My father died Thursday, in the scheme of things nothing remarkable. Almost 2.5 million Americans die each year, over 6,700 each day. Birth and death are the two human certainties (I’ll leave aside taxes), one joyfully anticipated, the other dreaded. Our metaphors for death — “a falling star,” “the birthday of eternity,” “wilted leaves on the tree of life,” “the next great adventure” — are but weak attempts to understand our most profound mystery.
The “feminist nightmare” is recurring.
Elizabeth Warren pledged last week to finish out her Senate term and pass on a 2016 run for the White House.
Guantanamo Bay’s reputation as the dark heart of America’s war on terror tends to overshadow its more banal role as a naval base filled with troops, their families and, to a lesser extent, their pretty, pretty cars.
Larry Summers is talking about it. So is Paul Krugman. So are other economists. And everyone else is talking about the folks who are talking about it.
This week, Americans have had two radically different opportunities to consider tough questions about poverty, health care access, and downward mobility in the post-Great Recession era. One came when President Obama delivered a speech on economic mobility. The other came when Linda Tirado took out her dental bridge for a YouTube video to prove she was poor.
In my mid-20s, I had a new bride, a plum job on Capitol Hill and, apparently, the beginnings of a cancerous tumor on my right kidney. For 20 or 25 years — the best estimate of my doctors — it accompanied me at birthdays and on holidays and at the delivery of my children. It was quiet and kept to itself. Undiscovered, it would have donned camouflage and killed me in the end.
In a burst of affronted dignity, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, challenged us, the people, to look at all the legislation the House has passed this year. He suggested we’d be impressed.
For the last two months, our healthcare.gov guinea pig Alice has had one frustrating moment after another. She visited the site repeatedly since its series of rolling pratfalls started on Oct. 1. It never worked. She endured rounds of customer service help, which was no help at all. One interaction with online representative PGSTX0534 was indistinguishable from an MFA student’s pastiche of Beckett. She tried to get eligibility determinations, premium estimates and other useful information, and the answers ranged from vague to maddening. Meanwhile, Alice was one of those on the individual market who had received a note saying that she would soon be losing her insurance. She suspected she would be uninsured by Jan. 1.
The International Atomic Energy Agency is reporting that a truck carrying “extremely dangerous” radioactive material intended for use in medical treatment has been stolen in Mexico, according to the Sydney Morning Herald:
Christine Fox, a former defense official and Hollywood inspiration, will be the new Deputy Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon, making her, at least temporarily, the highest-ranking woman ever in the Defense Department. She replaces the outgoing Ash Carter, who retires Wednesday as the Pentagon’s equivalent of a Chief Operating Officer.
The refusal of 25 states to expand their Medicaid programs is a tragedy for the 5.2 million people who won’t get health coverage. It’s also an excellent opportunity to test a long-held conservative view: that Medicaid and other government programs lull able-bodied Americans into a state of dependency.
Sen. Lindsey Graham and others on Capitol Hill are demanding further inquiries into the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, apparently convinced that the Obama administration is withholding crucial information. But I often wonder whether Graham, R-S.C., and others who exploit the Benghazi issue to attack the president realize that their politicking affects the ability of American diplomats to carry out their work.
Once we get past Thanksgiving, the year is pretty much over, right? There’s hardly anything left of 2013 — just ask the House of Representatives, which has a grand total of four full workdays remaining on the calendar.
Former Marine Cpl. Eric Gonzales doesn’t remember much about the night last year he led police in Orange County, Calif., on a high-speed, 26-minute chase that ended when he threw his truck into reverse and crashed into the patrol car behind him.