In the latest issue of Vanity Fair, there's a story about popular novels versus serious novels. It asks the question: Can they be one and the same? In the course of not reaching any conclusions, the article quotes a critic who complains: "Doesn't anyone care how something is written anymore?"
WASHINGTON -- When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., went to the Senate floor Thursday afternoon to announce the death of Howard Baker, his words recalled not just his revered predecessor but an earlier, worthier cohort of American politicians.
WASHINGTON -- Noted management expert and IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was apparently called out of retirement -- like the Ted Williams of evasive, unapologetic bureaucrats -- to destroy what is left of his agency's credibility.
When I worked as a Senate aide in the early 1990s, the state of New York was represented by two figures who could hardly have been more different.
The tea partyers made a serious blunder in Mississippi, costing them a runoff win: They carelessly slipped their magic passion potion to the opposition.
Have you stopped using your hands? Do your fingers struggle to sign your name? Is chopping an onion with a knife hard work? Must you call someone to fix a cabinet door off the hinges? Is it agony to sew on a button?
I wanted to phone my father from Southern Utah. When recently we drove through the national park everyone calls "Arches," its red rocks carved by millions of erosive years into magnificent sculpture, I almost reached for the phone. It was the kind of natural scene he liked to hear about.
The signs were all there. This is what jumps out at you in perusing postmortems of the two greatest surprise attacks in American history. In the days and weeks leading up to Dec. 7, 1941 and Sept. 11, 2001, there were numerous clues that seem neon in hindsight, but which no one pursued.
Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord. And although retribution shall surely come in the fullness of time, a ballplayer can only wait so long. Accordingly, when Boston slugger David Ortiz came to bat against Tampa Bay's David Price at the end of May -- for the first time this season -- Price fired the very first pitch, a 94-mile-an-hour fastball, square into Ortiz's back.
What is the most shocking takeaway from the story of the two 12-year-olds who repeatedly stabbed their friend -- nearly to death -- on the imagined orders of a fantasy character?
The news from Iraq that Islamic terrorists have now taken over cities that American troops liberated during the Iraq war must have left an especially bitter after-taste to Americans who lost a loved one who died taking one of those cities, or to a survivor who came back without an arm or leg, or with other traumas to body or mind.
Now that the Cochran-McDaniel race has gone to a runoff, I feel regretfully compelled to write again on the subject. As I said in my previous column, this is a choice of ideology or money. McDaniel is the purist and would refuse federal bucks on principle. Sen. Cochran has power and clout galore that will directly benefit Mississippi.
Moderates in the Deep South are disenfranchised. So are the young, the impoverished, blacks, gays, women who want to control their own bodies, Latinos and unapologetic liberals of both races and genders. Which, in the South, rolls us right back to the 1950s, at least in statewide elections.
I am standing at the front door, locked out of my own house. If this were a movie, it'd be raining. Thankfully, this isn't so it isn't. But the reality is embarrassing enough without any Hollywood embellishments.
About that stunning defeat. Conventional Wisdom, that self-righteous propagandist, has it that Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's trouncing by an academic, tea-sipping nobody marks the end of the GOP establishment.
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.
So much for the argument that having more people armed in public places will result in fewer gun deaths.
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.
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