August 28, 2013 |
President Obama's commemoration of the 50 th anniversary of the March on Washington underscored both the great advantages of the presidency and its daunting limitations. A forum in which a president has to compete with the famously loquacious Bill Clinton and the ghost of Martin Luther King Jr. could make fearful any speaker, even the confident Obama. His effort did not carry the drama of King's speech - a near impossibility - and also lacked some of the easy familiarity with which Clinton, a child of the segregated South, talked about the import of events 50 years ago. Still, Obama did seize an opportunity, nationally televised, to extend and update the reach of the civil rights movement into current times, emphasizing its relevance to a nation which, if its black/white schisms are nowhere near healed, now finds itself riven along many more demographic and cultural fault lines.
August 28, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the veteran civil rights activist, urged the country to remember and build on the progress of the last five decades during a speech at the 50th anniversary celebration of the March on Washington. "Sometimes I hear people saying, 'Nothing has changed,' " Lewis said. "Come and walk in my shoes. " Lewis, who was the youngest speaker at the original 1963 event, grew up in the cotton fields of Alabama and has served in Congress for more than 25 years.
August 15, 2013 |
In his speech to the American Bar Assn. on Monday, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. sounded more like a fierce critic of the federal criminal justice system than its formal leader. He described some federal mandatory minimum prison terms as "excessive" and "draconian" and said "they oftentimes generate unfairly long sentences. " He asserted that "people of color often face harsher punishments than their peers," and he more broadly lamented that "too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law enforcement reason.
August 5, 2013 |
Edward Snowden has escaped the limbo of the transit lounge at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport and now, in the style of former Vice President Dick Cheney, the fugitive leaker is hunkered down in an undisclosed location somewhere in Russia. Snowden's father, Lon Snowden, has publicly thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for keeping his son out of the clutches of American authorities who want to prosecute Snowden for revealing details of U.S. cyber spying operations.
July 30, 2013 |
From Saturn, nearly 900 million miles away, NASA's Cassini spacecraft has sent back images of Earth that show our planet as a tiny glowing dot in the dark expanse of space. That vast separation should inspire awe, but, instead, it brings up thoughts of the gaping distance between President Obama and the Republicans who control the House of Representatives. They do not seem to be on the same planet. While the White House forges ahead with implementation of the national healthcare plan, the House Republicans hold frequent votes to repeal the whole scheme.
July 9, 2013 |
There seems to be one thing that unites all the demonstrators in Cairo's Tahrir Square, from the young secular liberals who are jubilant that Egypt's military has deposed President Mohamed Morsi to the Islamic militants who demand that he be reinstated: they all are furious with President Barack Obama and the United States of America. On the one hand, the anti-Morsi crowds think Obama gave too much support to Morsi. On the other, the pro-Morsi marchers are calling Obama a hypocrite for giving lip service to democracy while doing nothing in the face of the military coup that overthrew Morsi's democratically elected government.
June 29, 2013 |
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- The big convoy slowed down on a Soweto corner, and for just a second, President Obama, waving, was framed in the window of his bullet-proof limousine. The crowd surged forward, a cheer rang out. And that was Obama's Africa tour for the Soweto youth who were on the outside of the president's town hall-style meeting at the University of Johannesburg campus in Soweto on Saturday. Their stories of struggle, deprivation and broken families were doubtless harsher than those of the students inside.
June 28, 2013 |
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- As Nelson Mandela's poor health continued to sadden South Africans and inspire memories of his greatness, a grubby court battle unfolded Friday between members of his family. It was, quite literally, a fight over the bodies of Mandela's three dead children. Mandela's grandson, Mandla, chief of the Mvezo area in South Africa's Eastern Cape province, had the bodies dug up in 2011 and reburied in his village, where the elder Mandela was born. Since Nelson Mandela had reportedly expressed a desire to be buried next to his children, critics saw this as a bid to ensure the country's first black president would also be interred in Mvezo, not Qunu, where Mandela grew up and where the family grave site lies.
June 27, 2013 |
In the weeks since renegade National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the U.S. government is harvesting phone and online data, a humorous series of Internet memes has been taking comic aim at artist Shepard Fairey's famous "Hope" image of Barack Obama. The parodies, which have appeared on numerous blogs and news sites in recent weeks, deconstruct Fairey's image, giving it a biting, NSA-themed spin. In one parody, Obama is shown wearing headphones with the words "Yes we scan" emblazoned above him and with text circling his head that reads: "United we progress toward a perfectly monitored society.
June 25, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - One is standing, cutting a tall silhouette the world would soon recognize. The other, an aging icon, rests in a dimly lighted chair with a cane at his side. On the surface, the photograph of Barack Obama meeting Nelson Mandela for the first and only time appears a passing-of-the-torch moment: the young leader paying homage, the older man imparting wisdom. But the image is not what it seems. As Obama embarks Wednesday on his first major tour of Africa as president, Mandela, now 94, lies in critical condition in a hospital.