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Columns

  • Maybe we should increase vigilance on NSA

    By LEE HAMILTON
    Center on Congress
    Washington is beginning to debate the proper extent of government eavesdropping powers in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA.

    It’s hardly as robust a discussion as it should be, but it’s a desperately needed start.

    The effort to monitor Americans’ communications has been going on for at least seven years, under two presidents.

    It constitutes an expansion of government power without precedent in the modern era.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Even Marie Antoinette didn’t say let them starve!

    As long time readers of this column may recall, we dislike too early engagement in holidays.

    For instance, there are already Halloween decorations which are beginning to look shop worn and disheveled, even though it is more than a month until we reach All Hallows Eve, and there are stores that have already put Christmas things on display, almost three months early, however, we have decided that the most apt introduction to this week’s column is from that Charles Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol.”

  • Seniors should be on high alert for scammers

    By JASON ALDERMAN
    I look forward to the day when we no longer need to warn senior citizens about scams designed to separate them from their hard-earned money.

    I’m not holding my breath, however.

    According to the FBI, senior citizens make attractive targets for con artists for a variety of reasons:

    They’re more likely to have a nest egg, own their home and have good credit.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Bob Corker’s scandalous conduct confessed

    Our friends of the Republican persuasion have not reprised their song about Democrats promoting “class warfare” for a while. It is likely that even they don’t have enough nerve, or what is called “Chutzpah” in the Yiddish language, when their own actions are nothing except class warfare, in which they have all the weapons of mass destruction, (including poison gas in the form of every exhalation emanating from their lungs when they utter almost any kind of public remark).

  • Debate on Syrian action encouraging

    By LEE HAMILTON
    Center on Congress
    As Washington swirls with proposals, counter-proposals, and political brinksmanship in response to diplomatic efforts on Syria, the situation has a lot of people scratching their heads.

    Couldn’t President Obama and Congress have handled this differently?

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Yes, we are Taxed Enough Already, aren’t we?

    Well, gentle reader, we cannot help but wonder what has happened to our Tea Party folks.

    As you will recall, the founders of this movement were the fiscal conservatives who felt that governments were wasting too much of our money. In fact, as you know, the Tea Party name is short for “Taxed Enough Already?”

  • System in Washington can still work

    By LEE HAMILTON
    Center on Congress

    The roots of Congress’s dysfunction are complex. But the fundamental reason is that real differences in ideology and principles about both government and governance exist among the voters.

    At heart, the reason it’s become so hard for Washington to act is that the two parties are being driven by fundamentally incompatible views.

    Conservatives place a heavy emphasis on liberty, individual freedom and self-reliance.

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET: Thoughts on Rhea County sights, other oddities

    Gentle reader, it has occurred to us that two issues presently concerning the powers that be in the Federal District, namely the invasions of privacy inherent in the collection of citizens’ telephone calls and electronic transmitted messages, and the perilous state of the Post Office might both be resolved by one simple solution: You want to send a message? Write a letter.

  • OFF the CUFF by Cheryl Duncan

    My daughter remembers nothing about the first day of her senior year of high school.

    The memories she has formed from that first day on the threshold of her final high school year are from what her father and I have shared with her.

    The reason she has no memories to call her own is because on that important day, my daughter suffered a concussion.

    She was removing her backpack from the back seat of my car when we were rear-ended in the school parking lot. The impact knocked her head into the top of the car.

    “Ow!”

  • A VIEW from LICK SKILLET by Gerald Largen: Has Chambliss unwittingly spilled NSA beans?

    On This Week with George Stephanopoulis, Sunday, 28 July, 2013, Georgia Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss was asked by the interlocutor whether he would be surprised to learn that National Security Agency (NSA) people had listened in on telephone conversations.