Cheerful mornings in blue America

Two impossible things happened to the US economy over the course of the past year — or at least they were supposed to be impossible, according to the ideology that dominates half our political spectrum. First, remember how Obamacare was supposed to be a gigantic job killer?

Well, in the first year of the Affordable Care Act's full implementation, the US economy as a whole added 3.3 million jobs — the biggest gain since the 1990s. Second, half a million of those jobs were added in California, which has taken the lead in job creation away from Texas.

Were President Obama's policies the cause of national job growth? Did Jerry Brown — the tax-raising, Obamacare-embracing governor of California — engineer his state's boom? No, and few liberals would claim otherwise. What we've been seeing at both the national and the state level is mainly a natural process of recovery as the...

read more
A heartfelt welcome to our father and leader
Mohammed Mahfoodh Al Ardhi
On the economic front, His Majesty has taken steps to safeguard Oman, despite the global financial crisis that negatively impacted major regional and international markets

The price of biodiversity
Bjorn Lomborg
The 2010 flooding in Pakistan, for example, would have been far less devastating if so many trees from upper slopes had not been felled

Say what you mean, mean what you say
Juggun Kazim
The core reason why most relationships, whether personal or work related, fall apart, is through misunderstandings

British poll campaign ignores vital issues
The UK has a long track record of scolding its European Nato partners for not spending the two per cent of GDP that each has pledged to dedicate to defence

More in Columns
Britain's flawed defence cuts will give Russia an advantage
Gary Smith
Britain’s defence capability should be founded on national rather than strategic interests; and this fine distinction is magnified when defence funding is tight
When I was almost killed
Raza Rumi
I salute all the hard-working journalists and media workers who perform their duties in difficult situations, especially in Balochistan and other conflict zones
So you think teaching is easy. Do you?
Ellen E Jones
The profession is hugely respected in the abstract yet in practice teachers are still underpaid, over-worked and blamed for everything that goes wrong in education
Threat from failed states more perceived than real
Debasish Mitra
With the end of the Cold War the Communists suddenly ceased to be an existential threat to the United States and Western Europe. But the enemy did not die nor did animosity
The Sharifs, PM and General all converge for policy reset
Kamran Rehmat
Pakistani power corollary suggests, a man who comes to head the world’s seventh largest standing army is more likely to develop a mind of his own, if it has not been discovered already
The ground is flat and even for all
David Brooks
Most surprising, Democrats are now doing worse among college-educated voters. Obama won white college graduates in 2008, but he lost them to Mitt Romney in 2012
Time to stop demonising the depressed
Christopher Hooton
Depression affects millions of people and is a complex and varied illness, not one that should be conflated with psychopathy or seen as a signal for murderous actions further down the line
They have brazenly betrayed their class
Timothy Egan
Three Republican leaders and most of those who aspire to be the GOP presidential nominee next year, these Horatio Algerians for the new Gilded Age are working to keep the downtrodden down
De-escalating the politics of resentment in Europe
Yanis Varoufakis
The fact is that Greece had no right to borrow from German — or any other European — taxpayers at a time when its public debt was unsustainable
Can-do Lee Kuan Yew
Roger Cohen
Lee had one basic yardstick for policy: Does it work? It was the criterion of a forward-looking man for whom history was instructive but not imprisoning
Learning through our museums
Zaffar Junejo
Most public educators agree that museums help students learn. It is proven that young learners enjoy freedom, which makes learning though museums a value-added point
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos has given Oman a sense of purpose
Debasish Mitra
With the gift of hind sight, it can safely be surmised that Oman owes much to His Majesty’s administrative reforms for its growth, development, modernisation and entry into the twenty first century
The bickering allies of United States in Asia
Kent Harrington
Repairing relations between South Korea and Japan could not be more urgent. Even with good will on both sides, it will take time to build a strong defence partnership
The battle for Russia
Dominique Moisi
The tragedy of Russia is that it poses as great a threat to itself as it does to its neighbours. Given the nature of Putin’s regime, we will likely never know the truth behind Nemtsov’s murder
An exceptional and pragmatic leader
For Lee Kuan Yew the personal was intensely political and vice-versa: modern Singapore was his creation, he was immensely proud of it

