Like a pitcher who has lost his fastball, Barack Obama has lost "the speech." The speech has always been central to the president and his presidency. He established his credentials with the one he delivered to the 2004 Democratic National Convention while still a state senator. He followed that with many others - Berlin, Cairo, Philadelphia on race, etc. - each one greeted with bobby soxer delirium, which Obama fully expected. In 2004, just before he spoke to the convention, he told his friend Marty Nesbitt that the excitement about him was yet to peak. "My speech is pretty good," he allowed.
With graduation just a few days behind us, it brought my own days in school to mind.
My mother's father died of cancer before I was born. My mother was pregnant with me, but had not told her father that she was to have a second child. The story I've been told is that they opened him up to remove the cancer -- and found it everywhere. They closed him back up and sent him home to die.
On Jan. 1, Colorado began permitting the legal sale of marijuana. Even before that, the nation's news media had swung into action, arguing just about everything -- marijuana is dangerous or not dangerous, a gateway drug or just a lot of smoke. Nothing I saw mentioned why I, for one, will not smoke marijuana. I'm afraid it would lead me back to cigarettes.
I read a news report this week that says while we are living a lot longer in the U.S., people in other countries are living even longer. Bummer.
The Jan. 15 edition of The Covington News featured a story that saddened me for many reasons.
Like toddlers who believe they are the center of the universe, many in official Washington whine about the fact the American people don't devote more time to studying politics and talking about the things that matter in our capital city.
Democrats plan to demagogue income inequality and the wealth gap for political gain in this year's elections. Most of what's said about income inequality is stupid or, at best, ill-informed. Much to their disgrace, economists focusing on measures of income inequality bring little light to the issue. Let's look at it.
The start of the year is when many companies, organizations, families and people review their plans and their priorities. This process often includes deciding where they should focus their time, energy and effort, and how to judge, at year's end, whether they have succeeded.
Yet another academic group is mulling censuring Israel. This time it is the Modern Language Association. Just recently, it was the American Studies Association, which called for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Before that, similar resolutions were passed by European academic associations, much concerned with Israel's occupation of the West Bank. These are asinine movements in all but one respect: They tell Israel what it needs to hear.
If this sounds like name-dropping, I apologize, but I am trying to make a point here.
This past week, we came to know the meaning of "Polar Vortex." The cold converged on Midwest and the Eastern regions of the country without mercy. Health issues became a matter of life and death for humans and other animals. Frostbite was threatening exposed skin. Schools were closed, and people were told to stay indoors. More than 1,000 flights were canceled. It was too dangerous for the news reporters to continue reporting on how dangerous it was. If some of us had forgotten words like "Fahrenheit" and "hypothermia," we remembered them in a hurry.
There's little debate among academic economists about the effect of minimum wages. University of California, Irvine economist David Neumark has examined more than 100 major academic studies on the minimum wage. He reports that 85 percent of the studies "find a negative employment effect on low-skilled workers." A 1976 American Economic Association survey found that 90 percent of its members agreed that increasing the minimum wage raises unemployment among young and unskilled workers.
A friend recently wrote me, "What the 'Duck Dynasty' affair means to me is that, finally, some have had the courage to say 'ENOUGH' within the context of the media."
Just three days after Christmas, I ventured into a store and was greeted by a massive display of pulmonary confectionery: Valentine's Day candy in heart-shaped boxes, as it's known on the streets. I marvel at the power of capitalism and its never-ending push for the next source of revenue, but seeing Valentine's candy while the Christmas tree is still glowing is just too much!
Before President Barack Obama's health-care law was passed, Americans were frustrated that insurance companies had too much control over the medical care they received. Now, Americans are frustrated that the government has too much control.
The discord between Democrats and Republicans regarding the three-month extension of unemployment benefits will be used by the Democrats for political fodder against the Republicans, if Republicans let them.