In responding to the Ebola crisis, President Barack Obama is being his usual self: passive, detached, unable or unwilling to lead. So say his critics, who accuse him of being an idle observer of his own presidency.
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With Halloween approaching, the way to scare small children is to conjure up specters of witches and ghosts. Terrifying economists is easier: Just say, “Illinois.”
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz doesn’t trust Barack Obama to protect Americans against Ebola, defeat the Islamic State, oversee the IRS or revamp the health insurance system. He decries the expansion of federal power Obama has brought about. But Cruz wants to give him another power by letting him decide that some Americans will no longer be Americans.
Americans are living under a dire threat that could quickly escalate into a national emergency. No, not Ebola or the Islamic State but the hugely overhyped fear of them. The public resembles one of those cartoon elephants perched on a chair in trembling terror of a mouse.
When a man jumped over the White House fence, ran across the lawn and entered the residence, the Secret Service failed and failed again. One of the most conspicuous and surprising failures was that though it had armed agents on the ground and snipers on the roof, no one fired a shot to stop him.
Young people may find it hard to believe, but going to war used to be a big deal. When the United States started bombing Iraq in January 1991, Americans somberly watched President George H.W. Bush address the nation, followed by live video of Baghdad being bombed. The Bush address drew the biggest audience TV had ever had.
You think Marine Corps boot camp is tough? In the old days it was much tougher. Drill instructors often corrected recruits by kicking them, punching them or hitting them with sticks. Broken jaws and bloody noses were not unusual.
A few months ago I made a trip to attend my daughter Isabelle’s commencement at an institution of higher learning. Having no apparel to signify my investment in this particular school, I entered the bookstore and found a shirt emblazoned with its name. Too impatient to try the shirt on, I eyeballed the medium and the large and decided the medium would fit.
President Barack Obama said Wednesday night the United States is going to war “to degrade and ultimately destroy” the group known as the Islamic State.
Good morning. This is your captain. We’ll be cruising today at an altitude of 30,000 feet, and we expect to arrive at our destination on time. Then we’ll spend 45 minutes on the tarmac waiting for a gate to open up, because apparently, the airport folks had no idea we were coming.
The New York Times ran an unfair headline the other day: “Arab Nations Strike in Libya, Surprising U.S.” It was unfair not because it was inaccurate but because the latter phrase suggested there was something noteworthy in our surprise. When it comes to events abroad, surprise is our natural state.
In fighting disease, aggressive action is not always advisable. Two years ago a federal panel recommended against routine use of a test for prostate cancer because it carries “a very small potential benefit and significant potential harms.” Some men get false positives, and many true positives lead to risky surgery for cancers that grow so slowly as to pose no threat.
Not all the residents of Ferguson, Mo., are black; not all of them are out protesting; and some think the protesters are neglecting a better option for change.
The shooting of Michael Brown and its turbulent aftermath have renewed an old question: Why does the black community raise a ruckus when a white person kills a black person, which is rare, but not when a black person kills a black person, which is far less rare?
Fifty years ago this summer, President Lyndon Johnson signed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Back then, it was reasonable to expect that by 2014, America would be a fully integrated nation in which equality prevailed. But as the events in Ferguson, Mo., dramatize, the country still resembles what a presidential commission described in 1968: “two societies, one black, one white — separate and unequal.”
A diplomat was once defined as someone whose job is to lie for his country. That’s apparently what makes them different from intelligence officers, whose function is to lie to their country.
The world is a hot mess. Pro-Russian separatists shot down a passenger jet over Ukraine. Iraq is under siege from Islamic radicals, the Taliban is rebounding in Afghanistan and civil war grinds on in Syria.
In 1952, Sen. Patrick McCarran of Nevada took the Senate floor to warn of the dangers posed by foreigners. The immigration system, he said, is a stream that flows into our society, and “if that stream is polluted our institutions and our way of life becomes infected.” He was not the last person to see those migrating here as a terrifying source of contamination.
Living in a city that had 82 shootings over the Fourth of July weekend, Chicagoans could be forgiven for envying the residents of Indianapolis.
There is a point at which firmness of conviction becomes obstinacy, and there is a point at which obstinacy becomes comedy. The latter was on spectacular view the other day when a prominent inflation hawk self-destructed on national TV.
In the eyes of Texas Gov. Rick Perry and others, the crisis on our southern border demonstrates the failure of our immigration policy. They are correct, though not in the way they think. The failure in our immigration policy comes from the persistent belief that we can make rivers run uphill.
It’s a classic Orwellian nightmare: The government decides to deny you a right it extends to other people, but it won’t tell you why and it won’t tell you what you can do about it. You’re stuck in purgatory, effectively convicted without being tried — or even being told the charge against you.
An undocumented foreigner crossed the Rio Grande near Hidalgo, Texas, the other day. He had spent three weeks traveling from Honduras, and he was carrying only one thing with him: a birth certificate. He was hoping to find relatives in San Antonio or Maryland. His name is Alejandro, and he’s 8 years old.
Organizations concerned with public policy have a habit of hyping developments that relate to their concerns. When the Supreme Court ruled that some corporations are exempt from paying for employees’ contraceptive coverage under Obamacare, both sides loudly trumpeted its importance.
The surprising thing about the Supreme Court’s decision on police searches of cellphones was its unanimity. Aligned on the same side of a major law enforcement issue were liberal and conservative justices who normally fight like cats and dogs. All agreed that it’s intolerable to let cops ransack the voluminous contents of mobile phones.
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