Eighty-three-year old Ron Kilmartin was in a hospice, dying of lung cancer. His daughter was at his bedside, cracking jokes about it. Here's one: "Last week, Dad coughed and said, 'choking.' I tried to give him water but he just wanted me to turn off the men's Olympic hockey game."
When the going gets tough, well, why not just make the going easier? This seems to be the conclusion of the College Board, which administers the dreaded SAT college entrance exam. Recently announced "improvements" to the test are designed, say board officials, to better gauge what students study and learn in high school. Shouldn't take too long.
Vladimir Putin is a lucky man. And he's got three more years of luck to come. He takes Crimea, and President Obama says it's not in Russia's interest, not even strategically clever. Indeed, it's a sign of weakness.
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.
Many American cities now enjoy an amazing reversal of fortune. Once hollowed-out shells mainly for those too poor to move -- or those so rich they didn't have to deal with the poor -- cities are again filling up with educated and aspiring young people.
There may be something to the claim that all people want to be free. But it is a demonstrable fact that freedom has been under attack, usually successfully, for thousands of years.
This year, two big dress-up events fall in the same week. But the Academy Awards and Mardi Gras couldn't be more different. At the Hollywood party, the common people are supposed to venerate the stars. In Mardi Gras, the commoners are the stars.
President Clinton? Maybe, if Democratic voters have their way. While the Republican faithful are split between a number of contenders and not particularly enthusiastic about any of them, a new poll finds Democrats overwhelmingly united behind a Hillary Clinton candidacy for 2016. A commanding 82 percent of the party, according to the CBS News/New York Times poll, wants to see her run.
President Obama's new outreach initiative to help at-risk boys of color -- "My Brother's Keeper" -- is cause for cheer. It isn't that we haven't known for some time that minority boys are in trouble. Poor school performance, truancy, delinquency and, ultimately, high incarceration rates cannot be separated from the absence of fathers in many homes. Out-of-wedlock births are at 72 percent in the African American community and 53 percent among Latinos, compared with 29 percent among non-Hispanic whites.
Henry Kissinger once pointed out that since Peter the Great, Russia had been expanding at the rate of one Belgium per year. All undone, of course, by the collapse of the Soviet Union, which Russian President Vladimir Putin called "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century."
This town can get pretty wound up when a politician misbehaves. Given some of the reactions to Bobby Jindal's off-script remarks Monday, you'd think he'd been caught with a mirror on his shoe in the ladies' restroom.
It seems as if, everywhere you turn these days, there are studies claiming to show that America has lost its upward mobility for people born in the lower socioeconomic levels. But there is a sharp difference between upward "mobility," defined as an opportunity to rise, and mobility defined as actually having risen.
NEW ORLEANS -- A security guard and a lawyer walked into a bar. Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. It's bad, all right, but no joke. Everyone in this town, including two drinking buddies, was talking about the federal public corruption trial of former mayor Ray Nagin.
We've heard much about the Republican war on women. Exhaustingly. Lately, we've also heard about the war on men. The war on men-on-women-on-men . . . or something, as MSNBC's Alex Wagner described it recently, gained fresh traction with a controversial column by the Wall Street Journal's James Taranto about campus rape.
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.
The esteemed political writer Charlie Cook recently produced a column titled "Is Hillary Clinton Too Old to Run?" Despite couching his thoughts with a mention that if Clinton were to run, she would be the same age as Ronald Reagan when he was first elected president, 69, he did venture over the sexism line.
Republicans have excelled at concealing their brilliance in recent years, and Democrats have exulted in their good fortune.
Freshman Senator Ted Cruz says many things that need to be said and says them well. Moreover, some of these things are what many, if not most, Americans believe wholeheartedly.
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