Jeff Jacoby
Jeff Jacoby
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review
 

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Your strategy was wrong, Mr. President

August 27, 2014  •  The Boston Globe

In a TV interview this week, John McCain offered President Obama some sound, if difficult, advice.

"Mr. President," the Arizona senator said, "don't be ashamed of re-evaluating your view of the role of the United States in the world."

No one likes to admit having been wrong on a fundamental issue. For an American president, few things can be more difficult. When you are invested with tremendous power and prestige because you persuaded tens of millions of citizens to raise you to the highest office in the land, acknowledging that you blundered doesn't come easy. All the more so when the blunder goes to the very core of your strategy for leadership.

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This is no time to avert our gaze

August 24, 2014  •  The Boston Globe

SCARCELY HAD ISIS posted its video showing the grisly beheading of American journalist James Foley than the rush to stifle it began.

"Don't watch the video. Don't share it. That's not how life should be," entreated Foley's sister Kelly in a message on Twitter that was heavily retweeted. Thousands of social media users, some of them journalists, called for an #ISISMediaBlackout — the hashtag quickly went viral — and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo announced that the company was "actively suspending accounts as we discover them related to this graphic imagery." YouTube removed versions of the video posted on its site, invoking its policy on "gratuitous violence, hate speech, and incitement to commit violent acts."

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Hillary's Delphic politics

August 20, 2014  •  The Boston Globe

IF HILLARY CLINTON doesn't become the next president of the United States, perhaps she could set up as the next Oracle of Delphi.

To the ancient Greeks, the oracle was an authority of immense significance, whose pronouncements carried such weight that supplicants would undertake grueling journeys to consult her before making important decisions. But the Delphic words of wisdom were often ambiguous. "Arguments over the correct interpretation of an oracle were common," one account notes, "but the oracle was always happy to give another prophecy if more gold was provided."

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How about a year-round tax holiday?

August 10, 2014  •  The Boston Globe

WHEN IT COMES to tax relief, I am a committed Friedmanite: I embrace the teaching of the late great Milton Friedman, a Nobel laureate in economics, who often declared that he was "in favor of any tax cut, under any circumstances, in any way, in any form whatsoever." Friedman's premise was that the best way to curb raging government spending was to curb the government's income, and that the best way to do that was to reduce taxes.

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They're so vain, they probably think this bridge is about them

August 2, 2014  •  The Boston Globe

RENAMING A branch of the Boston Public Library for William Bulger, one of the more sordid Massachusetts politicians in recent decades, may not be the worst idea City Council President Bill Linehan has ever floated, though offhand I can't think of one that tops it. Linehan proposed the tribute to the former president of the Massachusetts Senate and the University of Massachusetts this week, hailing Bulger's "commitment to service, to the people of South Boston, Boston, and the commonwealth."

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