Friday September 04, 2015
May 28th, 2015
Let's discuss putting a picture of a woman on the $20 bill. But, first: How many of you remember Ivy Baker Priest?
OK, nobody. Good thing I'm hard to discourage. But stick with me for a minute, and then we'll talk about Harriet Tubman versus Andrew Jackson.
The bombast and grandiosity of NFL football have always put me off. Fans too often treat ballgames as if they were wars between rival tribes or nation states; symbolic struggles between good and evil. As somebody who watches probably 150 major league baseball games a year, I find the hype alternately exhausting and ridiculous.
An awkward truth for bleeding hearts like myself is that there has never been much rigorous evidence that outside aid can sustainably lift people out of poverty.
Sure, evidence is overwhelming that aid can overcome disease, boost literacy and save lives. But raising incomes is trickier - and the evidence in that arena has been squishier.
Jeffrey Sterling recently stood before a judge as his sentence was read. The former CIA officer, the judge declared, would spend 42 months — that’s three and half years — behind bars. The feds had convicted Sterling on nine felony charges, including seven counts of espionage.
Earlier this month, I arrived in San Diego following five days of driving across the country from Wisconsin. I pulled into my friend’s driveway, brought my things inside, and went back to my car to park it on the street.
Almost immediately, a cop’s siren and flashing lights went off. I’d left my license in my friend’s apartment, so I was in trouble no matter what.
On Monday President Barack Obama announced new rules for the distribution of surplus military hardware to local police forces and unveiled a report on 21st- century policing. The new procedures and recommendations rightly acknowledge failings in the U.S. criminal-justice system, and they're a step in the right direction. Obama deserves credit.
Just don't expect much to change.
Maybe some people didn't understand the question.
It was posed in this space a few weeks ago by Tracy, a self-described 55-year-old white woman from Texas who is sick and tired of the mounting litany of police violence against unarmed African-American boys and men. She wanted to know what actions she, as an average person, might take to help bring about change. "What can I do?" she asked.
Jeb Bush must have set some kind of record for political flip-flopping this month.
“Knowing what we know now,” he was asked — that Saddam Hussein didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction, for example — “would you have authorized the invasion” of Iraq?
“I would’ve,” he said.
While much of the political community frets over the influence of billionaire money in presidential campaigns, the much smaller world of journalism occasionally worries over the ethics of politicians crossing over into the news-and-analysis business.