Saturday December 20, 2014
June 18th, 2014
For more than half a century, kids in Virginia with bad teeth and poor families have had somewhere to go.
Their parents - immigrants, minimum-wage laborers, the unemployed - usually found Gerald Frank through the grapevine. And they spread the word about his modest dental office. At 75, he's been an oasis of compassion in a state that refuses to expand Medicaid to 400,000 Virginians who desperately need health care insurance.
Last month, around the same time the European High Court ruled that Europeans had a "right to be forgotten" by the search engine Google, a man named Tim Barefield approached me with the following story:
Barefield's brother Robert and Robert's partner, Stephen, were vacationing in Cambodia this year. On the day they visited the Angkor Wat temple, something terrible happened to Stephen: Near the top of the temple, he suddenly fell over backward and died.
That's how many people it took to bring down House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, doom immigration reform and leave all but the most tea-sodden Republicans quaking.
The Republican Party's reliance on tea party support is like an addict's dependence on a dangerous drug: It may feel good at first, but eventually it eats you alive.
Today let's find fun ways to talk about the Highway Trust Fund.
I'm thinking about a game, where players move tiny cars around the board, trying to make money for road and bridge repair. If nobody wins, construction workers will be laid off, the economy will tank and every player has to spend the winter sitting in a 7-foot-wide pothole.
How big a deal is the surprise primary defeat of Rep. Eric Cantor, the House majority leader? Very. Movement conservatism, which dominated American politics from the election of Ronald Reagan to the election of Barack Obama - and which many pundits thought could make a comeback this year - is unraveling before our eyes.
Enough. Enough. Enough. Not one more! What does it take for us to stop this gun horror?
Granted, we can never stop all these occurrences of out-of-the-blue shootings, but we can most certainly reduce them. After each horrible incident there is great huffing and puffing about some sort of gun control laws but nothing of significance happens.
The stunning primary loss of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the first ever suffered by any congressional leader of either party, may well reflect his Virginia constituents' souring toward his personal hubris more than any cosmic policy issue.
There's a good chance if you receive - or give - a Father's Day card this weekend, Dad will be portrayed as a flatulent, beer-obsessed, tool-challenged buffoon who would rather hog the remote, go fishing or play golf than be with the kids.
That's what the greeting card industry thinks of dads. And apparently kids do, too, since so-called funny cards - obviously a subjective term - are the top sellers when it comes to honoring fathers.
The conventional wisdom about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's political fortunes is that he still has a shot at the 2016 Republican presidential nomination - if he can just get past Bridgegate, the scandal over his aides' allegedly politically motivated partial closure of the George Washington Bridge last year.