Thursday September 18, 2014
January 22nd, 2014
Let's discuss State of the State speeches.
No wait! Don't go away! We can start with Chris Christie.
This week, Christie gave his annual address, and everybody was wondering what he'd say about the traffic-jam scandal. It is possible the crowd of cameras set some kind of State of the State record.
Loyalty is a quality that requires careful calibration. Too much can be dangerous; too little, demoralizing.
Differing conceptions of loyalty, and differing choices of where to act along the loyalty spectrum, form the thread that links two main stories of the moment: the furor over New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and the reaction to former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' memoir.
Do MTV's teen mom shows really lead to lower teen birth rates, or not? Where you stand depends on whose scientific study you believe.
A new university study made headlines with a sunny observation about MTV's controversial "reality shows" about the struggles of teenage moms, "16 and Pregnant" and its "Teen Mom" spinoffs: Since their 2009 debut, they may have led to lower teen birth rates.
Half a century ago, President Lyndon Johnson declared a “War on Poverty.” That war would soon make a real difference. In the decade following its 1964 launch, our official poverty rate dropped from 19 to 11.2 percent.
Only in New York. Yes, only in the New York media market would a barely-sworn-into-office mayor get in hot water so fast over so trivial an issue. But there was Mayor Bill de Blasio last week, forced to apologize for eating pizza with a fork and knife, like they do in Italy, instead of shoveling it in with both hands, like they do in New York City.
In the beginning, Massachusetts opened the gates to same-sex marriage and universal health coverage. California started to liberalize drug laws by legalizing medical marijuana. The sky didn't fall on any of these efforts, initially regarded as dangerous social experiments by many conservatives.
If you type "Shawn Boburg" into your Web browser address bar, a strange thing happens. Boburg is a reporter for The Record newspaper, in Bergen County, N.J. But ShawnBoburg.com sends visitors to The Record's rival, Newark's Star-Ledger.
Of the scandal threatening New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the aspect that struck me most forcibly had nothing to do with the governor's prospects in 2016. I suppose I reacted as a foreigner and a former civil servant: Putting aside the details of who knew what and when, how could an instruction to create a four-day traffic jam for no reason but partisan spite ever come to be issued, let alone carried out? That it was tells you something about politics and public administration in the United States.
Just when you think they can't possibly top themselves the Republicans do. I know I keep repeating myself but I just can't help but be amazed at each new day's "news." This time it is the rape audit that caught my attention. I note again that I give them credit for creativity; but a rape audit! You have to admit that one is hard to beat.
I haven't paid much attention to François Hollande, the president of France, since it became clear that he wasn't going to break with Europe's destructive, austerity-minded policy orthodoxy. But now he has done something truly scandalous.