Tragically -- and it is indeed one of the great tragedies of American history -- as soon as he became president, Obama left behind that powerful force of the spirit into which he'd tapped as a candidate. As the Republicans tried out their "make him fail" strategy in opposition, he did nothing to rally America to its better angels.
Kinky Friedman: Well, for one thing I'm going totally f**king deaf, which is a good thing. I only care about two things, and they are Libya and Charlie Sheen. Also, if you're going deaf and you're imaginative, you can think of more interesting things for people to say rather than what they're really saying.
It's the middle of summer, which means two things: all over the country people are going on vacation, and Washington, D.C. is a mess. Might part of the reason be that, while most people recognize the benefits of unplugging, recharging, and renewing in the summer, our politicians spend the season tethered to the same hamster wheel, including endless calls and events begging for money? The deficits we should be demanding that Washington focuses on are our leaders' deficits: energy, creativity, insight and wisdom. And summer is the perfect time to build up a surplus. I'm happy to see that President Obama will be taking a few weeks vacation in August. Maybe he can reserve some bipartisan bunk beds and take a few Republicans with him. We could certainly use a few masterpieces born of refueling.
The morning of June 28, 1914 dawned bright for most Europeans. By sunset a geopolitical cataclysm loomed. World War I demonstrated the importance of saying no. Any of the great powers could have stopped the march toward war. America could have refused to join the parade after it started. The world would have been a better place had one or all done so. Today, Washington is filled with routine proposals for new interventions: bombing campaigns, foreign invasions, and military occupations. Most seem unlikely to trigger a new world war. But a century ago no one expected an assassination in a distant Balkan province to do so either. That is reason enough for Americans to make war truly a last resort.