About two years ago, the folks at Google released a database of 5.2 million books published between 1500 and 2008. You can type a search word into the database and find out how frequently different words were used at different epochs.
The opponents of immigration reform have many small complaints, but they really have one core concern. It’s about control. America doesn’t control its borders. Past reform efforts have not established control. Current proposals wouldn’t establish effective control.
Liberals are furious, but the gun issue will not significantly damage the Republican Party.
The 1990 Tory coup against Margaret Thatcher was the most intense political event I’ve covered. The Conservative politicians who were trying to remove her from party leadership and the prime minister’s office knew they were toppling a person who was their political and moral superior. They knew she had earned the right to face the country in an election one last time, rather than be deposed by the supposed lieutenants in her own party. They sensed there would be some Shakespearean retribution for the act of disloyalty they were engaged in. They went around rubbing their hands like Lady Macbeth trying to expunge the sin even as they were committing it.
Today millions of American children grow up in homes where they don’t learn the skills they need to succeed in life. Their vocabularies are tiny. They can’t regulate their emotions. When they get to kindergarten they’ve never been read a book, so they don’t know the difference between the front cover and the back cover.
If you asked me to describe the rising philosophy of the day, I’d say it is data-ism. We now have the ability to gather huge amounts of data. This ability seems to carry with it certain cultural assumptions – that everything that can be measured should be measured; that data is a transparent and reliable lens that allows us to filter out emotionalism and ideology; that data will help us do remarkable things – like foretell the future.
On the surface, Republicans are already doing a good job of beginning to change their party. Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana gave a speech to the Republican National Committee calling on Republicans to stop being the stupid party, to stop insulting the intelligence of the American people.
President Barack Obama’s second inaugural comes at an interesting moment, what you might call the end of the era of the Grand Bargain. Throughout his first term, Democrats and Republicans didn’t achieve a Grand Bargain on spending and taxes, but there was a sense that history was moving in that direction.
Americans don’t particularly like government, but they do want government to subsidize their health care. They believe that health care spending improves their lives more than any other public good. In a Quinnipiac poll, typical of many others, Americans opposed any cuts to Medicare by a margin of 70 percent to 25 percent.
Here are more of my choices for best magazine essays of the year (Part I ran Thursday).
Here are my 2012 Sidney Awards, which go to the best magazine essays of the year.
News Tribune Editorial Writers
Special to The News Tribune
- Katie Baird
- Richard S. Davis
- Bill Hall
- Karen Irwin · blog
- Maggie McGuire · blog
- Brian O'Neill
- David Seago · blog
Community Columnists · 2013
Community Columnists · 2012
- Proctors bike-rack bureaucracy tests patience of local Boy Scout
- Fallen Tacoma firefighter lived life filled with discoveries, explorations
- Harvin's versatility is tantalizing, as long as he stays upright
- Morning links: Deflating news on Hawks has columnist questioning prediction of perfect season
- Man critically injured in Frederickson motorcycle crash was off-duty King County deputy
- 313 Secrecy ignited firestorms over Benghazi, IRS
- 166 Aide: Obama learned about IRS from news accounts
- 114 He set out to disprove a faith, woo a girl now he loves both
- 73 Narrows tolls to rise; more hikes possible as debt and lack of traffic may push maximum amount over $6 prediction
- 27 Party lines blur at transportation rally