Archive

Date

July 18th, 2014

Citigroup: The Original Gangsta

    Barack Obama's Justice Department on Monday announced that Citigroup would pay $7 billion in fines, a move that will avoid a humiliating trial dealing with the seamy financial products the bank had marketed to an unsuspecting public, causing vast damage to the economy.

    Citigroup is the too-big-to-fail bank that was allowed to form only when Bill Clinton signed legislation reversing the sensible restraints on Wall Street instituted by President Franklin Roosevelt to avoid another Great Depression. 

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Hippies Under the Bed

    On behalf of all liberals -- living and dead -- I'd like to apologize to Adam Bellow. In 1976, Bellow was at a Michigan State University writing workshop when a radical feminist publicly rebuked him for saying she had "balls." He says he meant that as a compliment.

    Some formative experiences are forged in the hell of war, others in the crucible of writing class.

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Impeaching the president

    Sarah Palin is right about impeaching President Obama.

    No, not that the president should be impeached. But Palin is correct in arguing that, for those who assert that Obama has grievously abused his executive authority, impeachment is the proper course of action.

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Order Versus Disorder, Part 2

    I've argued for a while now that it is always useful to study the Israeli-Arab conflict because it is to the wider war of civilizations what off-Broadway is to Broadway. A lot of stuff starts there and then goes to Broadway.

    So what's playing off-Broadway these days? The Israeli-Arab conflict has become a miniature of the most relevant divide in the world today: the divide between the "world of order" and the "world of disorder."

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Pivoting to foreign policy, Rick Perry strikes two adversaries

    President Obama's yearning to become a peacetime president continues to be frustrated by the reality on the ground in the Middle East, and by Republicans' zeal to capitalize on it politically at home.

    The disintegration of Iraq, the emergence of a new extremist "Islamic State," a deepening of the Israeli-Palestinian stalemate and more Russian mischief in Ukraine all have combined to challenge the Obama Doctrine of selective use of power in foreign policy.

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Republicans rant but offer no solutions

    Apparently there's a contest among Republicans to see who can be more shameless and irresponsible in criticizing President Obama's foreign policy. So far, Chris Christie is winning.

    The New Jersey governor alleged Saturday that "the unrest you see in the Middle East is caused in some measure -- not completely, but in some measure -- by the fact that this president has not acted in a decisive, consistent way."

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Where's the Oval Avatar?

    The White House likes to use a phrase of tingling adventure to describe the president's recent penchant for wandering the country talking to people: "The bear is loose."

    There are three problems with this unbearable metaphor: Barack Obama is not in captivity, he's not a bear, and he's not loose. As Voltaire said of the Holy Roman Empire, it was "neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an empire."

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Cargill’s Integrity-Free Soybean Oil

    Can you have your hypocrisy and eat it, too?

    I don’t think so. But Cargill Inc. is doing its damndest to invalidate the old admonition that eating your cake today means not having it tomorrow.

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Leading Through Great Loss

    In the carnage of Gaza and the Middle East, the most unlikely people have stepped forward from their grief to offer moral leadership.

    The family of Naftali Fraenkel, a 16-year-old Jewish boy who was one of three kidnapped and murdered, said in a statement after the apparent revenge killing of a Palestinian boy: "There is no difference between Arab blood and Jewish blood. Murder is murder."

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Let's not rush to criminalize 'bad' parents

    Despite the growing consensus that mass incarceration is not the way to cure all social ills, there seems to be a new trend toward prosecuting parents who fall short of prevailing ideals.

    You don't have to be a parent, as I am, to understand the good intentions behind efforts to hold parents accountable for taking good care of their children. But we also have to ask what kind of care is best and whether the criminal justice system is always the best decider.

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