Thursday November 26, 2015
July 23rd, 2015
In a world scarred by war and threats of still more of it, Barack Obama clings in the final quarter of his presidency to the hope that his lasting legacy will be as a peacemaker.
As President Obama talked to reporters after becoming the first American president to visit a federal prison, his thoughts appeared to flash back to "the Choom Gang."
That was the nickname of the pot-smoking crew to which the future president belonged in his Honolulu high school days, according to Obama biographer David Maraniss. "Choom" was Hawaii teen slang for marijuana smoking.
For all the understandable attention devoted to removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State House, a civil rights struggle with far more practical consequences is playing out one state away.
In Rome about a dozen years ago, I had a long dinner with Donald Trump.
Only his name was Silvio Berlusconi.
Aren’t they essentially the same man? The same myth?
In the midst of Iran mania, the president got tossed a question about Bill Cosby.
Would he revoke the Presidential Medal of Freedom given to a comedian who has been accused of subverting the free will of dozens of women, and counting?
It was a riveting moment.
Unhappy small towns are all alike — claustrophobic, gossipy, dying. The elderly live away their days in a haze of 1950s nostalgia and Fox News-induced paranoia. The cops harass the young, while the meth lab at the edge of town produces poison for those not clever enough to leave.
What do Bill and Melinda Gates argue about?
Not whose turn it is to wash the dishes or take out the garbage, it seems, but headier stuff. The prospects for eradicating polio. The utility of empowering women. The best ways to save lives.
Oh, and maybe how much to acknowledge to a prying columnist that they sometimes do argue.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel calls it a “historic mistake” that permits Iran “a sure path to nuclear weapons.” A minister in his government, unable to resist outrageous hyperbole, calls it “one of the darkest days in world history.” Jeb Bush, doing the tired Chamberlain-Obama number, dismisses it as “appeasement.”
The latest entry into the mob of 2016 Republican presidential candidates, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, is said to be his own political consultant, having spent much of his life running for one office or another, starting in high school.
Whether or not President Barack Obama has negotiated a realistic, enforceable deal to prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb, he has assured his place in history as author of the most dramatic departure in U.S. foreign policy since Richard Nixon's visit to China in 1972.