Saturday December 07, 2013
Archive - Jun 2013
One of the strangest artifacts of American culture is the spiked heel as a symbol of female power. Many waitresses at America's casinos feel otherwise.
From Las Vegas to Atlantic City to the Connecticut woods, women balancing trays of drink have been forced to walk miles a day in high heels. Such labor practices, had they occurred in some far-away impoverished country, would have evoked international censure.
Ron Wyden doesn't want to call the director of national intelligence a liar.
The Oregon Democrat is too seasoned a politician for that -- and James Clapper's self-assessment, that he answered in the "least untruthful manner" when the senator asked whether the National Security Agency was collecting data about millions of Americans, speaks for itself.
The deck is always stacked when we debate keeping the nation safe.
Recently, we discovered that the National Security Agency is keeping an enormous file of our phone calls. In the NSA's defense, its chief, Gen. Keith Alexander, said "dozens" of potential terrorist attacks had been thwarted by that kind of effort. The director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, suggested it might prevent "the next Boston."
When we landed in China early this week, we hadn't realized that a long holiday, the Dragon Boat Festival, was about to begin. It took us a little while to figure out why traffic was so light in Beijing, and why the offices where we were meeting officials were so deserted.
After I downgraded the scandal value of the National Security Agency's massive gathering of our phone records and email data, a curious reader raised a thoughtful question: Would I "have the same tone if this story broke while (George W.) Bush was prez?"
Good question. My answer is yes, based on my reaction to a similar blow-up in the Bush years.
Not only is President Barack Obama leading from behind, now he's leading from behind Bill Clinton.
After dithering for two years over what to do about the slaughter in Syria, the president was finally shoved into action by the past and perhaps future occupant of his bedroom.
A friend of mine has an adult child with cancer, a young man just old enough to be beyond the age of coverage under his parents' health care plan. After nearly killing him, the dreaded Hodgkin lymphoma is in remission. But he's still a pariah in the eyes of the insurance industry, which means they can deny him a policy that might save his life.
My column last month about the dangers of nostalgia inspired many readers to write to me about their family memories of the 1950s and '60s. Some shared poignant stories about the discrimination they encountered as blacks, women, gay men or lesbians. Others described how much easier it was for their working-class fathers to support a family back then.
I have many questions for and about the "gay lobby" in the Vatican, but I'll start with this: How can you be so spectacularly ineffective?