By early 2011, writes former defense secretary Robert Gates, he had concluded President Obama "doesn't believe in his own [Afghanistan] strategy, and doesn't consider the war to be his."
As we evaluate the efficacy of the War on Poverty, a single, unquantifiable factor stubbornly demands attention: luck.
NEW YORK CITY -- If you can imagine a place today that would extend credit to struggling but brilliant journalists, novelists and theater people, where, say, Donna Tartt and Jon Stewart and Tina Brown might convene daily for lunch and drinks, then there might be a contemporary equivalent of The Algonquin Round Table.
Here is what he said: "...all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be." It would seem to be a self-evident truth. After all, your First Amendment right to freedom of speech is regulated. If you don't believe it, write something libelous about a guy with deep pockets and man-eating lawyers. Your Fourth Amendment right to freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures is regulated and then some. If you don't believe that, pick up your phone and ask the NSA agent tapping your line.
In the days since revelations surfaced about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's office orchestrating the now-infamous George Washington Bridge lane closings, I've had at least four different reactions.
Luckily for Christie, it's 2014, and so far, he's done everything right, according to the playbook for handling political scandals.
In politics, it's all in how you say things. George Orwell knew what he was talking about when he described political language as "designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."
Some enterprising writer must do a book titled "The Downton Diet." It would explain how to get and stay slim without moving a muscle, as the aristocratic women in the wildly popular British drama series demonstrate.
New York's new mayor, Bill de Blasio, in his inaugural speech, denounced people "on the far right" who "continue to preach the virtue of trickle-down economics." According to Mayor de Blasio, "They believe that the way to move forward is to give more to the most fortunate, and that somehow the benefits will work their way down to everyone else."
A New York voice boomed from the back of the long car rental line: "Wha'd they do, lay off half the people?" One of my thoughts no doubt shared by fellow detainees waiting, waiting at the big-name car rental office at a Florida airport.
Thirty-seven stabs. Thirty-seven cuts by a knife. Twice to his throat. Six times to his spine. Seven times to his shoulder. A slice to his abdomen that ripped him open like a fish.
Fair warning: This is about the "Duck Dynasty" controversy. Yes, I know. I'm sick of it, too.
My friend Greg Jarrett from Fox News was the first to point out the irony. A few days earlier, I had made the point that it was a George W. Bush appointee on the federal bench who struck down the National Security Agency surveillance program that the Bush administration (as well as the Obama administration) relied upon. Three cheers for an independent judiciary.
America's capacity for optimism and hope has been boundless through much of our short history. The tangible returns of hard work, the ordered liberty sustained through community consent and opportunity honed over time to apply equally to all men and women -- these were the currency of what we called the American Dream.
Could an aging population be good for economic growth? I mean, isn't it an accepted fact that our economy will suffer as more Americans pass age 65 and start sitting around all day, soaking up government benefits?
Proposals to raise Social Security benefits are a refreshing antidote to portrayals of the program as a mere drain on the Treasury. Details of some such plans are troubling -- for reasons I'll go into -- but the change in tone is most welcome.
The disastrous rollout of Obamacare, worse than anyone anticipated or warned, could have doomed the president's second term. It would require something very big to take your eyes off of that disaster. What an idea. Shut down the government.
The honchos at A&E, professing shock that an old Southern redneck from their reality TV hit "Duck Dynasty" made the sort of homophobic remarks one would expect from an old Southern redneck, yanked Phil Robertson off the show. A culture war skirmish ensued.
I've heard a lot of goofy arguments against raising the federal minimum wage. The silliest goes like this: "You want to raise the minimum wage to $15? Why not $50? Why not $100?"
The week after Thanksgiving Perry Griggs, The Dispatch's pressroom supervisor, asked me if I knew somewhere he could go to shoot mistletoe. Say that again?
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