Saturday November 28, 2015
April 2nd, 2015
Conservative pundits and politicians routinely divide our U.S. economy into two totally distinct spheres. We have the noble private sector over here, they tell us, and the bumbling, bloated public sector over there.
In reality, of course, we have just one economy, with the private and public sectors inextricably entangled. Each year, in fact, hundreds of billions of tax dollars end up flowing directly into the private sector.
Today, concerned citizens, we will consider when we want our elected representatives to just throw in the towel and get something done.
This comes up less often than you might think. On Wednesday, for instance, members of the House of Representatives had a choice between casting a meaningless "no" vote on a budget bill or supporting a plan that fails to do anything positive, including, um, add up.
Guffaws punctuated a Florida legislative hearing the other day.
Lawmakers and onlookers chuckled as Florida Division of Emergency chief Bryan Koon tied his tongue in knots to avoid saying “climate change” while talking about — well, climate change.
The right to free speech means nothing if not the right to express ideas that other people might find offensive. Protecting the exercise of that right is essential to democratic government, as the world was reminded, horrifically, by the mass murder of Muhammad-mocking cartoonists at France's Charlie Hebdo magazine in January.
All right boys and girls, gather ’round and I’ll tell you the story of the “Investor State Dispute Resolution” clause.
Wait, children. Where are you going?
OK, the wonkish gibberish the powers that be use to write those corporate boondoggles they call “trade deals” is tooth-achingly-boring and incomprehensible.
Let's get a few things straight about the delay in confirming Loretta Lynch as attorney general. It's outrageous. It also has nothing to do with her race or gender.
Contriving prejudice where none exists demeans the importance of fighting discrimination. And it demeans those who drop such ugly hints.
I can’t easily reduce my own footprint on the planet in some of the ways that I’d like. Sure, I can walk and take the bus instead of driving some of the time, and I can turn off the lights when I leave a room.
What about the big stuff?
Some years ago, I had an interview with a homicide detective that got delayed. I used his office phone to postpone a tennis match.
"Tennis, huh?" he said after I'd hung up. "I wondered."
Ninety-four percent of the residents of Denver, Colo., have health coverage. By contrast, if state averages apply, only 76 percent of those in Denver City, Texas, do.
Do you live in Denver, Fla., east of Gainesville? Based on the state average, you have a one-in-five chance of having no health coverage. Good luck to you.