During Sunday’s Super Bowl, the advertising and programming executives in Hollywood and New York graced us with their version of what we want to see. And if it’s any reflection of reality, we’re becoming a coarser, stupider, and less value-oriented nation. Let’s start with the halftime show. For years, the Super Bowl halftime show has been a repository for shocking performances, including the pre-staged Justin Timberlake/Janet Jackson boobgate in 2004. But Beyoncé’s pelvic-thrusting marathon session, accompanied by her doxy backup dancers, wasn’t so much shocking as it was jaded and cynical. It wasn’t sexy; it was tiresome, in-your-face, boring.
It’s time to dust off Ronald Reagan’s old “11th Commandment,” spiff it up, and give it a new and more useful set of clothes. Reagan’s famous commandment, dating from his 1966 campaign for governor and repeated during the early contests of his 1976 presidential bid, was that “thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” (Snip)Conservatives almost certainly spent more time bashing John Boehner—who, despite his flaws, is the most attitudinally conservative House Speaker since at least the Great Depression—than they did making a more creative or convincing public case about why conservative positions would produce a better economy,
NEW YORK — The mud and floodwaters that ravaged the East Coast when Superstorm Sandy roared ashore three months ago have been supplanted by a sea of red tape, leaving thousands of residents and businesses in limbo as they await insurance funds or help from the federal government. Some have used savings or loans to get back into their homes or reopen businesses. Others remain in temporary housing, hotels or face the winter in frigid, unfinished housing, resulting in a staggered state of recovery that bodes ill for a region trying to make itself whole again.
President Obama has put salvation from dreaded climate catastrophes on his action agenda hot list. During his inaugural address he said: “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” He went on to shame anyone who disagrees with this assessment, saying, “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and powerful storms.” This sort of scary presidential prognostication isn’t new. He previously emphasized at the Democratic National Convention that global warming
On one level, there were not too many surprises in the newly disclosed “white paper” offering a legal reasoning behind the claim that President Obama has the power to order the killing of American citizens who are believed to be part of Al Qaeda. We knew Mr. Obama and his lawyers believed he has that power under the Constitution and federal law. We also knew that he utterly rejects the idea that Congress or the courts have any right to review such a decision in advance, or even after the fact.
King Richard III, whose severely wounded body disinterred from under a parking lot in the British Midlands was confirmed by DNA testing this week, was the last of the 14 Plantagenet monarchs who ruled England from 1154 until Richard´s death at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. The Plantagenets are only usually in the news when an ambitious theater director with a big budget chooses to stage all eight of Shakespeare´s “Plantagenet plays,” from Richard II to Richard III via two parts of Henry IV, Henry V, and three parts of Henry VI. Sometimes written off by historians
Love him or hate him, you’ve got to feel just a little for Joe Biden. He brokers a deal for President Obama on the “fiscal cliff.” He revives Democrats on the debate stage. And what thanks does the vice president get? A “Ready for Hillary” Super PAC. A swooning “60 Minutes” interview where Obama makes goo-goo eyes at his former secretary of state. And now, the political world is agog over a new website, hillaryclintonoffice.com, that features nothing but a glowing picture of Clinton and a link to contact her. Just a few days after she resigned
A great stage career went into hiatus Friday, when Hillary Clinton left her foreign policy gig for an undisclosed future, not telling where that future would take her or if there would be one at all. In her life on the stage, she has had a career framed by two episodes of "60 Minutes" that aired 21 years apart. The first took place in February 1992, when she appeared with her husband to help him deal with the mess made by Gennifer Flowers. The second occurred Jan. 24, 2013, when she appeared with Barack Obama (her office husband),
On the advice of the Horde, I took up George Orwell´s "Politics and the English Language." This passage seems especially appropriate today: In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism,
President Obama’s proposal to delay the $1 trillion sequester with a “balanced” package of spending cuts and tax increases should come as no surprise. Since its initial conception back in August 2011 (it was Obama’s idea), the sequester has always been viewed by Democrats as a mechanism with which to exact higher taxes from Republicans. However, at this point, that strategy appears likely to fail. From a post I wrote at the time: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) warned that if new tax revenue was not included in the [super]committee’s proposal, the [sequester would be enacted]
