Another week, another controversy in official Washington. At the moment, 35 percent of voters consider recently exposed National Security Agency surveillance efforts as the most serious. The Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservatives is No. 2 on the list, followed by concerns about the Obama administration's handling of the incident in Benghazi last fall in which the U.S. ambassador to Libya was murdered.
Conservative Republicans in our nation's capital have managed to accomplish something they only dreamed of when Tea Partiers streamed into Congress at the start of 2011. They've basically shut down Congress. Their refusal to compromise is working just as they hoped: No jobs agenda. No budget. No grand bargain on the deficit. No background checks on guns. Nothing on climate change. No tax reform. No hike in the minimum wage. Nothing so far on immigration reform.
Hillary Clinton is now on Twitter. This woman looks for trouble, I swear.
The New York Times is pleased with Mayor Michael Bloomberg's 438-page, $20 billion plan to protect New York from the effects of future hurricanes. It notes benignly that the cost is probably an underestimate but agrees with the mayor, "Whether you believe climate change is real or not is beside the point; the bottom line is we can't run the risk."v
One of the strangest artifacts of American culture is the spiked heel as a symbol of female
power. Many waitresses at America's casinos feel otherwise.
Let's get this straight: Edward J. Snowden surrenders his well-paid job as a government contractor and, quite possibly, his freedom by publicly confirming how aggressively the National Security Agency, without obtaining any court warrants, collects the phone and Internet records of tens, perhaps hundreds, of millions of Americans.
Like most people who live in democratic countries, Americans believe elections matter. But elections alone don't define democracy. Elections are simply the mechanism by which free people choose the leaders who will uphold the rule of law and protect basic human rights, including the rights of those who did not vote for them.
With Father's Day on Sunday, there is good news and bad news. First the negative: Single mothers head up almost 9 percent of American households. The good news? Fathers who care are making a huge difference in this country.
The unfolding story of the Obama administration monitoring not just telephone records but Internet usage has drawn media coverage with adjectives like "astonishing." No doubt about it, even the pro-Obama press acknowledges it is a scandal. Still, it is laughable that the media would label him a "dictator" or discuss the "I word."
In a recent ad, our attorney general's wife tells us that he has spent his career standing up for the "vulnerable and those in need." I'll bet the cash-strapped landowners in Virginia's coal fields would be surprised to learn that.
Tuesday was Primary Election Day in Virginia, and voters who care went to the polls to do their duty. But there's always something new.
Kudos to Bob Lowerre for his excellent response to Fred Hughes' right wing propaganda.
"Gentlemen do not read each other's mail." That's what Secretary of State Henry Stimson said to explain why he shut down the government's cryptanalysis operations in 1929.
When President Richard Nixon collided with the Watergate scandal, he was a very unpopular man. The nation at the time was suffering one of the worst recessions in history and one of the highest inflation rates, too. So Watergate sunk Dick Nixon, but for good measure, the economy sunk him even more.
WASHINGTON -- It is reassuring that in the midst of so much government dysfunction, the IRS has resolved the question of when and whether to tax tanning beds under the Affordable Care Act.
It would be nice to write a column in praise of President Obama for his vigorous conduct of the war on terror -- to praise his willingness to look for "dots" to connect amid all the electronic noise of the communications web. It would be pleasantly nonpartisan to observe that some conservatives are being hypocritical -- denouncing Obama for surveillance of millions of Americans while they were content to permit President Bush to do similar things without protest, just as many liberals are doing the reverse.
Last week a federal judge ordered Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to allow 10-year-old Sarah Murnaghan, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, to be moved to the adult lung transplant list. That gives her a better chance of receiving a potentially lifesaving transplant. Sarah Murnaghan's fate should force us to examine our organ transplant policy.
I cannot write this the way I want. Doing so would invade the privacy of too many people. But I can't be silent, either.
I read with interest and amusement Fred Hughes' letter published on June 6. The headline of the piece read, "More liberal smoke and mirrors." It went on to criticize a May 31 article by Andy Schmookler.
At the April 2013 Mount Jackson Town Council meeting, on behalf of the Mount Jackson Farmers' Market, its vendors, farmers and customers, I requested an extension
to use the gravel lot at the former Farm Bureau Building on King Street, explaining that the market was in the process of filing for nonprofit status, and explaining both my intentions and the challenges that we have faced in paving the lot.
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