Saturday February 06, 2016
November 10th, 2015
Just when his fellow Republican presidential candidates most need to listen closely to what he has to say, Chris Christie finds himself knocked off the main debate stage.
If the Republicans did listen to Christie, they might not have to complain about how their encounters have become a blend of a professional wrestling match and a hallway argument among high school students.
The hopefuls can gripe about the debate moderators all they want. Their real problem is not with formats or with who is asking what questions. It's their own profound lack of empathy.
With a few exceptions, these candidates are so focused on addressing a rather narrow part of their own party's primary electorate that they are not really speaking to anyone else. They worry that any hints of social concern or generosity might make them sound like -- God forbid! -- liberals. And they can't have that.
A University of North Texas professor gets stopped by two white police officers while walking in her suburban Dallas neighborhood and pens an op-ed alleging racial profiling. After the dashcam video of the incident is released, Dorothy Bland is the one accused of racializing a routine interaction, and there are calls to fire her.
A South Carolina police officer is fired after a cellphone video shows him throwing a black teenage girl across a classroom because she had refused to put away a cellphone. Federal officials launch civil rights probes, but some community members, including the sheriff, have said that they don't believe race played a role.
A black teenage college student is forcefully detained by two white police officers near a Capitol Hill bank after a white woman said that she felt uncomfortable when he opened the vestibule door for her at a bank. Protesters, including those from the Black Lives Matter movement, blocked streets demanding "justice for Jason."
For the first time in centuries, China affects the global economy as much as it is affected by the global economy. In the years ahead, China is likely to account for between one-third and one-half of growth in global incomes, trade and commodity demand, and its significance will only increase as its share of the world economy rises.
I returned last week from a trip to China with the dispiriting conclusion that the world lacks shared understandings regarding goals for the evolution of the Chinese economy, the objectives of China policy in the short and medium terms, and the institutional structures needed to manage both cooperation and inevitable tensions. Chinese President Xi Jinping has rightly called for a "new type of great-power relations." But it must be embedded in, if not a new international economic architecture, then a substantially revised and updated one.
Back in the 1990s, when I was a graduate student in English and "postmodernism" was still in fashion, the hipper students and faculty wouldn't say what a poem or novel was "about" without putting that preposition in quotation marks. "Sure," one of them might say, "'Tintern Abbey' is 'about' Wordsworth's philosophy of nature"- ostentatious air quotes - "but we can read it more fruitfully as a reactionary protest against sexual equality . . ."
Under the reign of postmodernism, nothing was ever "about" what it seemed to be about.
I don't know how the word is faring in academic literary circles these days - I've been gone awhile - but it's everywhere in politics. Consider the candidates' numerous and protean explanations of what the 2016 presidential campaign is really "about."
News that the police lieutenant widely and affectionately known as "G.I. Joe" in the Chicago suburb of Fox Lake, Ill., is not the hero he made himself out to be has taken some fuel from the media-driven myth that has given us headlines like these:
"War on Police Sparks National Crime Wave" --Investor's Business Daily
"Police face recruiting shortage due to war on cops" --New York Post
"(New York Police Chief) Bratton warns of tough times ahead due to 'war on cops' " --New York Post.
Conservative politicians and pundits who promote the idea that there's a "war on cops" reacted with a bold message to the fatal shooting of Fox Lake police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz in Fox Lake on Sept. 1. Their message: Blame 'Black Lives Matters' first.
One of the basic tenets of journalism ethics and practices is that reporters must keep their distance from news sources.
They’re allowed to be friendly. They’re even allowed to share a meal with a news source. But, they must be independent. It’s a “Caesar’s wife” thing—they must be above suspicion.
This past week, Lara Spencer, co-anchor of ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America,” snuggled up to Donald Trump.
In a photo posted to Instagram, she is seen with her left arm around Trump’s shoulder, her right hand across his stomach. Both are looking at each other and smiling. Spencer posted the following message to the photo: “Can’t beat having the REAL DonaldJTrump on.” She added the emoticon of a smiley face.
The Friday night edition of "The O'Reilly Factor" featured something that doesn't happen enough on cable news: Two people from the same network ripping the guts out of each other over a topic of some intellectual heft. The combatants in this one? Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and Fox News commentator George Will. The antagonism was already in place before the Friday broadcast, as Will had used his perch as Washington Post columnist to deliver a slam on O'Reilly's "Killing Reagan." "Bill O'Reilly Slanders Ronald Reagan," wrote Will, criticizing the book for its contention that the assassination attempt against Reagan in March 1981 had weakened him over the course of his presidency.
Let's put aside the history for one second, however, and showcase the harsh words that flew back and forth between O'Reilly and Will on Friday night:
O'Reilly to Will:
"After reading the column, I can say with certainty, George Will libels Bill O'Reilly."
"You're a hack."
It’s officially one year until the presidential election. Amazing how time flies, isn’t it? Once again we’re watching debates featuring what appears to be the entire supporting cast of “Ben-Hur.” Once again we’re asking ourselves why Iowa always gets to be first. Once again we’re wondering whether Hillary Clinton will make history by becoming the first woman president.
“It’s hard to believe there’s another year,” Clinton said in a phone interview, taking the glass-half-empty perspective. She was on her way to the airport during a fundraising swing through California, broken up by an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night show. Her formula for making it through another 12 months, she said cheerfully, was pretty simple: “We’re just getting up every morning. Step by step.”
“It’ll be a long slog,” she added with what I believe the entire nation understands is total accuracy. “But it’s more fun this time because I feel like we’re doing better.”
A couple of weeks ago President Obama Barack mocked Republicans who are “down on America,” and reinforced his message by doing a pretty good Grumpy Cat impression. He had a point: With job growth at rates not seen since the 1990s, with the percentage of Americans covered by health insurance hitting record highs, the doom-and-gloom predictions of his political enemies look ever more at odds with reality.
Yet there is a darkness spreading over part of our society. And we don’t really understand why.
There has been a lot of comment, and rightly so, over a new paper by the economists Angus Deaton (who just won a Nobel) and Anne Case, showing that mortality among middle-aged white Americans has been rising since 1999. This deterioration took place while death rates were falling steadily both in other countries and among other groups in our own nation.
Ben Carson appears to have a somewhat complicated relationship with the truth, or at least that is the picture emerging of him as new challenges to the truthfulness of his biography surface.
After Politico checked into Carson’s claim that he had received an offer of a “full scholarship” to West Point, his campaign was forced to concede that he had never actually applied and been granted admission, but the campaign “attempted to recast his previous claims of a full scholarship to the military academy — despite numerous public and written statements to the contrary over the last few decades,” the news outlet reported.
(Politico came under scrutiny itself for the way it initially characterized Carson’s concession.)