We have reached a new level of political absurdity when the right is mad at the pope and the left wants to anoint his head with oil. Everyone seems to have his own special version of Pope Francis. Liberals have declared him a crusader for social justice, especially regarding his comments about global inequality. Conservatives fear he just might be a commie.
FISHTRAP HOLLOW -- Lightning or some other benevolent act of fate struck the magic modem that brings this technology-heavy century into our otherwise peaceful home.
Drawing moral lines in our rough-and-tumble capitalist system can be hard. But it should not tax too many ethical muscles to set aside some protections for trusting, unsophisticated borrowers of modest means. That is, unless you're a politician working on behalf of predatory lenders.
I like capitalism. Specifically, I like the idea that if I write a better book, have a better idea, build a better mousetrap, I will be rewarded accordingly.
As the government health-care Web site chugs along, the Obama administration has begun a counter-initiative to combat Republican naysaying -- and its weapons are of superior grade.
Depressing news about black students scoring far below white students on various mental tests has become so familiar that people in different parts of the ideological spectrum have long ago developed their different explanations for why this is so. But both may have to do some rethinking, in light of radically different news from England.
An unapologetic drinker, writer H.L. Mencken blamed Prohibition on American moralists' distaste for happiness. "A Puritan is not against bullfighting because of the pain it gives the bull," he wrote, "but because of the pleasure it gives the spectators."
FISHTRAP HOLLOW -- I rarely watch those "news" videos the Internet pushes, the ones where you are force-fed a couple of advertisements before you reach the meat.
You may not dance. You may not listen to music or sing. You may not read. You may not leave the house except under certain strict conditions. You may not watch movies or television. You may not aspire. You may not learn.
If you peruse the news on any given day, the farm bill/food stamp debate produces two general impressions: Republicans are heartless turkey thieves; Democrats are spendthrift welfare caterers. If only neither were a little bit right.
For all the gnashing of teeth over the lack of comity and civility in Washington, the real problem is not etiquette but the breakdown of political norms, legislative and constitutional.
Much we believe about turkeys is not true. Myth No. 1: They were served at the "first Thanksgiving" feast in Plymouth, Mass. There's no evidence for that.
During the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act, it's been hard to defend the law, much less to call it "great." But great it is -- for the American economy and for the American people, rich ones included.
A friend recently sent me a link to an inspiring video about an upbeat young black man who was born without arms. It showed him going to work -- unlike the record number of people living on government payments for "disabilities" that are far less serious, if not fictitious.
With George Zimmerman out on bail last week after his latest run-in with police, it seems an opportune time to discuss the second killing of Trayvon Martin.
PASS CHRISTIAN -- Today she looks like a beautiful Indian princess, like Walt Disney's Pocahontas, her thick black braid rapunzeling down the back of her tunic of red, the color in which her mother dressed her "Mimi." Author Jesmyn Ward's ancestry is mixed with African, French, Spanish and Native American blood, allowing a rainbow of perspective, which makes her feel "lucky," she says, as a writer. But for facile identification, "I choose to embrace African American. It's a political choice."
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."
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