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Archive

Date

March 20th, 2014

Florida special election means little, or much

    Welcome to the first Republican victory of 2014, which should make Democrats very, very worried.

    In a race to fill the House seat of the late Republican Bill Young, David Jolly, a Washington lobbyist and former Congressional staffer, beat Alex Sink, the state's former treasurer, who also lost a close race for governor to Rick Scott in 2010.

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Hasn't science done enough harm to humanity?

    Every night before bed, I ask God to protect us from scientists.

    Apparently I haven't been praying hard enough, as I awoke the other morning to this headline: "Scientists revive giant 30,000-year-old virus from Siberian permafrost."

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Lunch on the Barricades

    Let's consider school lunches.

    Always an important topic. But to be honest, it's only coming up right now thanks to Rep. Paul Ryan, who took a strong, principled stand against school lunches in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference. ("What they're offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul.")

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The Corporate Land of Oz

    In L. Frank Baum’s novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the “wizard’ turns out to be a phony — just an old guy sitting behind a curtain, using his booming voice to spew nonsense in a vain effort to fool people.

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The Rigged Housing Market

    An upscale housing development in Wilton, Connecticut (all of Wilton is upscale) is having no trouble selling its 20 units for $800,000 each. On average, homes in that town now fetch more than $1 million a piece.

    And real estate experts only rank the region that includes Wilton at No. 33 on their list of the nation’s hottest markets. Clearly, the recession is over. Well, at least for the top 1 percent.

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The SAT Isn't Perfect, But Serves Its Purpose

    Helicopter parents, start your engines.

    They're revising the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) again, and you know what that means. More weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. More complaints about the unfairness of life and of American society. More free-floating status anxiety projected onto adolescent children already uneasy about leaving the parental nest. Or eager to escape it.

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The Unhealthy Meat Market

    Where does our food come from? Often the answer is Tyson Foods, America's meat factory.

    Tyson, one of the nation's 100 biggest companies, slaughters 135,000 head of cattle a week, along with 391,000 hogs and an astonishing 41 million chickens. Nearly all Americans regularly eat Tyson meat - at home, at McDonald's, at a cafeteria, at a nursing home.

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Francis' anti-imperial papacy

    Religion makes a lot of mistakes.

    Faith traditions can be so harsh that they drive away everyone but the self-righteous scolds. Or they can so indulge in therapeutic comfort and manufactured joy that they come to seem like a charlatan's game.

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Hipsters Have Children, Too

    Disapproving of white urban liberals can be a career for right-leaning sociologists. A decade or two ago, their story was that the American future lay in fast-growing exurban counties, with their cheap land and virtuous Republican voters.

    Now that many American cities have become the hot, hot, hot place for jobs and ambitions, the story has to be rewritten.

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How House Republicans can hold Boehner hostage

    House Democrats seem to have fallen in love with the discharge petition this year. A rarely used - and almost never successful - procedural gambit, the discharge petition allows a bill to move out of committee and onto the floor if it is signed by a majority of House members. Conventional wisdom holds that Democrats are using discharge petitions to score political points in an election year, which is true. But by doing so, Democrats are also creating an opening for Republican centrists to make themselves more relevant - and Congress more functional.

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