Some companies try to make honest profit by selling goods and services to customers in the marketplace, and some find it easier to cozy up to big government with campaign contributions and lobbying to secure special favors. Few are so blatant and shameless about it as Dish Network, whose CEO Charlie Ergen is not only notoriously litigious, but is constantly currying political influence to win special favors, especially from his company's regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
I'm reading "A Prayer for the City," Buzz Bissinger's classic book about Ed Rendell and his fight for the soul of Philadelphia, and this passage quoting the former mayor jumped out at me: "Everything that goes on is a power struggle between black politicians and white politicians, and it isn't because of what's good for the citizens. It's about who controls what project. I'm so fed up with the blackmail stuff that goes on I could just scream. I could just take a machine gun and shoot'em all."
There's no point in parsing all the verbal volleys in the latest Republican debate, which one again was the equivalent of a Michael Bay action flick, a blustering bludgeoning macho entertainment that pummeled the cognitive intellect and reduced one's brain to the consistency of mixed nuts.
Most of us with a cable, newspaper or Internet subscription are familiar with the 21st Century's global epidemic: Sudden Jihad Syndrome. First identified outside the laboratory by Daniel Pipes, the disease is typically confined to males.
When President Obama delivers his State of the Union message Tuesday, he must demonstrate strength and compassion. Despite his lame duck status, Mr. Obama should outline a bold agenda that addresses issues few politicians are willing to face, such as:
The United States is in its third decade without the federal government implementing a congressionally mandated entry-exit system, which would help protect the nation from terrorism and dramatically reduce illegal immigration. The shocking failures came to light when U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) asked Department of Homeland Security assistant secretary for international affairs Alan Bersin how many foreign nationals overstay their visas every year.
Why do Republicans nauseatingly refuse to address America's gun murder epidemic? Why are they so determined to sustain our well-earned reputation as the most violent nation in the civilized western world? Why are they jerking their knees in reflexive opposition to President Obama's modest attempts to defend our right to remain alive?
Last week, I had the most interesting dream. I was floating in the clouds when suddenly the sky cleared and in front of me was a large gate, partially opened. There was a man was sitting before it. He had a substantial flowing beard and appeared to be in dramatic need of an eyebrow trimmer. Perched on a simple chair, he was staring, or more correctly, glaring at me. No doubt - this was God. And he was angry.