Thankfully the current revival of President Obama's Charm Offensive is not a theatrical production, because the reviews are decidedly mixed. Seeing him furiously pirouette around Washington for the last two weeks like a carnival contortionist makes you wonder if he might be secretly setting up a post-presidential career in a Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil spin-off.
By the time you read this, the world's billion-plus Roman Catholics may have a new pope. And when the black smoke of Tuesday's indecisive first vote has turned to the white smoke of final decision, don't be surprised if the cardinals have chosen... a Catholic pope.
Imagine U.S. Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana attacking fellow Democrats Diane Feinstein, Chuck Schumer and Richard Blumenthal over their unconstitutional gun control proposals. Further, envision Manchin granting an interview with conspiratorial radio talk show host Alex Jones, during which the senator calls Feinstein, Schumer and Blumenthal "wacko birds." Picture the harrumphing that would emanate from the elite media...
Our own increasingly secretive Kansas Legislature continues to ponder bills that would curtail the release of what is now considered public information.
A national political star is born. Kentucky's' Republican Senator Rand Paul became the political Justin Beiber of libertarians everywhere and a role model for GOPers who want to grab media attention by staging a dramatic "talking filibuster." And, suddenly, Republicans who had steadfastly resisted the idea of bringing back talking filibusters were falling all over themselves to get involved and praise it.
HOLLYWOOD - God bless America, and how's everybody?
Last week, Best Buy joined Yahoo to ban employees from telecommuting - a subject on which I am becoming an expert.
When Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks to the Conservative Political Action Conference next week in Washington, it won't be a keynote, it'll be a coronation. Sick of sellouts, movement conservatives have fallen hard for Cruz. The Red State blog dubbed him a "national hero" and a "great patriot" for his first two months in the Senate. Retired Sen. Jim DeMint vouched for Cruz as the real deal:
Some fancy-dancy public-policy think-tank just released a brand-new study that speculates the legion of aging baby boomers will permanently redefine retirement. Mainly because so few of us will be able to afford to retire. "Uh, lady, you want lids on these?" Fast-food break rooms equipped with CPR paddles. A forest of tennis ball-footed walkers leaning against the brooms and mops by the back door. Intra-generational minimum wage squabbles: "Hey you punks, get your greasy hot apple pie holes off my oxygen tank."
Senate Democrats are finally beginning the process of writing a budget after four years of dereliction. They will almost certainly include some changes to Medicare, the largest driver of federal spending and debt. But unfortunately, there are indications that they intend to focus on the small piece of Medicare (10.6 percent in 2012) that is actually working well: the Medicare Part D prescription drug program.
International Women's Day is March 6 and is celebrated all through the weekend by many around the world. In the U.S., the day complements a month-long recognition of women through Women's History Month.
According to ABC News, you should probably get ready for a take-no-prisoners "This is your brain on nougat" campaign.
HOLLYWOOD - God bless America, and how's everybody?
As one who frequently works from home, I believe Yahoo's Marissa Mayer has seriously erred in removing that option for her staff. I've kept a diary of my productivity, and I'm forwarding this rundown of a typical day to Ms. Mayer, urging her to reconsider.
An old vaudeville joke went like this: "Do I look like an idiot? Do I look like a jerk who doesn't know what's going on? Do you think I'm dumb? Don't answer that!"
It will not shock readers to hear that quite often legislation on Capitol Hill is not as advertised. When Congress wants to do something particularly objectionable, they tend give it a fine-sounding name. The PATRIOT Act is perhaps the best-known example. The legislation had been drafted well before 9/11 but was going nowhere. Then the 9/11 attacks gave it a new lease on life. Politicians exploited the surge in patriotism following the attack to reintroduce the bill and call it the PATRIOT Act. To oppose it at that time was, by design, to seem unpatriotic.
Nothing is less important in Washington these days than how Barack Obama's executive order on immigration will affect millions of unauthorized immigrants. Obama has turned a population roughly equal to Alabama into taxpayers who can live in America without fear of deportation, and this town yawns. All anyone really wants to talk about is whether the Republicans will completely freak out or manage to hold it together long enough for the government to function.
Liberal billionaires reap the benefits of their XL pipeline lobbying and what do they get?
Jack Clayton's 1974 rendition of The Great Gatsby is the quintessential American epic, as well as a sophisticated blockbuster.
Talk about being in the middle of Middle America.
Illegal immigrants are the perfect Republican foe. They're easily exploited as low-cost workers benefiting business and easily maligned for being "lawless" benefiting politicians. They're a foreign other with a tendency not to speak English so suspicion is ready-made. Plus, how are illegal immigrants going to stick up for themselves? They're not. They're an ideal rival!
I've done my fair share of stupid things over my life.
I set out to write an obituary about my mother, who died Nov. 15, and was taken aback by how much she never accomplished in her 94 years.
The autumn dark is lengthening, which means the English-speaking, Judeo-Christian Holiday Season is about to split open wider than a crocodile mouth at the bottom of a baby duckling water slide. It begins with Columbus Day. No mail and the banks are closed. Much is to be said for starting slow. Then the downward hurtle is set off by Halloween, when people toss about candy, free, incognito.
Most Americans, regardless of ideology, oppose "crony capitalism" or "cronyism." Cronyism is where politicians write laws aimed at helping their favored business beneficiaries. Despite public opposition to cronyism, politicians still seek to use the legislative process to help special interests.
At least once in a lifetime every American should lay eyes on the Grand Canyon, whose brilliant colors and dazzling erosional landscape inspire a kind of planetary patriotism. Stretching 277 miles long and a mile deep, it is perhaps our nation's greatest natural treasure.
Apparently, you're pretty busy. I'm a little surprised that you have time to read the paper, frankly. And you're not alone. Only 36 percent of our countrymen bothered to vote in the midterm elections. A lot of people were busy that day.
President Obama is leaning heavily on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), an independent agency, to change the Internet from a competitive, free-market service into a government-regulated public utility.
Did the election last week really mean that much? I took to my Twitter account on Tuesday to point out that the change in control of the Senate from Democrat to Republican actually means very little, despite efforts by politicians and the mainstream media to convince us otherwise. Yes, power shifted, I wrote. But the philosophy on Capitol Hill changed very little. The warfare/welfare state is still alive and well in Washington.
So Jonathan Gruber thinks the American people are stupid, does he?