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Politics and other nightmares

No early limit, please

I wrote recently about ways the Republican presidential debates could be made less of a sound-bite circus. CNN and Fox, which will broadcast the first two debates, think they've found the answer by limiting participation to candidates who place in the top 10 in polling prior to the debates.  Bad idea. Even 10 is too many people to pay attention to at once. And in the early rounds, everybody should have a shot. Says Stuart Rothenberg:

Spend, baby, spend

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss:

Washington wants to spend more.

Just four years ago, the nation’s rapidly expanding debt was seen as Washington’s No. 1 crisis.

When House Republicans took the majority in 2011, they made it their overarching mission to rein in spending. Together with the White House, they agreed to limit spending for the next decade by the use of budget caps.

Death to the penalty

How about some real debates?

The Republican primaries ought to be more fun next year than they were in 2012 for the simple reason that the field is so much better -- a lot of new faces instead of the same old ones. But the "debate" prospects aren't any better. With 12 or more candidates on stage, it's just going to be a battle-of-the-sound-bites circus that we'll learn nothing useful from. I like this idea:

Know what I mean?

Following the news is such a part of my job that it's tough to give it up sometimes even on vacation. This time I managed to do it, though. So I came back to work ready to look freshly at unfolding events and discovered, alas, it was the same old crap they'd been shoveling when I left.

Carly cues

OK, Carly Fiorina is on nobody's list of probable GOP presidential primary winners -- they're not likely to nominate someone who's never won anything before.  But, man, is she ever brightening up the political scene. She says she is the one who can best go one-on-one with Hillary, without getting caught up in the usual fear-of-being-seen-as-sexist trap. And she may have a point. She is better than any conservative I've seen in years at turning "Gotcha!" attempts back on her inquisitors.

This isn't 1968

Most of us look at splashy, chaotic events like the upheaval in Baltimore through the lenses of our preconceptions.  It's a crime problem. It's a racism problem. It's police misconduct. It's the breakdown of the family. It's poverty. On and on.

Word power

Interesting words I encountered while wandering through the blogosphere.

From an article about some sneering left-wing writers at PEN, which, among other thngs, gives out a yearly award for journalistic courage, boycotting the awards ceremony for the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists killed last year for daring to satirize militant Islam, because, you know, they were using the right to free expression, for (gasp!) hate speech:

The weakest link

If you have certain requirements for a job, and those requirements keep a very high percentage of one group or another out of that job, do members of those groups need to try harder, or should the standards be changed? That's a debate that's held all the time in this country, and various jurisdications have come up with various answers, Sometimes, there is a little more urgency in coming up with the right answer:

Still waiting

Oh, no! We have only eight years to avoid climate-change catastrophe!

Governments are running out of time to address climate change and to avoid the worst effects of rising temperatures, an influential UN panel warned yesterday.