WASHINGTON -- Stiffening their sinews and summoning up their blood, pugnacious liberals and conservatives who relish contemporary Washington's recurring Armageddons are eager for a summer-long struggle over Barack Obama's nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. They should pause and ponder how recently and radically the confirmation process has changed.
WASHINGTON -- A puzzle from Philosophy 101: If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? A puzzle from the prairie: If an earthquake occurs in Illinois and no one notices, is it really a seismic event?
WASHINGTON -- The times truly are out of joint when the most important IPO -- initial public offering -- of 2010 could come from what was American capitalism's iconic corporation for most of its 102 years. Andrew Bary, writing in Barron's, says General Motors "may go public in the second half of this year, and its stock market value could top $50 billion, more than Ford's $40 billion."
WASHINGTON -- The 2006 summit that preserved the peace occurred in a laundry room in the Minneapolis Metrodome after the Twins beat the Red Sox 8-1. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, with center fielder Torii Hunter in tow, met with Red Sox manager Terry Francona to assure him that Hunter had not intentionally sinned.
PHOENIX -- In 1994, when first running for Congress, J.D. Hayworth, who today is 51 and trying to wrest from John McCain, 73, the Arizona Republican Party's Senate nomination, went jogging in Washington wearing a T-shirt given to him by some Arizona loggers.
WASHINGTON -- A simple reform would drain some scalding steam from immigration arguments that may soon again be at a roiling boil. It would bring the interpretation of the 14th Amendment into conformity with what the authors of its text intended, and with common sense, thereby removing an incentive for illegal immigration.
"And everybody praised the Duke,
Who this great fight did win."
"But what good came of it at last?"
Quoth little Peterkin.
"Why that I cannot tell," said he,
"But 'twas a famous victory."
WASHINGTON -- Doubling down on dubious bets is characteristic of compulsive gamblers and federal education policy. The nation was essentially without such policy for grades K through 12, and better off for that, until 1965. In that year of liberals living exuberantly, they produced the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Now yet another president has announced yet another plan to fix education. His aspiration has a discouraging pedigree.
WASHINGTON -- The increasingly puerile spectacle of presidential State of the Union addresses is indicative of the state of the union, and is unnecessary: The Constitution requires only that the president "shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the union." But a reaction may be brewing against these embarrassing events.
WASHINGTON -- It is said, more frequently than precisely, that the reasons the Supreme Court gives for doing whatever it does are as important as what it does. Actually, the court's reasons are what it does. Hence, the interest in the case the Supreme Court considered last week.