February 22, 2009 |
There it was: an overpass bending gracefully over stalled traffic on Dubai's main highway. And there I was: driving through a sandy haze kicked up by construction equipment, plowing into dead ends and discovering a special boomtown brand of road rage as I rambled over a confusing web of roads freshly carved in the desert. But I knew -- somewhere, somehow -- there was a way onto that bridge. I found it after about 20 wearying minutes by tailing a taxi that I figured had far better local driving intuition.
January 9, 2009 |
Here was a contest no Mexican bureaucrat wanted to win. A months-long quest to identify the most nightmarish examples of Mexico's famously nightmarish red tape ended Thursday with a verdict: The nation's social security agency reigns supreme among government bureaucracies that drive Mexicans nuts. President Felipe Calderon bestowed the dubious honor on the agency as part of a contest to find the country's most useless tramite, or bureaucratic process.
October 29, 2008
Among New York's rites of autumn -- the marathon, the rainbow of leaves in Central Park, the sudden profusion of wool overcoats -- a new one has emerged at the United Nations. In each of the last 16 years, the General Assembly has voted to condemn the United States for its embargo of Cuba. This year's ceremonial vote takes place today, and if it's anything like last year's, it will be overwhelming. Only Israel, the Marshall Islands and Palau stood with the U.S. in the 184-4 tally last October.
October 13, 2008
Re "Obama's, and our, iceberg," Opinion, Oct. 9 Rosa Brooks is a bit shaky when it comes to using the analogy of the Titanic for this troubled era. The Titanic story is about hubris, nobility of spirit and damage that could not be fixed. A "bailout" was useless, so most accepted their fate. The crew was mostly exemplary. Being seamen, they knew what the risks were when they signed on. As Americans living in a democracy, we are not like the passengers on the Titanic or any ship.
August 28, 2008 |
The TSA is tightening its photo ID rules at airport security. Previously, people with expired IDs or who claimed to have lost their IDs were subjected to secondary screening. Then the Transportation Security Administration realized that meant someone on the government's no-fly list -- the list that is supposed to keep our planes safe from terrorists -- could just fly with no ID. Now, people without ID must also answer personal questions from their credit history to ascertain their identity.
August 8, 2008 |
Eight iPhone owners have joined an elite clan: Their gadget is running a program that cost nearly $1,000. When the iPhone first hit the market in June 2007, those who paid the $499 entry price -- and signed the two-year AT&T contract -- owned a status symbol. A year later, we have the iPhone 3G, Apple Inc.'s speedier, sleeker and, most important, less expensive smart phone, which introduced a section for downloading third-party applications.
July 25, 2008 |
Utility is not luxurious. Luxury is nonfunctional. Jimmy Choo stiletto sandals are, strictly speaking, shoes, but their functionality is all but surrendered to sex and gorgeousness. I for one am delighted. The toughest, most versatile, hard-core watch in the world is a Timex Ironman, but wearing one of these ugly timepieces makes you look like a substitute gym teacher.
June 24, 2008 |
As a customer-service manager at China Pacific Property Insurance Co., Shen Jie paid visits to dozens of policyholders whose homes and cars were destroyed or damaged by the May 12 earthquake. After recording each case, he could only shake his head. "It's a shame that we can't compensate any of these car and house claims," said Shen, 38, who works at the firm's Mianyang branch in Sichuan province.
July 15, 2007
Re "Risk of terror strike grows," July 12 Please spare me Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's "gut feeling." Few question our vulnerability to further terrorist attacks, but his attempt to link immigration reform to a "spectacular" summer attack is a stretch. Last I heard, the terrorists fly here on scheduled airlines or already reside here legally; they don't cross our southern desert or swim the Rio Grande.