The French daily Le Monde alleges that the US National Security Agency has spied on French diplomats in Washington and at the UN. I contacted my French informant, Pierre Le Paint, to learn more about the incident.
Recently, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said you're either "moving forward with courageous reforms" and "piloting new and better assessments" (the graduate school term for "standardized tests"), or you're one of the "arm chair pundits who insist our efforts are doomed to fail." Duncan exposed his own fallacy when he said, "Many people in the real world, outside the beltway and blogosphere, have tuned out this debate." Actually, the opposite is true. In the birthplace of the legislative dumpster fire known as No Child Left Behind, most Texans are lining up against test-driven reforms.
Students are protesting standardized testing. Parents are refusing to let schools give their kids the tests. Teachers are refusing to administer the tests. School boards are begging for relief from testing mandates. That's all nice, say the dwindling number of defenders of linking accountability to standardized testing, but if we got rid of tests what would you replace them with?
Now we bore deep into the bunker that houses the triumphant Tea Party headquarters, where they are celebrating a tactical victory over the forces of complacency and complaining loudly about all the chicken-hearted Republicans In Name Only who bowed to the will of our socialist president, and voted to reopen the government and avoid a global financial meltdown.
The "new era of civility in politics" called for by President Obama after former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) was shot, lasted about five Washington minutes. Since then Obama has adopted a scorched earth public policy in an attempt to destroy his political enemies, but sacrificing the Constitution as collateral damage.
Which is harder to believe? The ludicrous shenanigans going down in Washington or the fact that nobody seems particularly interested in doing anything about them? Good neighbors -- it looks like we got ourselves one heck of a bumper crop of official dysfunction this year. Near as high as Manute Bol's eye.
Federal taxpayers spent a shocking total of $5.4 billion - with a B - on grants to establish what ended up being just 13 state Obamacare exchanges. In some states the failures have been spectacular enough to embarrass officials and imperil political careers, and in far too many places, Republicans who should have known better went along. It's an object lesson in keeping your fingerprints off the other party's very bad ideas, and should be front of mind not just if the Supreme Court decision in King v. Burwell sparks new Obamacare exchange fights in state capitals, but also ...
"Orphan" is a very empty word. It conjures up images of loss, of being rootless, of unwanted and untenable liberty. When I think of "Orphan," I think of something flying around in the great human universe, searching for its home.
For many, it was an apocryphal moment. One which will be remembered for a lifetime. Exactly where we were and what we were doing when Bruce Jenner shocked the world by going on television to announce that he is ... a Republican. And oh yeah, the transgender thing was sort of a big deal too.