Saturday November 29, 2014
September 25th, 2014
In case you missed it, our nation's officeholders, current and former, have been working overtime to make us proud.
Ted Cruz threw a histrionic hissy fit in front of Arab Christians. Sarah Palin went to a birthday party where her family reportedly got into a brawl. Mark Sanford emitted a self-pitying aria of romantic angst. Debbie Wasserman Schultz compared some Republicans to wife beaters.
Alicia Keys is a superstar singer who has mostly kept her clothes on and gossip off. So what is she doing in a photo dressed only in a peace sign?
Her answer has to do with the purpose of life. Last month, as she was sickened by grim news - from the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, to the toll in Gaza and Syria - a friend of hers lobbed a provocative question about the meaning of our existence: Why are you here?
The House Republicans actually voted with the Democrats to authorize the training and arming of Syrian rebels combating the militant Islamic State. Even though I think it was necessary, such cooperation from the Republicans tends to make me nervous.
Remember Richard Clarke, the presidential counterterrorism adviser whose hair was on fire about al-Qaida long before the Sept. 11 attacks and whose warnings of a threat from hijacked planes were ignored by the administration of President George W. Bush?
In Barack Obama's determination to preserve his legacy as the president who got America off a permanent war footing after the 2001 terrorist attacks and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he is relying on transparent semantics.
President Obama is adamant that the war against the Islamic State will not escalate to the use of U.S. ground troops. But the more I see and hear of his strategy, the more I fear that "mission creep" -- even if the president resists it -- is baked in from the start.
I turned on ESPN about 15 minutes before Roger Goodell's Friday afternoon news conference. There was a round table of analysts and reporters, led by Bob Ley, the journalist who covers the serious side of sports for the network. If I hadn't known better, I would have thought they were prepping for a coming news conference by a politician in trouble rather than the commissioner of the National Football League.
Congress is gone. But not forgotten.
OK, to be honest, they're totally forgotten. The members of the House and Senate have been out of session for about a day, and the nation has already totally wiped them from the memory bank.
Oh, America's Legislature, we hardly knew ye.
The latest meeting of the People Who Influence Everything from Auto Loans to 401(k) Plans - a.k.a. the Federal Reserve Board's Open Market Committee - has just concluded. The Fed confirmed Wednesday that, as expected, it will stop buying bonds with freshly printed money in October but did not say when, exactly, it will end its recession-fighting zero-interest-rate policy.