A conservative case for infrastructure spending

Recently, I made a rare airport run. Our niece from Chicago was visiting for the long weekend, and rather than send a car, we fought through both U.S. Open and Mets traffic to pick her up at LaGuardia Airport.

Is social media enhancing or stifling democracy?

As an active, albeit measured, user of social media, I’ve been skeptical of arguments that online forums like Facebook and Twitter are the great equalizer.

Freelancers and millennials help usher in the age of the independent worker

For much of the past century, the era of Big Work — the 40-hour work week and its employer-provided benefits — were the foundation of our economy. That was then. Now, independent work is the new normal.

Hillary consistently wrong on foreign policy

Sen. Rand Paul raises an interesting question:

The Wilderness Act, 50 years later

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, and as a conservation photographer and writer, I can think of few laws that are more worthy of celebration.

Local casinos won’t cure economic woes

In wheelchairs and on walkers, Baltimore’s big plan for the future shuffled into the Horseshoe casino this week to begin the city’s renaissance. Again.

Ex-Im Bank fight not exactly a battle royal

The excitement is building. Only a few more weeks until the long-awaited mid-term elections, which Republicans hope will mean they take over the Senate and smite President Barack Obama even harder.

Ten truths about day jobs

1. Never look down on somebody who holds a job and rides the bus to the end of the line. These are the people who labor their whole lives but are never rewarded with tangible success. Not every dog has its day; some simply work their tails off. My father was one of those guys: never missed a day, never missed a beat and barely made a dime. But he taught my brother and me how to get a job done. Old Italians would grab their kids and say, “The more you have in there,” pointing to our heads, “the less you have to put on there,” pointing to our backs. My brother and I benefited from my father’s integrity, his stamina and his gratitude for having a job.

When the world blows up, blame hip-hop

It was only a matter of time. A violent convergence of domestic and international events has us all feeling as if the world is falling off its axis. Headlines telling of rioters rocking Ferguson, Mo., are intersected with constant flashes of black-masked Islamic State marauders leaving bloody trails of decapitated heads as they pillage the Middle Eastern desert. And in the inevitable reach to explain the Four Horsemen chaos of assorted colored folk shaking it up, the best dissertation the mainstream media can find is that it must be hip-hop’s fault.

The Beatles’ cry of freedom: ‘Money,’ 50 years later

In early 1964, a friend called me up and asked if I wanted to hear the new Beatles album, With the Beatles. It had come out in Britain a couple of months before, but no one I knew had heard it, or for that matter heard of it. My friend’s father, an airplane pilot, had brought it back. It was just days after the Beatles’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

It helps to have a hospital room with a view

Hospitals are, by their nature, scary and depressing places. But they don’t have to be ugly as well — and there’s ample evidence that aesthetics matter to patient health.

I studied engineering, not English. I still can’t find a job.

When I graduated from Penn State a year ago, I thought I was perfectly prepared to succeed in the business world. I’d worked hard, graduated at the top of my class in computer science and managed to acquire lots of experience with the sorts of industry software that I was sure hiring managers were looking for. I’d even chosen a STEM degree, which — according to just about everyone — is the smartest choice to plan for the future (eight out of the 10 fastest growing job occupations in the United States are STEM jobs).

Why the Islamic State (or ISIS, or QSIS, or ISIL) has so many names

The Guardian reports that an influential Egyptian group has requested that Western observers make a crucial nomenclature change. Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta, which the Guardian describes as “a wing of the Egyptian justice ministry … [and] a source of religious authority both inside and outside Egypt,” says that it’s not appropriate to refer to the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” that’s currently fighting in Iraq and Syria. Instead, according to Dar al-Ifta, we should call them “al-Qaida Separatists in Iraq and Syria,” or alternately QSIS. You can learn more by following the group’s “Call it QS not IS” social-media campaign.

Why do some hostages die and others are released?

This last week’s deeply contrasting stories of two New Englanders caught in the Middle East’s maelstrom of violence — the savage murder of James Foley and the joyous release from captivity of Peter Theo Curtis — point to a central question: Why do some hostages die while others are released?

Rick Perry’s comeback headed off at the pass

It was all going so well for Texas Gov. Rick Perry — until the indictment. His efforts to move past a disastrous 2012 presidential run that had become a reliable punch line for a senior moment seemed to be working.

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