As Christmas approaches, the shopping mall can become a shopping maul. One of the ways of buying gifts for family and friends, without becoming part of a mob scene in the stores, is to shop on the Internet. However, for many kinds of gifts, you want to be able to see it directly, and perhaps handle it, before you part with your hard-earned cash for it.
'Tis the season, and Nancy Pelosi has given the hands-down best gift to the American people -- her phrase "Embrace the suck." Miraculous.
In explaining the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, President Obama told Chris Matthews he had discovered that "we have these big agencies, some of which are outdated, some of which are not designed properly."
Americans don't care much about rising economic inequality, recent surveys suggest. But that's not quite right. The public may know that the top 10 percent pulled in about half of pretax income in 2012 -- and that income inequality is the widest it's been since right before the Great Depression. Its brain understands that these trends are not good for the society.
Make a woman laugh, Marilyn Monroe supposedly said, and you can make her do anything.
Mainstream Republicans are doing backflips over Chris Christie's frolic to re-election as governor of New Jersey. Here is a Republican who took on public employee unions, spoke out against abortion and gay marriage, and still scored a landslide win in a blue state. And he won Latinos' and women's votes, too.
Wow, this T-shirt costs only $8. Great color. Problem is, your finger could punch a hole through it. In most Americans' shopping experience, colors change and styles come and go, but there's one constant: low quality and a sweatshop-country label.
We have reached a new level of political absurdity when the right is mad at the pope and the left wants to anoint his head with oil. Everyone seems to have his own special version of Pope Francis. Liberals have declared him a crusader for social justice, especially regarding his comments about global inequality. Conservatives fear he just might be a commie.
FISHTRAP HOLLOW -- Lightning or some other benevolent act of fate struck the magic modem that brings this technology-heavy century into our otherwise peaceful home.
Drawing moral lines in our rough-and-tumble capitalist system can be hard. But it should not tax too many ethical muscles to set aside some protections for trusting, unsophisticated borrowers of modest means. That is, unless you're a politician working on behalf of predatory lenders.
I like capitalism. Specifically, I like the idea that if I write a better book, have a better idea, build a better mousetrap, I will be rewarded accordingly.
As the government health-care Web site chugs along, the Obama administration has begun a counter-initiative to combat Republican naysaying -- and its weapons are of superior grade.
Depressing news about black students scoring far below white students on various mental tests has become so familiar that people in different parts of the ideological spectrum have long ago developed their different explanations for why this is so. But both may have to do some rethinking, in light of radically different news from England.
An unapologetic drinker, writer H.L. Mencken blamed Prohibition on American moralists' distaste for happiness. "A Puritan is not against bullfighting because of the pain it gives the bull," he wrote, "but because of the pleasure it gives the spectators."
FISHTRAP HOLLOW -- I rarely watch those "news" videos the Internet pushes, the ones where you are force-fed a couple of advertisements before you reach the meat.
You may not dance. You may not listen to music or sing. You may not read. You may not leave the house except under certain strict conditions. You may not watch movies or television. You may not aspire. You may not learn.
If you peruse the news on any given day, the farm bill/food stamp debate produces two general impressions: Republicans are heartless turkey thieves; Democrats are spendthrift welfare caterers. If only neither were a little bit right.
For all the gnashing of teeth over the lack of comity and civility in Washington, the real problem is not etiquette but the breakdown of political norms, legislative and constitutional.
Much we believe about turkeys is not true. Myth No. 1: They were served at the "first Thanksgiving" feast in Plymouth, Mass. There's no evidence for that.
During the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act, it's been hard to defend the law, much less to call it "great." But great it is -- for the American economy and for the American people, rich ones included.
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