Friday September 04, 2015
Ever since George W. Bush in 2002 began driving up public frenzy for his invasion of Iraq on trumped-up justifications a year later, Congress's constitutional role to declare war has continued to be cold-shouldered.
As the tragic chokehold case of Eric Garner illustrates, police body cameras are not the solution to all police brutality complaints. But they can bring a much-needed clarity to what we're arguing about.
Unlike the recent death by police shooting of unarmed18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the police assault on unarmed Eric Garner, an asthmatic and diabetic, had a single narrative provided by the video.
There seems to be a new age of activism rising. From Occupy Wall Street, to the "Stop Watching Us" march against government surveillance, to the Moral Monday protests, to the People's Climate March, to the recent nationwide protests over the killings of men and boys of color by police, there is obviously a discontent in this country that is pouring into the streets.
November 2016 is still a long way off, but it's hard to imagine that the presidential campaign will provide any bit of advertising as strangely entertaining and revealing as a video put online recently by Stand With Hillary, a new super PAC.
Haven't seen it? Oh you must. Right now. I give you leave from this column to go take a look, but hurry back. There's a lot to talk about.
Along with falling leaves and first snows, it's time for my annual holiday gift guide, offering suggestions for presents with meaning.
At a time of racial division and inequity in America, Equal Justice Initiative, eji.org, fights on behalf of low-income people snared unfairly by the justice system. The group is led by Bryan Stevenson, an African-American lawyer whom Desmond Tutu has called America's Mandela.
A loaded pun can be deadly.
And now, in China, the State Administration for Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television is cracking down. "Radio and television authorities at all levels must tighten up their regulations and crack down on the irregular and inaccurate use of the Chinese language, especially the misuse of idioms," it said in a press release.
The decisions by two grand juries not to indict police officers in the deaths of black men mark an opportune moment -- both depressing and uplifting -- to write about civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson.
The story about a gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity may have fallen apart Friday.
But it doesn't mean that everything at U-Va. is OK. It doesn't mean that rape doesn't happen. It doesn't mean that Virginia and other universities treat rape, sexual assault, non-consensual sex or whatever they want to call it as serious crimes that deserve serious criminal investigations and serious punishments.
Herta Kriegner, a graphic artist from Austria, likes the German word "über." It conveys, she told me recently, both a European sensibility and a sense of going "above and beyond" for a customer. In fact, she likes the word so much that 15 years ago, when she started her own small New York design firm, that's the name she gave it: über.