"What do you mean, Americans have gotten ruder?"
Just like AAA ratings on mortgage-backed securities led to Wall Street's 2008 disaster, a rash of accountability scandals might be precursors to a similar public school crash. After years of promises that test-driven accountability would yield miracles, scandals with school ratings are popping up all over the country. Unless we hold reformers as accountable as they hold students, these scandals could bring down our public school system the same way Wall Street almost innovated our economy back into the Stone Age.
I've been thinking about the sorry state of American culture, and that made me reminisce about the Cold War.
SAN JOSE, Calif. - All I know about climate, some say, is what's outside my window.
Once upon a time, there was a little red hen who lived on a farm past the woods. She was friends with a bossy but politically connected pig, a groveling sheep who worked as a flunky for the village and a scared little mouse who specialized in running away and hiding. Hey. Sometimes your friends are whoever lives on the farm next to you.
Anyone who has even bothered to read my columns over the last decade-plus knows I was never a huge fan of George W. Bush. I have always believed that the 43rd president was a decent man who tried to do the right thing but often failed, either because of bad advice or flawed ideology - or both. That said, Barack Obama has carried Bush bashing to a level that should astound all but the most hardened and cynical political observer.
Ownership changes at The Washington Post and Boston Globe have many people speculating anew about the future of newspapers. But whatever happens to these great publications probably won't mean much to you, me, or the paper that carries this column.
Whether you're arising from a long, luxurious sleep or frantically cleaning up melted crayons, surely you have a strong opinion on the cover story in the August 12 "Time" magazine: "The Childfree Life: When Having It All Means Not Having Children."
Too many of our political leaders see government as the solution to our challenges. If only they paid more consideration to what some of our great minds had to say about government.
Boy, are some Americans losing interest in marriage these days.
It's a classic case of deja vu, and you get that sinking, ominous feeling. And then a (momentarily) optimistic one.
HOLLYWOOD - God bless America, and how's everybody?
Denise Romano would make a lousy terrorist. She has a severe chronic refractory cough that causes her to pass out several times a day. She uses a walker so she has something to lean on when she gets one of her coughing fits. She can't drive. During the "people's filibuster," she let protestors use the parking space at her condo two blocks from the capitol. As much as she wanted to join the protests, her body just couldn't take it. Online activism was her only outlet.
My son Gideon, age nine, is hog wild about the classic CBS sitcom "Green Acres," which counts the super-intelligent pig Arnold Ziffel among its characters.
Rush Limbaugh fielded a phone call the other day that even he couldn't answer.
After I read the news report, I popped the wine cork and praised the science gods. Alcohol consumption helps us live longer.
Welcome to a new chapter in our history, when we must now ask, "What is going on with these people who seem to get such a thrill out of posting selfies of themselves grinning alongside animals they have killed?"
"And They're Almost Off." Yes, the entrance to the 2016 Presidential Derby has officially been flung open wider than the gap between George Bernard Shaw and Pee Wee Herman. Backstage at the Bolshoi Ballet and the snack bar adjacent to the Professional Bowlers Association Hall of Fame gift shop. Horseshoes and mirrors.
Last week two prominent Ukrainian opposition figures were gunned down in broad daylight. They join as many as ten others who have been killed or committed suicide under suspicious circumstances just this year. These individuals have one important thing in common: they were either part of or friendly with the Yanukovych government, which a US-backed coup overthrew last year. They include members of the Ukrainian parliament and former chief editors of major opposition newspapers.
Pope Francis recently annoyed the Turkish government by making the politically incorrect observation that it had exterminated a generation of Christian Armenians. He used the word "genocide," which is something that the Turks have been rejecting for decades.
Should women serve in combat? Right now the military is answering that question with a final verdict scheduled to come down from Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in January 2016. This will inevitably become a political question-and thus particularly useless in producing a satisfactory answer-but until then it's useful to understand that the military sees this question differently than you and I do.
Amidst all the early GOP presidential jockeying, let's check on our Jersey boy Chris Christie. Looks like the tough-love guv surfaced this week on a radio show and ranted about reefer madness.
It's amazing how Hillary Clinton can stimulate the U.S. economy simply by announcing her candidacy for president.
Forget the joke candidacies of Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. Forget Scott Walker and his constant attempts to link himself to Reagan. Forget Jeb Bush and his deep-pocket donors. Forget Marco Rubio, the candidate of the "future" who represents the policies of yesterday. Think not about Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal and Ben Carson and Chris Christie and Mike Pence. Forget them all - at least for the moment.
Hillary's all in for 2016.
There is another round of Republican presidential primaries headed our way. Like before, a slew of candidates eagerly claim to be the end-all of American conservatism.
I stumbled upon my father's 1959 income tax return a few years ago. Oh, how I long for the simplicity he enjoyed when he filed his taxes that year.
Militarism and military spending are everywhere and on the rise, as the new Cold War propaganda seems to be paying off. The new "threats" that are being hyped bring big profits to military contractors and the network of think tanks they pay to produce pro-war propaganda.
The key to understanding Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz is not that he is a fighter or that he is an unwavering ideologue. To highlight his intelligence points the spotlight in the right direction but misses the mark. The man can give a speech, but that's not quite the thing, either. The thing that explains Cruz, at least to me, is this: He is a debate nerd.
You know there's a problem with the Iran nuclear agreement when The White House releases a fact sheet to the press outlining the agreement, and Iran issues a statement claiming the fact sheet is false... within 15 minutes.