From December, 2014

Lives Matter

How is that for a revolutionary thought? A gunman who announced online that he was planning to shoot two “pigs” in retaliation for the police chokehold death of Eric Garner ambushed two officers in a patrol car and shot them to death in broad daylight Saturday before running to a subway station and killing himself, authorities said. The suspect, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, wrote on an Instagram account: “I’m putting wings on pigs today. They take 1 of ours, let’s take 2 of theirs,” officials said. He used the hashtags Shootthepolice RIPErivGardner (sic) RIPMikeBrown. Police said he approached the passenger window…

More on the Normalization of Relations with Cuba

Daniel Drezner has a very good primer on the issue. One of the strengths of his post is that it does not promise the sun, moon and stars for the United States in exchange for normalization. This, of course, is a good thing; no one should want to harbor unrealistic expectations for Cuban-American relations in the aftermath of normalization. But as Drezner’s piece makes clear, normalization is the best route for the United States to take: . . . while the benefits of catalytic carrots are not all that great, the status quo policy was worse. Way worse. It’s not like 50 years…

Portland’s Mayor Hates His Constituents and Wants Them to Have Less Consumer Choice

That’s the only conclusion one can draw after reading this: Uber reached an agreement with Portland to suspend operations in the city for three months while regulators work to revise rules around taxis that currently prohibit ridesharing apps. The city agreed to let Uber resume operations after three months whether or not new regulations have been passed, said an Uber spokeswoman. The three-month suspension will go into effect on Monday, she said. The truce comes less than two weeks after Portland sued Uber and issued a cease-and-desist order, arguing the company’s recent decision to begin its UberX service in the market violated…

Wimps

Apparently, we have decided to double down on cowardice. Somehow, I am not even surprised anymore.

An Appalling Act of Cowardice

Unbelievable: With theater chains defecting en masse, Sony Pictures Entertainment has pulled the planned Christmas Day release of “The Interview.” U.S. officials have reportedly linked a massive cyber attack against Sony to North Korea, which is at the center of the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy. “We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public,” Sony said in a statement. “We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome.” [. .…

Some Imperial Presidencies Are More Equal than Others

To wit: President Obama has issued a form of executive action known as the presidential memorandum more often than any other president in history — using it to take unilateral action even as he has signed fewer executive orders. When these two forms of directives are taken together, Obama is on track to take more high-level executive actions than any president since Harry Truman battled the “Do Nothing Congress” almost seven decades ago, according to a USA TODAY review of presidential documents. [. . .] Like executive orders, presidential memoranda don’t require action by Congress. They have the same force…

The Very Definition of “Scandal”

Wow: The Obama administration overturned a ban preventing a wealthy, politically connected Ecuadorean woman from entering the United States after her family gave tens of thousands of dollars to Democratic campaigns, according to finance records and government officials. The woman, Estefanía Isaías, had been barred from coming to the United States after being caught fraudulently obtaining visas for her maids. But the ban was lifted at the request of the State Department under former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton so that Ms. Isaías could work for an Obama fund-raiser with close ties to the administration. It was one of…

A Welcome Change in Cuba Policy

Let’s get the following out of the way: The Castro regime in Cuba is despicable, bloodthirsty, murderous, tyrannical, totalitarian, and entirely opposed to granting basic human rights to its people and to foreign innocents. Let’s also get this out of the way: The United States embargo that has been in place against Cuba has done absolutely nothing whatsoever to change things for the better in Cuba. So I am glad that Alan Gross is finally getting released by the Cuban government–which never should have been holding him hostage in the first place–and I am glad that the United States and Cuba…

Democrats Understand How Good a Presidential Candidate Jeb Bush Can Be

Behold: For Democrats, though, Mr. Bush’s step toward a campaign was cause for concern, as many said the Spanish-speaking former governor of Florida, perhaps the most electorally pivotal state in the country, would be the toughest Republican to defeat. “I keep reminding people Michael Corleone was the younger brother of Fredo,” said the Democratic strategist Paul Begala, comparing characters from “The Godfather” to Bush family dynamics. The dumb little cheap shot at George W. Bush aside, the excerpt is actually rather telling. Just about any sophisticated observer of politics can understand and appreciate how appealing Bush would be in any…

What Kind of President Might Jeb Bush Be?

I am very pleased by reports that Jeb Bush is about to toss his hat into the presidential ring. I certainly count myself as a big-time Jeb Bush fan; he is hyper-smart, hyper-serious and conscientious, very interested in policy, determined and proven to be a very good manager and leader who is not afraid to drill down into the details of a problem while at the same time maintaining a big-picture perspective, and someone who is in politics for all the right reasons–to do right by the people who elected him, and might elect him again. When it comes to…