The nation faces its latest budget crisis resulting from gridlock in Washington. On March 1, budgetary “sequestration” kicks in. Barring an unlikely last-minute deal, about $85 billion is set to be cut from military, domestic and certain health care programs beginning this Friday.
During the first months of each new year, movie theaters are overcrowded with generally dreadful films: throwaways with such less-than-appealing titles as A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD and BULLET IN THE HEAD or moronic comedies like IDENTITY THIEF that somehow clean up at the box office or well-intentioned films like SIDE EFFECTS, a murder mystery which also explores the issue of prescription drug abuse but is way too fanciful and crammed with plot holes.
It’s been the best of times, and the worst of times for the University of Miami athletics. On the one hand, the Hurricanes have the number two men’s basketball team in the country, which is quite something for a school that usually sees basketball as simply a bridge between bowl season and spring football.
Herbert London - The President’s Hard Authoritarianism
For most of Barack Obama’s first term as president he talked passionately, if not persuasively, about the need for national unity. Even the Stimulus Bill – largely a laundry list of pent up Congressional desires – was described as a national effort to get the economy moving. His prime legislative initiative, Obamacare, was advertised as a way to extend medical coverage for those without insurance. Of course, it nationalized one-seventh of the American economy and set the stage for unprecedented government expansion. Although it may be premature to attach historical labels to the president’s first term, I think his record displays what might be called “soft authoritarianism.”
In prior commentaries I have spoken about the moral and constitutional issues in targeting people for assassination, by drones or otherwise. Today I’d like to look at the problem coldly, and try to assess whether and when those moral arguments have consequences on our effort to end terrorism. In particular, what should we make of the Obama Administration’s use of drones abroad to kill those it labels enemies. Plainly al-Qaeda has few scruples; why should we? Should we “fight fire with fire” or “sink to their level” to use two common expressions?
With the dawn of this storm swept year of Two Thousand and Thirteen, there’s much more than coastline geography, that appears to have been swept away. Most of those watching The TV Weather Channel or scanning their I-Pads won’t be aware of it but the Art of Conversation has also been swept away. Not much of a loss, to those hip-deep in complaints to local officials or state and federal politicos but a guy, named Jonathan Swift, who wrote about this subject more than three-hundred years ago, would counsel that the speediest way to action on any subject is via the path of free and forthrig
These days, movie-going can be an expensive proposition-- and I would hate to have to plunk down some hard-earned money in the hope of finding relaxation in a darkened movie theater and end up sitting through a comedy that is crass and unfunny or a thriller that simply is not thrilling, not to mention the very real possibility that the person sitting next to me will be yapping away on his or her cellphone while I am trying to soak in all the on-screen dialogue.
The asteroid “DA14”, which will hurtle past us sometime after lunch today, was discovered by Spanish observers last year.
Our highest satellites, used for GPS, are just over 22,000 miles up, and DA14 will pass underneath that level – coming about 17,000 miles from us. Fortunately, NASA assures us we are safe.
Now Earth and Moon have been hit many times, over the eons, by asteroids.The explosive 1908 Tunguska asteroid, a similar size to the one passing us on Friday (which for a while many suspected might have been a mini-black hole) damaged 800 square miles of Siberia.
At a recent writing workshop I attended, I read a short, painful piece about the illness and death of a high school friend to my fellow writers. For some time since writing the piece, I have been struggling with the wisdom of attempting to publish it because some of my friend’s family members are still alive, and much of what I wrote might be quite distressing to them if they saw it in print. The group told me to stop worrying about this, specifically because they felt that the essay honors her memory, and that the main goal of personal essay and memoir is honest self- expression. Still