Back in the early '90s, when I worked in London and wrote frequently about the hi-jinks of the monarchy, I tried in vain to understand why the British clung to such an archaic institution. But this morning, with the arrival of The Royal Baby, I finally get it. The House of Windsor gives the British permission to ignore their political and economic woes, to escape from themselves.
HOLLYWOOD - God bless America, and how's everybody?
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.
Imagine our government issuing a law requiring women to surgically remove their external genitalia.
We're taught as kids that lying is bad, that liars should be held accountable. But in Washington, lying is so endemic and so flagrant that the perpetrators are rarely even rebuked.
This just in! If you're willing to spend more money than you currently drop on Netflix, you can now get the Sarah Palin Channel online, which promises to "discuss the great issues of the day and work towards solutions."
On August 15 the Panama Canal (which greatly enhances maritime trade by providing a shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans) celebrates the 100th anniversary of its opening.
Ah, summer. What a great time for boys to read "The Dangerous Book for Boys."
Let's wave bye-bye to July with a thigh-slapping salute to Curt Clawson, the tea party's latest contribution to the U.S. Congress. Rarely has a Republican white guy evinced such cluelessness about Americans of a different race.
In a move less surprising than hot dogs at a ballgame, the House of Representatives voted to give Speaker John Boehner the authority to sue the President of the United States. This isn't like a divorce, or a civil suit for money, it's more of a restraining order. They want Obama to quit trying to resuscitate the government they've been working so hard to render unconscious.