Saturday February 28, 2015
November 6th, 2014
My brother would have turned 29 the other day. Thus begins the season of difficult anniversaries.
Six years ago, my baby bro turned 23. It was 2008, a week before Barack Obama’s first presidential election. Hope and change were in the air. I had a new job and a new car, and life was good.
Then, just a few weeks later, all the hope died. But boy, did I get some change.
More than halfway through Joel Klein's forthcoming book on his time as the chancellor of New York City's public schools, he zeros in on what he calls "the biggest factor in the education equation."
It's not classroom size, school choice or the Common Core.
With a now-famous ad in which she boasted of her prowess as a hog castrator, Iowa State Sen. Joni Ernst rode to victory in the Republican primary for the seat of Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat who is retiring at the end of the year.
Ernst promised that if she makes it to Washington, those animal husbandry skills will be put to the service of her constituents and the nation.
No, it was not OK that Dr. Craig Spencer ran around New York City upon his return from treating Ebola patients in Guinea. Among other activities, he took the subways, went bowling in Brooklyn, strolled the crowded High Line park and patronized a meatball joint in Greenwich Village.
The dictionary has nothing more extreme than “extreme.” No “extremer.” No “extremest.” So “State Sen. Dan Patrick” will have to suffice, if you’re talking extreme politics, as opposed to extreme cold, extreme heat or extreme disinterest.
In May, I visited Vietnam and met with university students. After a week of being love-bombed by Vietnamese, who told me how much they admire America, want to work or study there and have friends and family living there, I couldn't help but ask myself: "How did we get this country so wrong? How did we end up in a war with Vietnam that cost so many lives and drove them into the arms of their most hated enemy, China?"
Bill Clinton doesn't get enough credit for what he achieved as president in spite of his fierce right-wing opposition. Just ask him.
Charlie Rose on PBS asked him last month what the single biggest misconception about his presidency was. The former president responded like a lot of poverty snobs I have known, eager to tell you how much they had to overcome in order to get what they have achieved:
Whatever the outcome of the U.S. elections next week, political Washington will be as divisive and dispirited as before Nov. 4; that probably will be the case after the 2016 presidential election, too.
There is a potential event that could bridge, for a while, the petty partisanship and revitalize the capital: choosing Washington to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.
There's a hidden history to the nasty midterm election campaign that will, mercifully, end on Nov. 4. What's not being widely talked about is as important as what's in the news.
Underappreciated fact No. 1: The number of Democratic seats that are not in play this year.
Last time, I asked whether too much democracy had ruined America. In a sense, I said, it had. So what does an avowed anti-democrat suggest as an alternative? Less vetocracy, more technocracy.