It has been 42 years since the United States Supreme Court held in Roe v. Wade that the right to decide whether to go forward with a pregnancy, prior to viability, belongs to a woman, in consultation with her doctors.
The horrifying footage of the second beheading of an American journalist by ISIS, this time freelancer Steven Joel Sotloff, a 31-year-old from Florida who loved journalism, has again placed the president, and world leaders, in a terrible position. To be clear, the White House is studying the video. To be clear, no one is holding out much hope.
The short answer is: everything.
I'm not talking about the killing of Michael Brown. A tragedy, whatever the facts.
When the news rippled out on Monday that Robin Williams had committed suicide, even I thought -- for a moment -- "but he had everything." As if suicide is a "choice."
That is how one unnamed official described the military option in Iraq, last Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.
Of course, the war in Iraq is supposed to be over. It was called "Operation Iraqi Freedom" until its name was changed in 2010 to "Operation New Dawn." It ended in December of 2011, in its eighth year, with the American death toll standing just shy of 5,000.
On Thursday night, July 24, Xinran Ji was walking home from his study group meeting, four blocks from USC, where he was a graduate student in engineering. According to police, four teenagers, three boys and a girl, beat 24-year-old Ji with a baseball bat and a wrench. No reason.
The "crossfire" mentality that defines public discourse today has the obvious problem of ignoring the fact that most of us land somewhere in the middle, turning every debate into a shouting contest between the extremists who generate passion and ratings, and rarely reflecting the views of the majority in the middle.
Jerusalem used to be safe. It is nearly 40 miles from Gaza and 3,000 feet above sea level. In the last go-round, the Hamas rockets couldn't reach that far. Now they can. Rockets were fired aimed at both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv this week, as Israel launched its own offensive in Gaza. "Every Israeli is a target," a Hamas spokesman was quoted in the press.
Every four years, at some point in the presidential campaign, one candidate says something that leads the other to accuse him (or her) of challenging his (or her) patriotism, and then we have a 48-hour spat over who called who unpatriotic, and then we go back to the usual political game in which talking heads viciously attack each other 24/7.
That's how many people it took to bring down House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, doom immigration reform and leave all but the most tea-sodden Republicans quaking.
One of the hardest things to understand about the whole Bowe Bergdahl exchange is how the White House could be so hopelessly tone deaf as to not understand what was going to happen next.
You've got a Nunn running in Georgia, a Pryor in Arkansas and a Landrieu in Louisiana.
What do they call it when a man gets fired from a top job?
Wednesday. Or, if appropriate, Monday or Tuesday or Thursday or Friday.
When a woman gets fired, it's called breaking news.
My friends from outside of Los Angeles are horrified. "Donald Sterling is a pig?" they say with surprise. "A racist, ignorant, loud-mouthed fool?" And Jewish, to boot. This is not, my mother would have said, good for the Jews.
Does Monica Lewinsky really think she was a victim of cyber bullying?
Apparently so, according to her "coming out" piece in Vanity Fair, which is getting a lot of attention, ostensibly because of its potential impact on Hillary 2016.
This week's announcement that the Justice Department will expand the criteria for offering clemency marks a new, and long overdue, chapter in the politics of crime.
The Supreme Court has done it again. By a 5-4 vote, with the court's five Republican appointees on one side and the four Democratic appointees on the other, the court struck down limits on total contributions to federal campaigns that have been enforced and were specifically upheld in 1976.
I admit it. I have been obsessed with the plane. Most of the stories I've read offered no new information, but I read them anyway.
When he came to Washington in 1981, Ronald Reagan made much of his commitment to the "new federalism," which in that case, like so many others, had very little to do with federalism.
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.
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