The reason Colbert's "character" was so effective was because his stunning lack of introspection, his callous indifference to the poor and his willingness to contradict himself all reflect the reality of the modern conservative movement. Conservatives should be glad Colbert's "character" is going away. It will make it easier for them to keep doing theirs.
The greatest danger currently facing all of us in America, and particularly progressives, is one of drift. As an economy, the United States is drifting along a low-growth path that is acclimatizing all of us to levels of unemployment which only a decade ago would have been treated as an outrage. As a society, the United States is drifting towards levels of income and wealth inequality so large that, if left unchallenged, will soon become irreversible. And as a political system, the United States is drifting towards a Republican sweep of both the House and the Senate in November unless the democratic left acts now to reverse what is in truth a carefully orchestrated and heavily funded great moving right show. Those of us of a progressive predisposition are drifting towards a political defeat of historic proportions -- one underpinned by an economic and social settlement of a highly conservative kind -- and we are doing so with what would appear to be only the slightest sense of alarm.
Is the United States a strong nation? There's a notion that it is, of course -- based mainly on the disruptive philosophical underpinnings upon which this country was established. But these are all really the fumes of nostalgia. What else is there? Well, we have the best fleet of aerial drone death-dealers in the world (for now). Certainly our fast-food accomplishments are second to none. And our Reality Teevee Industry remains one of the more successful and innovative welfare programs in the world, lifting individuals with no evident utility to the human race -- and who would quite likely be pushed into ditches to die in lesser nations -- into the warm embrace of the Fame Economy.
I believe that the Fed has overreached in its monetary policy not just in response to the latest crisis, but pretty consistently over the 15-20 years. In an effort to lessen the effects of (inevitable) economic downturns, the Fed (and other central banks) has caused extreme financial distortions and dislocations.
Producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey fail in their newly-released film The Son of God, because their interpretation of Scripture is simplistic and triumphalist. Where there are choices to be made -- and with the Gospels, the choices abound -- Burnett and Downey have an unerring urge to favor the safe ones.