The teachers' unions that block school reform have done serious damage to the union brand. The public no longer views unions as their friend, much less their champion. They view them as corrupt, intransigent and more interested in protecting their political clout within the Democratic Party than protecting their members or even school children.
Murders with guns are the No. 1 cause of death for African-American men between the ages of 15 and 34. But talking about race in the context of guns would also mean taking on a subject that can't be addressed by passing a law: the family-breakdown issues that lead too many minority children to find social status and power in guns.
For the first time since 2007 there is political momentum behind fixing the immigration system. President Obama in his State of the Union speech reached out to the right-wing by saying illegal immigrants seeking citizenship will have to pay taxes, learn English and get in line behind people who are trying to enter the United States legally.
If his presidency is to represent the full power of the idea that black Americans are just like everyone else - fully human and fully capable of intellect, courage and patriotism - then Barack Obama has to be subject to the same rough and tumble of political criticism experienced by his predecessors.
The power of the silent filibuster to distort Senate politics is now accepted on Capitol Hill and by the press as normal and not worth mentioning. Let me be the skunk at this political garden party and say this stinks. Representative government was not designed to work this way by the Founding Fathers.
In the 2000 presidential election, Al Gore got more votes than George W. Bush, but still lost the election. The Supreme Court's ruling in Florida gave Bush that pivotal state, and doomed Gore to lose the Electoral College. That odd scenario - where the candidate with the most votes loses - has happened three times in U.S. history.