This episode teaches two lessons. First, legislation that must be ambiguous and misleading, even to supporters, in order to be passed should not be passed. Second, no good can come of a law that makes government the arbiter of the truth of political speech.
Funding for grades K through 12 comes in large measure from property taxes, and the housing crash depressed property valuations. But budget problems confronting municipalities can, Duncan thinks, have benefits because “when you’re flush, you keep doing the same things.”
The cover of The American Scholar quarterly carries an impertinent assertion: “The Earth Doesn’t Care if You Drive a Hybrid.” The essay inside is titled “What the Earth Knows.” What it knows, according to Robert B. Laughlin, co-winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physics, is this: What humans do to, and ostensibly for, the earth does not matter in the long run, and the long run is what matters to the earth.
Can trout be bored? Can dolphins or apes? Are they neurologically complex enough to experience boredom? What might boredom mean to such creatures? Humanity can boast that it is capable of boredom, but there may now be an unhealthy scarcity of that particular brain pain.
As Ronald Reagan prepared for his presidential debate with Jimmy Carter in October 1980, some Reagan aides pondered how their candidate should respond if Carter unearthed some of the at-times-too-colorful things Reagan had said over the years. For example, when in 1974 Patty Hearst’s kidnappers demanded the distribution of free canned goods, Reagan reportedly quipped that this would be a good time for an outbreak of botulism.
Carly Fiorina, 55, has been contending with chemotherapy and radiation treatments and reconstructive surgery because of breast cancer, so she is understandably undaunted by the relatively minor challenge of winning a U.S. Senate seat in this state that last elected a freshman Republican senator in 1982, that has not supported a Republican presidential candidate since 1988, and that has not elected a right-to-life candidate in statewide voting since 1998.
For reasons related to normal rhythms of American politics and to Barack Obama’s abnormal lurch to the left, his presidency probably has passed its apogee. If Obama has a second term, it probably will be, as most are, more difficult than the first, during which his party’s brand has been badly damaged in just 17 months.
Our Demosthenes seems to regard the rule of strategic reticence as irrelevant to him. The rule: Do not speak unless you can improve the silence. He did not do that with his Oval Office speech. In it, to the surprise of no one who has been paying attention the last 17 months, he discerned in the oily waters of the Gulf of Mexico a reason for a large and permanent increase in government taxation and supervision of American life on shore. The oil spill validates his passion for energy—or is it climate change?—legislation.
But first, 'dollars for dishwashers.'