Saturday November 01, 2014
June 18th, 2014
As Oliver Hardy used to tell Stan Laurel is those old black-and-white movie comedies, "Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into!"
That continues to be Barack Obama's refrain to his predecessor, George W. Bush, as he struggles in his sixth year in the Oval Office to bring about the change in Washington he promised in 2008.
A cartoon drawn by Marty Bucella going around Facebook these days depicts an overweight man on a scale with his doctor. “No, it’s not water,” the doctor says. “You seem to be retaining food.”
That was me.
Yes, it’s true, I write about food. And I generally do eat a healthy diet made up of whole foods. In fact, most of my food is organic and locally grown.
Here's an amazing fact that most of the Chicken Little rhetoric about the crisis in Iraq fails to take into account: The city of Mosul, population 1.5 million, fell to ISIL insurgents because two divisions of Iraq's army (30,000 soldiers) shed their uniforms, abandoned their weapons, and fled from 800 Sunni religious extremists in pickup trucks.
Imagine we had a brazen and powerful gang stealing trillions of dollars from the American people. Then imagine that our law enforcement folks knew the identities of every one of that gang’s ringleaders.
Wouldn’t it be great if the government of the United States had the technological wherewithal to track those ringleaders day in and day out? The ability to see who they were phoning. Or emailing. Or where they were going on the Internet.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew comes across as somewhat optimistic about the rather lackluster national economy.
“Evidence continues to mount that our economy is gaining traction,” Lew recently said. “Nevertheless, we cannot escape the fact that millions of Americans continue to struggle and their pain reminds us that our work is not finished…For too many families this hardly feels like a recovery.”
At least he’s being honest.
The infinitely valuable Yiddish word "chutzpah" is defined as "shameless audacity" or "impudence."
It's singularly appropriate for the astonishing op-ed piece that former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz published in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. It's not every day that a leader of the previous administration suggests that the current president is a "fool" and accuses him of intentionally weakening the United States.
Civil rights veterans plan to honor the 50th anniversary of Mississippi's Freedom Summer project by taking on an even bigger challenge: Turning the South's red states blue.
Actually, they don't express it in terms that are quite that partisan. Whether the states turn Democratic blue or stay Republican red is less important than how much black voters and other voters of color are able to participate in the decision.
Two instincts -- one predictable, the other surprising -- help explain the arc of Barack Obama's presidency. The predictable instinct is Obama's tendency to overlearn the lessons of history. The second, more surprising but related to the first, is Obama's frequent audacity deficit.
There is much talk right now about America teaming up with Iran to push back the coalition of Sunni militias that has taken over Mosul and other Sunni towns in western Iraq and Syria. For now, I'd say stay out of this fight - not because it's the best option but because it's the least bad.
President Obama's instincts about Iraq and Syria have been sound from the beginning: Greater U.S. engagement probably cannot make things better but certainly can make them worse, both for the people of the region and for our national interests.
First, credit where it's due: Colin Powell was prescient about Iraq, and Joe Biden was right.