Monday September 01, 2014
May 4th, 2014
Donald Sterling, the now banned-for-life owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, accomplished something that might be seen as a political miracle: The racist ranting that led the National Basketball Association to oust Sterling brought President Obama and Sen. Ted Cruz together.
Donald Sterling, 80, the now-banished owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, reminds me of every guy I've heard say, "I can't be racist. I've even dated black women."
Recordings released by the gossip website TMZ and confirmed by the NBA of Sterling, who is white, making racist comments to his mixed-race lady friend shows how some people can have ample cross-cultural contacts and still sound like a bigot.
From the Gatling gun to the nuclear bomb, from hot air balloons to drones, the military has enlisted scientists to develop ever-more effective war technologies. Now comes a long-sought scientific breakthrough that the military brass consider the ultimate advantage for battlefield effectiveness: ready-to-eat pizza.
I met my friend Rachel because we were both in the same situation: We each had neighbors who inexplicably hated our chickens. Rachel and I each had small flocks of hens, no roosters, and sprawling, fertile, organic vegetable gardens in our yards. And we live in urban San Diego.
First comes the melodrama, next comes the killing. Good vs. evil, suffering innocents vs. swaggering bullies, heroes vs. villains. The "Two Minutes Hate," Orwell called it -- the way of the world since the invention of mass media.
So it is during the current political crisis in the Ukraine. In the U.S. media, the identity of the Bad Guy has been clearly determined: Russian President Vladimir Putin, the one-time KGB operative with the hooded eyes.
Last week, a committee of the California Senate not only talked about economic inequality - everybody's doing that - but actually did something about it. By a 5-to-2 vote, it recommended to the full Senate a bill that would cut the state's taxes on companies with lower ratios between their chief executives' pay and the pay of their median workers, and raise taxes on companies with the kind of insanely high gap between chief executive and median worker pay that has become the norm in American business.
Americans want a smaller role in global affairs than the stage-hogging part we command today. Nearly half say the U.S. should be less active minding the world's business, and only 19 percent say more so, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll suggests.
Who can blame them? Our roads are shabby, the rail system Third World. We're told America can't afford the social niceties that nations we defend take for granted.
Pity the poor people of Oklahoma. Nobody deserves a governor this incompetent.
It is time to eliminate the death penalty. How long are we going to continue this barbaric practice? The rest of the civilized world has long since found a better way and their crime rate has not increased commensurate with ours.
On Wednesday, I wrapped up the class I've been teaching all semester: "The Great Recession: Causes and Consequences." (Slides for the lectures are available via my blog.) And while teaching the course was fun, I found myself turning at the end to an agonizing question: Why, at the moment it was most needed and could have done the most good, did economics fail?