Wednesday December 11, 2013
November 28th, 2013
Researchers this summer purchased 42 children's chairs, sofas and other furniture from major retailers and tested them for toxic flame retardants that have been linked to cancer, birth defects, diminished IQs and other problems.
In a study released a few days ago, the Center for Environmental Health reported the results: The toxins were found in all but four of the products tested.
At a middle school near Boston not long ago, teachers and administrators noticed that children would frequently return from a classmate's weekend bar mitzvah with commemorative T-shirts, swag that advertised a party to which many fellow students hadn't been invited.
So administrators moved to ban the clothing.
There's an old Gospel song called "Trouble Don't Last Always." My mother has repeated that phrase so often that the words are written on my consciousness.
The lesson of that saying is always with me: Though your problems may be present, they are not permanent. Storms pass.
That's why I have grown weary of the Democratic gnashing of teeth over the problems with the Obamacare rollout and the president's falling poll numbers.
What's in a name? A rose by any other name might still smell just as bad, but it could sound like it was someone else's signature legislative achievement.
One important effect of Thursday's change in the Senate rules: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius can now be fired.
So can Marilyn Tavenner, director of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Or Attorney General Eric Holder. Or Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Or Secretary of State John Kerry. Or really any political appointee.
This week, when we are remembering John F. Kennedy, I'd like to touch briefly on the greatest fiasco of his presidency: the Bay of Pigs invasion. No sooner had Kennedy taken the oath of office than he discovered that the Pentagon and CIA were preparing to send 1,500 Cuban exiles to invade Cuba. Although they would be greatly outnumbered by Cuban troops, the U.S. military and the CIA assumed that once the attack began, the Cuban people would rise up and overthrow Fidel Castro.
Way to nuke 'em, Harry.
It was time -- actually, long past time -- for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to invoke the "nuclear option" and ask his colleagues to change the Senate's rules. This isn't about partisan politics. It's about making what has been called "the world's greatest deliberative body" function the way the Framers of the Constitution intended.
Much we believe about turkeys is not true.
Myth No. 1: They were served at the "first Thanksgiving" feast in Plymouth, Mass. There's no evidence for that.
The Plymouth Colony governor, an observer wrote, "sent foure men on fowling" for the dinner. Fowling is an Old English reference to waterfowl. So ducks and geese were probably on the menu, not turkey.
Whenever we reflect on the horror of Nov. 22, 1963, we mourn not only the murder of a graceful and inspiring leader but also a steady ebbing in the years thereafter of our faith in what we could achieve through public life and common endeavor.
It tells us a great deal about the meaning ofÊJohn F. Kennedy in our history that liberals and conservatives alike are so eager to pronounce him as one of their own.
It was especially poignant to see Caroline Kennedy, America's new ambassador to Japan, present her credentials to Emperor Akihito this week. Coming just three days before the 50th anniversary of her father's assassination in Dallas, it was a vivid demonstration that the impact of John F. Kennedy's presidency is still very much alive.