American government - at all levels - is losing the legitimacy it needs to function. Or, perhaps, some segments of the government have already lost it.
I am far more pessimistic about our political system than most Americans. At the same time, I am very optimistic about the future of our nation. That may seem like an odd combination to some, but I am optimistic because I recognize that Washington, D.C., does not lead the nation.
In recent weeks, I've written about how the "Bootleggers and Baptists" dynamic corrupts regulatory politics. Bruce Yandle developed this concept decades ago. He observed that Prohibition became reality because Baptists wanted people to stop drinking while the ban on legal alcohol put money in the Bootlegger's pockets. The do-gooders succeeded only because the money-grubbers joined their effort.
I recently highlighted an important book that describes how politics really works. "Bootleggers and Baptists: How Economic Forces and Moral Persuasion Interact to Shape Regulatory Politics," by Adam Smith and Bruce Yandle, showed that prohibition became reality because it appeared to satisfy both Baptists and Bootleggers.
The death of Leonard Nimoy saddened millions of Trekkies around the world (including me). But it wasn't just Trekkies who mourned. In the past month, it has become clear that Mr. Spock - the character Nimoy brought to life - had become a cultural icon extending far beyond the Trek universe.
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In 1913, an entrepreneur "said in many newspapers and over his signature that it would be possible to transmit the human voice across the Atlantic before many years." For that accurate assessment of reality, he was prosecuted for stock fraud. A U.S. District Attorney claimed that, "based on these absurd and deliberately misleading statements, the misguided public ... has been persuaded to buy stock in his company."
Politicians like to talk about empowering the middle class or other segments of the voting population, but they're typically a little fuzzy on what empowerment really means. That makes sense when you consider that elections are essentially about politicians asking to get power rather than share it.
In 21st-century America, hope and change comes from tech-inspired entrepreneurs.
President Obama's health care law is the gift that keeps on giving to the GOP.
The lovable legend of Robin Hood with his band of Merry Men making life difficult for the Sheriff of Nottingham offers a great way to understand the politics of 21st century America.
A recent column on Vox.com may have inadvertently highlighted the gap between the nation's political elites and the rest of the nation. Vox is an "explanatory journalism" site founded by former Washington Post columnist and blogger Ezra Klein.
The tech industry will have a more lasting impact on America's future than Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama combined.
Following the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision, one of the key talking points that emerged from enraged opponents of the ruling was: "My boss shouldn't be involved in my health care decisions." California State Senate candidate Sandra Fluke says on her official website that such a perspective is "common sense."
Meriam Yahia Ibrahim. Have you heard that name? On May 11th of this year she was convicted of apostasy and adultery. What had she done? Well, she was a Christian, having been raised by her Christian mom. But since her dad was a Muslim, even though he had been absent, since he was a Muslim – her being a Christian was apostasy. And then, she married a Christian and got pregnant. And since she was supposed to be a Muslim, and he wasn't a Muslim man, that's adultery. The Sudanese government gave her three days to reject the Christian ...
Caldwell & Cowan Funeral Home
In his weekly column for CNN.com, Julian Zelizer makes a reasonable case that "Distrustful Americans still live in age of Watergate." In his eyes, this helps explain why the president's health care law and other initiatives have encountered so much resistance.
Happy Fourth of July!
Pop culture is a better indicator of the public mood than political talking points, so it's interesting to see how two top-rated and long-running CBS television dramas have recently dealt with the issue of inequality. They suggest it's a real issue, but not in the way politicians talk about it.
In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ended legal segregation in public schools with a unanimous 9-0 decision in Brown v. Board of Education. While the ruling paved the way for future integration of American society, the court itself was far from integrated. The decision was reached by nine white men.
Conservatives and liberals had entirely different reactions to the recent confrontation between Attorney General Eric Holder and Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert. After the event, Holder expressed his view that no previous attorney general or president had ever had to deal with such treatment and that the reason had to do with race. Gohmert, on the other hand, said he was just performing congressional oversight because he didn't think Holder was doing his job.