Saturday October 25, 2014
February 20th, 2014
I wasn't going to write about this. It's a movie I know too well. Matthew Hale, centuries ago, said that "rape ... is an accusation easily to be made and hard to be proved, and harder to be defended by the party accused, tho never so innocent."
Only the French could have an etiquette scandal.
Let Americans get in a lather over peccadillos of state. The French are lamenting the state of propriety. No one in the land of Napoleon is following the code. And it is putting the citoyens of this once luminous empire in a dark mood. They are less concerned about their president's slamming-door farcical adventures in amour than they are about the blow to their amour-propre. They fret that their image is more Feydeau than Rousseau.
Some of the smartest thinkers on problems at home and around the world are university professors, but most of them just don't matter in today's great debates.
The most stinging dismissal of a point is to say: "That's academic." In other words, to be a scholar is, often, to be irrelevant.
On the feast day of St. Valentine in the Anglican Church and various other religious jurisdictions around the globe, love may have been in the air, but not here in the Nation's capital.
About a foot of snow covered the monuments, short-circuiting the timely delivery of Lotharios' floral gifts to the objects of their affections. Through the previous night, rumbling District of Columbia plows labored to clear the streets to florists' shops and recipients' doorbells.
Last week's big business news was the announcement that Comcast, a gigantic provider of cable TV and high-speed Internet service, has reached a deal to acquire Time Warner, which is merely huge. If regulators approve the deal, Comcast will be an overwhelmingly dominant player in the business, with around 30 million subscribers.
So let me ask two questions about the proposed deal. First, why would we even think about letting it go through? Second, when and why did we stop worrying about monopoly power?
There is a magnificent public policy that achieves many of the goals conservative politicians regularly extol. These include promoting work over dependency, reducing the cost of social welfare programs, fostering economic growth and strengthening families.
Back in 1987 my Princeton colleague Alan Blinder published a very good book titled "Hard Heads, Soft Hearts." It was, as you might guess, a call for tough-minded but compassionate economic policy. Unfortunately, what we actually got - especially, although not only, from Republicans - was the opposite. And it's difficult to find a better example of the hardhearted, softheaded nature of today's GOP than what happened last week, as Senate Republicans once again used the filibuster to block aid to the long-term unemployed.
For Vladimir Putin, the winter Olympics is not about sports or international camaraderie. It’s a carefully orchestrated propaganda opportunity to try to showcase the nation’s athletes and show the world a Russia that, even with its great culture and arts, may exist only in the imaginations of those who believe in restoring the country’s previous grandeur.
The Republican response to the State of the Union address was delivered by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. - and it was remarkable for its lack of content. A bit of uplifting personal biography, a check list of good things her party wants to happen with no hint of how it plans to make them happen.