Archive

Date

February 5th, 2015

Word Games

    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.

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The Debt: Mission Unaccomplished

    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.

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The Days of Wine and Droning

    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."

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Televised Morality Play: A Reason To Watch The Super Bowl

    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.

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Republicans discover income inequality, just in time for campaign season

    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:

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Pull Yourself Up by Your Bread Bags

    In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama presented a bold economic vision for America. Do we want a country where only “a few of us do spectacularly well,” he asked, or where everyone has a chance to succeed?

    Obama conveyed this vision by telling the story of Rebekah and Ben Erler, a couple from Minneapolis who struggled through the recession by taking odd jobs and investing in their education.

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Pay it forward, Germany

    If you made a list of countries you hope have learned from their past hundred years of mistakes, Germany would have to be at the top. Happily, the staunch opposition to a nativist fringe that the nation's government and citizenry have shown in recent weeks makes it clear, again, that Germany understands the costs of bigotry and the virtues of tolerance.

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Not Lovin’ It

    McDonald’s is scrambling, and I’m not talking about eggs.

    Your know your business has what image consultants call “quality perception issues” when your public relations team is fielding such questions as: “Does McDonald’s beef contain worms?”

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How Do We Increase Empathy?

    In my last column, I wrote about a high school buddy, Kevin Green, a warm and helpful man who floundered in a tough job market, hurt his back and died at the age of 54. The column was a call for empathy for those who are struggling, but, predictably, scolds complained that Kevin's problems were of his own making.

    Grrrr.

    So what do we know about empathy and how to nurture it?

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Give Yourself Some Loving

    Geeting cards treat Valentine’s Day like it’s a day for love. But for many people, it’s a day of self-loathing.

    "Why am I single, yet again, on another Valentine’s Day?” they may wonder.

    And it goes on: “Why can’t I get my house clean? Or get it together at work? Why isn’t my belly flat? I’m a failure.”

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