Wednesday January 28, 2015
November 20th, 2014
Reginald Latson's path to solitary confinement began four years ago as he waited for the public library to open in Stafford County, Va.
Latson, known as Neli, has an IQ of 69 and is autistic. Teachers and therapists describe him as generally sweet and eager to please.
The other day I found myself at the famous Abraham Lincoln Bookshop here, talking about my latest effort, a history on the evolution of the American vice presidency. The visit brought to mind a little-discussed Lincoln story in the book that I will convey here in necessarily abbreviated form.
House Speaker John Boehner has said that President Obama would "poison the well" for legislative action on immigration reform by unilaterally issuing executive orders. But how can you poison a well that has already been filled with partisan cyanide?
With only two years left in his final term -- and after a stinging rebuke to his party in the midterm elections, the president is showing a new attitude: No more Mr. Nice Guy.
First he threw down a challenge on the immigration issue. After years of setbacks and delays, Obama boldly vowed to take executive action to protect as many as 6 million undocumented immigrants from fear of deportation.
The great American Ebola freakout of 2014 seems to be over. The disease is still ravaging Africa, and as with any epidemic, there's always a risk of a renewed outbreak. But there haven't been any new U.S. cases for a while, and popular anxiety is fading fast.
Before we move on, however, let's try to learn something from the panic.
Oh, please. All the melodramatic Republican outrage isn't fooling anybody. The only reason President Obama has to act on immigration reform is that House Speaker John Boehner won't.
President Obama's plan to bypass Congress in shielding millions of immigrants from deportation is not the best way to do immigration reform. But if confrontation is what it takes to get House Republicans off their rear ends and deal with the problem, so be it.
I know it wasn't planned this way, but there is a certain genius in how we snug Election Day up against Halloween on the calendar. We scare each other for fun and profit on the last day of October every year, but then in even-numbered years, we keep going. We scare each other on the first Tuesday thereafter, too, rolling right from our night of haunted houses and zombie costumes into a national election that's being directed like the shower scene from "Psycho."
The U.S. midterm elections have had almost everything, except a vision for governing.
Democrats leveled charges that hard-hearted Republicans would slice Granny's Social Security and throw her off the Medicare rolls while denying younger women contraception. Republican critics refer to Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall as Mark "Uterus" for his emphasis on women's issues.