Year in Review

2011 In Review: Excerpts from Selected Columns


2011 IN REVIEW

Excerpts from Selected Columns

While a tragedy of this nature requires no amplification, what is particularly disturbing is that the cancer of vitriol that has spread so malignantly across our body politic would consume the life of Christina Green; a child born on September 11th, 2001 amidst a brief period of national unity unmatched since World War II but which is now a distant memory.  . . . Just as midnight gives way to dawn, so must we fight darkness with light. We can shine a light on hate speech and incitements to violence by promptly exposing and denouncing it wherever we see it and calling it for what it really is. This is because the offense of hate speech is not just its content but the assumption that the listener must share these views. Year of Living Dangerously Part II: Responding to Tucson’s Day of Terror

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More telling is the fact that in both the state houses and in Congress, the Republicans have made little effort to hide the fact that their party’s interest is not in governing but in ruling. For Republicans, power is not a means but an end in itself. Busting the unions has nothing to do with balancing the budget, but everything to do with strengthening the party’s power. This is part of a larger effort to maximize their power and reward their corporate supporters with tax breaks and privatized state assets while punishing their opponents — even if it is counterproductive. . . . Witness how House Speaker Boehner has gone from taunting the President over “where are the jobs,” to dismissively stating “so be it” over jobs lost from Republican budget cuts.  Gov. Walker and the GOP’s Carthage Moment

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Although our per capita income has nearly doubled in real terms since the Eisenhower years and we pay less in taxes, we appear to be afflicted with a deep poverty of vision and spirit. While past generations sacrificed to fight world wars and reach the moon, the Republican plan reflects a Katrina-esque vision of America that can watch indifferently as the nation decays and its citizens suffer. The Republican’s Borat plan will create an America with a patchwork of gated emerald cities that are surrounded by vast areas that more closely resemble the decrepit remnants of the Soviet empire than the America of our parents. It may not be Kazakhstan, but I do not think our parents ever envisioned that this generation’s “defining moment” would be giving the next generation a deed to Americastan instead of the prosperous superpower we inherited. The GOP’s Borat Budget

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On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, while polls show a divide as to whether the war was about state’s rights or slavery due to years of revisionist history.  Let the Confederates speak for themselves – below are the secession statements of Mississippi and Texas — and it is crystal clear that the war was about slavery.  That is what the Confederacy was about and that is what symbols of the Confederacy represent. The Civil War was about Slavery Plain and Simple

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In To Kill a Mockingbird , a jury convicts an innocent Tom Robinson based on race despite an impassioned closing argument by Atticus Finch imploring the all-white jury, “in the name of God, do your duty.” A half-century later, Scott Rose is now asking the same of Flagler County school officials. Meanwhile Luke Herbert, like Tom Robinson, was forced to flee because of being one of “them” and not “us” and now attends a virtual high school.  Luke Herbert And The Dark Side Of America’s Fastest Growing City

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Anyone who has traveled through this region knows there are two things that you cannot escape because they are everywhere you look — Dunkin’ Donuts and history (both of which are taken quite seriously by the locals). The tour will be risky for Palin since each stop likely will challenge her Us Magazine view of American History (and require knowledge of events prior to Ronald Reagan taking office).  If she is able to weave the narrative from each stop into her message, she may counter her image as an intellectual fly-weight. If, however, she uses the tour to create pretty pictures while she delivers the same pap as before, she will cement her status as a political munchkin.  Is Palin Following My Suggested Tour?

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What has changed is their size as they are now more powerful than they were in 2009 when Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin complained that banks “own” Capitol Hill. While the phrase “too big to fail” is often bandied about, the operative question is whether they are too big to govern or are somehow exempt from the rule of law itself? Or even worse, who is master of whom? You do not have to be an engineer or inventor to understand what is at stake as the House debates the America Invents Act. For ultimately this is not about business process patents, but political process beliefs. Are we still a government of the people, by the people and for the people or have the banks foreclosed on that as well. The Latest Bank Bailout: Does Too Big to Fail, Mean Too Big to Govern?

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In setting a goal to reach the moon by the end of the decade, President Kennedy explained that we seek such challenges “not because they are easy, but because they are hard”. What the GOP refuses to admit in its ideological rigidity is that from the transcontinental railroad to the internet, the government has played a major role in making the hard possible. Cutting through all the talk about spending cuts and revenue “enhancements”, ultimately this is a debate about who we are as a nation and whether we still have the courage to do what is hard and the compassion to do what is right. Debt Ceiling 101: Five Things You Should Know

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With S&P now part of the cacophony drowning out any response based on sound economic principles, it is evident that the deficit that most threatens our nation is factual not fiscal; and that our economic prospects are burdened more by denial than by debt and our growth is impeded by a lack of political courage as much as it is due to a lack of capital. As the nation emerges from its own lost decade, it is time for common sense and unconventional wisdom. Unfortunately, S&P’s decision merely confirmed that both remain in short supply.  Standard & Poor’s And The Folly Of Conventional Wisdom

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[As] the phrase “Cyber Pearl Harbor” has begun to enter into our lexicon, Kapersky Lab’s Roel Schouwenberg believes the recent DigiNotar attacks may have greater consequences than the Stuxnet virus in terms of the scope of its disruption and potential impact in putting “cybersecurity and cyberwar on the political agenda”. That may ultimately be a good thing, since greater emphasis on cybersecurity may be necessary if we hope to stop the phrase “Cyber Pearl Harbor” from entering into our history books. Cyber Attacks A Growing Threat To US Business And National Security

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At a time when the nation is struggling to get back on its feet due to Wall Street’s last “Greedapalooza”, Wall Street now seeks to gut its undeclared enemy to prevent it from regulating it and make its dependents instead dependent on them. Bill Clinton said many years ago, there has been a class war and the other side has won. Not satisfied with a decisive victory, Wall Street has overreached and ignited a once docile populace.  Demanding Accountability For “Greedapalooza”

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History can be savagely poetic and may be on the verge of doing so again. As the Republican Presidential Circus reaches the doorstep of the Iowa Caucus, Newt Gingrich is inching up in the polls ready to emerge as the right wing’s flavor du jour. Who better to be at the helm of the GOP to endure what may be a backlash against Republican extremism and obstructionism, than the one candidate most responsible for both.  Last Crazy Standing: Is It Newt Time For The GOP?
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