Editor's Note: Every Friday, Tom Keane offers up assorted observations, conundra and miscellanea about the week that was. Here's his round-up for the week ending March 24, 2017.
It was a week of humor, terror, scandal, substance -- and (whew!) a Tom Brady mystery, solved.
Green eggs and ham. The week kicked off with jokes aplenty at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast in South Boston. Luckily for the neighborhood, by day’s end, most of the jokes had left town and returned to the State House or Washington.
I do not like them, Sam-I-am. Seriously, it’s time to get rid of the breakfast. It’s not merely the fake conviviality or lame humor that offend; it’s the clubbishness of the event, a members-only attitude that politicians are a group of folk somehow different from those who elected them. In a world where the gulf between the governing and the governed is so wide as to have given us Donald Trump, perhaps the pols could have better spent their day talking to constituents rather than hobnobbing with other members of the ruling class.
Separated at birth? The soap opera that is Uber faced new controversy this week with the abrupt departure of a senior executive. The company’s core problem, of course, is founder and CEO Travis Kalanick. Has anyone noticed the parallels between him and President Trump? Sexist behavior? Check. Snappish and unfiltered? Check. Toxic us-versus-them management style? Check. Inability to keep himself in control? Check. Of course, at worst Kalanick blows up the taxi industry. With Trump -- the world.
Right to bear arms. As tragic as the terrorist attack around the London Parliament on Wednesday was, it’s worth considering how much worse it might have been. The only guns fired were by the police. That’s because — with no Second Amendment — firearms in England are rare and hard to get. Thus, the London attacker was armed only with knives. Here in the U.S., on the other hand, an attacker might have emerged from his car with semi-automatics blazing.
Mall memories. Sears -- the place mom used to drag you to -- looks set to go bust. Where will moms take their children now? Oh yeah. Target. Prediction: Ten years from now, we’ll be mourning its loss, too.
The real reason she lost. Monday, FBI Director James Comey gave measured and thoughtful testimony to Congress. He revealed an investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, but appropriately did not go into specifics, draw premature conclusions or make unwarranted accusations. Too bad for Hillary, but I guess better late than never.
The unraveling. Democrats rejoiced as some conservative Republicans vowed to oppose Ryancare, threatening to scuttle the GOP’s long-promised repeal of Obamacare. Think again. The renegades are not some secret cabal supporting the status quo. Rather, they want to go even further, rolling back things as much as possible. Ryan’s original proposal really was ObamacareLite. If the hold-outs have their way, what we end up with will likely be far worse.
He’s a nut, yes, but he’s our nut. A favorite lefty parlor game is, How long until Donald Trump is gone? The usual guesses are weeks, perhaps a few months. The likely correct answer: four years – and maybe eight. Why? Consider this week. Obamacare eventually goes away (the only issue: just how bad is its replacement). Meanwhile Neil Gorsuch successfully made it through three days of hearings and looks set to win confirmation to the Supreme Court. Regulations and agencies hated by business and the right are being gutted. Tax reduction plans proceed apace. The left may see Trump as a daily disaster. Not conservatives. Sure, the tweets are annoying. But he’s getting the job done.
Sdelayte Ameriku Velikoy Snova. Russiagate, of course, is the one hazard on the horizon that could undo the above prediction. The Watergate comparisons are flying fast and furious. Paul Manafort as the next E. Howard Hunt? Mike Pence as Deep Throat? But since no one does dictation anymore, what about loyal secretary Rose Mary Woods?
Bad government 101. General Motors somehow persuaded Bay State Sen. Eric Lesser to file legislation that only companies that “manufactured and distributed motor vehicles in the United States” can make available self-driving technologies to the public. You have to admire GM’s chutzpah: How great would it be to have the government ban your competitors? As for Lesser: Seriously?
Silver lining. Three years ago, state Rep. Carlos Henriquez was convicted of sexual assault and battery, sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison, and -- because he refused to resign — expelled from the House of Representatives. Now -- incredibly -- he’s running for the Boston City Council. Or maybe not incredibly. In a crowded field and with strong name recognition, Henriquez could win. And the new job not only pays more but, even better, it only meets once a week! Who says rehabilitation doesn’t work?
Jerseygate. And finally, after an investigation that involved identifying 20,000 possible perpetrators, screening 1,400 suspects, and reviewing hours of videotape, police were able to recover Tom Brady’s lost Super Bowl game shirt. Great job, guys! Maybe you can now help me find that sock missing since I last did laundry.