What to expect when Chelsea’s expecting

The latest installment of a continuing series in which American events are described using the tropes and tone normally employed by the American media to describe events in other countries.

Attack on journalists in Afghanistan rekindles a daughter’s pain

When news broke this month that two Associated Press journalists were attacked in Afghanistan, a familiar feeling of loss and powerlessness immediately took hold of me. Anja Niedringhaus and Kathy Gannon were sitting in a car when an Afghan police officer fired on them. While I never had the fortune to know Anja, who was killed instantly, Kathy has filled an important role in my life for two decades, since my mother, a foreign correspondent with the AP, was killed when the helicopter she was riding in crashed into a mountainside in Afghanistan.

Vladimir Putin’s terrific, triumphant, all good, totally awesome year

Admit it. You wish you were Vladimir Putin right now. Enemies fear him. Allies are grateful to him. Women are drawn to him. Jimmy Fallon imitates him. Even Edward Snowden wants to be his video buddy. To paraphrase that great geopolitical analyst Alicia Keys, this guy is on fire.

Will Chelsea Clinton’s baby be president one day?

Last week Chelsea Clinton announced she was pregnant, and immediately political reporters began to complain about the “Clinton dynasty.” “Can you say dynasty?” wrote the staff of the Week magazine. Those words were echoed quickly by the Wire, which answered the question of when the gestating child would be eligible for the White House. (2053, if you’re wondering.)

Secession, a tournament for GOP

March’s NCAA playoffs are behind us but the madness continues.

Got Putin, yet?

The new “agreement” between Russia, the United States and our allies is exactly what the former KGB agent ordered.

Snowden humiliates himself

The Edward Snowden leaks were not wholly contemptible. Unlike — it’s now thoroughly clear — Edward Snowden himself.

Priest’s execution in Syria should be call to action

In the hierarchy of saints, martyrs are on the highest rung of the celestial ladder, at least for me.

Kansas, the KKK and hate without end

The news that a former grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan is suspected of shooting and killing three people near Jewish community centers in Kansas seems at first glance like a disparaged past flaring briefly into the present. Americans like to imagine that the KKK belongs to a long-gone South and anti-Semitism to a distant 20th century. Sadly, this better reflects a naive faith in the nation’s history of religious tolerance than the realities experienced by many religious minorities. Although the KKK has evolved and its membership has dwindled, it remains part of an American legacy of religious intolerance.

Don’t let Jeb Bush’s moderation confuse you

Jeb Bush’s recent compassionate comments on immigration show how far apart he is from the far right of the Republican Party.

The vibrancy of today’s American literature

Sales at American book stores rose a measly 1 percent in 2013, according to trade accounts. It remains unclear whether that sluggishness — sales of ebooks have also tapered off — truly represents a further chipping away of the importance of books in our culture.

Who pays the most on Tax Day?

Which taxpayers experience the greatest tax burden — and who pays the most in taxes?

Attaching names to torture victims

Are these the torture victims the CIA does not want us to know?

Why so many people die in ferry accidents

Nearly 300 people are feared missing after a huge ferry capsized and sank off South Korea’s southwestern coast. Carrying a group of high school students on a field trip from a high school outside Seoul, the ship was en route to Jeju, a Korean resort island known as the country’s “Hawaii.” Scores of rescue divers have descended on the ship, and it is feared that the death toll will rise sharply in coming days. Survivors say many people remain trapped on the ship’s lower decks; 462 people were on board the ship, 281 of whom remain unaccounted for.

A deadly decade for environmentalists

According to a report released this week by the London-based NGO Global Witness, at least 908 environmental activists have been killed over the last decade. That number is comparable to the 913 journalists killed in the course of their work in the same period and is likely on the low side — reporting is inconsistent in many countries and full data for 2013 hasn’t yet been collected. 2012 was deadliest year ever for environmentalists with 147 killed.

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