August 15, 2011
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The exchange of five Guantanamo detainees for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has reminded us of three unpleasant facts of life: The United States does negotiate with terrorists; the president will circumvent laws as circumstances require; Republicans and Democrats will be summarily outraged as party affiliations seem to require.
After writing close to 3,000 columns, I’ve learned that people sometimes read what they’re looking for, often as a result of a headline, rather than what I wrote.
The past couple of weeks have marked a turning point in American ugliness as the mob has turned its full fury on first lady Michelle Obama.
When it comes to tackling complicated legal issues, one would be hard-pressed to conjure a less likely partnership than Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz and Baylor University President Ken Starr.
Periodic revision of standardized testing may be justified and, in some instances, even laudable. A new SAT focus on founding documents and their authors is one welcome shift. As to whether the new test will be useful in advancing capable students who, for whatever reason, weren’t able to demonstrate their abilities through testing — time will tell.
In town for the National Governors Association winter meeting, Bobby Jindal joined other state chief executives in front of the White House after a meeting with the president. Taking the microphone, Jindal said among other things that “the Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy,” and the president is “waving the white flag of surrender.”
Having given up nearly everything that made getting out of bed worthwhile, I am healthier, happier, more productive — and have discovered that life is not, in fact, short. But both my current abstinence and the indulgences I once enjoyed (and may again, if my cocktail-stoop buddies have any say) were my own. My decisions, my responsibility, my consequences.
When it comes to the fortunes of the rich and the misfortunes of the poor, we recognize the role that luck plays. Some are born lucky — either through natural gifts of appearance, athleticism, intelligence or musical talent. The really lucky ones are also born into stable, educated families with financial security and grown-up parents. Then there are the unlucky, who, whatever their relative talents, are born into broken families, often to single mothers, in neighborhoods where systemic poverty, inferior educational opportunities and perhaps even crime constitute the culture in which they marinate.
In the days since revelations surfaced about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s office orchestrating the now-infamous George Washington Bridge lane closings, I’ve had at least four different reactions.
In the end, fairness isn’t the issue. The issue is justifying policies — government intervention, higher taxes, spending and redistribution — that can’t otherwise be easily sold. How about this for a midterm catchphrase, reflective of true circumstances — the need for a higher-skilled labor force that pits no American against another and qualifies people for jobs that are actually available: “Learning for Earning.”
Profits may take a short holiday, but the reward of living in a culture that values human connection and appreciates, in Washington’s words from the proclamation, “the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed” — is beyond measure.
It should be little wonder, then, that we can’t shed these memories. They are in our bones. The eternal flame that burns at JFK’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery is a tribute not only to a man but to a lost time when life held promise.
Whether the ACA survives the new timetable remains an open question. The plan sinks or swims on the basis of young, healthy people signing up, which, for now, they cannot do except in dribs and drabs.
My point: Don’t attack a woman as a woman. No allusions to awful female characters or anything to do with her appearance. If you have to resort to commentary about someone’s personal attributes, assuming they’re not wearing ridiculous headgear, you are signaling that you have no arrows in your quiver.
Yes, we should — under certain circumstances — relinquish beloved tradition to the mature moment. This seems to be the sentiment of President Obama, who recently said that if he were the team owner, he would consider changing the name of the Washington Redskins.
Closing the monuments, especially the World War II Memorial, can be reduced, fittingly, to a single syllable: Dumb.
In the long run, delay might benefit Obama, especially if it averts a revolt once citizens fully absorb the expensive realities of Obamacare and promises not kept. He has already demonstrated that he is comfortable with waiting when risks are disproportionate to theoretical gains.
WASHINGTON -- The recent kerfuffle over a secret recording of Sen. Mitch McConnell's campaign strategy meeting, which focused on opposition research about a likely opponent, actress Ashley Judd, has divided observers into two groups.
One does not have to be a flag-waving, uber-patriot to find this sort of mind-training repugnant, though watching clips of the USDA sessions might help one better understand the recent rush to collect ammunition.
