The Walt Disney World Resort, located outside of Orlando, has more than twice Manhattan’s land area and about the same number of hotel rooms as Philadelphia. It’s America’s largest single-site employer—over 60,000 people work there—and for many of the 17 million or so who visit each year, it is a place of near-religious significance. (At least one book and more than a dozen peer-reviewed academic articles have considered various aspects of Disney’s status as a secular pilgrimage site.)
“The fundamental fact that we all have to be aware of is, when we go to war now, we send less than 1 percent of our population to war and they’re all volunteers and many of them are from working-class environments. And in the two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, nothing was asked of the rest of us. We didn’t pay any additional taxes. We didn’t have to think about those wars if we didn’t have anyone involved. … It’s not just unjust, it’s kind of immoral for a democratic republic to go to war under those terms because those young men and women and their families are paying the high price. They’re coming home emotionally damaged or physically damaged or, too often, in body bags. And we’ve got to have a national consciousness about that.”
There is a genre of books about politics written by ideologues on both sides of the divide. Their aim is to inform their fellow partisans about the misinformation, misdeeds, and malign intentions of the people on the other side, offering talking points to rally the troops for the next confrontation. The authors are often prominent media figures—Glenn Beck, for example.
At a speech today in Miami, President Obama urged America to "do better."
"We still have all kinds of deferred maintenance. We still have too many ports that aren’t equipped for today’s world commerce. We’ve still got too many rail lines that are too slow and clogged up. We’ve still got too many roads that are in disrepair, too many bridges that aren’t safe," said the president.
President Obama is feeling good about America's prospects. He made that clear last night in remarks to Organizing for Action, the group his reelection campaign transformed into since the last presidential election.
Inside the beltway, there is a pervasive sense of impending doom. The rest of the country may not much care, but sequestration is here. According to warnings by the Obama administration, failure to avert these automatic spending cuts will lead to planes falling from the skies, bridges collapsing, federal penitentiaries moving to a voluntary self-incarceration policy, and the Jersey Shore returning to the airwaves.
Among the guns I own, my favorite is a Pennsylvania long rifle made for me by an old friend. It is a flintlock, shoots a .50 caliber ball, and uses black powder. The wood is rich, sinuous, curly maple. The trigger guard and butt plate are brass. It is a beautiful piece, and only the most ardent anti-gun zealot could resist its palpable appeal. First you admire it, then you want to hold it, and next you feel the urge to put it up to your shoulder and fire it.
In his State of the Union Address this evening, President Barack Obama will encourage Congress to adapt a cap and trade plan to deal with climate change. Energy, climate, and taxes are a sizable portion of Obama's speech.