Saturday February 28, 2015
"I sent my Christmas list to you in Google Docs. Can you help me edit it and then email it to Santa?"
Sigh. The days of scrawled letters to Santa with crayons, smiley faces and Unabomber-like scribbles with serial numbers and price lists and naked greed mellowed by cute, backward s's are fading away.
The Christmas List has officially gone digital.
Buried in the $1.1 trillion spending bill that President Barack Obama signed into law is a provision that would allow the benefits of retired truckers, construction workers and others who contributed to so-called multiemployer pensions to be cut for the first time.
In a somewhat neglected quote from his much-shared interview with New York magazine's Frank Rich, Chris Rock nails an increasing problem:
"He's making a list, checking it twice, going to find out who's naughty or nice . . ."
It was drizzling, and the sky was that uniquely bleak color that on a paint chip might be called "Chicago gray," when I ran into a friend.
We were both out for a solitary walk.
"What are you up to?" I asked.
She tilted her umbrella and glanced skyward.
President Obama's surprise Christmas present to Cuba -- restoration of American diplomatic ties with the communist-run regime created by Fidel Castro and now run by his brother Raul -- follows a century of tumultuous dealings between the two not-always good neighbors.
After a grueling year that cost Democrats the Senate majority, the mood at the White House is remarkably chipper. The hyper-competitive president put post-election points on the board with an executive order on immigration, a historic overhaul of Cuba policy, and a spending bill that, while flawed, managed to fund administration priorities and provide a year of certainty.
How often will President Obama come to House Speaker John Boehner's rescue even when Republican leaders aren't willing to give much in return? And does the president want to preside over a split in his party?
These are among the questions raised by the dramatic budget battle that came close to breaching the deadline for a government shutdown.
The cost President Obama was willing to pay to avert another government shutdown -- wiping out protections against the sorts of financial excesses that greatly contributed to the Great Recession -- risks a divisive final two years of his presidency within his own Democratic Party.
During my decades of journalism I have been alternatively amused and appalled by the sarcastic newsroom slogan: "A story too good to check out."