Archive: April, 2011
Recently I've been thinking a lot about Barack Obama, Donald Trump...and Christopher Abreu.
OK, Trump and Obama you probably know about. But who's Christopher Abreu? He's a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, about to graduate this spring with honors. But last week, he wrote an op-ed in the Daily Pennsylvanian newspaper in which he made disturbing allegations about a late night incident on the West Philadelphia campus.
Our governor is a fracking lunatic.
I can't wait to see the drilling rigs on Temple's Liacouris Walk.
For 30 years, Wal-Mart has seemingly risen in inverse proportion to the decline of the American middle class. As buying power shrunk for American workers, the things that Wal-Mart did to keep its always low prices always -- including its anti-labor policies and its reliance on China for all that cheap stuff -- at least created what passed for a safety net for the working poor to survive in such a difficult environment.
But that balancing act can only last so long -- for one thing, Wal-Mart's role in shifting manufacturing to China is a poor long-term strategy, the inverse of Henry Ford's famous idea to pay his assembly line workers a high enough wage that they could buy his cars. And now it's collapsing.
And jobs are what it's all about.
I have to say I'm a little stunned that the White House released President Obama's long-form birth certificate this morning -- minutes before surging GOP billionaire candidate and "birther" extraordinaire Donald Trump launched a speaking tour in the bellweather state of New Hampshire.
Not stunned that it shows the the 44th President of the United States is exactly who he always said he was -- the 49-year-old Hawaiian born son of U.S. citizen S. Ann Dunham and Kenyan student Barack Hussein Obama. That was always a no-brainer.
It was a great weekend for Ed Snider, CEO of Comcast-Spectacor which owns the Flyers and the 76ers....on the hardwood and on the ice, where the two Philly franchises avoided playoff elimination in dramatic come-from-behind fashion.
At the box office? Not so much.
Huge hat tip here to intrepid Philadelphia blogger Susie Madrak, for spreading the good word about an amazing new paper (PDF file) -- called "A National Security Narrative" and highlighted in Foreign Policy magazine -- that really cuts right to the quick of what this whole crazy debate about the future of the United States of America is all about. The article's main point is that America's basic security as a nation in the 21st Century depends not on continuing to try to dominate the world militarily but on developing our resources, which is mainly our people through better education but also our renewable resources, our infrastructure, etc. Exactly the ideas that are pushed by progressives (and occasionally and half-heartedly by the Obama administration) and get blocked by the American exceptionalism crowd. Even as each backwards step makes America less exceptional.
No, what's really incredible about the paper is the authors -- two active-duty-military staff members of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. They describe the views expressed in their paper as "personal," but it's hard to imagine their higher-ups are not endorsing their viewpoint in some fashion. Indeed, this really needs to become the viewpoint of our leaders, if it's not already. Here's a good summary in an introductory section from Princeton professor Anne-Marie Slaughter:
Can you spot the natural-born citizen? Answer to come.
UPDATE: Despite their infinite wisdom, the Founding Fathers never anticipated granting equal rights to bunnies.
If you're a Republican running for president in 2012, "sorry" seems to be the easiest word. Once upon a time, it would have been a big deal for a White House wannabe to kick off his campaign with an apology, but now with the GOP it's just background noise. Newt Gingrich is sorry that he loved his country so much and worked such long hours that he had to cheat on his wife; Tim Pawlenty (whose apology is a lot less interesting...par for the course) is sorry he once agreed with 90 percent of the world's experts on climate change. What's the deal? Some of the groveling is just the remarkable weakness of the Republican field, while some of it is the craziness of the far right that is forcing GOP candidates to feel sorry for believing things that make sense -- like that global warming is real.
So it was easy to shrug it off on a busy Eastern weekend when former Pa. Sen. Rick Santorum, a likely 2012 presidential candidate, went on the friendly confines of Fox News Channel -- where he was a paid contributor until recently -- to issue HIS apology, for supporting the 2003 Medicare drug plan that added hundreds of billions of dollars to the federal debt that conservatives like Santorum have now made Public Enemy No. 1.