Tuesday December 01, 2015
March 26th, 2015
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is urging baristas to engage customers in discussions about race and inequality -- as if his employees already were not busy enough trying to tell my coffee-and-espresso-shot from the next guy's vanilla latte.
Does Schultz really want to go there? I know he's a marketing genius. Who else could turn overpriced cups of coffee into a daily lifestyle choice for millions of drinkers world-wide?
Last week the Ghost of Gridlock Present crossed paths in Washington with the Ghost of Gridlock Future. It makes for a spine-chilling tale.
Gridlock Present was haunting the Senate, where legislators dissolved into partisan warfare over a bill to fight human trafficking that most of them support.
As if more proof were needed about congressional dysfunction, witness the spectacle of the last two weeks, in which the Senate managed to grind itself to a halt over a human trafficking bill that both sides want to pass.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's election victory -- won on the strength of his temporary promise never to approve a two-state solution for Palestine and Israel -- was akin to pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
Pity the poor cat.
Somehow that creature of infinite detachment emerged as the symbol of incessant attachment here at South by Southwest.
This is the tale of two women, each an emblem, in her own way, of one of the world's most corrupt and dysfunctional nations.
You probably know from his weepy reminiscences that the speaker of the House, John Boehner, once worked as a bartender and a janitor, and took seven years to get out of college. Maybe you've heard that Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin is a preacher's son who churned out burgers and fries at McDonald's. And you had to catch that bit from Sen. Joni Ernst about putting bread bags over her shoes while growing up kind of poor in rural Iowa.
Has it come to the point where politics rules over all? Politics - bad, as we have come to think of it - has always played a part but now it seems to have become the whole picture. While the Democrats are not exactly pure the Republicans have perfected "gotcha" to a fine point.
What was Ryan Giroux doing free on the streets of a Phoenix suburb -- free, that is, to go on a shooting rampage that killed one person, left five more injured and traumatized countless witnesses?
He was free for one simple reason: Our criminal justice system set him free because it is broken in fundamental respects that politicians refuse to recognize.
The smell of burned cloth, wood and plastic lingered in the silent ruins eight months after a mob torched the row of modest homes. Nothing had been removed. Leaders of the small Christian community in Gojra, a district near Lahore, Pakistan, had preserved what they could as a shrine to their victimhood. In one abandoned home, a charred birdcage still hung in the kitchen; in another, a blackened Bible lay open on a table.