Thursday November 27, 2014
November 27th, 2014
The Uber app is a thing of beauty.
A few weeks ago, I spent a delightful afternoon and evening with Bill Cosby. I was the emcee of a gala for historically black Claflin University, which is in my hometown; Cosby was the headliner. Both of us were donating our time to a worthy cause.
The current lame duck session of Congress, which ends on Jan. 3 and includes senators and representatives defeated on Nov. 4, began with the same old partisanship that characterized the last few years in Washington, as the Senate rejected the Keystone XL pipeline construction bill by a single vote.
For the first time since high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as nonconventional fracking, was developed, more Americans oppose it than support it.
According to a national survey conducted by the independent non-partisan Pew Research Center, 47 percent of Americans oppose fracking, while 41 percent support it. This is a 7 percent decline in support from March 2013, and a 9 percent increase in opposition.
"Smiles at the gas pump," my local headline reads. The price of gasoline has fallen below $3 a gallon.
When the national average rose last year to $3.51, Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, complained that "the liberal anti-free market policies of the Obama administration discourage the exploration of American sources of energy and hinder production and job growth."
The commemorations of the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall's fall have thrust into the public spotlight the border guard who ordered the gates opened. The subject of both a new German-language book and film, one-time Stasi Lt. Col. Harald Jäger has recounted why he defied his orders. And his story couldn't be more relevant to the debate consuming our own nation.
Building the Keystone XL pipeline, to speed the flow of crude from Canada's oil sands to refineries in Texas, would be "game over for the climate," says NASA-scientist-turned-climate-activist James Hansen. Heeding Hansen's words, environmentalists have sworn to stop the project, which requires U.S. government approval.
President Obama will no doubt clash regularly with his newly empowered partisan adversaries in Congress. But the most important struggle in American politics over the next two years will be inside the Republican Party. And the person who can play a decisive role in that battle is Jeb Bush.
Scientists say that fur seals in the Antarctic are having sex with the penguins.
This may have been going on for some time. A South African research team has published a paper on it, "Multiple Occurrences of King Penguin Sexual Harassment by Antarctic Fur Seals." There's also a video featuring a rather large seal and a really unhappy looking bird.