Saturday November 22, 2014
September 11th, 2014
When fire hoses sent black bodies skidding and writhing along the sidewalks of Birmingham in 1963, a lot of white people, high and dry, nodded, “Well, if that’s what it takes to keep the peace . . . ”
And so it goes, 51 years later: different police-tactic horrors, but the same nodding of the self-satisfied and oblivious.
There are things that you think and things that you say.
There's what you reckon with privately and what you utter publicly.
There are discussions suitable for a lecture hall and those that befit the bully pulpit.
These sets overlap but aren't the same. Has President Barack Obama lost sight of that?
The battle for control of the Senate, the grand prize of the 2014 elections, with Republicans needing to win a net of a half-dozen seats to take charge, is well-framed after Labor Day.
Republicans have the advantages of a friendly turf, the history of this political cycle - which favors the party that doesn't hold the White House - and the waning popularity of President Barack Obama, who sometimes seems indifferent.
So, what do you think about those Medicare numbers? What, you haven't heard about them? Well, they haven't been front-page news. But something remarkable has been happening on the health-spending front, and it should (but probably won't) transform a lot of our political debate.
Nico Rodriguez was 15 years old when he found himself living on the streets of Lowell, Mass., with no plans for a high school diploma, no home to call his own and, seemingly, no future. Rodriguez was a statistic: one of the 20 percent of students who do not finish high school on time, if ever.
We seem to be drifting inexorably toward escalating our fight with the Islamic State, which is also known by the acronym ISIS, as the Obama administration mulls whether to extend its "limited" bombing campaign into Syria.
The missing component in the machinery of American politics has been moderate-to-liberal Republicanism, and the gears of government are grinding very loudly. You wonder if Kansas and Alaska have come up with a solution to this problem.
In Kansas, Democrat Chad Taylor shook up the Senate race by dropping out last week, giving an independent candidate, Greg Orman, a clean shot at the incumbent, Pat Roberts.
With folks yapping all day on social media -- Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and the rest -- how can there be such a thing as a "spiral of silence" online?
Easy. Just make the experience of online political debate so disjointed, impersonal and unpleasant that people shut themselves up. Or they hide out in groupings where everyone says much the same thing. In that case, what they're doing is cheerleading, not debating.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch -- as foreign events hog the spotlight -- why haven't Republicans sealed the deal on the coming election?
It’s Labor Day weekend, the schools have been in session about a week, and the disgruntled voices of a minority drone on. Their screeching refrain, often in letters to the editor and talk show call-ins, is familiar:
--Teachers only work half a year.
--Teachers are overpaid.