Day: January 9, 2015

The right’s idea of ‘governance’

By E.J. DIONNE JR. This will be no ordinary Congress, so there are no ordinary ways for judging how effective it will be at governing. That is, in any event, a preposterous standard to hold up as a brand spanking new goal. Isn’t governing what Congress was supposed to be doing all along? Imagine an everyday citizen making a New Year’s resolution promising that this year, for a change, he or she would actually show up for work. The problem for the Republicans who now control both the House and the Senate is that they are divided between their†right and their†far right. The number of bona fide moderates can be counted on one hand — although,†if you wanted to be generous, you might get to a second hand. As a result, the Republicans’†own measures of success will be out of line not only with President Obama’s priorities, but also with what most middle-of-the-road Americans would take as reasonable tests of what it means for government to work. House Speaker John Boehner’s battle to hang on to his job is instructive. Boehner prevailed, but 25 Republicans on the right end of his caucus opposed his re-election. These 25 almost certainly spoke for at least 40 or 50 members who think of Boehner as some sort of sell-out for his occasional willingness to pass bills with Democratic votes. Because Boehner worries...

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We are all Ducks now

On Monday, Jan. 12, we will all be Ducks. Even some diehard OSU Beaver fans will probably be cheering for Oregon—if not specifically for the University of Oregon Ducks as they play for the national champsionship. For the person who has limited interest in such things, this game is huge for all Oregonians. Monday’s game is the very first title game of the Bowl Championship Series. Those with a passing knowledge of collegiate football know the name of Marcus Mariota—our Heisman Trophy winner. Regardless of what team one roots for our chests should swell with pride that our college football team has reached the pinnacle. Win, lose or draw, we will have bragging rights forever—we were there first. By 5:30 next Monday evening the streets will clear as eyes will be glued to television screens in Keizer and throughout the state. Fans who bleed green and yellow will have their paraphanelia at hand, ready to take to the streets in victorius celebration. For those who like to live on the edge, spending the evening in Eugene promises to be a raucous time. The championship appearance will be a huge boon for the University of Oregon as well. Viewers from across the nation will see advertising for the university, they’ll see the beautiful scenery of our state. This will be a major public relations event for us. Regardless of how...

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A drug’s cost and value

A Box of Soap By DON VOWELL This morning’s breakfast—an orange, a banana, some cheese spread on a slab of homemade bread, eight or 10 Whopper malted milk balls, a little milk, and one pill worth $133.33.  My doctor suggests that I take 60 of these each month to total $8,000. That will cost America’s health industry $96,000 this year. I wouldn’t feel comfortable asking all stakeholders collectively if my continued health is worth that much.  If you think of the country’s health expenditures in total as drawing from a shared money-pit you can easily make the case that I have used far more than my share in the last year and a half. With my usual lack of foresight, I chose a disease that is pretty rare, not attracting research dollars with telethons, marathons, and celebrity support.  As of yet there is no understanding of the causes and, before that gold-plated pill I ate with my breakfast, no effective treatment or cure. My new pill was just cleared by the FDA for use a couple of months ago.  Not exactly a guinea pig, I am still among the first patients to whom this drug was made available.  If you watch the evening news, you are dulled by a cavalcade of ads shilling new drugs for which you should ask your doctor, invariably followed by a recitation of possible...

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My Rose Bowl experience

By ROLAND HERRERA I have always been a big sports fan but my favorite sport to follow is college football – specifically Oregon football. I have been blessed to attend some great Duck games all over the west and even when they lost the opening game of the 2010 season to LSU at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. I had never been to a Rose Bowl game so when the Ducks made it to the inaugural semifinal playoff game of course I set my sights on Pasadena. As a young man, I still remember the 1968 Rose Bowl when my hero (at the time) O.J. Simpson had a memorable game leading USC past Indiana 14-3. Then there was the 1970 Rose Bowl when Jim Plunkett led Stanford to a huge win over Ohio State, 27-17. In 2010 the Ducks made their first appearance since 1995 but I couldn’t attend. They lost to Ohio State but redeemed themselves in 2012, beating Wisconsin. After some convincing and using the “once in a lifetime” strategy, this would be the year we make the trip…and following Marcus Mariota’s emotional Heisman acceptance speech, we had to be there. The Duck Rally in Santa Monica was unbelievable with more than 4,000 people there to cheer and party with “Puddles” the Duck Mascot, the cheerleaders, the marching band and alumni. There were plenty of Keizer folks...

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Are Democrats stuck in 1979?

By MICHAEL GERSON     The passing of Mario Cuomo brought bipartisan tributes appropriate to a rare political figure with a developed inner life. He was Catholic educated, and it showed. How many other politicians grappled with Thomas Aquinas? Even the loser is dignified by such a duel. But the intensity of affection for Cuomo, especially among Democrats of a certain age, comes from his ideological clarity. In the history of American rhetoric, there are orators of national unity such as Martin Luther King Jr. There are orators of national purpose such as John F. Kennedy. Cuomo was an orator of ideological definition. His 1984 keynote at the Democratic National Convention provided progressives with the best version of themselves, as tribunes of the forgotten and excluded. Populists must have felt similarly stirred at the Democratic convention in 1896, when William Jennings Bryan declared war on “idle capital.” Conservatives still regard a 1964 Ronald Reagan speech, “A Time for Choosing,” in much the same category. Cuomo’s “Tale of Two Cities” belongs in the company of speeches that defined a creed. But it is worth recalling that Cuomo’s version of the liberal faith did not prevail, at least immediately. The year he gave that speech, a progressive Democratic presidential candidate lost 49 states.  It was Bill Clinton’s New Democratic overhaul of liberalism that ended his party’s long slump in presidential politics....

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