It didn't take very long for the smiling sports fan cheering in the Olympic stands to revert to his true nature. I'm referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the former KGB leader whose idea of diplomacy is sending in the troops.
Kiev did not seem familiar when I visited a few years ago for the first and only time. Old and a little tired, but friendly. Reasonable.
It wasn't scary and off-putting; it was bright and shiny. Red Square meets Beverly Hills, more mirrors than Las Vegas -- like the little bright pocket I found myself in when I visited Moscow a few days later.
This is not exactly a newsflash in my house, where, before he left for college, my son had to teach me how to turn on the TV. The thing is, I really don't want to watch the Olympics, even though I spent many of my happier childhood hours watching figure skating on the black-and-white.
"On Aug. 4, he's an Eagle Scout and has the highest honor," Pascal Tessier's mother, Tracie Felker, told a reporter. "Aug. 5, all of a sudden, he's no longer good enough to be a Boy Scout."
When my kids were little, an older and more experienced mother told me that one key to raising kids safely is to limit the number of "nos" to what really matters and insist firmly on those. Motorcycles and heroin, she said, which seems like a pretty good list.
My congressman has decided not to run for re-election. He's hardly unique in that respect: News accounts covering his decision describe his announcement as one more in a "wave" of retirements.
So the economy, it turns out, is better than it's been since Barack Obama took office. We are better off today than we were five years ago.
Luckily for Christie, it's 2014, and so far, he's done everything right, according to the playbook for handling political scandals.
My friend Greg Jarrett from Fox News was the first to point out the irony. A few days earlier, I had made the point that it was a George W. Bush appointee on the federal bench who struck down the National Security Agency surveillance program that the Bush administration (as well as the Obama administration) relied upon. Three cheers for an independent judiciary.
The disastrous rollout of Obamacare, worse than anyone anticipated or warned, could have doomed the president's second term. It would require something very big to take your eyes off of that disaster.
What an idea. Shut down the government.
"Don't be deceived," Duck Commander and A&E reality television star Phil Robertson insisted, when asked to define what he considered to be sinful behavior. "Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers -- they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right."
I suspect the NSA may have thought they got lucky when one of the first post-Edward Snowden cases to challenge their phone metadata collection was assigned to Judge Richard Leon on the federal district court in Washington, D.C. After all, Leon was appointed by President George W. Bush after a long career, much of it spent working for Republicans in Washington.
Martin Short had the best line at the Governors Awards presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences:
"President Obama said if you like your Oscar, you can keep it."
That's what it was called back in 1979, when Paul Tsongas, the freshman senator from Massachusetts, introduced a bill to amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to add sexual orientation to the list (which already included race, religion and sex) of things you couldn't (absent narrow exceptions) base employment decisions on.
If Tuesday's argument before the Supreme Court is any indication, a Michigan law prohibiting "preferential treatment" is on its way to being upheld by the United States Supreme Court. The law was held unconstitutional last year by a panel of judges on the United States Court of Appeals because, in their view, the primarily white electorate was taking away from minorities the benefits of an admissions policy that supported racial diversity in the state college and university system.
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