The Great Debate

Whack-a-mole: A lesson in the unexpected consequences of ‘cleaning up’ politics

By Richard White
November 3, 2014

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I may be the one person who listens to the election news and thinks about Benjamin Harrison. You don’t remember him? President of the United States from 1888-1892? The scion of a political dynasty that yielded enough failed presidencies to make the Harrisons the Bushes of the 19th century? So why do I think of Harrison? Because this is an election year that centers on money.

from Jack Shafer:

The landslide of news

By Jack Shafer
March 26, 2014

Of the many ways nature can kill you, the landslide must be the most cruel. Not as cosmically spectacular as the tectonic tantrum of the earthquake or as catastrophic as pure weather-borne calamities (floods, hurricanes, tornados), the mudslide lies in wait like a heart attack, springing its localized force without much, if any, warning. It's filthy, it's bone-crushing, and it's suffocating. Any trust you have in terra firma will promptly be upended.

from Paul Smalera:

Downgrading democracy

August 8, 2011

By Paul Smalera
All views expressed are his own.

The Washington debt ceiling debate over these past months was the throwing open of the doors to the democratic slaughterhouse -- let’s please not ever complain again about not being able to watch the sausage get made. Though our media window onto the killing floor surely contributed to the S&P’s downgrade of U.S. debt, that’s not an entirely bad thing, as I’ll explain in a moment.

US intelligence spending – value for money?

By Bernd Debusmann
July 16, 2010

America’s spy agencies are spending more money on obtaining intelligence than the rest of the world put together. Considerably more. To what extent they are providing value for money is an open question.