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Gene Lyons


Higher job satisfaction leads to better economy

To paraphrase Tolstoy, every successful small business shares the same traits. And they all begin with high-quality employees. I’m thinking of three local establishments where I’ve traded for years: an auto repair garage, a dentist’s office, and a one-size-fits-all country store where I buy cattle and horse feed.

Snowden demonstrates doublethink on importance of leaks

Moscow has always been hard on idealists. So it’s no surprise to find the world-renowned civil libertarian Edward Snowden feeling shaky midway through his first Russian winter. In a televised Christmas message recorded by Britain’s Channel 4, Snowden waxed alternately as grandiose and apocalyptic as a Dostoyevsky character.

Picking fights over religion

“We have just enough religion to make us hate,” wrote Jonathan Swift, “but not enough to make us love one another.” A lifelong religious controversialist, the 18th-century Irish satirist definitely knew whereof he wrote. After all, it’s fewer than 20 years since Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland quit dynamiting each other’s gathering places.

Obama resilient in face of flagging poll numbers

For a guy whose presidency was supposed to be on life support, Barack Obama has certainly had a productive couple of weeks. With his poll numbers sinking toward George W. Bush territory — 53 percent in a recent CNN survey said he’s not a strong or decisive leader — Obama took bold action on two issues that dramatized the power of the presidency.

Fix the website and the ACA succeeds

Bad news for CLNN, the Chicken Little News Network, that is, just about all of them lately: In states which have set up their own Affordable Care Act marketplaces, enrollment is proceeding apace. Indeed, media melodrama about “Obama’s Katrina” and similar formulations appears paradoxically to have reminded people that dependable health insurance is at last available to them and their families.

CBS, Lara Logan still have some explaining to do

The comic figure of the braggart soldier first appears in Plautus’s play “Miles Gloriosus” in roughly 200 B.C., although the Roman dramatist acknowledged a now-lost Greek model. So it’s surprising that somebody who’s spent as much time in war zones as “60 Minutes’” Lara Logan failed to recognize the type: a swaggering, self-anointed hero describing military feats nobody witnessed but him.

A constitutional coup

“It’s easier to fool people,” Mark Twain apparently never said, “than to convince them that they have been fooled.” You can find those words all over the Internet attributed to Twain, but I can locate no credible source.