French food on a slippery slope

Before my first visit to France, around 45 years ago, I was told that you couldn’t find bad food there if you tried. I was of limited experience, so even a hot dog jammed into a baguette bore witness to that “fact.”

Even when the VA does act, it still fails our veterans

Jymm’s preferred attire is a skin-tight Minnie Mouse T-shirt with bright pink windbreaker pants. Even when not sporting his outfit of choice, he dons short shorts and shirts with holes in them, because that’s what he finds most comfortable. His Santa Monica apartment was furnished with broken chairs and tables he dug out of dumpsters. He held onto his favorite old drinking glass long after it broke. Jymm is a Vietnam veteran (who holds two Purple Hearts), and he’s definitely a character. But he’s never hurt himself or anyone else.

Moon landing 45 years ago brought us together

It was, after all, only a boot-crunching dust. You wouldn’t think the sight would affect so many or change so much.

After plane horror, Europe must stand up to Putin

Vladimir Putin has become a global menace.

Blue-state disgrace

Immigration is a complex problem. So is the long-term question of how the United States should handle the influx of tens of thousands of children from Central America. Beyond the legal mandates, we owe them basic human decency. On the other hand, to say that they should all simply stay here for good begs big questions about encouraging more children to make this journey, and the rights of all the people abroad who are waiting their turn in line. Unless you believe in open borders, it’s all thorny. What seems right for an individual child can seem wrong systemwide.

Leopoldo Lopez’s imprisonment is a symptom of a sick Venezuela

This year, my husband, Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, spent his 43rd birthday behind bars. To mark Leopoldo’s birthday, our children, Manuela, 4, and Leopoldo, 1, and I tried to bring him a birthday cake at the Ramo Verde military prison. We were turned away. We were forced to celebrate on the street outside the prison, where our family sang Happy Birthday to a life-size picture of him.

Smart shoppers choose cheaper store-brand aspirin

At CVS, a 100-tablet package of store-brand aspirin costs you $1.99. Bayer aspirin is three times that much. Nonetheless, millions of people end up buying Bayer. When it comes to headache remedies, salt, sugar and hundreds of other important products, many people choose national brands even when a cheaper store brand is at hand. Why?

 
The detention of popular newscaster Rui Chenggang was a surprise.

Fall of favored son prompts debate in Chinese media

There had never been a Chinese television personality quite like the handsome and erudite Rui Chenggang. At the tender age of 36, he’d become the most popular personality on China’s state-owned CCTV network. Economic News, his high-profile nightly business news program, boasted an estimated 10 million viewers. Rui himself counted the same number of followers on the Sina Weibo microblog.

Let’s treat gun safety as a public health issue

Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash?

The hand that rocks the ballot box

In their denouncements of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, Hillary Clinton and other Democrats have been accused of pandering to single women — the so-called “Beyonce voter” demographic, as one Fox News commentator sniggered.

Cutting corporate taxes won’t help the middle class

Earlier this week, I testified in front of the Joint Economic Committee on the topic of assessing the recovery after five years.

Informed and fashionable: yes, it’s possible

Two months ago, I left the White House after six years of working for President Barack Obama. As anyone who’s had the privilege of serving a sitting president can tell you, the job is both tremendously rewarding and incalculably demanding. No advanced degree or job experience truly prepares you for the tidal wave of responsibility and the sheer gravity of history that beckons each day. The Arab Spring. Newtown. Hurricane Sandy. The Affordable Care Act. It is one of those jobs that never really leaves you.

Putin’s missing a chance to escape a losing war

President Vladimir Putin is missing a golden opportunity by not disowning the pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. Instead, as pro-Putin media and social network trolls invent increasingly fantastical versions of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, Russia risks becoming a pariah even to developing countries that have sympathized with its anti-American stance.

Obama says he ended the ‘War on Drugs.’ Don’t believe him.

If the Obama administration is to be believed, America’s infamous “War on Drugs” is over.

We’re raising a generation of timid kids

A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

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