WHAT I’M THINKING ABOUT TODAY

1. It’s Thursday, February 26, 2015. It is 23 days until spring.

2. I’m not used to the winning ways of the Northwestern men’s basketball team. It’s won four straight Big Ten games for the first time since 1967, before I even realized I wanted to go there. What’s amazing is that the ‘Cats had lost 10 straight before that. It’s probably too late for a first-ever NCAA tournament trip. Unless they sweep their way through the Big 10 Tournament. (What’s the emoji for fingers crossed?)

3. If you’re wondering “Who are these guys?,” a Washington Post story identifies “Jihadi John,” the masked British-sounding guy who is seen beheading Western hostages in ISIS videos. He apparently is a Kuwaiti-born Brit from an affluent family, a computer programmer in his 30s.

How does somebody go from a comfortable life to murderer? Like many of the rest of us, Mohammed Emwazi has faced roadblocks to finding his way in life. Unlike the rest of us, he added all these obstacles together and decided to become subhuman. 

4.  You paid less for stuff last month than you did a year earlier. The nation’s Consumer Price Index was down 0.1% year-over-year in January. 

OK, that doesn’t seem like much – if you paid $10 in January 2014, you paid $9.99 in January 2015. But it means that we’re nowhere near the 2% rate of inflation that’s normal for a healthy economy.

It also means this, now, right this second, is the time to double down on rebuilding our nation. There won’t be many better times — with interest rates low, or almost nonexistent, it’s a great time for the nation and the states to borrow money to rebuild. We’ve got crappy roads and bridges, and a half-assed public transportation system that hasn’t really innovated since the beginning of the last century. We have a chance to vastly expand the alternative energy programs that will get us through whatever hard times come again.

By taking advantage of the situation, we can create jobs and ensure jobs of the future. And all at a cost that we might not see again soon.

That kind of action requires vision. I believe President Obama has it. Alas, the Republicans who run Congress are more interested in dopey pipelines that help so few and contribute to environmental chaos.

History will frown on this lost opportunity. That’s a shame.

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