Monthly Archives: December 2013

Whew! 2013 is Over

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I thought that the best thing – maybe the only good thing – about 2013 is that it is a prime number. But it’s not. There are three prime number factors of 2013: 3, 11, and 61. So, it didn’t even have that.

So many people, groups, organizations, and institutions have failed this year that it is difficult to find one that is held by Americans in anything other than what Winston Churchill called “minimum high regard.”

In a Gallup poll taken mid-year only three institutions – the military (76%), small business (65%), and the police (57%) – got marks higher than 50% on the question: How much confidence to you have in the following institutions? Continue reading

A Table and A Christmas Story


Dad came around the corner from the hallway and there sitting underneath the dining room table was daughter Jessie, around three years old, practicing the Pledge of Allegiance she had learned from her friends on Sesame Street.

The table was Jessie’s refuge from the noise and hubbub of the recent arrival of twin sisters, born just months before. The table was where Jessie went for quiet time. She had the Pledge down pat. No doubt a brilliant child, Dad thought. She was just three, you know. Continue reading

Happy, Happy, Happ…

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I’ve been trying to ignore the whole Phil Robertson – Duck Dynasty thing.

But, I can’t.

I am a huge fan of Duck Dynasty. I found it by accident last year when, one Friday night, I woke up at about 3 AM and, flipping around the channels came across it. I watched the entire overnight marathon until about 6:30. Continue reading

Ya Gotta Have an Enemy

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Organizations that depend on fundraising (as opposed to selling a product or a service) have got to have an enemy to survive.

When I was very young my brother – four years my senior – was stricken with polio which was the scourge of the nation back in the early 50s. He recovered but the cost of his treatment was covered by an organization known, as least colloquially, as “The March of Dimes” because a major method of raising money was sending people out with containers that look like Pringles cans, with a slit in the top into which people, answering their doors or walking into their local A&P, would drop a dime. Continue reading

GOP Civil War

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Despite being more philosophically in tune than ever before in its history, the Republican Party is theoretically in a civil war. The GOP used to have a prominent pro-choice wing, a prominent environmentalist wing, a prominent civil rights wing, a wing that wanted to raise taxes and wing that wanted to broadly increase spending, but those days are long over.

Since Ronald Reagan gained the White House, the GOP has been built on three sturdy legs of the stool. First, there was a libertarian, pro-growth, pro-low tax cut economic conservative leg. Then, there was a values-based, pro-family, anti-abortion socially conservative leg. Third, there was the military industrial, pro-defense, neo-conservative leg. Continue reading

Boehner and Outside Influences


“I am as conservative as they come and there is nothing we have done in this Congress that violates conservative principles.”

That sums it up and sets it up.

Speaker John Boehner made that point last week while criticizing several outside interest groups that have raised havoc with the Republican agenda in the 113th Congress, shut down the government for 16 days at a cost of $24 billion to American taxpayers, deliberately fomented division and distrust among the populous, and prevented the government from governing. Continue reading

Bigger Problems for Obamacare

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A poll released yesterday by the Associated Press and GfK demonstrated a point I’ve been making with eye-glazing regularity: The problems with will be solved; when they are solved they will reveal a far more damaging problem for the Obama Administration and its Democratic supporters: Obamacare itself stinks.

It was ill conceived, ill designed, ill written, and is being ill implemented.

The problems with have been a technical failure. The problems with Obamacare are a policy failure. Continue reading

Can’t Always Get What You Want

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In 1969, the Rolling Stones – who have been touring since about 1343 – put out an album that had as one of its songs, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

The U.S. House and Senate should do a quorum call right after the prayer and have every Member sing that song, every day they’re in session – which is only about five days a month. Continue reading

Looking to Generations of Knights for Better Days


“The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.”   — Abraham Lincoln

There is reason to be hopeful about the future of our Republic, but a lot depends on a generation of Americans only just leaving school and getting a solid grip on life.

If you are a disciple of historians Neil Howe and the late William Strauss, as is my friend Jerry Climer, who tutors me on their theories of generational change, generations fresh from the classroom of the 21st Century, will have much to say about the next 30 years, a critical era in our future, and not unlike a time less than a century ago.

Strauss and Howe advanced the notion of history repeating itself to a new dimension. They did so in a sophisticated review of generational history dating back to the late 16th Century.  Continue reading

Mandela Was Well Armed

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I have a rule about Tweeting: If I delay for even a nano-second from pressing the “Tweet” button, I don’t send it. This was an example of something that I did not send yesterday afternoon: How much of the keening over the death of Mandela is by people feeling guilt over largely ignoring his having been in jail for 3 decades?

I didn’t send that, because I wasn’t sure of who was in charge of what during the 27 years that Nelson Mandela was incarcerated from 1962 to 1989.

Now I do.

In those years – for every single day of those 27 years – a Democrat was Speaker of the U.S. House: John McCormack (D-MA), Carl Albert (D-OK), Tip O’Neill (D-MA), Jim Wright (D-TX). Continue reading

The United States of…France

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While we have been totally focused, for the past two months, on the amount of time it takes a webpage to load on, the rest of the globe appears to be continuing to spin.

And it appears to be spinning away from us.

After more than a decade of what is known as kinetic action in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, Americans are tired of being the alpha dog in the global pack. According to a poll released by the Pew organization, the public thinks that the nation does too much to solve world problems, and increasing percentages want the U.S. to “mind its own business internationally” and pay more attention to problems here at home. Continue reading

The Vast Majority

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A phrase that haunted the Nixon Administration (in addition to “I am not a crook”) was his claim that he was representing what he called, in a 1969 speech, the “Silent Majority.”

A phrase that will haunt the Administration of President Obama will likely be the “Vast Majority.”

You may have read, seen, or heard about the fact that the homepage of Obamacare – – was nowhere ready for prime time when it launched on October 1, 2013. After stumbling and bumbling through an embarrassing press conference to explain how that might have happened his team came up with a date, November 30, by which it would be working smoothly. Continue reading