Republican politicians and activists can barely contain their glee at the simultaneous eruption of three major controversies about the Obama administration.
When White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough told his colleagues last week to spend no more than 10 percent of their time responding to scandals, he didn’t know a tornado would devastate entire stretches of Oklahoma. He knew something like it would happen though. A chief of staff knows that White House plans are always being upset, so he reminds his staff: Don’t get too distracted, bigger distractions are always on the horizon.
In recent commencement addresses to black college graduates, President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama really piled on the homework.
Does a killer tornado really sound like a freight train?
Networks are generally leery of shows that are set in the past.
For the college students who will be paying for a four-year bachelor’s degree long after graduation day, here’s some consolation: At least it didn’t take you six or eight years.
I just spent a day in this northeast Syrian town. It was terrifying — much more so than I anticipated — but not because we were threatened in any way by the Free Syrian Army soldiers who took us around or by the Islamist Jabhet al-Nusra fighters who stayed hidden in the shadows. It was the local school that shook me up.
The arrest of the American diplomat, Ryan Fogle, in Moscow last week, was a journey to an earlier era, a throwback to a quarter century ago when these Cold War cloak and dagger spy games were painfully regular, as the United States and the Soviet Union played out the final act of a long and deadly contest. About the only difference in the handling of the ambush of Fogle by the Russian security service was that the photographic record of his arrest was in sharp, digital color, rather than grainy black and white. It was a textbook takedown. We see Fogle on the ground, arms behind him; then later in FSB headquarters being photographed with all the spy gear he was carrying. The “competent organs” are clearly protecting the motherland.
It has been 35 years since California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 13, a measure that, as Gov. Jerry Brown put it in 2011, “started the centralization of power” in the state. He should know because he was also governor in 1978 and helped oversee that shift.
It turns out that President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget is no more trustworthy than the rest of his administration. His budget, unsurprisingly to conservatives, is not “balanced” and does not deliver on its promise to cut $1.8 trillion in spending over a decade.
Here’s the White House view of the current trilogy of so-called scandals: Republicans are trying to destroy President Barack Obama’s second term by magnifying bureaucratic miscues and distorting policy realities. This isn’t without some merit.
Billie Sol Estes, the Texan con man whose exploits rattled the administrations of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, died in his sleep May 14. From a penniless background, Estes built up a $40 million West Texas empire of cotton, grain, real estate and fertilizers, and then lost it all when a series of newspaper articles in 1962 revealed that many of his dealings were fraudulent.
If all it took were official cajoling, public shaming, technical assistance or corporate promises, factory jobs in Bangladesh and other developing countries wouldn’t be so deadly.
It’s strange how “scandal” gets defined these days in Washington. At the moment, everyone is screaming about the “scandal” of the Internal Revenue Service scrutinizing conservative nonprofits before granting them tax-exempt status.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s changing attitude toward two giant government-led high-tech projects sends a troubling message about his third term in office: Maintaining power is more important than modernizing the economy.