Thursday December 05, 2013
Archive - Jul 2013
The Supreme Court's mixed bag of decisions in the session's final days, particularly on voting rights and same-sex marriage, seized the nation's headlines but did little to bolster its own clarity or credibility.
Interested non-lawyers were left dependent on legal experts to sort out where this highest bench, with a general but not rigidly consistent conservative majority, comes down in today's cultural and political climate.
Let's praise a struggling conservative reform movement seeking to disentangle the right's cause from extremism and to make its ideas more compelling to a younger and broader swath of Americans.
It's a movement of diverse strands and competing motives. Some conservatives are looking for a much larger dose of reform than others.
This first week of testimony in the George Zimmerman trial has proved to be nothing short of fascinating.
On one level, the case is simple: if Zimmerman had not pursued - some say stalked - Trayvon Martin that dark, rainy night, Martin would still be alive.
Gathering valedictory material on Nelson Mandela as he faded in a Pretoria hospital the other day, I came across a little book called "Mandela's Way." In this 2010 volume, Rick Stengel, the ghostwriter of Mandela's autobiography, set out to extract "lessons on life, love and courage" he had learned from three years of immersion in Mandela's life.
The former CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar asked this question in a recent essay in The National Interest: Why are we seeing so many popular street revolts in democracies? Speaking specifically of Turkey and Brazil, but posing a question that could be applied to Egypt, Israel, Russia, Chile and the United States, Pillar asks: "The governments being protested against were freely and democratically elected. With the ballot box available, why should there be recourse to the street?"
The Senate provided the country a rare and modest glimpse of bipartisanship in its 68-32 passage of the comprehensive immigration reform bill laboriously accomplished by the Gang of Eight -- four Democrats and four Republicans. But overcoming the rigid and obstructionist partisanship of the House Republicans will be another matter.
You knew Paula Deen was in serious trouble when the celebrity chef turned for help to the Rev. Jesse Jackson. He's still the go-to guy for celebrities in dire need to patch things up after breeches of racial etiquette.