In the age of the cellphone camera, interactions that are best forgotten instead escalate and become chew toys for the chattering class. When a video goes viral, the public's sense of proportion often goes AWOL.
Any day now, Donald Trump may walk back his Monday call for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." If so, he won't change his mind because he regrets insulting Muslim Americans - no small number of whom, unlike Trump, have served in the military -- or because his rhetoric threatens to isolate this country when it needs allies, especially in the Middle East. He'll change his mind because he never really means anything he says.
When asked why President Barack Obama insisted on pursuing a nuclear deal with Iran, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said: "I think that the pursuit of the agreement is based on the President's hope that over a 10-year period with the sanctions being lifted that the Iranians will become a constructive stakeholder in the international community. That -- that as their economy begins to grow again, that - that they will abandon their ideology, their theology, their revolutionary principles, their meddling in various parts of the region. And, frankly, I believe that's very unrealistic."
America's largest health insurer, UnitedHealth Group Inc., is losing so much money on the Affordable Care Act exchange policies it sells in 34 states that CEO Stephen Hemsley apologized to investors in New York on Tuesday. "It was for us a bad decision," Hemsley said, according to Bloomberg News. UnitedHealth stayed out of the Obamacare market in its first year. "In retrospect, we should have stayed out longer," Hemsley added. UnitedHealth may get out of the individual market in 2017.
With images of the carnage in Paris and the shuttering of Brussels flashing on every screen, it is hard to take to heart the president's urgings not to give in to fear. A global terror alert does not help. The front-page pictures of all the homegrown terrorists make it harder still. How could these young men have grown up among us, as Americans, and be full of such hatred that they would choose, as we are being warned, targets where they can kill as many people as possible?
When students protesting "microaggressions" took over an administrative building at Occidental College in California, they issued 14 demands. The school agreed to all except the first, which required the firing of its president. Similar protests took place concurrently at other colleges nationwide.
I'm more than a little reluctant to write this column. Whatever I write will be interpreted through another lens: that of the abortion debate. One of the many bad consequences of a debate that has now lasted more than four decades is that we can't talk about anything without first trying to fit it within the abortion debate, which is not necessarily the only or best way to look at it.