Wednesday December 17, 2014
August 21st, 2014
Affectations can be dangerous, as Gertrude Stein said.
When Barack Obama first ran for president, he theatrically cast himself as the man alone on the stage. From his address in Berlin to his acceptance speech in Chicago, he eschewed ornaments and other politicians, conveying the sense that he was above the grubby political scene, unearthly and apart.
Mike Johnston's mother was a public-school teacher. So were her mother and father. And his godfather taught in both public and private schools.
So when he expresses the concern that we're not getting the best teachers into classrooms or weeding out the worst performers, it's not as someone who sees the profession from a cold, cynical distance.
The fire this time is about invisibility. Our society expects the police to keep unemployed, poorly educated African-American men out of sight and out of mind. When they suddenly take center stage, illuminated by the flash and flicker of Molotov cocktails, we feign surprise.
Late last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued an oblique news release announcing that it was awarding an unnamed whistle-blower $400,000 for helping expose a financial fraud at an unnamed company. The money was the latest whistle-blower award - there have been 13 so far - paid as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, which includes both protections for whistle-blowers and financial awards when their information leads to fines of more than $1 million.
A century has passed since the start of World War I, which many people at the time declared was "the war to end all wars." Unfortunately, wars just kept happening. And with the headlines from Ukraine getting scarier by the day, this seems like a good time to ask why.
If you are the last person in America wondering whether Hillary Clinton is running for president, her recent interview with The Atlantic should vanquish any doubts. In that interview, the former secretary of state, who during her tenure was unfailingly loyal to her boss and former adversary, sharply criticized certain aspects of his foreign policy.
The killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown has rightly provoked widespread outrage, drawing international media attention and prompting a comment from President Obama. The same should be true -- but tragically is not -- of the killing of 3-year-old Knijah Amore Bibb.
Given all of the smoky talk about Colorado and marijuana, you arrive here with the feeling that you're stepping into some freaky, one-of-a-kind laboratory.
And you are.
In an age of villainy, war and inequality, it makes sense that we need superheroes. And after trying Superman, Batman and Spider-Man, we may have found the best superheroes yet: Nuns.
"I may not believe in God, but I do believe in nuns," writes Jo Piazza, in her forthcoming book, "If Nuns Ruled the World." Piazza is an agnostic living in New York City who began interviewing nuns and found herself utterly charmed and inspired.