The New York Times Editorial Board states in The Syrian Pact:
President Obama deserves credit for putting a focus on upholding an international ban on chemical weapons and setting aside military action at this time in favor of a diplomatic deal. The Syria crisis should demonstrate to Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, that Mr. Obama, who has held out the possibility of military action against Iran’s nuclear program, is serious about a negotiated solution. Mr. Obama’s disclosure that he had indirectly exchanged messages with Mr. Rouhani was encouraging.John Nichols at The Nation writes The Populist Rebellion That Tripped Up Larry Summers:
Unfortunately, the Fed has a long history of serving Wall Street, while neglecting the rest of the country. This reality owes something to that fact that the Fed has been chaired by fiscal-policy insiders, be they Democrats or Republicans, be they theorists or doers. Fed chairs have tended to embrace the thinking of the free-market fundamentalists and free-trade absolutists who have created an economy characterized by declining wages and expanding income inequality. [...]
That’s why, as the speculation rose about the prospect that President Obama would select Summers, Democratic senators started announcing that they would vote with Republican critics of the administration to block confirmation of Summers.
E. J. Dionne Jr. at the Washington Post urges those who believe in stricter gun regulations to dust themselves off after last week's defeat and imitate the NRA's relentlessness in The Colorado recall’s morality lesson on guns:
Certainly Colorado shows that when sane legislation is enacted, its supporters need to sell the benefits far more effectively and to persuade more voters to see gun sanity as a make-or-break issue. And they should follow the NRA in never allowing setbacks to demobilize them.Leonard Pitts Jr. at the Miami Herald writes—Dead girls and the lives they might have lived:
But they also need to be clear that they seek background checks, smaller magazines and the like not to disempower gun owners but to liberate all of us from fears that madmen might gun down our children and wreak havoc in our communities.
Those of us who support gun regulations share with most gun owners a devotion to a rather old-fashioned world. We believe that the possession of firearms comes with responsibilities and that we need to take seriously our obligations to protect one another.
This is for four women who are not here.Barry O'Neill at the Los Angeles Times explains some relevant history in—The Founding Fathers made a push for 'international norms' of human behavior:
It is for grandchildren who never existed and retirement celebrations that were never held. It is for Sunday dinners that were never prepared in homes that were never purchased. It is for children who were never born and fathers who never got to walk daughters down the aisle. It is for mortarboards that were never flung into the air, for first kisses that were never stolen, for dreams that ended even as they still were being conceived.
This is for four little girls who died, 50 years ago today.
However the Syrian crisis turns out, it holds a lesson for American leaders. They have often been ready to confront those who violate international norms, such as Syrian President Bashar Assad, but reluctant to join worldwide agreements that express those norms. Such treaties would help deter the would-be perpetrators and would increase the legitimacy of actions taken against them.Richard Lamm, the former governor of Colorado who just turned 78, writes at the Denver Post, Society's unsustainable burden:
American leaders have been suspicious of diplomacy and multilateral negotiating, but the founders took a different view. It was Benjamin Franklin who devised the first treaty provision restricting the conduct of future war, and at the behest of the new Congress, John Adams, John Jay and Thomas Jefferson helped bring it into force.
I am a fan and a friend of Dan Callahan, a medical ethicist who believes that beyond age 85 we should not make available expensive, high-technology medicine. At age 85, Callahan suggests we have had our "fair innings" (Norm Daniels' term) and that money would be better spent on the health needs of younger Americans who have not had their fair innings. I believe people over 85 should get ordinary medicine, kept pain free, but not the expensive high-technology medical miracles.Robert Fisk at The Independent is known for going for the jugular and he does in There is something deeply cynical about this chemical weapons ‘timetable’:
No other society would take a 90-year-old with a terminal disease out of a nursing home and put them into an intensive care unit. My wife and I were once at the bedside of a 93-year-old man with three fatal diseases (metastatic cancer of the prostate, end-stage kidney failure, and he had just been brought into the intensive care unit with a serious stroke). Massive resources were being poured into this gentleman, while blocks away people were going without primary care and kids were going without vaccinations. The nurse in the room asked the cosmic question: "When God calls, how much do we argue?"
First – and let’s remember the narrative of events – Obama last year was really, terribly, awfully worried that Syria’s chemical weapons would “fall into the wrong hands”. In other words, he was frightened they would fall into the hands of al-Qa’ida or the al-Nusra front. Seemingly they were still, at that moment, in the “right hands” – those of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. But now Obama and the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, have decided that they are in the wrong hands after all, since they are now accusing the “right hands” of firing sarin gas shells at civilians. And that crosses the infamous “red line”.Molly Redden at The New Republic writes that Liberals and Obama are Like College Sweethearts (After Graduation):
I am overlooking, for the moment, the almost magical moment when Kerry told the world that America’s strike would be “unbelievably small”, followed by Obama telling us all that he doesn’t do “pin pricks”. What does all this twaddle mean? [...]
In piece for New York Magazine that ran in late 2011, Jonathan Chait argued that the persistent disappointment liberals feel is the product of self-sabotage. “Liberals are dissatisfied with Obama because liberals, on the whole, are incapable of feeling satisfied with a Democratic president. They can be happy with the idea of a Democratic president—indeed, dancing-in-the-streets delirious—but not with the real thing.” It’s a partial history of how liberals have never been satisfied with any Democratic president—not Obama, not Clinton, not Carter, not Johnson, not Kennedy, not Truman—at least not until after he had left office. Time and again, he wrote, these presidents failed to live up to liberals’ expectations in almost identical ways: “He is too accommodating, too timid, too unwilling or unable to inspire the populace.”Sarah Jaffe at In These Times writes—Nurses Taste Victory in Battle That Shook New York Politics:
In other words, liberals keep calling things off with Obama for the same reason that a lot of serial couples split—someone’s expectations are just too idealistic.
The momentum in the fight to save Brooklyn's hospitals seems to have shifted decidedly to the side of the community, not the bosses.Debra F. Saunders at the San Francisco Chronicle occasionally comes down on the right side—as opposed to the rightist side—of things. She writes—Green Acres 94103:
Not only did the fight over the hospitals prove central to the mayoral primary, helping sweep Bill de Blasio from the back of the pack to near-certain Democratic nominee and overall favorite; not only did a judge step in last month to side with nurses in declaring that SUNY Downstate had no right to close Long Island College Hospital (LICH); but now, another judge has issued a sweeping ruling in favor of the nurses that may have consequences for other embattled institutions.
In 2012, the federal government paid about $5 billion directly to farmers of wheat, corn, barley, oats, cotton, rice, soybeans, peanuts and other crops - except the recipients cannot all be farmers. According to the Environmental Working Group, 116 of those tillers of the earth reside in San Francisco. For their farming activities, they pocketed $446,302.
How is it, you might ask, that a government saddled with $17 trillion in debt can afford to send checks to more than 18,000 urban farmers? The working group's vice president, Scott Faber, calls the direct payments program "one of the most ridiculous" government programs in recent history, as it pays "farm subsidies to farmers regardless of whether they have suffered a loss or whether they even planted a crop."