What would you, personally, give up to prevent another terrorist attack on the scale of 9/11?
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A basic law of economics says that if you cap the supply of something, the price of that something will skyrocket. Whenever there are more potential widget buyers than widgets to be bought, those with money will pay out the nose to get what they want. For anyone who’s ever searched for tickets to a sold-out concert, this concept should be pretty familiar.
True confessions: I was raised a Yankee. And growing up north of the Mason-Dixon Line had its advantages. Regular sized mosquitoes. Moderate summer weather. Fewer Braves games on TV.
Nearly three years have passed since a fateful July night in Aurora, Colo., when a mopey grad student opened fire on a crowded theater, mowing down 12 people and injuring 70 others, like so many fish in a barrel. Three years later, and his trial started just this week.
Generally speaking, I think many of the common populist saws about politics are untrue or, at the very least, mostly wrong.
Watching the family canine descend into old age is a long, painful odyssey for many pets owners. Standing idly by while Fido licks his arthritic paws — unable to understand why they hurt and ignorant as to the uselessness of the only treatment he knows — can be every bit as frustrating as watching a grandparent struggle with dementia.
I believe the United States Department of Education should be abolished. I believe no one living in Washington can effectively dictate local education policy in my town or any other. And I believe the Department’s $77 billion budget would be better spent if it were given to local school districts — that would be an extra $1,500 for every student in the United States.
If the Republican Party were the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team, it would show up for the national championship game in ice skates. If it were Apple, its iPods would feature Betamax compatibility. If Republicans were challenged to a game of paper-rock-scissors, they would insist on using their feet.
When it comes to modern day politics, most of us are really poor at pragmatism. When arguing for some change we’d like to see enacted, people are prone to ground their view in the way things ought to be, instead of the way things actually are.
There’s a great line in the little-remembered 2001 Johnny Depp drug kingpin saga “Blow,” where the protagonist gets busted dealing pot and is sent to the Danbury Federal Penitentiary in Connecticut. Upon conferring with his coke fiend cellmate, Depp’s voice-over remarks:
Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words — words can wreck your life.
The central thesis of this weekly column, as I posited when I started writing it more than a year ago, is this: “Decisions made without regard for economic principles are inevitably mistakes, and when those mistakes are made by governments, they’re nearly impossible to undo.”
What is the Islamic State? Is it Al Qaeda’s “JV team,” as President Barack Obama asserted last year in an interview with the New Yorker? Is it something America should engage in war — “take them out,” as putative Republican front-runner Jeb Bush asserts?
The Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special on NBC last week was a fairly perfect affair. It touched all the right notes — humor and emotion tinged with that hint of self-importance that has given the show its edge over an incredible run.
Jon Stewart and I, we have a complicated relationship. I’ve long been a fan of his, in my own way. He’s an undeniably brilliant human being — witty, funny, self-deprecating — just an enormously talented person.
Typically what I do when I sit down to write my weekly treatise, is to start from a conclusion in my head that I presume to be true — say, that stop signs are generally a lazy and economically inefficient method of traffic control — and then work backward. What basic truths underwrite their inefficiency? Why don’t other people see them that way? Why are they attractive to city leaders, despite their issues?
If you’re not familiar with names like Yasiel Puig, Jose Fernandez, Aroldis Chapman and Jose Abreu, it’s safe to say you’re not much of a baseball fan. Each of those 20-somethings is arguably the best professional baseball player on the Dodgers, Marlins, Reds and White Sox, respectively, and each was born in the communist nation of Cuba.
When I was a kid just past the age of enjoying G.I. Joes, I stumbled upon a great book called “Marine Sniper,” a 1988 nonfiction tome about the Vietnam War career of Carlos Hathcock — at the time considered the deadliest sniper in American history. That title would eventually be taken by SEAL marksman Chris Kyle, who recounted his time in Iraq in his best-selling memoir-turned-movie, “American Sniper”.
Most of the backlash to President Obama’s proposal last week to make community college free for all students centered around that four-letter word at the heart of the matter. Pundits pointed out, correctly, that it’s literally impossible for a government to make something “free” — the product or service in question is always paid for by someone, either now or in the future.
Nearly six months have passed since the death of Eric Garner — a petty criminal suffocated to death by New York City police, mid-arrest. He was suspected of selling untaxed cigarettes — and the nation continues to watch the dominoes fall.
When I was in junior high school, my family relocated from Denver to a tiny speck of a town on the Eastern Plains of Colorado; a part of the state that’s inhabited by few and appreciated by fewer still — four hours from the nearest ski slope.
Many things happened on Christmas Day this year that were par for the yuletide course. Presents were opened by rapturous children and then quickly forgotten. Millions of people darted to and fro, ticking off the checklist as they moved among each family outpost. Preachers kept everyone five minutes too long at Christmas Eve Service. Countless boyfriends and husbands were cajoled into their yearly viewing of that treacly Christmas staple, “Love Actually.”
During halftime of the Monday Night Football broadcast last week, something extraordinary happened. Chris Berman ended his football commentary with a phrase so rare, the EPA is likely shortlisting it as an endangered species.
First, a thought experiment: Imagine the one person to whom you’re closest is in danger. Mortal danger. Someone, somewhere is threatening to kill them. And you have that person’s accomplice literally in your hands.
Corporate taxes in the United States are frequently in the news, as they’re a favorite subject of both the left and the right. Republicans unsurprisingly want them lowered, as America has the highest such tax rate in the world, among developed countries. Democrats, on the other hand, like to single out specific industries for either having to pay too much — e.g wind and solar farms — or benefiting from “unfair tax breaks,” which usually track closely with a company’s proximity to an oil well.
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