Most of us have known for months how we will mark our ballots Tuesday, making the painfully long and obscenely expensive presidential campaign little more than a test of our patience. I'm voting for Barack Obama.
The 14th Regiment Armory was built for the National Guard (née New York militia) in 1893. The massive Brooklyn structure was supposed to mimic the castles of Europe - brick towers and fortifications of previous centuries. Now a YMCA, the Armory today is a shelter (filled to capacity) with nursing home evacuees from Hurricane Sandy. The metaphor: What was built originally to protect us, has to be repurposed for a new type of foe.
Everyone expected a big wind towards the end of October. But it was expected it'd be from the media, talk show hosts, blogosphere and politicians, building in a crescendo that'd end on Election Day. That wind did arrive – in gale force -- but what no one expected was that Mother Nature would also chime in by sending her offspring Hurricane Sandy.
In July, Sen. Al Franken opened a Senate hearing on the privacy and civil liberties implications of facial recognition technology by affirming some incontrovertible facts. "You can change your password. You can get a new credit card. But you can't change your fingerprint, and you can't change your face," Franken said. "Unless I guess you go to a great, you know, deal of trouble."
America used to have the most democratic elections in the world. It doesn't anymore. Antiquated technology, along with the failure to clean dirty voter rolls of dead and moved voters, plus gridlock blocking efforts to fix the problems have left our system in shambles.
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.