When no one agrees what “winning” is, victory becomes a matter of opinion

We live in an age when people want to play the same old games, but they can’t agree on the same set of rules. It’s a world where blurred boundaries and shifting alliances make it hard to tell at times who’s won or lost, instead producing dual, asymmetrical victors. Pepsi and Coke, Brian and Stacey, Donald and Nancy, Maroon 5 and Big Boi, AOL and Mitch: winners all, depending who you ask.

Blown calls and botched announcements reflect an age of uncertainty

Over little more than two years, the wrong contestant has been announced as the winner of the Miss Universe Pageant, the Oscar for best picture has been awarded to the wrong movie, and a missed call so egregious it has prompted a lawsuit has played a key role in deciding who’s in Atlanta for the Super Bowl this week. Things like this just didn’t happen back in the good old days, but that isn’t because there haven’t always been foul-ups of similar magnitude.

Viewed from the far side of the moon, shutdown doesn’t seem so important

The shutdown, which entered its 31st day Monday, overshadows every other news story in the United States right now. As the decades roll on, however, this month will be much more likely to be remembered for a spectacular scientific and technical milestone: the landing, on the far side of the moon, of a lunar lander and rover named after a Chinese moon goddess and her pet rabbit.

After a bruising campaign, Kemp promises “a state united” in inaugural speech

The Georgia governors of another day would have been confounded if told that in the future, people would watch an inauguration speech on their phones. The technology would puzzle them, of course, but also the idea that many people would be interested enough to do such a thing. Streaming has become commonplace, however, and after the closest and most divisive governor’s race of modern times, Brian Kemp’s first speech as governor Monday at Georgia Tech’s McCamish Pavilion was watched more closely than most.

Ayers’ return to Georgia signals growing worries for White House

As much as any court statement filed or House Democratic Caucus press release, Nick Ayers’ departure from Washington is a sign of darkening prospects for the Trump administration. When the president can no longer attract raw ambition, he loses the reality show dynamic of “The Apprentice” which has worked so well for him. You can’t say “you’re fired” if nobody wants to be hired.

North Carolina dispute puts absentee voting in the spotlight, and a new face on fraud

After all the talk of voter fraud and ballot integrity before this election, the race for the last seat in Congress has indeed come down to charges of election tampering. The figures at the center of of this controversy are not shadowy illegals, but a Baptist preacher and the vice-chair of the Bladen County, N.C., Soil and Water Conservation District board.

Karl Rove and the rise of judicial hyper-politics

The analysis of how decorum has broken down in the U.S. Supreme Court nominating process usually begins with Robert Bork and moves through Clarence Thomas to the present, sorry state of events. A 1994 Alabama race run by Karl Rove deserves more attention, because the venom which has been injected into judicial politics starts at the state level.