Like all certainties in life, rules in the Senate change. One of America's most glorified political theatrics, the filibuster, now only exists should the majority party choose.
(Editor Note: This Tyrades! column was originally published in December of 2004)
For farm and ranch families across Kansas, adding flexibility to our agribusiness laws represents a unique opportunity to access new markets, to diversify operations and to attempt a new strategy to invigorate rural communities and offer young people a rural alternative.
The whole world mourns Nelson Mandela. Rightly.
It was 73 and sunny, still two weeks before Thanksgiving, and I was stuck in traffic on the 405. Over the car radio a DJ on KOST-FM was extolling the "holiday spirit." Then he played "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" by Gene Autry - a song so old that it doesn't rouse spirits so much as it conjures ghosts of Christmas past.
If 2013 was a year of ups and downs, it was also a year peppered with ironies. Here are just a few:
For those who enjoy lowbrow political theater, it's Christmas come early. Steve Stockman, a Texas congressman so far to the right he's in danger of falling into the Gulf of Mexico, is challenging Sen. John Cornyn in the Republican Primary. Though Tea Party leaders were calling Texas' senior senator a "traitor" who "surrendered" on Obamacare, the conservative case against Cornyn is thin. Stockman's challenge demonstrates that nothing less than absolute faith is sufficient to survive in a radicalized Republican Party that no longer resembles the Party of Reagan, much less that of Lincoln.
Environmentalists and budget critics of California's proposed bullet train may be breathing a sigh of relief.
President Obama's "Mission Accomplished" moment: "We have met the goal" of fixing the Healthcare.Gov website.
A new study has come out that finds men and women really do think differently.
After losing the Virginia governor's race because single women voted for the Democrat by a margin of 42 points, Republicans have found the solution. They will teach their candidates how to, in Speaker John Boehner's words, "be a little more sensitive" to the ladies. But Republicans painting over policy differences with pretty words piles insult on top of offense and will do little to close the gender gap.
A hundred years ago, business tycoon Samuel Insull consolidated smaller utility companies to form the behemoth (albeit public charity-sounding) Commonwealth Edison. Because of the infrastructure needed to provide energy to an increasingly power-hunger public, Insull and others argued that Commonwealth Edison was a natural monopoly; inherently one company had to dominate the market. This battle cry enabled a mere 10 utility systems to control three-quarters of the nation's electricity business by the time FDR was in the White House, subjecting consumers to higher rates with absolutely no competition save candles.
What compromises must we make when it comes to our security on the one hand, and our privacy on the other? Personally, I'm far less concerned about being tracked by the National Security Agency than I am about being monitored by, say, Google.
Trust ain't what it used to be in America.
God bless America, and how's everybody?
There is another round of Republican presidential primaries headed our way. Like before, a slew of candidates eagerly claim to be the end-all of American conservatism.
I stumbled upon my father's 1959 income tax return a few years ago. Oh, how I long for the simplicity he enjoyed when he filed his taxes that year.
Militarism and military spending are everywhere and on the rise, as the new Cold War propaganda seems to be paying off. The new "threats" that are being hyped bring big profits to military contractors and the network of think tanks they pay to produce pro-war propaganda.
The key to understanding Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz is not that he is a fighter or that he is an unwavering ideologue. To highlight his intelligence points the spotlight in the right direction but misses the mark. The man can give a speech, but that's not quite the thing, either. The thing that explains Cruz, at least to me, is this: He is a debate nerd.
You know there's a problem with the Iran nuclear agreement when The White House releases a fact sheet to the press outlining the agreement, and Iran issues a statement claiming the fact sheet is false... within 15 minutes.
Since President Obama's first year in office, the federal government has been illegally using your federal tax dollars to pay lobbyists at the state and local level to lobby for tax hikes, zoning restrictions, and other nanny state policies that pick your pockets and limit your freedom. Every time a scandal breaks or Congress tries to crack down on abuses, the grant-making program changes its name and keeps on going.
Rand Paul's prospects of ever being president are on a par with the Philadelphia Phillies' odds of winning the pennant. If he somehow makes it to the Oval Office, I will personally climb Mt. Everest and chisel his curly locks into the rocks.
Texas stereotype shattered. Texas stereotype confirmed.
Justice has been done in Boston, but it's not finished.
Imagine if a doctor struggled to pay a small debt and as punishment the government took away his stethoscope. Or, if a ballerina owed money and was forced to surrender her toe shoes. Makes no sense, right?
Q. Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. What's the big deal?
Over the last several months, Marco Rubio has been mentioned by the national media so many times one might think he was just elected president.
The President of the United States of America announced a peace deal with Iran. It's been so long that American leadership in the world sought peace through diplomacy I forgot we had it in our foreign policy tool box. The last time that occurred to me was on a Spring Break trip to Arkansas, which, granted, is also not an idea that occurs to many people.
When I came to, I was on my back on the floor of my accountant's office.
Apple CEO Tim Cook should know better than to freak out over Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). His company was also the victim of media alarmism and hyperbole.