THE DEMINT-MCCONNELL FEUD: A HISTORY
Their feud has been one of the most enduring - and important- clashes within the ranks of the Republican party. Team McConnell thinks DeMint is a self-destructive showboat whose tactics, such as the government shutdown, can lead only to disaster. Team DeMint thinks McConnell is a petty, vindictive tyrant who pushes a mushy agenda behind the scenes. The battle raging in Kentucky is the culmination of seven years of on-and-off conflict. It would be a mistake to think the feud is merely a personal grudge match or an escalating series of retaliatory strikes. Over the years, DeMint has often seemed almost oblivious to how his aggressive tactics would be received by GOP colleagues, focused only on the merits of his arguments. McConnell, meanwhile, is a calculating man who exercises power efficiently and is unlikely to be swayed by wrath.
MOMMY, THE DRONE’S HERE!
NEW YORK TIMES
… maybe I am leery that Bezos, who is also dabbling in space tourism, was looking for a Cyber Monday p.r. coup by playing to Americans’ ranker instincts, hooking our instant gratification society on ever more instant gratification. Do we really need that argyle sweater plopped in our hands in half an hour as opposed to the next day? What would Pope Francis say? And won’t all the other alpha moguls want their own drone fleets? Howard Schultz will want to drop your half-caf, bone-dry, ristretto, venti, four-pump, sugar-free, cinnamon dolce, soy, skinny Starbucks latte on the front step at 7 a.m., and Tim Cook will want to deliver the latest Apple toys the soonest, and Disney’s Robert Iger will want his drones gussied up like Mary Poppins.
BIBI AND BARACK, THE SEQUEL
NEW YORK TIMES
On the Iran front, Netanyahu’s job is to make himself as annoying as possible to Obama to ensure that sanctions are only fully removed in return for a verifiable end to Iran’s nuclear bomb-making capabilities. On the Israeli-Palestinian front, Obama’s job is to make himself as annoying as possible to Netanyahu. Each has to press the other for us to get the best deals on both fronts. This is a rare plastic moment in the Middle East where a lot of things are in flux. I have no illusions that all the problems can be tied up with a nice bow. But with a little imagination and the right mix of toughness and openness on Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian issue, the Israeli prime minister and American president could turn their bitter-lemon relationship into lemonade.
THE HUMAN WEALTH OF NATIONS
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Such results should trouble anyone concerned about America’s economic future and the human capital produced by the K-12 system. Economies grow by exploiting scarce resources, people most of all. The ultimate source of wealth is ourselves, and the Pisa findings suggest that U.S. schools are failing tomorrow’s labor force. Too few students are being prepared with the skills they’ll need to compete in a world-wide market and sustain American economic dominance. The spread of technology and information gives talent an ever-wider field abroad on which to play, from the factory floor to the C-suite to the garages where entrepreneurs are starting the companies and industries no one can predict. The wealth of nations is not guaranteed, but earned.
LET’S CALL OFF THE EDUCATION ARMS RACE
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Competition and competitive rhetoric can be healthy. It’s what drove the United States to pursue the Soviet Union into space, creating countless innovations along the way. … But competition can also lead Americans to cast a suspicious eye toward other countries’ success, rather than joining forces with them. … It’s time to declare a cease-fire in the education arms race. We have far more to gain from collaborating to solve our common problems than competing for higher rankings. This is especially true of China and the U.S., which both grapple with huge student populations and a dearth of qualified teachers in the places that most need them. This week, as we examine the PISA scores, we Americans should ask how we can emulate other countries’ success rather than envy it.
DEMS CAN’T MAKE UP THEIR MINDS ABOUT ‘OBAMACARE’ LABEL
“Obamacare” did begin as a negative label used only by Republicans. Liberal Democrats, though, pushed the White House to embrace it, arguing that the term wasn’t going anywhere so Obama might as well own it. It gained widespread acceptance in large part simply because Democrats were using it all the time in off-the-cuff comments. But amid the troubled rollout of HealthCare.gov and the Democratic effort to frame health insurance as a personal issue rather than a political one, the term is falling out of favor again. “The Affordable Care Act” polls slightly better than “Obamacare,” even though they are the same thing.
WHAT BANKRUPTCY MEANS FOR DETROIT RESIDENTS
A federal ruling Tuesday has taken the fight over fixing Detroit’s massive debt issues—brought on by a shrinking tax base generated from high unemployment and deserting residents—out of the hands of feuding city officials and creditors and under court supervision. And it’s given the city, which filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in July, a break from paying off its $18 billion debt while it assembles a restructuring plan for its finances. The presiding judge called the hiatus “an opportunity for a fresh start.” But the eligibility for bankruptcy protection is by no means a get-out-of-jail-free card. That fresh start requires a plan approved by all parties involved, which could spell a month- or year-long embattled process of back-and-forth negotiations. For the citizens of Detroit, that means feeling the pinch of bankruptcy for an indefinite amount of time, the long-term effects of which remain unknown.