The agony of the US Republicans, engulfed by an existential crisis since the second term victory of Barack Obama, reminds me so much of the UK Conservatives’ similar crisis after the accession of Tony Blair to power in 1997.[Snip]The Tories, aghast at the inversion of the natural order by which they assumed they had a divine right to rule, looked in bewildered mortification upon the upstart Blair whom they found it impossible to dislodge--and arrived at precisely the wrong conclusion about both conservatism and British society. It was a fundamental error that I believe the Conservative Party is still making
A skeleton found underneath a car park in Leicester is expected to be confirmed as that of Richard III. The remarkable discovery of the remains, entailing a curved spine back and wounded skull, was made last September. Since then scientists have been conducting a range of tests to establish whether the remains do indeed belong to the Plantagenet King. Researchers from Leicester University will hold a press conference on Monday morning where they will present the findings of their investigation. Philippa Langley, who initially funded the excavation of what is now a Leicester City Council car park, said she was
The Prince of Wales warned in March 2009 that there were “less than 100 months to act” to save the planet from irreversible damage due to climate change. His father is known to be more sceptical. Now, the Duke of Edinburgh has invited Britain’s best-known global warming heretic to give a lecture at Buckingham Palace. David Bellamy, who described last month how the BBC “froze him out” when he dismissed global warming as “poppycock”, is to give the inaugural David Bellamy Lecture at the Palace next month. Prince Philip is holding the event as honorary fellow of the Chartered
Like the addlepated women who write love letters to an imprisoned murderer in the belief that the love of a good woman will turn him around, the U.S. foreign policy establishment repeatedly acts as though the power of their love and financial generosity will turn foreign thugs into responsible democratic leaders. They did this with the Soviet Union until Reagan upset their game, and now they are doing it with the Islamists.This week there´s been lots of ink on the disastrous affairs in the Middle East and North Africa and I´ll discuss what I consider the best of the commentary
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt uses a new book to call China an Internet menace that backs cyber-crime for economic and political gain, reports say. The New Digital Age - due for release in April - reportedly brands China "the world´s most active and enthusiastic filterer of information". China is "the most sophisticated and prolific" hacker of foreign companies, according to a review obtained by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). China denies allegations of hacking.[Snip]The New Digital Age analyses how China is dangerously exploiting an Internet that now permeates politics, business, culture and other aspects of life, the WSJ says.
At least 16 people have been killed as suicide bombers and gunmen attacked a police HQ in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, medical sources say. Officials said militants had tried to seize the compound after a bomb exploded at the gates, but were unsuccessful. A police chief was hurt. [Snip] Kirkuk is ethnically mixed, and at the centre of a dispute between Baghdad and the Kurds over oil and land rights. Two weeks ago at least 10 people were killed in a suicide bomb attack on the offices of the Kurdish Democratic Party in the city.
WHEN the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers take the field during the Super Bowl today, the teams will have five players who come from a small, conflicted region in the northern Everglades known as Muck City. The dark, silty soil surrounding the Florida towns of Belle Glade and Pahokee, some 45 miles west of Palm Beach, creates a fertile region for agriculture. Many of the black residents of the area were drawn there by the opportunity to work in the vegetable fields that surrounded the towns. The migrant workers, who by and large settled in run-down boardinghouses,
The death watch is over. Jimmy Breslin has outlived Ed Koch. About five years ago, I was eating in a diner on Ninth Ave. near the Port Authority in Manhattan and Ed Koch had just finished eating at another table with some friends. As he was leaving he nodded to me and I said, “How’m I doing, Ed?” (Snip) The Breslin-Koch feud dates back to 1986 when Koch appeared on a talk show and said he intended to run for three more terms as mayor and then “give the eulogy at Jimmy Breslin’s funeral.”