Eighteen people have been charged in what federal prosecutors in New Jersey called one of the largest credit card fraud schemes ever uncovered by the U.S. Department of Justice, spanning 28 states and eight countries. "The defendants are part of a massive international fraud enterprise involving thousands of false identities, fraudulent identification documents, doctored credit reports and more than $200 million in confirmed losses," FBI Special Agent James Simpson said in court records. According to court records, the scheme involved three basic steps: The defendants allegedly created thousands of fake identities, pumped up the credit histories of those fictitious people
It was a picture dredged up to prove the assertion the President had made in January to the breezy effect that the President is indeed acquainted with firearms, since, as he stated (roughly paraphrased), We´ve often shot skeet when we´re at Camp David. It took a few days, where conservative media baited the press secretary Jay Carney, for proof, any proof, and where the Democrats either pooh-poohed the need for proof, since the President rarely turns out to have accuracy as his first arrow out of the quiver
What a holy mess. The married founder and former religious leader of the controversial Ground Zero mosque project allegedly embezzled millions from his Muslim charity to lavish gifts on a special lady friend, buy a sports car and vacation around the globe, according to a lawsuit filed by a disgruntled financial backer. Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf treated his Cordoba Initiative and Shariah Index Project, nonprofits meant to promote religious tolerance and fight anti-Muslim bigotry, like a personal piggy bank, the suit filed by Westchester businessman Robert Leslie Deak alleges. Over several years, Rauf had accepted $167,000 from Deak,
President Obama hit the road Monday on a nationwide gun-grabbing tour. His show doesn’t have many fans inside the Beltway, since being seen favoring gun control can be the kiss of death for senators with rural constituencies. So Mr. Obama is trying to shore up fence-sitting members by bringing his community organizing skills to their districts. His first stop was Minnesota. “I need everybody who’s listening to keep the pressure on your member of Congress to do the right thing,” said Mr. Obama, surrounded by uniformed officers at the Minneapolis Police Department Special Operations Center.
Fox News has decided not to renew its contract with political commentator and pollster Dick Morris, an industry official tells POLITICO´s Mike Allen. Morris, who was on contract with Fox News throughout the 2012 presidential campaign, had not appeared on the network for almost three months after Fox News president Roger Ailes decided to keep him off the network. He is scheduled to appear on CNN on Wednesday. Morris served as an adviser to President Bill Clinton but later became one of the Clintons´ staunchest critics. He was an adamant supporter of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney
Needy U.S. borrowers are defaulting on almost $1 billion in federal student loans earmarked for the poor, leaving schools such as Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania with little choice except to sue their graduates. The record defaults on federal Perkins loans may jeopardize the prospects of current students since they are part of a revolving fund that colleges give to students who show extraordinary financial hardship. ale, Penn and George Washington University have all sued former students over nonpayment, court records show. While no one tracks the number of lawsuits, students defaulted on $964 million
The woman arrested with a loaded pistol outside a downtown private school Monday was trying to kill people, but she couldn’t get the gun to fire, according to Charleston police. Alice Boland, a 28-year-old Beaufort woman with a history of mental illness, was arrested at Ashley Hall on Rutledge Avenue. Boland pointed a gun at two staff members who confronted her at the wrought-iron fence surrounding the school and repeatedly pulled the trigger, according to a police affidavit. The gun didn’t fire and nobody was hurt. “There’s no doubt in our minds, based on our investigation, that
Jay Carney, the chief spokesman for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, wants you to know that President Barack Obama´s controversial use of drones isn´t just sort-of borderline defensible. Nope: "These strikes are legal, they are ethical and they are wise," Carney said. The government takes "great care" when deciding where and whom to strike, he added. How much care does the White House take in assessing who it wants to bomb (often in countries with which the U.S. is not officially at war)? So much care that it doesn´t feel a need to get legal authorization
Swapping butter for margarine and vegetable oils could trigger a heart attack, scientists have warned. Decades of dietary advice has been turned on its head after experts uncovered startling new evidence about the dangers of eating “healthy” spreads. A study revealed an ingredient in vegetable fats triggers inflammation – which plays a major role in chronic illnesses from heart disease and cancer to arthritis and Alzheimer’s. The findings will have major implications for millions of Britons who have stopped using butter in favour of trendy, and less fatty, spreads and oils following healthy-living guidance.
PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- The classic Monopoly game is set for its most significant change in decades after fans of the game designed nearly 80 years ago voted to add a new token to replace the shoe, wheelbarrow or iron after they received the least support in an online contest. Toy maker Hasbro Inc. is scheduled to announce the new token lineup Wednesday morning, hours after fans cast their final ballots to determine which of the five proposed pieces to add and which of the existing tokens to eject. The tokens identify the players and have changed quite a lot
Hundreds of hospital patients died in the biggest NHS scandal in living memory because of a box-ticking culture and a failure of compassion, a damning official report will say today. David Cameron is appalled by the findings of a long-awaited report into the deaths of up to 1,200 people between 2005 and 2008 because of poor care in hospitals run by the Mid Staffordshire trust. It is expected to blame managers who cut costs and reduced staffing levels in an attempt to hit Labour’s ‘efficiency’ targets and win foundation status. The Prime Minister will respond to the findings
Even to a baby elephant, he surely can’t look much like mother. But to a young orphan called Joe, this 29-year-old nature reserve keeper has become the next best thing. The three-month-old pygmy elephant was pictured last week nuzzling his lifeless mother in a desperate attempt to revive her. His distress was so visible it moved wildlife officials to tears. The mother had become the latest victim of a mysterious spate of poisoning in the tropical rainforest of Malaysia, one of 14 now known to have died. Had Joe not been rescued he would almost certainly have stayed at his
At least five people were killed today when a powerful earthquake followed by a damaging tsunami struck the small Pacific nation of the Solomon Islands – where Prince William and his bride spent a holiday last September. The major 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck the Santa Cruz islands, which are part of the Solomons, just 250 miles from the private island of Tavanipupu, where Prince William and Kate enjoyed a brief visit five months ago. Waves of 1.5m struck the western side of the Santa Cruz Islands, smashing down at least three villages and destroying up to 50 homes.
What are the rules when it comes to a democratic government killing its own citizens? According to a Department of Justice memo that has fallen in to the lap of NBC, the Obama administration is doing its best to make some up.[Snip] Hitherto, administration officials have referred to drone strikes as “consistent with the inherent right of self-defence”--suggesting that they should only be used against US citizens when an attack on the US is imminent. But this new memo speaks ambitiously of a “broader concept of imminence”. Put crudely, it empowers the government to shoot from the hip--even if there’s
WASHINGTON — Gun ownership is low and support for legislation to reduce gun violence is high among New Jersey’s congressional lawmakers, according to a survey by the Gannett Washington Bureau and USA Today. It’s unclear if anyone in the delegation owns a gun. Of the 14 delegation members, nine said they don’t own one, three declined to say either way, and two did not respond to the survey. Among those who did not respond or declined to say were three lawmakers — Reps. Frank LoBiondo, Scott Garrett and Jon Runyan, all Republicans — who have an “A” rating
SPRINGFIELD— Buying a new pair of running shoes in Illinois could cost a quarter more if a measure to tax gym shoes gets traction at the Capitol. The idea behind the 25-cent shoe tax is to pump more money into programs that help high-school dropouts from low-income homes get jobs in the construction trades or get back on track to attend college. "There are young people everywhere that are looking for a positive outlet that they might not find otherwise," said Rep. Will Davis, a Homewood Democrat who´s sponsoring the shoe tax.