Archive

Date

February 26th, 2014

Buying More Than a Piece of the Rock

    One thing about the tea party Republicans in Congress is that they do know who butters their biscuits. Several have recently rushed forward with an anguished plea in defense of Wall Street barons, CEOs, and billionaires: Stop the vilification of wealthy people!

    I’m concerned about those poor rich people too. Especially the very richest.

    Did you know that the wealthiest one-hundredth-of-1-percenters rake in an average of $30 million every year?

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Is That Sausage Worth This?

    Modern factory farms have so much wrong with them, but a starting point is the practice of turning pigs into cannibals.

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Keeping Sludge Away from Your Seedlings Is Harder than You Think

    Spring is so close we can almost taste it. If you’re a gardener, you’ve already counted how many weeks until the last frost, ordered your seeds, and perhaps even began starting your seedlings indoors.

    And if you’re like some gardeners, once it’s warm enough, you’ll take them outside and plant them in sewage sludge.

    Yes, that’s right. I said sewage sludge.

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Needed: Another GOP declaration of conscience

    The political equivalent of schoolyard bullying seems back in vogue to a degree seldom seen since the days of the late Sen. Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin, who used bare-knuckle intimidation to cow a whole country into viral anti-communism in the 1950s.

    Despite New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's assurance that "I am not a bully," more accounts of his strong-arm methods to get his way, strongly hinted in what's now known as Trafficgate, have cast him in that light.

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Obama's mortifying embrace of checkbook diplomacy

    How stupid can you be and still be a U.S. ambassador?

    I went to Wikipedia to find out. I looked up George Tsunis, President Barack Obama's nominee to be ambassador to Norway, who embarrassed himself at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month. But Tsunis is such an outlier that he doesn't even have a Wikipedia page.

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Online trolls: Just sadists at heart

    It's official. People who leave ugly comments on the Internet are sadists and psychopaths, a Canadian study says. That's more elegant than what I call them.

    In the wild freewheeling world of Internet, such creatures are called "trolls."

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Reading the Tea Leaves on Iran

    Here are some simple things to keep in mind about U.S. relations with Iran:

    The many influential Americans seeking war with the Middle Eastern country include:

    1. Munitions companies that profit from the sale of missiles, helicopters, bullets, etc.

    2. TV pundits who get lots of extra work whenever our bombs detonate.

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The Home Country

    Kiev did not seem familiar when I visited a few years ago for the first and only time. Old and a little tired, but friendly. Reasonable.

    It wasn't scary and off-putting; it was bright and shiny. Red Square meets Beverly Hills, more mirrors than Las Vegas -- like the little bright pocket I found myself in when I visited Moscow a few days later.

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The Least We Can Do

    Can we talk about the United Nations? I know, I know. But give me a minute. We don't do this very often.

    It looks as if the Senate is going to fail to ratify the U.N. treaty on the rights of people with disabilities this year. There are, of course, tons of things the Senate is going to fail to tackle between now and the fall elections. You name it, they're prepared to not do it.

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The stimulus debate continues

    The treatment helped. The patient is recovering. The doctor is still being accused of malpractice.

    That, in a nutshell, is the story of the $800 billion stimulus package President Obama signed five years ago, the centerpiece of a code-blue effort to defibrillate the cratering economy.

    Rarely in the annals of U.S. public policy has there been a greater disconnect between the real-world effect of legislation and its political-world perception.

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