Lance Armstrong is a liar, or at least was a liar, though the old motherly wisdom here probably stands: once, always. And depending on one’s perspective, his athletic accomplishments are at best tainted and at worst entirely invalidated—though you try riding a bike up the Col du Tourmalet. His accomplishments as a humanitarian and fundraiser, meanwhile, are surely somehow altered by his having been unmasked as a cheater and bully, though they may endure as valuable contributions and even be celebrated as such. But what about his standing and reputation as a writer? First, a point of clarification:
Passenger jets risk “dropping out of the sky” because airlines refuse to fit detectors that could save pilots from poisonous cabin air, a toxicologist told the Sunday Express. Professor Chris van Netten, former US government adviser, says the industry is putting profits before the health and safety of passengers or crew. He says that by failing to fit monitors that can “easily” detect leaks of odourless, colourless and toxic carbon monoxide, there is always the risk that pilots could inhale fumes and be rendered incapable of safely flying the plane. Professor van Netten, who is Canadian, is a world authority
Your cholesterol is too high. Well, perhaps not specifically you, but thousands of Britons have this news broken to them by doctors every day. We all have an amount of this special type of fat in our blood. It is essential for many bodily functions, but most of us--60 percent--have too much. High cholesterol is a key factor in developing heart disease, which claims three times more lives than breast cancer and twice as many as lung cancer. The good news is that lowering your cholesterol is the biggest thing you can do to reduce your risk.
Four years ago, Barack Obama’s widely praised retention of Republican Bob Gates was done to reassure Washington of a bipartisan and competent continuity at Defense in difficult times. In contrast, the deliberately provocative nomination of Republican Chuck Hagel is meant to remind Washington that no longer will there be either bipartisanship or continuity, but rather a radically new direction at Defense. Senator Hagel in his testimony at times seemed genuinely befuddled and sorely confused about his own past contradictory statements, his current incoherent beliefs, and the very policy of the administration he is to serve. In political terms,
As dinner-party conversation goes, owning Adolf Hitler’s toilet is hardly a bad place to start. An accidental antiques collector took possession of the dictator’s porcelain privy when he purchased an auto-repair shop in Florence, N.J., almost two decades ago, reports Tablet magazine. The toilet was originally installed on Hitler’s yacht, the 400-500ft Aviso Grille, which was also the very place where Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz first announced the Führer’s death on May 1, 1945. “[Hitler] wanted to ride it down the Thames in London and go live in Windsor Palace when he invaded,” the latrine’s owner,
Two days before President Barack Obama´s first trip outside Washington to promote his gun-control proposals, the White House tried on Saturday to settle a brewing mystery by releasing a photo to back his claim to be a skeet shooter. Obama had set inquiring minds spinning when, in an interview with The New Republic magazine, he answered ‘yes’ when asked if he had ever fired a gun. The admission came as a surprise to many.[Snip] Asked whether the entire family participates, the president said: ‘Not the girls, but oftentimes guests of mine go up there.’ Then on Saturday morning, the White
An estimated hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants married to U.S. citizens will soon have an opportunity to become legal residents without having to serve a years-long punishment. President Obama proposed the policy change in January 2012 and it is scheduled to go into effect March 4. The change was proposed to end situations in which illegal-immigrant spouses (and often parents) have to return to their native countries to serve the “ban of admission” – as long as 10 years for staying illegally in the United States for more than a year. Applicants must show
Bank of America says its online banking website crashed Friday, leaving customers unable to access their accounts. From late morning Friday, customers trying to log on saw a message that said the site was ´temporarily unavailable.´ Bank of America (BAC), based in Charlotte, N.C. and the second-largest U.S. bank by assets, said it was working on the problem, but wouldn´t elaborate on what caused the outage. ´We´re aware of the online banking issue and addressing as quickly as possible,´ Mark Pipitone, a spokesman for the bank, wrote in an email. ´We´re also working closely with our
He’s full of skeet! Gun owners lampooned President Obama as Elmer Fudd yesterday after the White House released a photo — in the middle of a fierce national firearms debate — of the commander-in-chief shooting clay targets at Camp David over the summer. While the president’s shooting skills were being mocked, his own gun-control allies privately fretted that Obama risked being ridiculed as a phony for suddenly trying to portray himself as a friend of sportsmen and hunters. Or, conversely, that he was glorifying the use of guns. The photo was taken last Aug. 4, on Obama’s 51st birthday.
