Russia's ongoing dismemberment of Ukraine and the Islamic State's erasing of Middle Eastern borders have distracted attention from the harassment of U.S. Navy aircraft by Chinese fighter jets over the South China Sea.
This administration aggressively hawked the fiction that the Benghazi attack was just an excessively boisterous movie review. Now we are told that a few wayward souls in Cincinnati, with nary a trace of political purpose, targeted for harassment political groups with "tea party" and "patriot" in their titles. The Post has reported that the IRS also targeted groups that " criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution."
The regulatory, administrative state, which progressives champion, is generally a servant of the strong, for two reasons.
She had the eyes of Caligula and the lips of Marilyn Monroe. So said Francois Mitterrand, the last serious socialist to lead a major European nation, speaking of Margaret Thatcher, who helped bury socialism as a doctrine of governance.
The real vocation of some people entrusted with delivering primary and secondary education is to validate this proposition: The three R's -- formerly reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic -- now are racism, reproduction and recycling. Especially racism.
When asked to explain the brisk pace of his novels, Elmore Leonard said, "I leave out the parts that people skip." You will not want to skip anything in William Zinsser's short essays written for the American Scholar magazine's Web site and now collected in "The Writer Who Stayed," a book that begins with him wondering why "every year student writing is a little more disheveled."
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is an exception to the rule that a law's title is as uninformative about the law's purpose as the titles of Marx Brothers movies ("Duck Soup," "Horse Feathers," "Animal Crackers") are about those movies' contents.
Even during this desultory economic recovery, one industry thrives -- the manufacture of synthetic hysteria. It is, however, inaccurate to accuse the Hysteric in Chief of crying "Wolf!" about spending cuts under the sequester. He is actually crying "Hamster!"
"Zero Dark Thirty," a nominee for Sunday's Oscar for Best Picture, reignited debate about whether the waterboarding of terrorism suspects was torture. This practice, which ended in 2003, was used on only three suspects.
"You," said Jack Nicholson's Jessep to Tom Cruise's Kaffee, "have the luxury of not knowing what I know." Viewers of the movie "Zero Dark Thirty " will, according to some informed persons, lose the luxury of not knowing about hard but morally defensible things done on their behalf.
In the 12 months we have to steel ourselves for the next State of the Union spectacle, let us count the ways that this spawn of democratic Caesarism -- presidency worship -- has become grotesque. It would be the most embarrassing ceremony in the nation's civic liturgy, were the nation still capable of being embarrassed by its puerile faith in presidential magic.
Before Ronald Reagan traveled the 16 blocks to the White House after his first inaugural address, the White House curator had, at the new president's instruction, hung in the Cabinet room a portrait of Calvin Coolidge. The Great Communicator knew that "Silent Cal" could use words powerfully -- 15 of them made him a national figure -- because he was economical in their use, as in all things.
Happy days are not here again, but they are coming for conservatives. Barack Obama -- with the lowest approval rating (according to Gallup, 50 percent, four points lower than that of the National Rifle Association) of any reelected president when inaugurated since World War II -- has a contradictory agenda certain to stimulate a conservative revival.
Senate hearings on the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be defense secretary will be a distinctive Washington entertainment, a donnybrook without drama. He should be confirmed: Presidents are due substantial deference in selecting Cabinet members because they administer presidential policies and, unlike judicial appointments, they leave when their nominators do.
Yet another reason to revere Calvin Coolidge is that he thought the Chicago Bears were a circus act. In the 1920s, professional football was small beer compared to the already big business of college football. Which today prospers partly by selling beer: Watch the commercials that pay for the television contracts that have recently disordered many college football conferences and nullified what were solemnly called "traditional rivalries."
Connoisseurs of democratic decadence can savor a variety of contemporary dystopias. Because familiarity breeds banality, Greece has become a boring horror. Japan, however, in its second generation of stagnation is fascinating. Once, Japan bestrode the world, jauntily buying Rockefeller Center and Pebble Beach. Now Japanese buy more adult diapers than those for infants.
If you have worked hard for five decades, made pots of money and now want to squander it all in Las Vegas on wine, women and baccarat, go ahead.
Even Jonathan Swift, who said that promises and pie crusts are made to be broken, might have marveled at the limited shelf life of Barack Obama's promise of a balanced deficit-reduction plan, substantial spending cuts to accompany revenue increases.
With a chip on his shoulder larger than his margin of victory, Barack Obama is approaching his second term by replicating the mistake of his first.
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