Print not dying, just passing to next life. HASHTAG, America -- It is comforting to think of death as a passing rather than an end. In that vein, I prefer to think of Steve Jobs' final words as editorial commentary: "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.". If the Afterlife
WASHINGTON -- In today's world of social media, where everyone's every little thing is on display, it is sometimes difficult to recall a time when exhibitionism wasn't ubiquitous and was, in fact, not admired.. Such are the inevitable thoughts upon perusing Kitty Kelley's lovely new book -- yes, lovely --
WASHINGTON -- Much speculation has followed the private luncheon between President Obama and Mitt Romney, about which little is known.. Photographers captured grainy images of Romney arriving in a black SUV, from which he emerged unassisted and unguarded. Reporters received only the homophonically ironic luncheon menu in response to queries
NEW ORLEANSIt is tempting, oh so tempting, to unleash the snark as the script unfolds: Real Housewives of Tampa. Or is it Real Generals of Kabul?. But recent events are too sad for snark. With so much at stake, schadenfreude has taken a vacation. Here is what we know:. Retired
WASHINGTON -- Oh, to be 12 again, the better to enjoy the presidential debates.. Or rather, the better to appreciate the Twitterverse, where America's obsessive-compulsive, attention-deficit population holds the zeitgeist hostage with tweets and memes that infantilize political discourse and reduce the few remaining adults to impolitic fantasy
WASHINGTON -- After two debates, one presidential and one vice presidential, we can fairly conclude that Obama and Biden are happy warriors.. They just smile and smile and smile.. Whereas President Obama's smile during his debate with Mitt Romney seemed to be an afterthought, proffered as recompense to relieve the
"Watergate" has been irrevocably tattooed on the national psyche, the story so familiar that only the very young need a primer.
For the past year, we've been relentlessly reminded that Republicans didn't especially love their front-running presidential candidate. Now it appears Obama is getting a taste of Romney's stew.
Tell the truth and beware the consequences.
WASHINGTON -- What a difference four years make.. When Barack Obama was running for president, he successfully managed to distance himself from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, leaving his Chicago church during the campaign and shrugging off suggestions that the preacher's fiery rhetoric had any effect on him over the 20
WASHINGTON -- This past week's news cycle has produced two narratives:. One, Barack Obama is an evolutionary, 21st-century hero who supports equality for all. Two, Mitt Romney is a gay-bashing bully mired in the previous century, who also supports a war on women and, oh yeah, hates dogs.
WASHINGTON -- Close your eyes and picture 110 million obese people waddling around America's sidewalks. Such is the scenario suggested by a new study projecting that 42 percent of American adults will be obese by 2030. That's 32 million more than today.
WASHINGTON -- It was fun. It was odd. It was just a little bit ... unseemly. Doubtless you've heard plenty by now of President Obama's slow jam.
For reasons that don't interest me much, "girl fights" have always had a particular tug on our imaginations.
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- As the sun rises and dabs Caesars Palace with morning rouge, irony struts down the strip of casinos, shops and nightclubs. What better place to contemplate moderation, the topic of a panel and my purpose for being here, than in the epicenter of human excess?
Introducing her husband on Super Tuesday night, Ann Romney said women this election season are interested in jobs, the economy and the debt. Translation: So could we shut up already about contraception?.
Who'd have thought that Rush Limbaugh would become the great uniter in this divisive political season? Indeed, he has united decent people of all stripes and persuasions with his vile remarks about a Georgetown Law student.
WASHINGTON — Let me be blunt: If Republicans nominate Rick Santorum, they will lose.
Can civility be saved?This has become the question du jour among scholars, journalists and others who fret about such things at dozens of programs popping up around the country. As a nation, we seem to want to be a more civil society, which is laudable if, quite possibly, unlikely
Patrick Witt, who played quarterback for Parkview High in 2005 before transferring to a school in Texas, is in the news again after making headlines about a decision to compete for a Rhodes Scholarship. This time the news is not so flattering, as he is the subject of a New York Times story that essentially indicted and convicted him on an alleged sexual assault charge by an anonymous accuser.
WASHINGTON — I can't speak for Michelle Obama, but call me an angry white woman. If the first lady isn't angry, she certainly has every right to be.
WASHINGTON — The Republicans' final debate preceding the Iowa caucuses is suddenly uncompelling. There is nothing to do but write about Christopher Hitchens, whose death has made the world immeasurably less interesting.
Cain's smoking ad: Amateurish, genius or dumb luck?. WASHINGTONHerman Cain's craggy-faced Chief of Staff Mark Block took a drag off a cigarette, blew smoke at the camera and sent the political class into coughing fits.Theories about what Block intended have run the gamut from James Carville's "He was drunk
Decision by Speaker of the House to pit President vs. pigskin another example of the power struggle going on in Washington.