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Serve and Volley

Greed Games

By 3.31.14

You could, indeed you should, conclude that it all worked out in the end. The finals at the Miami Open brought the four top ranked players in the world, Serena Williams (WTA No. 1) and Li Na (No. 2) on the women’s side, Rafael Nadal (ATP No. 1) and Novak Djokovic (No. 2) on the men’s. They were fine if not grand matches.

On Saturday, Miss Williams came back from a 2-5 deficit in the first set and by sheer force of will, skill, power, and smarts — by sheer force of everything, face it — prevailed 7-5. That set alone made the tournament for many of the fans, sharply disappointed by the appalling mishap on Friday. Then she walked away with the second set, 6-1. Miss Li, always good natured and witty, cracked a joke about two old women (they are both 32) whose clothes are not as crazy as some of the younger set’s. Li’s were classic whites, Miss Williams green and orange, reportedly designed to indicate support for the local football team of which she is part owner.

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The Right Prescription

Obamacare: They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

By 3.31.14

A new survey reveals that public esteem for Obamacare is continuing to plummet, hitting yet another historic low. According to an Associated Press-GfK poll released last Friday, “President Barack Obama's health care law is languishing at its lowest level since passage of the landmark legislation four years ago, according to a new poll.” The AP survey shows that a mere “26 percent of Americans support the Affordable Care Act.”

When the law was passed, 39 percent of the public supported it. But the President, along with his accomplices in Congress and the media, assured us that this percentage would rise once “reform” was implemented. In other words, Obama and his minions are no better at prognostication than they are at managing websites, insurance exchanges or anything else relating to health care. Even now, they can’t see that Obamacare is a colossal failure.

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Movie Takes

The Art of Storytelling

By 3.31.14

The critic for Variety called The Past (Le Passé) by Asghar Farhadi (A Separation) “an exquisitely sculpted family melodrama in which the end of a marriage is merely the beginning of something else.” Insofar as this is not simply a banality — since everything that ends is the beginning of something else — it is the opposite of the truth. The end of the marriage between Marie-Anne (Bérénice Bejo) and her Iranian husband Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) is not “merely” anything, not even the end of the marriage, and nor does it mark the beginning, as Marie herself would wish it to do, of her new life with Samir (Tahar Rahim), the man with whom she is expecting a child and trying to build a life together.

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Another Perspective

Praying for an Obamacare Escape

By and 3.31.14

Matt Drudge’s widely discussed mid-March tweet that he has already paid Obamacare’s “liberty tax” highlights the uncertainties the self-employed face both from the health care law and the tax code in general. As pointed out by an editorial in Investor’s Business Daily, “self-employed entrepreneurs ranging from Drudge to small-shop proprietors and independent contractors have long been aware of the requirement to estimate their tax liability and send a quarter of it in every three months, and that this amount includes ‘other taxes’ such as the ObamaCare opt-out penalty.”

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Loose Canons

The Road to Putingrad

By 3.31.14

President Obama’s diplomacy by tourism has gone very sour. After being scolded by the Pope for Obamacare’s forcing religious institutions to provide contraception and abortion coverage, Obama jetted to Saudi Arabia where he was scolded by the Saudi king about his failure to send aid to the Syrians fighting Bashar Assad and his nuclear agreement with Iran.

It’s getting tiresome. President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry are carrying on as if they have everything under control, every crisis has abated, and no one should be overly concerned. By now they must have noticed that every world leader disagrees with them. And some take pleasure in demonstrating their disregard for the weakness Obama and Kerry display every day.

The Obama-Kerry show delights Russian President Putin. He is enjoying his ability to play them both as puppets on strings. All is decidedly not well, especially in Ukraine and the entirety of Eastern Europe.

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Special Report

The Biggest Healthcare Scandal You’ve Never Heard About

By 3.31.14

“Bottom Line: We Are On Track To Launch” ranks right up there with “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” as one of the biggest falsehoods in the annals of Obamacare.

The latter quote is the one that President Barack Obama used repeatedly as he lobbied for passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and then as he campaigned for a second presidential term. PolitiFact named Obama’s statement the 2013 lie of the year.

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Kids These Days

Braggers Rites

By From the April 2014 issue

Millennials are a competitive lot, but we also don’t want to kill ourselves getting ahead. So it should be no surprise that we have perfected the art of bragging. They say that flattery will get you nowhere, but if you’re a self-flatterer, you’re just fine where you are. You also need everyone to know how great it is to be where you are (and how hard you worked to get there). After all, evoking jealousy in others is hard because it requires you to accomplish great things. But if you don’t accomplish many great things, well, all the more reason to brag about the few items worth discussing. The Millennial generation isn’t merely the “Me” generation; it’s the “Pay Attention to Me” generation.

Enter the sophisticated variety of bragging deployed handily on Facebook, Twitter, and the million other social networking sites we Millenials insist everyone participate in so that they can’t get anything done, just like us.  

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Current Wisdom

Current Wisdom

By From the March 2014 issue

SlateA troubled young thing communicates with the famed Internet advice columnist “Dear Prudence,” anterior to entering the blissful world of divorce court for years to come. I think this inquiry came from a recent graduate of Harvard State University:My boyfriend “Ted” and I have been together for nine months, and we’ve been living together for the last six (yes, I realized that we moved in together very fast). We support each other, share responsibilities well, and have an active and engaging sex life. I see myself spending the rest of my life with Ted. Ted has a sexual bucket list, and No. 1 is a threesome. He mentions wanting to have a threesome at least a few times a week, and points out various women in my life, like my co-workers, as potentially the third participant. At this point, I’m incredibly uncomfortable engaging in a threesome, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Ted says that a threesome is something he would do only before we’re married, because after that it would be weird. (January 14, 2014) 
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Letter From Paris

No More Joy Girls In Paris?

By From the March 2014 issue

France’s reputation for a relaxed attitude toward sex has long fed the world’s public opprobrium—and its secret fantasies. Mark Twain articulated the typical American attitude when he declared that “France has neither winter nor summer nor morals—apart from these drawbacks it is a fine country.” Media exposure of the recent scooter-borne nocturnal tomcatting by France’s insatiable president, François Hollande, confirmed the accuracy of Twain’s opinion, although the country does now at least have some winter and summer. Mirabile dictu, it is even turning its attention to the question of morals.
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Politics

Six Giants

By From the March 2014 issue

The republican primary campaign for the presidential nomination in 2016 will be very different from the campaigns of 2008 and 2012. Thank goodness.In 2008 there were 21 televised debates and eventually 12 candidates on the national stage: Mitt Romney, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, Jim Gilmore, Rick Santorum, Duncan Hunter, Tommy Thompson, Alan Keyes, Fred Thompson, and Tom Tancredo. The crowded debate stage provided each candidate little opportunity to introduce himself, and the topics debated were often chosen by establishment-left media. Newt Gingrich refused to join the fray, comparing his reticence with that of Charles de Gaulle during the Fourth Republic refusing to engage with lesser French politicians viewed as “pygmies.” 
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