Thursday January 29, 2015
June 8th, 2014
Those who object to President Barack Obama's recent prisoner exchange raise a bracing question: How many Taliban terrorists is one freed U.S. soldier worth?
That question lies at the heart of the backlash that President Obama has received after doing what many of his critics have been urging him to do: take action to free U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who has been held prisoner by the Taliban for the past five years.
There's a new trend in American politics. Call it the "Benghazi Syndrome." It used to be, when our nation was attacked, as on September 11, Americans rallied behind the president and said: "Let's go get the guys who did this to us." No longer. When terrorists attacked our consulate in Benghazi, Republicans decided to play politics instead: "Let's see how we can blame this on President Obama."
Maybe it's me, but the predictable right-wing cries of outrage over the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed rules on carbon seem oddly muted and unfocused. I mean, these are the people who managed to create national outrage over nonexistent death panels. Now the Obama administration is doing something that really will impose at least some pain on some people. Where are the eye-catching fake horror stories?
Let's talk about tax reform.
Come back! This is going to be really interesting. Or at least I will try to trick you into feeling that it's interesting by making copious references to popular culture.
I began writing about the NCAA 2 1/2 years ago, more or less by accident. Assigned by The New York Times Magazine to imagine a scheme in which athletes in the revenue sports - football and men's basketball - get paid, I was awakened for the first time to inequities in the world of big-time college sports. Of course I knew that the coaches were getting rich while the players were getting nothing; everybody knew that. But I didn't think that much about it. Neither did most fans, I would venture to guess.
Among Americans age 40 and older, there's a pastime more popular than football, Candy Crush or HBO.
It's bashing millennials.
Oh, the hours of fun we have, marveling at their self-fascination and gaping at their sense of entitlement! It's been an especially spirited romp lately, as a new batch of them graduate from college and gambol toward our cubicles, prompting us to wonder afresh about the havoc they'll wreak on our world.
When politicians have trouble spinning their own glories, that's a problem.
So it was bizarre that Hillary Rodham Clinton, asked at a forum in April about her legacy at the State Department, had trouble articulating it. That feeds into a narrative - awaiting her memoir Tuesday - that she may have been glamorous as secretary of state but didn't actually accomplish much.
When it comes to dealing with the world's climate and energy challenges I have a simple rule: change America, change the world.
In the last chapter, I covered how not to get high. In this one, I will cover how to get high.
After my admission that I did a foolish thing in Denver - failing to realize that consuming a single square, about a quarter, of a pot candy bar was dicey for an edibles virgin - many in the pot industry upbraided me for doing a foolish thing.
But some in Mary Jane world have contacted me to say that my dysphoria (i.e., bummer) is happening more and more in Colorado.
There were many poignant moments in President Obama's speech in Normandy commemorating the 70th anniversary of D-Day. But two sentences he spoke at what he called "democracy's beachhead" seemed especially resonant back home.
"Whenever the world makes you cynical, stop and think of these men," Obama said. "Whenever you lose hope, stop and think of these men."