Tuesday December 10, 2013
August 8th, 2013
In the fall of 1995, as a staff writer at Fortune magazine, I wrote a story about the mass litigation surrounding silicone breast implants. Plaintiffs' lawyers had filed thousands of cases against Dow Corning, accusing it of selling a product - the silicone used in implants - that caused autoimmune diseases. Fearful that the litigation could put it out of business, Dow Corning filed for bankruptcy protection.
Washington being Washington, the hottest relationship in town doesn't revolve around sex or even the next presidential election: it's the political courtship of old antagonists, Barack Obama and John McCain.
Edward Snowden's renegade decision to reveal the jaw-dropping scope of the National Security Agency's electronic surveillance is being vindicated -- even as Snowden himself is being vilified.
Intelligence officials in the Obama administration and their allies on Capitol Hill paint the fugitive analyst as nothing but a traitor who wants to harm the United States. Many of those same officials grudgingly acknowledge, however, that public debate about the NSA's domestic snooping is now unavoidable.
Ever since Yosemite National Park won fame for its natural Western splendor, it's gone on many a register of things to see before one dies. It remains a bucket-list favorite, only nowadays there are millions, if not billions, more buckets. The park's crowds have become such that officials there are struggling to find ways to ease the crush of humanity.
A man buys a knife in a Beijing supermarket and randomly attacks customers with it, including a baby; another steals a knife from a roadside snack bar and starts attacking passersby; a third gets into an argument with a woman, picks her 2-year-old girl out of her stroller and smashes her baby to the ground, killing her.
Every so often you read a news article so revealing that it triggers this thought: I wonder if we'll look back on that story in five years and say, "We should have seen this coming. That story was the warning sign."
The death this week at age 96 of former Pennyslvania Gov. Bill Scranton, briefly a Republican presidential candidate in 1964, was also in a sense a final obituary on moderate Republicanism that began fading from the political scene half a century ago.
In a 1968 comedy called The Secret War of Harry Frigg, Paul Newman is captured during World War II in Italy. After the prisoner of war spends several weeks trying to escape, his captor tells him some great news: The guards now have bullets in their guns.
The Food and Drug Administration news about food safety reminds me all too much of this scene. Guess what? They’re now going to start trying to make sure our imported food is safe!
The idea that Barack Obama would still consider appointing Lawrence Summers to head the Federal Reserve rather than order an investigation into this former White House official's Wall Street payments, reported Friday by The Wall Street Journal, mocks the president's claimed concern for the disappearing middle class. Summers is in large measure responsible for that dismal outcome, and, twice now, after top level economic postings in both the Clinton and Obama administrations, he has returned to gorge himself at the Wall Street trough.
Why are congressional Republicans so determined to repeal Obamacare? They're terrified that, once Americans have it, they might want to keep it.
That's what happened after Medicare was passed in 1965, when the idea of government involvement in health care coverage encountered a lot less resistance that it does today -- despite a popular 1961 vinyl record titled "Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine," before the Gipper entered full-time politics.