THE UNITED STATES has invested tens of billions of dollars in the past decade alone to foil illegal immigration — tightening the border, accelerating deportations, deputizing local police — while doing precious little to stop employers from hiring undocumented immigrants. That is fixable — by means of a universal national identity card — and must be fixed as part of any sensible overhaul of the nation’s immigration system. Critics of immigration reform are right that the last big attempt to fix the system, in 1986, was no fix at all. Millions of undocumented immigrants were given amnesty but without
The editorial boards of three newspapers have so far weighed in with statements about the scandal surrounding Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, who allegedly slept with prostitutes — at least one of whom was underage — during a series of trips to the Dominican Republic. And the consensus for Menendez is not good. Menendez “has lots of explaining to do,” The Asbury Park Press editorialized on Feb. 1. “Every passing day seems to bring new details about possible improprieties.” The Press said Menendez should not take over as chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee
What is it about “compromise” that President Obama doesn’t understand? Is it that he and Democrats would have to give up something—perhaps numerous things—to reach an agreement with Republicans? Or is a bipartisan deal unappealing simply because Obama and Democrats would have to share the credit with Republicans? The issue this time is immigration. And Obama has resumed his familiar role not as compromise-maker but as compromise-wrecker. He spurned bipartisanship on the stimulus and Obamacare and twice raised his demands so high that a grand bargain with Republicans on taxes and spending was impossible, first in 2011, then in 2012.
Williston, North Dakota, is a bleak little city in the vast American prairie. It´s dusty in the summer and frigid in the winter. (snip) Optimists assume that, in about 15 years, the United States will no longer have to send any aircraft carriers to the Persian Gulf to guarantee that oil tankers can pass unhindered through the Strait of Hormuz, still the most important energy bottleneck in the world. The Russians could be on the losing end of the stick. The power of President Vladimir Putin is based primarily on oil and gas revenues. If energy prices decline in the long
President Obama emerged from the White House this morning and after sniffing the air and pawing at the ground, he gave us the bad news: he definitely sees his shadow which means 4 more years of economic gloom and doom: Despite these “big” gains, unemployment climbed to 7.9% — higher than when Obama took office amid the “worst recession since the Great Depression.” That 7.9% is deceptively low: It fails to account for the exodus of 8.5 million from the labor force under Obama. As a result, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ broader measure of unemployment
Austin, Texas - If colleges were automobiles, the University of Texas at Austin would be a Cadillac: a famous brand, a powerful engine of research and teaching, handsome in appearance. Even the price is comparable: Like one of the luxury car´s models, in-state tuition for a four-year degree runs about $40,000. But in an era of budget-cutting and soaring tuition, is there still a place for "Cadillacs" — elite, public research institutions like Texas, Michigan, California-Berkeley and Virginia that try to compete with the world´s best? Or should the focus be on more affordable and efficient options,
Pop quiz: What was the biggest news story this week? And I don´t mean, what was the biggest news story according to Obama´s media. Obviously, it was the economy taking a nosedive into negative territory last quarter, along with the fact that hardly enough jobs were created last month to keep up with population growth. Oh, and the unemployment rate increased. Of course the economy is the biggest story; it affects the most people and Obama´s doing it wrong. But not only is the media never-minding the economy, much of the media coverage related to economic bad news is forever
People have been warning us for years that drilling for oil in the Alaskan arctic would lead to big environmental trouble. It’s not that the technology hasn’t advanced to the point where it can be done safely, but those nasty people in charge of the projects just don’t care about the environment. These Mother Earth Hating Monsters would clearly let the whole thing go to H. E. double toothpicks and ruin the pristine beauty of the wilderness. Well, I guess they turned out to be right. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has agreed to plug
Did you know: * That more than two out of every five members of Congress are lawyers? * That members of Congress actually live shorter lives than the rest of us? * That members of Congress make in two months what the average American makes in one year? * That 26 members of the House and one senator (Democrat Mark Begich of Alaska) do not have college degrees, and one (Republican Rep. Bill Young of Florida) doesn’t have a high school diploma? But two-thirds have graduate or professional degrees? (Correction: A reader points out that Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of