Baltimore is a city with a black mayor and black police chief making one pause at the notion of municipally ordained police brutality against black men. Perhaps because of this, racial activists, politicians (our president included) and the liberal media have quickly shifted the issue of criminal behavior - looting, arson, violent attacks against police - to what is characterized as its underlying cause - poverty and unemployment in their city. Although both are serious problems in Baltimore, it’s time to question whether violent rioting and criminality are inevitable consequences of economic deprivation.
In David Brooks’ hortatory sermon on what parental love should be, he preaches that “it is supposed to be oblivious to achievement. It’s meant to be an unconditional support - a gift that cannot be bought and cannot be earned. It sits outside the logic of the meritocracy, the closest humans come to grace.” (Love and Merit, NYT 4//24/15) In his essay, he refers to current trends in child-rearing involving greater praise and greater honing, compared with an earlier generation that stressed greater obedience. He might have stretched his imagination further and realized that as far back as recorded history, there have been different modes of parenting and few (if any) considered unconditional love a necessity or even a factor. Open favoritism figures prominently in the Bible from Abraham’s preference for Isaac over Ishmael to Isaac’s preference for Esau over Jacob to Jacob’s love for Joseph over all his brothers. Cultural outlooks produce very different modes of parenting as well; the tiger mother considers it a sign of the greatest love to push her child to excellence so that child’s life will offer more rewards that come with personal achievement.
During the latter years of President George W. Bush’s presidency, I remember watching a petite wisp of a woman step to the podium of the White House briefing room and answer the pointed barbs and hostile questions of a profoundly belligerent press corps. I admired her poise as she faced the daily barrage — and the deep loyalty she so obviously felt for her boss. As one who had worked with an equally reviled former president, Richard Nixon, I felt an affinity with Dana Perino, so I am delighted to now call her a colleague at Fox News — and a friend.
James Comey, former US Attorney and current head of the FBI, gave a speech at the Holocaust Museum in Washington last week commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day. He stated: “In their minds, the murderers and accomplices of Germany, Poland and Hungary, and so many, many other places didn’t do something evil. They convinced themselves it was the right thing to do, the thing they had to do. That’s what people do. And that should truly frighten us.” (NYTimes, 4/21/15) Immediately, the Polish president took umbrage at this, reminding us that Poland was a victim, not an aggressor during the war and that Mr. Comey’s comments were the result of “ignorance, lack of historical knowledge and possibly large personal aversion” towards Poles. Rick Lyman, the Times reporter offered the following clarification: “And while there were certainly episodes in which Poles were responsible for the deaths of Jews, there was no widespread complicity with the Nazi policy of extermination.” Let’s be grateful for small favors.
The successful Republican candidate for president will have to be many things: fearless fighter, relentless advocate for conservative principles, articulate spokesperson for the forgotten middle class, a likable charismatic personality, expert on the complicated dynamics of foreign policy and national security strategy.
With the “historic” clasp of hands in Panama City, Panama last week with Raul Castro, President Obama took the next fateful step toward normalizing relations with the Western Hemisphere’s most repressive regime.
It’s become habitual for movies to pair ordinary (Ben Stiller) or geeky (Adam Driver) comedic men with unusually beautiful women like Naomi Watts and Amanda Seyfriend. Of course we would accept this if these men were playing the movie stars they actually are but that type of unbalanced casting starts us off being incredulous when the males are playing losers (Ben Stiller) or wannabes (Adam Driver). The latter is more than a foot taller than Stiller yet there’s a scene where Ben dons Adam’s jacket and roller-blades - both of which fit perfectly. It’s a minor moment but another peg for the incredulity board which is disconcerting in a movie that purports to poke fun in the mores of contemporary urban twenty and forty-somethings. If the object of the poke isn’t recognizably authentic, there’s no stuffing in the satire.
Check this: In a brazen move, the People’s Republic of China is now building “islands” in the South China Sea to bolster its position against several other East Asian countries — and the United States.
On the afternoon of Jan. 20, 1961, Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower slipped away from the Inauguration Day festivities, piled into their 1955 Chrysler Imperial and famously drove to their farm at Gettsyburg, Pa. Contrary to myth, they were not alone — two servants and a chauffeur, Leonard Dry, were with them, but even then, the ex-president felt “an eerie loneliness about the absence of motorcycle escorts and caravans of Secret Service and press cars” according to Ike’s grandson, David.
Rolling Stone finally admitted that its recent story about a vicious rape on the University of Virginia campus was a lie. Adding journalistic insult to injury, the magazine announced that the “reporter” who made it up will face no disciplinary action. In fact, she gets to keep her job at the magazine.
Let’s be honest, the joint comprehensive plan of action announced last week in Lausanne, Switzerland, between the P5+1 (U.S., France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany) and Iran is essentially a Rorschach inkblot test.