November 28, 2013 |
One hundred and fifty years ago, with the country still torn by civil war, President Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for all Americans to observe a common day "of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. " That's when Thanksgiving evolved from a holiday celebrated by states and the federal government on their own timetables into a national one held on the fourth Thursday of every November. We are far less divided as a country now than we were in Lincoln's day, but we're still split sharply, even bitterly, on some major issues.
October 10, 2013 |
Congress has spent much of the last three years stumbling about like a traveler who's lost his map, with no coherent strategy for bolstering the weak economy or putting more jobless Americans back to work. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has worked indefatigably, creatively and bravely to keep borrowing costs low, which has helped the housing industry regain its footing and encouraged U.S. businesses to expand. President Obama sought to keep the Fed on track Wednesday, nominating the reserve board's No. 2, Janet L. Yellen, to be its new chair.
October 9, 2013 |
It was deja vu all over again in Washington on Tuesday as the federal government entered the second week of its partial shutdown. Calling on Democrats to negotiate a budget deal, House Republicans proposed a new version of the deficit-reduction "supercommittee" that unsuccessfully sought a similar agreement in 2011 - only this time, with less power and no deadline. But the GOP was just posturing. Rather than prolonging the shutdown and raising the prospects of a ruinous default, House Republicans should agree to reopen federal agencies, raise the debt limit and then begin the long, hard process of negotiating the elusive "grand bargain" on the budget that both sides want.
September 25, 2013 |
In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, President Obama on Tuesday promised to engage Iran's new leadership in negotiations to prevent the development of nuclear weapons in that country as part of a broader normalization of relations. The president was right to say that "the diplomatic path must be tested" despite concerns in this country and Israel that Iran will never abandon its ambitions to be a nuclear power. An Iran that possessed nuclear weapons would be a deeply destabilizing development.
August 23, 2013 |
Last August, even as he resisted the notion of U.S. military intervention in Syria, President Obama said that "a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. " If new reports of the use of nerve gas to massacre hundreds of Syrian civilians are confirmed, Obama must make good on that warning to punish the government and protect its population. People around the world have been horrified by online images of bodies shrouded in white sheets - victims, Syrian opposition groups claim, of an attack Wednesday by the government of President Bashar Assad in a suburb of Damascus.
August 15, 2013 |
We learn in the opening moments of "Herblock: The Black & the White" that when famed Washington Post editorial cartoonist Herbert Block (best known by the signature in the film's title) was young, he drew a chalk caricature of Kaiser Wilhelm on the sidewalk, taking pleasure in the notion that his neighbors would be walking over it. Block never lost the glee that came from creating images that would stir the pot and champion causes close to his heart. Michael Stevens' (son of filmmaker George Stevens Jr.)