Millions of Palestinians under Israel’s control could not vote
The 1.7m Palestinians inside Israel who are enfranchised are faced with a dilemma when it comes to voting. They are damned if they do and damned if they don’t
Yara Hawari
Get job, gain experience, then seek higher salary
Companies, however, should take responsibility for ensuring that nationals are trained with programmes that actually deliver a return on their investment and are appropriate for the learner
Tonia Gray
But, why did India ban India’s Daughter?
Could Modi government prevent Indians watching India’s Daughter? His government invited a tsunami of negative publicity which painted India in dark hues and Leslee Udwin a martyr of free expression
Debasish Mitra
Apple Watch: Let’s face it, this is a really stupid idea
Worse than being useless, it may actually be inconvenient. Some early users have complained that the interface is not particularly intuitive, and takes a while to learn
Timothy Kennett
Now is the time to re-launch BDS movement against Israel
Now that Netanyahu has intensified his right-wing rhetoric — and been rewarded with another term in power — the international movement to isolate Israel will only gain momentum
Daoud Kuttab
Are hands that rocked the MQM’s cradle its own?
MQM’s cause has not been helped by Altaf Hussain, its self-exiled leader, who has been virtually running the party on telephone from London since fleeing arrest in 1992
Kamran Rehmat
US-UK friction over China is unwarranted
America’s reluctance — and that of France, Germany, and Italy — to give the emerging powers an appropriate voice in the established international financial institutions is counterproductive
Jim O'neill
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos has given Oman a sense of purpose
With the gift of hind sight, it can safely be surmised that Oman owes much to His Majesty’s administrative reforms for its growth, development, modernisation and entry into the twenty first century
Debasish Mitra
Learn how to embrace the constraints
Like all television hosts, I have to work within certain constraints. But because I work for a state-owned channel, I work with more constraints than others
Juggun Kazim
Inequality is the real killer in Africa
In the US, there are fewer than 2.5 doctors for every 100,000 residents; in Sierra Leone, when the Ebola outbreak began, the comparable figure was 0.22
Joan Smith
Dam to benefit the poor or the elite Ethiopians?
The mega dam is being built not to meet the future needs of the Ethiopians. Neither is it being built to sustain growth of the nation. Grand Renaissance Dam will benefit only a handful — the Ethiopian elites
Wars over water will be everywhere in Africa
Wars over water may not break in immediately in Africa but a more dangerous game of throwing counterweights or proxy wars have already started to bleed the continent, especially in its northern and central regions
Far-right nationalism strikes roots in India
The rise of the far or extreme right polity is a reality in India today, strengthening the threat of ideological contamination of politics. Social mosaic of the subcontinent is now in serious jeopardy
Why I won’t feel proud of my ‘prime minister’
We in India will probably get a man at the top office in about less than a fortnight from now, one who has denied a section of our population their very fundamental right — the right to live
Sisi cannot get away murdering Egyptians
Egypt is getting soaked in blood virtually every day. Within a trifle over 48 hours of killing over 600 people the trigger-happy forces mowed down at least 70 more
Afghanistan awaits a visionary leader
If Abdullah Abdullah, a blue-eyed boy of the American media wins the election, he will, no doubt, stir a new wave of ideologically motivated anti-Pashtun sectarianism in Afghanistan.
Salvation of the Kurds
Kurds, partly because of the Stalinist ideology they are following, and partly because of the pains they suffered in the past, wish to have an independent country
Musharraf’s story needs closure
Today, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf and his trial are unquestionably the most destabilising factors after Ziaul Haq’s gifts.
EU supporting military occupation
For thirty eight years the occupation of Western Sahara by Morocco has been largely ignored by the rest of the world.
General Sisi is stoking the flames in Egypt
Holding Mursi somewhere at an army base is angering Egypt more than the illegal manner in which he was toppled. He needs to be released to prevent the situation from further exacerbation. But, Al Sisi isn’t expected to do so as he fears Mursi’s release will only magnify army’s illegitimacy