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?
Back in elementary school when I was hand-writing my newspaper The Lewisburg Snoopy Nose, I never dreamed what sort of tools journalists would be using today.
Clearly, it MUST have been a video produced by America's enemies, a vicious piece of propaganda that was so outlandish it would have brought laughs 10 years ago. No one except indoctrinated citizens of communist countries would ever believe it.
In the week following Halloween, Jimmy Kimmel's stunt involving kids and their candy climbed to over 20 million views on YouTube. But public fascination with the gag doesn't change the fact that it is cruel and sadistic. It underscores the worst elements of mass media and social media, and the incendiary possibilities of combining the two.
God bless America, and how's everybody?
Here we go again. Pointing to a conservative study, Gov. Rick Perry proclaimed, "The discussion's over. The debate's over. The proof is in. Texas wins." And who did we beat? California, of course. It's enough to make you wonder if little Ricky got enough love growing up on the dirt farm. Someone get this kid a 4-H ribbon so the grownups can talk, because we've got some work to do.
I received an unexpected postcard in the mail the other day from an old friend. It made my day.
The politics of the crude exports issue are confused by a lot of irresponsible reporting. Almost every story on the issue asserts that allowing exports would be politically dangerous because it would supposedly raise prices at the pump, but the claim is never credibly sourced. In fact, every single serious study has found precisely the opposite: allowing crude exports would lower prices at the pump.
Elizabeth Warren continues to bedazzle people precisely because she's not running for president. If she were to actually run for president, her power to bedazzle would diminish in a flash. To quote the sage Bob Dylan, "What looks large from a distance, close up ain't never that big."
After the tragic shooting at a provocative magazine in Paris last week, I pointed out that given the foreign policy positions of France we must consider blowback as a factor. Those who do not understand blowback made the ridiculous claim that I was excusing the attack or even blaming the victims. Not at all, as I abhor the initiation of force. The police blaming victims when they search for the motive of a criminal.
As the controversy builds over anything and everything relating to Barack Obama, many Republicans have come to believe that their party will prosper as a result.
Since 9/11, 34 people have been killed in America by Islamic jihadist terrorists.
God Bless America and how's everybody?