Thursday December 12, 2013
June 27th, 2013
This is the time when every second-term president starts thinking about his legacy. But what a mixed one it's going to be for President Obama. After his decision to start arming the opposition in Syria, it looks like historians will profile Obama as the man who stopped two wars in the Middle East -- and then started a third one. Is that really how he wants to be remembered?
The future of immigration reform is, for now at least, not up to House Speaker John Boehner. It is in the hands of a group of moderately conservative Republican senators who have to decide whether their desire to solve a decades-old problem outweighs their fears of retaliation from the party's right wing.
One lesson from recent economic troubles has been the usefulness of history. Just as the crisis was unfolding, the Harvard economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff - who unfortunately became famous for their worst work - published a brilliant book with the sarcastic title "This Time Is Different." Their point, of course, was that there is a strong family resemblance among crises. Indeed, historical parallels - not just to the 1930s, but to Japan in the 1990s, Britain in the 1920s, and more - have been vital guides to the present.
The tea party returned to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, but this time the don't-tread-on-me crowd trod upon one of its own.
Where did the panic over mad cow disease go? Off the front pages, for sure. A few years ago, respected journalists warned of a looming public health disaster as Americans consumed deadly hamburgers. They accused the beef industry and government regulators of colluding to hide the problem of mad cow disease.
Pro-immigration senators are now proposing a "border surge."
In an effort to secure passage of the embattled immigration bill, two Republicans, Bob Corker and John Hoeven, are proposing an amendment that would, according to The New York Times, call for an increase in "the current border patrol force to 40,000 agents from 21,000, as well as for the completion of 700 miles of fence on the nation's southern border."
From the evidence so far, there's no good reason to let the National Security Agency continue its massively intrusive practice of logging our private phone calls. Congress should pull the plug.
In 1951, a man named Walter Byers became the first-ever executive director of the NCAA, an organization that at the time was both toothless and penniless. That year, the NCAA had been forced to abandon its short-lived "Sanity Code," an effort to rein in excesses in college athletics. Byers, who had been an assistant at the Big Ten Conference, was given a room at the Big Ten for his office. He had one employee: his assistant. He was 29 years old.
President Obama's second term is already beleaguered by the same barrier that stymied his first four years -- a Congress that seems unable or unwilling to get its most serious business done. He looks longingly if not overly optimistically toward the 2014 congressional elections to bring him a Democratic majority on Capitol Hill that may be a pipedream.
If the national economy isn't stimulating enough jobs for millions, how can mayors, business and other metro-area leaders figure out routes to decent-paying jobs for more of their people?