said wryly. "It did feel like we were in junior high school." (She should know.)
Columny is often a kind of dodge ball, in which we avoid counterarguments and bluster past contrary views. So, since I've obviously offended many readers by supporting missile strikes on Syria if it doesn't give up chemical weapons, let me try to confront directly your objections.
Our schools are failing. Head Start is being cut back. Our roads and bridges need repairs. And you want to pour billions of dollars into blowing up Syria? What a misuse of resources!
When Occupy Wall Street sprang up in parks and under tents, one of the many issues the protesters pressed was economic inequality. Then, as winter began to set in, the police swept the protesters away. All across the country the crowds thinned and enthusiasm waned, and eventually the movement all but dissipated.
This year began with women holding commanding leads in races to become the next mayor of America's two largest cities, New York and Los Angeles.
It was "hers to lose," the chattering class said of Wendy Greuel, former LA city controller and president pro tem of the Los Angeles City Council.
It was "hers to lose," the chattering class said of Christine Quinn, speaker of the New York City Council.
Back to congressional gridlock. Back to watching John Boehner provide exciting updates like "we're continuing to work with our members." Maybe, if the stalemate goes on long enough, he will once again tell reporters: "If ands and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas." I always enjoy that part.
Democrats look at the food stamps program and see an essential piece of a fraying safety net. Republicans see entitlement spending gone wild. This fierce debate is to be joined soon in the House when Republicans plan to take up a mean-spirited measure that would cut spending on the program by a whopping $40 billion over the next decade -- twice the original House proposal and 10 times the trims envisioned by the Senate.
While the slaughter goes on in the Syrian civil war, a remarkable war of words has broken out over the threatened use of American force there, led by of all people Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Moscow's strongman of the post-Cold War era, or at least some assigned wordsmith, has written an op-ed piece in the New York Times making a clever pitch for taking the dispute to the United Nations, where an anticipated Russian veto had deterred the United States from doing so in the first place.
A few days ago, The New York Times published a report on a society that is being undermined by extreme inequality. This society claims to reward the best and brightest regardless of family background. In practice, however, the children of the wealthy benefit from opportunities and connections unavailable to children of the middle and working classes. And it was clear from the article that the gap between the society's meritocratic ideology and its increasingly oligarchic reality is having a deeply demoralizing effect.