I was out grocery shopping when the news on the giant store monitor hit: Once again, there had been shootings at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, Virginia, 40 miles southwest of Roanoke. The last bloodbath there was in 2007, involving some 30 students at the hands of Seung Hui Cho, who apparently fell through the cracks of an, as-usual, clueless mental health system.
You are a Republican. You consider yourself a “conservative,” maybe even a “Tea Partier.” But whatever you prefer to call yourself, the truth of the matter is that there are some basic facts of contemporary American political life that you detest.
Barack Obama’s speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, has certainly made waves. Well-received by the mainstream media, The Baltimore Sun wrote that the President has finally found “his voice” while the ever-dour Bill Press said that Obama was “channeling Teddy Roosevelt.” Yet if talk-show host Rush Limbaugh is correct, the President was channeling someone also long-dead but a lot more red. The radio giant asserts that Obama has “outed” himself, in that he has “announced to the world in no uncertain terms that he is a socialist, if not a Marxist.”
Now that memoirs by the late Bob Novak, former Vice-President Dick Cheney, and former President George Bush have all been published, we now know much more about the Valerie Plame case than we did before these individuals put what happened to paper. (Plame, if you'll remember, was a CIA agent whose identity was leaked to the press during a newsman's investigation into George W. Bush's explanation for going to war against Iraq.) Yet, the one book that still needs to be written is a memoir by Lewis (Scooter) Libby, the VP’s assistant, the only individual indicted by the Special Prosecutor looking into the leak and found guilty in this highly controversial case.
It was reported in Tuesday’s Washington Times, among other places, that surveillance technology has taken yet another turn, this time bringing military-grade, high-tech surveillance tools originally intended for intelligence-gathering to the marketplace, enabling even relatively unsophisticated users to snoop on friends, neighbors, significant-others — and political opponents.
Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, in his New York Times column titled "Free to Die" (9/15/2011), pointed out that back in 1980, his late fellow Nobel laureate Milton Friedman lent his voice to the nation's shift to the political right in his famous 10-part TV series, "Free To Choose." Nowadays, Krugman says, "'free to choose' has become 'free to die.'" He was referring to a GOP presidential debate in which Rep. Ron Paul was asked what should be done if a 30-year-old man who chose not to purchase health insurance found himself in need of six months of intensive care. Paul correctly, but politically incorrectly, replied, "That's what freedom is all about — taking your own risks." CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer pressed his question further, asking whether "society should just let him die." The crowd erupted with cheers and shouts of "Yeah!", which led Krugman to conclude that "American politics is fundamentally about different moral visions." Professor Krugman is absolutely right; our nation is faced with a conflict of moral visions. Let's look at it.