Tuesday September 02, 2014
March 12th, 2014
People, have you noticed that the news has been really depressing lately? These are the times when you come to understand why there's so much interest in watching kitten videos. Do you think it's the weather?
Consider Texas, where two more abortion clinics were forced to close this week. If the courts don't intervene, by the end of the year Texas may be down to six places where a woman can go to end a pregnancy. That's in a state of 268,000 square miles, with 26 million people.
If you can't spell it, you can't get it.
President Barack Obama pulled a Quayle Thursday night at a White House performance by the women of soul and muffed the title of Aretha Franklin's anthem. "R-S-P-E-C-T," he said, looking a bit confused and eliciting laughter.
When Patti LaBelle took the stage, she told Obama, "Baby, you've got swag."
By now you've probably heard the news.
The SAT is reverting to a 1600-point scale and making the essay portion of the test optional. The vocabulary words and math sections are changing and the guessing penalty (where you were penalized for getting a question wrong instead of not answering it) has been eliminated.
What strikes 1 American woman in 4 and claims a life in the United States every six hours?
This scourge can be more unsettling to talk about than colonoscopies, and it is so stigmatizing that most victims never seek help.
For Republicans to block one of President Obama's nominees is dog-bites-man non-news. For members of the president's party to defect is more notable. And for Democrats to worry more about their political hides than a nominee's fitness for service -- as happened in the Senate last week -- is simply revolting.
Gov. Chris Christie, beleaguered back in New Jersey and in the national media over the scandal of contrived traffic jams on the George Washington Bridge, unveiled his strategy for putting his 2016 presidential aspirations back on track the other day before the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.
Most people, if pressed on the subject, would probably agree that extreme income inequality is a bad thing, although a fair number of conservatives believe that the whole subject of income distribution should be banned from public discourse. (Rick Santorum, the former senator and presidential candidate, wants to ban the term "middle class," which he says is "class-envy, leftist language." Who knew?) But what can be done about it?
In today's bitterly polarized environment, the Internal Revenue Service has become even more of a whipping boy for politicians as it struggles with deep budget cuts and accusations of incompetence and, some say, illegal actions.
That makes the tax-collection agency an ideal situation for John Koskinen.
Put aside for a moment the geopolitical issues and cries of "Munich" and "Sudetenland" that surround Russia's ongoing annexation of Crimea: In human terms, Crimea's Tatars are the reason to care.
The Muslim Tatars have suffered repeated persecution since the Ottomans ceded their peninsula to the Russian Empire, including an attempted genocide under Stalin. In 1944, the entire population was deported to central Asia and Siberia, and as many as half were killed.