It's an odd thing. Sometimes, when I speak before high school or college students, someone in the audience, knowing I began my professional life as a pop music critic, will ask what I think of music today.
Philip Seymour Hoffman's death at the end of a heroin needle again spotlights the dangers of a poisonous drug. And so did the Vermont governor's plea last month to confront the "full-blown heroin crisis" plaguing his rural state.
A guard insisted on looking into my handbag as I entered Radio City Music Hall to attended a concert recently. He had absolutely no reason to suspect me or the hundreds of other patrons whose bags he similarly inspected of carrying guns or explosives. But none of us objected to the incursion.
Dear Tom Perkins: I'm writing to apologize. I do this on behalf of the 99 percent of us who are not multimillionaires. You, of course, are, having made a pile as a venture capitalist and co-founder of the firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
President Obama's imaginary son is back in town, and this time he can't play football. Dad says so. And Mom probably would, too. On this point, we three could smoke a peace pipe.
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.
President Obama is correct in wanting to make higher education more affordable and accessible, but Americans would also be correct in wondering just what they're paying for.
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. Who knew?
"The not so Golden State" is how a recent issue of The Economist magazine tags California's business climate. It's the latest in a trove of conservative literature trying to dance around the fact that high-tax, highly regulated, bureaucratic states can be economic powerhouses. The writers deal with the "problem" by burying reality under a pile of "buts" and "howevers."
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." -- Martin Luther King, Jr. Sometimes, you get the feeling that's the only King quote conservatives know.
We know what Mike Huckabee meant. Sort of. Kind of. But, really? Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate, talk-show host and erstwhile Baptist preacher, was trying to demythologize the alleged GOP "war on women" so brilliantly defined by Democrats in 2012.
Fixated as we Americans are on Canada's three most attention-getting exports -- polar vortexes, Alberta clippers and the antics of Toronto's addled mayor -- we've somewhat overlooked a major feature of Canada's current relations with the United States: extreme annoyance.
"But it works." That, in three syllables, has been the go-to argument of the last two presidential administrations to justify assaulting civil liberties in the name of rooting out terrorists.
After decades of suffering environmental torture at the hands of polluting industries, West Virginians might regard a chemical spill that poisoned the drinking water of 300,000 residents -- and is still scaring folks after the dangers have presumably passed -- as a last straw. But there never seems to be a last straw for them.
Everybody's got something. Maybe it's something you were born with, maybe something that happened to you, maybe something you did to yourself through bad habits or neglect. But everybody's got something, some physical or emotional blemish measuring the distance from you to perfection.
Everybody's doing it -- confessing their youthful, pot-smoking ways -- so here goes. I don't remember. Kidding, kidding. Anyone over 30 recognizes the old adage: If you remember the '60s, you weren't there. Nyuk-nyuk-nyuk.
By early 2011, writes former defense secretary Robert Gates, he had concluded President Obama "doesn't believe in his own [Afghanistan] strategy, and doesn't consider the war to be his."
As we evaluate the efficacy of the War on Poverty, a single, unquantifiable factor stubbornly demands attention: luck.
NEW YORK CITY -- If you can imagine a place today that would extend credit to struggling but brilliant journalists, novelists and theater people, where, say, Donna Tartt and Jon Stewart and Tina Brown might convene daily for lunch and drinks, then there might be a contemporary equivalent of The Algonquin Round Table.
Here is what he said: "...all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be." It would seem to be a self-evident truth. After all, your First Amendment right to freedom of speech is regulated. If you don't believe it, write something libelous about a guy with deep pockets and man-eating lawyers. Your Fourth Amendment right to freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures is regulated and then some. If you don't believe that, pick up your phone and ask the NSA agent tapping your line.
1. Outtakes: Coming clean LOCAL COLUMNS
2. Ask Rufus: A summer porch LOCAL COLUMNS
3. Possumhaw: When flip-flops are the fashion LOCAL COLUMNS
4. Editorial Cartoon for 5-4-15 NATIONAL COLUMNS
5. Froma Harrop: On the Internet, nobody knows you're a fraud NATIONAL COLUMNS