This is shaping up as a great season for media-watchers. Viewers still go on vacation, but news and entertainment media are busier this summer than ever before, giving us plenty to slice and dice.
Normally when the general public ponders Texas, a whole lot of big sky and rugged individualism and generosity of spirit springs to mind. The thought of progressive politics is probably farther away than Bedouin olive trays are to an armadillo. But that's exactly what's going on right now as the country's most heroic representatives try their darndest to protect the Lone Star State's most precious commodity. The lives of our precious yellow roses. Our lady folk.
For the first time since George W. Bush signed No Child Left Behind, the House has passed a major rewrite of federal education law. On Friday, the House approved the Student Success Act along party lines-Republicans for, Democrats against-but the bill has little chance of getting past a Democratic Senate and a White House veto threat. Democrats in Washington don't trust the states to hold themselves accountable, and a recent audit of how Texas has mishandled a half billion-dollar contract with testing giant NCS Pearson shows why.
Despite all the caterwauling you hear about nepotism, rigged elections, waivers, loopholes, crony capitalism, foxes guarding henhouses, gerrymandered legislative districts, incompetent court-appointed attorneys, misleading negative campaign ads and government surveillance programs, we Americans are an alarmingly contented bunch.
In a better world we should never have been subjected to the Zimmerman trial.
Even on the hottest nights of the summer, my father knew how to make our house ice cold.
Saturday's verdict in the George Zimmerman trial has sparked national outrage, and rightfully so. And yet, with much of the focus on race, there is an accomplice to Trayvon Martin's death that has, to a surprising degree, escaped scrutiny and a seat in the dock- guns, and our lenient, permissive approach to them. The fact that it's a repeat offender makes matters even worse.
To understand why Texas' new anti-abortion law is an invasion of privacy, you have to know my friend. It's a sad story, and despite what Texas Republicans might claim, it has nothing to do with abortion. It does have to do with a woman's wellbeing, however, which is why his story is important.
In 2005, Senate Republicans floated the idea of altering Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster for judicial nominees. The proposal, dubbed the nuclear option, involved breaking Senate rules to change Senate rules. (The rules require a two-thirds vote for rules changes, but the nuclear option changes the rules by simple majority.) Democrats fought back against it furiously. Harry Reid led the fight, saying on the Senate floor: "I would never, ever consider breaking the rules to change the rules." Well, adjust your clocks to "never." Reid is now poised to execute the nuclear option.
HOLLYWOOD - God bless America, and how's everybody?
George Zimmerman's trial seemed to raise as many questions as it answered, but one thing was proved convincingly: television in courtrooms can have damaging effects.
According to the New York Times, the Oregon legislature has approved a bold remedy for student debt.
Nuclear efficiency systems engineer Jeremy Preston moved back into his house in Delaware from Tennessee, where his license to carry a concealed weapon was also legal in Delaware.
Here's something you should do if you haven't done so in a while: visit your mother and father and get out the old photo box.
New York City's politics has now gotten more titillating. First came news that Anthony Weiner, the Democrat whose crotch-shot sexting to a woman he never met led to his resignation from Congress, was running for mayor. Now comes the news that former New York Gov. Elliot Spitzer, who resigned due to his involvement in a prostitution scandal, is running for city Comptroller.
I've done my fair share of stupid things over my life.
I set out to write an obituary about my mother, who died Nov. 15, and was taken aback by how much she never accomplished in her 94 years.
The autumn dark is lengthening, which means the English-speaking, Judeo-Christian Holiday Season is about to split open wider than a crocodile mouth at the bottom of a baby duckling water slide. It begins with Columbus Day. No mail and the banks are closed. Much is to be said for starting slow. Then the downward hurtle is set off by Halloween, when people toss about candy, free, incognito.
Most Americans, regardless of ideology, oppose "crony capitalism" or "cronyism." Cronyism is where politicians write laws aimed at helping their favored business beneficiaries. Despite public opposition to cronyism, politicians still seek to use the legislative process to help special interests.
At least once in a lifetime every American should lay eyes on the Grand Canyon, whose brilliant colors and dazzling erosional landscape inspire a kind of planetary patriotism. Stretching 277 miles long and a mile deep, it is perhaps our nation's greatest natural treasure.
Apparently, you're pretty busy. I'm a little surprised that you have time to read the paper, frankly. And you're not alone. Only 36 percent of our countrymen bothered to vote in the midterm elections. A lot of people were busy that day.
President Obama is leaning heavily on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), an independent agency, to change the Internet from a competitive, free-market service into a government-regulated public utility.
Did the election last week really mean that much? I took to my Twitter account on Tuesday to point out that the change in control of the Senate from Democrat to Republican actually means very little, despite efforts by politicians and the mainstream media to convince us otherwise. Yes, power shifted, I wrote. But the philosophy on Capitol Hill changed very little. The warfare/welfare state is still alive and well in Washington.
So Jonathan Gruber thinks the American people are stupid, does he?
Usually when a burning issue arises, I feel compelled to squeeze every last drop of my own phrasing, logic and wit into this limited space.
What an amazing five years this has been!
So, that was fun. One minute we're promised a half dozen toss up races to determine control of the United States Senate, and the next Democrats are ducking under their desks as Massachusetts and Maryland elected Republican governors. Let the "Very Important Pundits" take turns on cable news assigning blame for the losses. I'm more interested in why the polls didn't tell us the wave was coming.
I admit it: I feel sorry for cigarette and cigar smokers these days. But changing fashions and the results of the recent election may offer them hope.
It's been years since I used AOL for any kind of meaningful email but I can't bring myself to close the account. I keep thinking that somewhere in my cyber past there's an old friend about to reach out - and all he has is my AOL address.
To call the grotesque drubbing suffered by the Democratic Party in the midterms monumental, is like referring to the surface of the sun as warm. The scene was so grisly, acutely sensitive Democrats (most of them) were forced to avert their eyes or risk anaphylactic shock.