Hawaii

Since the Second World War, there have been three instances of a divided partisan Congress. The first was the six-year stretch from 1981 to 1987, when Republicans held the Senate but not the House. Then, following the April 2001 party defection of Republican Senator Jim Jeffords, for most of the 107th Congress Republicans ran the House but shared power with Senate Democrats. And now there is the 112th Congress, featuring a Republican House majority and a Democratic Senate majority.

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Chinamen

Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and his Rendezvous with American History By Yunte Huang (W.W. Norton, 354 pp., $26.95)  Even in our fading half-life of cultural memory, the notion may endure that 1925 was a good moment for American literature. In that year, we were given Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Anita Loos’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Willa Cather’s The Professor’s House. Hemingway was writing The Sun Also Rises.

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Chinamen

Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and his Rendezvous with American History By Yunte Huang (W.W. Norton, 354 pp., $26.95)  Even in our fading half-life of cultural memory, the notion may endure that 1925 was a good moment for American literature. In that year, we were given Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Anita Loos’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Willa Cather’s The Professor’s House. Hemingway was writing The Sun Also Rises.

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There’s not much doubt that this primary season has set some new lows for intra-party civility, from the hundred-million-dollar hate fest put on by Californian Republicans Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner to the mutual-assured-destruction of Hawaii Democrats Ed Case and Colleen Hanabusa that handed the GOP a U.S. House seat.

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Not surprisingly, numerous Democratic Senators have come out against eliminating or scaling back the Senate's supermajority requirement: Five Senate Democrats have said they will not support a lowering of the 60-vote bar necessary to pass legislation. Another four lawmakers say they are wary about such a change and would be hesitant to support it. ... “It won’t happen,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who said she would “probably not” support an effort to lower the number of votes needed to cut off filibusters from 60 to 55 or lower. Sen.

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This past week saw a marked escalation in the ongoing struggle for geopolitical preponderance in East Asia between the United States and China. Twenty years ago, at the close of the Cold War, U.S. forces in the region had enormous advantages over their Chinese counterparts. Using ships, aircraft and troops forward-deployed at facilities in Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and Singapore, supported by others dispatched from Hawaii and the West Coast, the United States could defend its friends, deter its enemies and move its forces freely throughout the western Pacific.

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The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century By Alan Brinkley (Knopf, 531 pp., $35) I. Sometimes human beings bring sociological theory to life. Consider the career of Henry Luce. A child of Presbyterian missionaries in China, he pursued wealth and power with unremitting zeal, creating the media empire that dominated American journalism for much of the twentieth century: Time, Inc. Yet Luce never lost touch with his didactic origins, never abandoned the conviction that his magazines should teach Americans the right way of thinking about the world.

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The Wall Street Journal has a great piece today on some of the obstacles preventing electric cars from catching on in the United States. Most of the looming uncertainties are things we've covered before, like that pesky chicken-or-egg problem of how to build a critical mass of charging stations to make electric cars viable for drivers.

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Most everything associated with President Obama—his policy platform, his public style, his personal story—have become grist for intense partisan conflict. I had thought that the one remaining uncontroversial scrap was his endorsement of fatherhood, which he has been doing periodically since he appeared on the public scene.

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The Hawaii special election in Congress has received a lot of attention. Partly this is because it's an almost comical case of political disorganization, where the Republicans are about to gain a seat in an overwhelmingly Democratic district because there are two Democrats running against one Republican, and the party is too faction-riven to force one of them out. I also suspect another factor is the desire of political reporters to visit Hawaii. Politico has a good rundown of the bumbling. I was going to give this story another Will Rogers label.

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