December 27, 2013 |
BAGRAM, Afghanistan - Faced with an epidemic of deadly roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. military officials ordered up a fleet of V-hulled 16-ton armored behemoths in 2007 to help protect American soldiers and Marines. At a cost of $1 million each, the ugly tan beasts known as MRAPS have saved countless lives and absorbed or deflected thousands of insurgent bomb blasts in teeming cities, desert flats and rutted mountain roadways. The lumbering vehicles are so beloved that soldiers have scrawled notes of thanks on their armor.
December 10, 2013 |
As Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) work toward yet another makeshift budget deal, they should do us all a favor and instead just scrap the congressional budget process. Before 1974, Congress had no formal budget process. In those days, the president would submit an annual budget to Congress. In keeping with our system of checks and balances, it was the duty of congressional authorizing committees to draft legislation to establish, continue or modify federal programs, and the appropriations committees were responsible for reviewing funding needs and appropriate annual amounts.
November 21, 2013 |
Scott Cooper's stark, compelling Rust Belt drama, "Out of the Furnace," which premiered earlier this month at AFI Fest, turns on the relationship between two brothers: Straight-arrow steel mill worker Russell Baze (Christian Bale) and his anguished younger sibling, Rodney (Casey Affleck), who has returned from three Army tours in Iraq incapable of resuming any kind of normal life. We spoke to Affleck recently in a video interview about his work on the movie, which opens Dec. 6. Here are excerpts from that conversation.
November 14, 2013 |
For the Clippers, a funny thing happened on the way to a run-and-shoot, razzle-and-dazzle victory Wednesday night over a very good run-and-shoot, razzle-and-dazzle team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Matt Barnes got in a fight and got thrown out. And that may turn out to be a little turning point for a team just finding its way in a season that will keep coming at us through June. Barnes, you see, may represent a small measure of the kind of toughness a team needs in the NBA to go all the way. Sadly, he carried that toughness a step past logic when he tweeted in anger from the locker room, using the N-word, about being tired of having to stand up for his teammates.
November 1, 2013 |
TUCSON - A ballot measure to overturn a Republican-backed state bill that made sweeping changes to Arizona election law was certified this week as having more than enough valid signatures, but on Friday opponents vowed to challenge those signatures in court. The effort to block the measure is the latest round in a growing fight in Arizona that revolves around voter participation and allegations of fraud. Democrats contend that the Republican-led Legislature passed the measure in June as part of a bigger movement to make it more difficult for minorities to vote and third-party candidates to run in the state.
October 25, 2013 |
The problems at the federal government's new health insurance website are so severe that even Democrats are starting to talk about neutering a key provision of the 2010 healthcare law: the requirement that adult Americans obtain coverage next year. But now is not the time to take such a drastic step, which could lead to sharper increases in premiums for individuals. It is true that the federal government hasn't yet fixed its website's problems, but there is still time to do so before Jan. 1, the first day coverage is supposed to go into effect.