Americans are addicted to living beyond their means, at least when it comes to the functions of government. That’s why the federal debt tripled over the past decade and under President Barack Obama’s budget plan would keep growing indefinitely.
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Pondering the looming specter of a nuclear-armed Iran, some Americans are deeply worried that we won’t reach a deal to block that possibility. Some people have a different fear: that we will.
Mid-January is the time to ask the annual question: Are we ready for a big, noisy, overhyped prime-time production that has outgrown its simple origins and usually leaves us feeling both gorged and disappointed? If not, you may want to skip the State of the Union address and prepare for something humbler, like the Super Bowl.
The 1994 federal law banning “assault weapons” was a high point of the gun control movement and Bill Clinton’s presidency. Signing the bill, he said it was the beginning of “our effort to restore safety and security to the people of this country.” But something happened that he and his allies had not predicted: nothing.
When a white cop kills an unarmed black man, many blacks see a pattern of prejudice that generates official suspicion, hostility and abuse based on skin color. Many whites, however, say it’s the fault of blacks. If they didn’t commit so much crime, they wouldn’t get so much attention from police.
President Barack Obama is a champion of using video cameras to prevent and expose misconduct by uniformed people with guns. He is also a great believer in banning the use of torture on detainees in the war on terror. It may come as a surprise, then, to find that he doesn’t want to release videos of Guantanamo inmates being force-fed.
On Thursday, hundreds of millions of Americans risked obesity, heart disease and indigestion by eating large quantities of food with no precise knowledge of the caloric content. If many of them felt regret on Friday, it was not because they were duped into overeating by the absence of nutritional data.
Black anger that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson was not charged for killing Michael Brown stems partly from the fact that blacks in America often face much worse treatment from cops than whites do. Only rarely do whites get an unpleasant taste of what minorities have to swallow.
If you’re a foreigner in this country without authorization, you may be a hardworking, upright and taxpaying person, but you live in daily terror of making a fatal misstep. Overlooking a broken taillight, being a witness to a crime, getting hit by a car while crossing the street — minor misfortunes that attract the attention of police can bring exile, family breakup and misery.
Are there good reasons to vote against Hillary Clinton? If you gave me some time — like two seconds — I could come up with some.
Americans like to keep the world simple, dividing important countries into two groups: valued allies and hateful enemies. That approach suffices when we’re talking about South Korea and North Korea. But it doesn’t work well when it comes to China.
War, it’s been said, is God’s way of teaching Americans geography. Maybe we do learn how to locate the countries we invade or bomb on a map. But recent experience indicates how much we don’t know about those societies and how slow we are at learning.
I am a faithful and loving husband to a wonderful woman, and I do not make a practice of hugging women I don’t know. But if I had the chance, I wouldn’t hesitate to embrace Kaci Hickox.
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.
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.