Saturday February 28, 2015
February 5th, 2015
It seems like everyone who is anyone has already weighed in on "American Sniper." John McCain. Michael Moore. Seth Rogen. No one asked them to, but that did not stop them. I was fortunate enough to interview a drone to hear its thoughts. (I've been getting a lot of non-human blog contributors lately!)
Washington Post: Drone, thank you for joining me.
Federal Trade Commission head Edith Ramirez put the matter plainly: "If I'm wearing a fitness band that tracks how many calories I consume, I wouldn't want to share that data with an insurance company."
Under fire from Republicans and even House Democratic leaders, the White House withdrew this week its plan to end the tax-free status of the college savings accounts known as 529 plans. It's the first political debacle of 2015 for President Obama on the domestic-policy front - but a part of me almost admires him for trying this particular gambit.
I never knew how much fun it was to be loyal to a hated outlaw sports team until the whole world came down on my dear New England Patriots.
Having rooted over the years for Boston teams that many felt sorry for -- God help us -- and found psychologically interesting, it was a rush to hear MSNBC's Joe Scarborough the other morning describe my Patriots as a "ruthless killing machine." Wow!
In the five years (!) that have passed since the euro crisis began, clear thinking has been in notably short supply. But that fuzziness must now end. Recent events in Greece pose a fundamental challenge for Europe: Can it get past the myths and the moralizing, and deal with reality in a way that respects the Continent's core values? If not, the whole European project - the attempt to build peace and democracy through shared prosperity - will suffer a terrible, perhaps mortal blow.
The brilliant actor Benedict Cumberbatch is in hot water for getting his words wrong. Appearing on Tavis Smiley's show, the Oscar-nominated star of "The Imitation Game" took a strong stand in favor of greater diversity in Hollywood.
Oh, the debt. Yawn. How passe. How 2009.
Once, President Obama held a summit on fiscal responsibility (2009). Once, he gave an entire speech devoted to the subject (2011). Once, his State of the Union addresses (2010, 2011, 2013) were studded with double-digit references to the problem of sky-high deficits and lingering mountains of debt.
The case of the intoxicated government worker who flew a drone onto the White House lawn launched a million jokes. Although none was actually better than the straight-faced headline in The New York Times: "White House Drone Crash Described as a U.S. Worker's Drunken Lark."
Finally, a reason to pay attention to the Super Bowl, America's most stultifying TV sporting event.
To this non-NFL fan, the uproar over the New England Patriots' underinflated footballs is reminiscent of long-ago pro-rasslin' broadcasts from Sunnyside Garden in Queens. I used to watch with my grandfather Connors, who'd get worked up and throw empty Pabst Blue Ribbon cans at his black-and-white TV.
Politics sometimes leads to poetic justice. Sarah Palin can no longer mock President Barack Obama's use of a teleprompter after her own teleprompter froze mid-speech.
The calamity occurred at Republican Rep. Steve King's Iowa Freedom Summit in Iowa last weekend, leaving her to ad-lib a word salad of red-meat applause lines for her conservative audience, such as this: