September 17, 2013 |
Chemical weapons are evil, but you could also say they're cursed. They have a talismanic power to bend and distort U.S. foreign policy. You can ask George W. Bush or Barack Obama. In 2003, then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz gave a lengthy interview to Vanity Fair that caused a huge uproar, largely because the magazine shamefully distorted what he was trying to say. Wolfowitz explained that within the Bush administration there were a lot of arguments for why we should invade Iraq.
September 12, 2013 |
Vladimir Putin is no hero, but he has, nevertheless, provided a way for President Obama to sidestep a string of bad options for dealing with Bashar Assad and the Syrian government's despicable use of chemical weapons against its own citizens. By offering to broker a deal that would put Syria's chemical arsenal under control of international inspectors, the Russian president has forestalled a looming conflict and created a rare opportunity for international cooperation. On Tuesday night, Obama switched gears in his address to the nation.
September 12, 2013 |
TORONTO - Watching Steve McQueen's achingly brilliant "12 Years a Slave" at the Toronto International Film Festival, I was struck by many things. The film's artistry - script, performances, imagery - is significant. The movie is beautifully, painfully wrought at every turn. But in a larger sense, it stands as a striking testament to how much the texture and tenor of conversations about race have changed through the prism of film in the years since Barack Obama took office. Quite simply there are more movies that specifically address black-white friction in modern terms - the many shades of human interaction more starkly framed by the color of one's skin.
September 6, 2013 |
I'd love to be an invisible presence in the room the next time Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin sit down for a chat. The high stakes drama of the Cold War is gone, but the Russian president is the American president's nemesis on everything from sarin gas attacks in Syria to gay rights in Russia. To see them spar would be enlightening entertainment. After intelligence specialist Edward Snowden leaked information about U.S. cyberspying earlier this year, he went on the lam and found refuge in Moscow.
August 29, 2013 |
First Lady Michelle Obama chose to follow the summer floral trend at the March on Washington commemoration in the nation's capital on Wednesday. Obama wore an eye-catching black-and-red "Embellished Flared Frock" from Tracy Reese. The dress features scarlet flowers with beaded centers on a black background with a boatneck front and deep V back. It retails for $498 and was featured at the top of tracyreese.com An online costume company has mounted an effort to turn the Tuesday after Labor Day into Orange Tuesday.
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 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 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.