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.
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.
Boy, are the folks at the syndicated game show "Jeopardy" in trouble after introducing a new category: "What Do Women Want."
There was joke that made the rounds when Bill Clinton was trying to figure out how to allow gays in the military without upsetting morale. "Gays in the military," the joke went. "Next thing you know they'll want to be interior decorators!" Of course, gays have always served in our military. Now, after long last, they can serve openly, and as it turns out it is no big whoop.
After 13 years of war in Afghanistan - the longest in US history - the US government has achieved no victory. Afghanistan is in chaos and would collapse completely without regular infusions of US money. The war has been a failure, but Washington will not admit it.
President Obama and his Democratic allies are claiming credit for the latest in a string of positive jobs reports, but if they had their way it wouldn't have happened. Why? According to empirical research by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York: "most of the persistent increase in unemployment during the Great Recession can be accounted for by the unprecedented extensions of unemployment benefit eligibility."
Welcome to Rocktober, Baby. That's what all the rock and roll radio stations call this, the 10th month of the year. Doesn't require more than a casually cocked ear to realize the airwaves are flooded with concerts and giveaways and promotional tie-ins. All in the name of Rocktober, Baby.
On the road in Atlanta, the Pirates learned they were among 10 teams to make it to baseball's postseason. Reporter Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette described what followed:
Law enforcement has long been a popular subject in film comedy. It looks like some producer now has a lot of potential material.