For decades Americans have been laboring under a misconception that has fueled the growth of Jenny Craig, stretched spandex to the limit and turned people-watching at the mall into a vaguely unsettling experience.
In his last State of the Union Address, that renowned weaver of uplifting platitudes, President Barack Obama, crocheted his constituents one final quilt of bittersweet melancholy to remember him by. Not a victory lap so much as someone pulling his arms inside the chains preparing to dismount a swing over a crocodile pit.
There was a time not so long ago when self-professed "liberals" and "progressives" applauded each other's superciliousness by demonizing every conservative who dared question the birthplace of Barack Obama.
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: