Most of us have known for months how we will mark our ballots Tuesday, making the painfully long and obscenely expensive presidential campaign little more than a test of our patience. I'm voting for Barack Obama.
The 14th Regiment Armory was built for the National Guard (née New York militia) in 1893. The massive Brooklyn structure was supposed to mimic the castles of Europe - brick towers and fortifications of previous centuries. Now a YMCA, the Armory today is a shelter (filled to capacity) with nursing home evacuees from Hurricane Sandy. The metaphor: What was built originally to protect us, has to be repurposed for a new type of foe.
Everyone expected a big wind towards the end of October. But it was expected it'd be from the media, talk show hosts, blogosphere and politicians, building in a crescendo that'd end on Election Day. That wind did arrive – in gale force -- but what no one expected was that Mother Nature would also chime in by sending her offspring Hurricane Sandy.
In July, Sen. Al Franken opened a Senate hearing on the privacy and civil liberties implications of facial recognition technology by affirming some incontrovertible facts. "You can change your password. You can get a new credit card. But you can't change your fingerprint, and you can't change your face," Franken said. "Unless I guess you go to a great, you know, deal of trouble."
America used to have the most democratic elections in the world. It doesn't anymore. Antiquated technology, along with the failure to clean dirty voter rolls of dead and moved voters, plus gridlock blocking efforts to fix the problems have left our system in shambles.
Federal taxpayers spent a shocking total of $5.4 billion - with a B - on grants to establish what ended up being just 13 state Obamacare exchanges. In some states the failures have been spectacular enough to embarrass officials and imperil political careers, and in far too many places, Republicans who should have known better went along. It's an object lesson in keeping your fingerprints off the other party's very bad ideas, and should be front of mind not just if the Supreme Court decision in King v. Burwell sparks new Obamacare exchange fights in state capitals, but also ...
"Orphan" is a very empty word. It conjures up images of loss, of being rootless, of unwanted and untenable liberty. When I think of "Orphan," I think of something flying around in the great human universe, searching for its home.