Tuesday September 02, 2014
April 24th, 2014
Late April doesn’t just bring flocks of tourists to Washington. It’s when hundreds of members of the National Restaurant Association — a.k.a. the “other NRA” — swarm Capitol Hill for two intensive days of lobbying.
Years before I met him, Gabriel Garcia Marquez changed my life.
"One Hundred Years of Solitude" gave me a new way of looking at the world. The label "magical realism" does not begin to capture the poetry of Garcia Marquez's imagination or the evocative power of his prose. Reading his masterpiece was like stepping through a portal into a Technicolor reality where the streets are paved with metaphor and the air is fragrant with dreams.
One thing about that mangy posse of anti-government crackpots camped out at Cliven Bundy's place in the Nevada desert: most don't know a thing about cattle ranching.
Is it fair to pressure companies into firing top officials because you don't agree with their political views? Since when, I am asking, is fairness a defining business value?
I raise this question because so many notable conservatives, ranging in intelligence from the thoughtful to the semi-deranged, have been complaining of "McCarthyism" (Andrew Sullivan) and "liberal fascist bullies" (Rush Limbaugh) over the forced resignation of Mozilla's CEO Brendan Eich.
Let's talk future.
This week is the golden anniversary of the opening of the 1964 New York World's Fair, when visitors flocked to Queens to see exhibits that included a guy flying around with his jet pack, Michelangelo's "Pieta," the brand-new Ford Mustang and Walt Disney's animated figurines singing "It's a Small World (After All)."
If there were an Olympic competition for bravest country in the world, the gold medal might well go to Moldova. Wobbly politicians from Europe and America should come here to get spinal transplants.
Sen. John McCain, who endlessly enjoys twisting the tail of what he suggests is a paper tiger in the White House, has altered the old Teddy Roosevelt axiom. He accuses President Obama of talking tough but carrying a big "twig."
We only have a few decades to deal with climate change. If humanity fails to cut back dramatically on carbon emissions by 2050, according to an alarming new UN report, our planet may warm past the point of our ability to fix the problem.
Given global dependence on oil, gas, and coal, weaning every economy from fossil fuels to save Mother Earth won’t come easy or cheap. Fortunately, there’s a big pot of money available to avert a climate catastrophe.
In the mid-90s, when affirmative action was a hot topic in California, I got a call from a television network asking me whether I would be available to do a segment on affirmative action. As is always true on television, the first and critical question was: "Are you free at 3?" I was. Great, the young woman said.
"So are you for or against affirmative action?"
The law operates with bright-line rules but also with balancing tests and concerns over image. The appearance of impropriety. The appearance of corruption. And so it is with lawyers, starting at the top.
Competing concerns must be weighed -- personal health, institutional interests, legacy, longevity. And so, too, must appearances -- of undue politicization of an entity supposedly above politics, of gaming the system for ideological ends.