“First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes the baby in the baby carriage,” goes the rhyme. Unfortunately, in large swaths of American society, this rhyme is playing in reverse, with dire consequences for lower-income Americans. Given five decades of deteriorating marriage trends, it appears Americans concur with H.L. Mencken, who joked, “Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who´d want to live in an institution?” Since 1960, the percentage of married Americans plunged from 72 percent to 51 percent last year, a record low. Meanwhile, babies born to unwed mothers skyrocketed from 4 percent in 1960 to 41 percent in
“Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy,” remarked F. Scott Fitzgerald, as if alluding to the fatal confrontation between George Zimmerman, the watch guard of a beleaguered and oft-burglarized neighborhood, and the unarmed, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who President Obama said would look like his son if he had one. To prevent this painful case from jeopardizing social cohesion, Americans must Think Again before lining up behind their preferred tragic hero like rabid fans of opposing sports teams. All the world’s a stage, and on the rainy night of their deadly clash, neither Martin nor Zimmerman followed
The summer blockbuster “Man of Steel” reveals why Superman is an American icon, like the courageous revolutionaries who declared American independence. They couldn’t leap tall buildings in a single bound, but our founders’ steel-like resolve forged an against-all-odds victory over a Kryptonically powerful British military in pursuit of radical ideas — human liberty and self-government. Breaking with history’s repressive norms, they declared the uniquely American idea that everyone is born free and equally entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In order to prevent future Lex Luthors from tyrannizing the people, they established a constitutional system whose powers are
In the madcap TV series “Get Smart,” secret agent Maxwell Smart evades surveillance — and archnemesis KAOS — with an array of clandestine gadgets including a shoe phone and the legendary “Cone of Silence.” Americans once laughed at Smart’s privacy-enhancing schemes. But recent revelations about America’s ever-widening surveillance state have stirred many to Think Again about their privacy rights — and pine for their own Cone of Silence. Originally designed to spy on foreigners and track the foreign correspondence of suspected terrorists, today the National Security Agency digitally frisks U.S. citizens, capturing and storing their communications data for as long as
In his 1980s comedy routine, Yakov Smirnoff celebrated America’s free society and equality before the law, joking, “In America, you can always find a party. In Russia, party always finds you! In America, you break law. In Soviet Russia, law breaks you!” In the wake of scandals involving the abuse of governmental power, Americans must Think Again about Smirnoff’s ironic wordplays. As we’re learning, the ruling party can find and break you — despite constitutional protections. Today, our federal government is the nation’s largest spender, debtor, lender, employer, contractor, property owner, insurer, health care provider and pension guarantor. What it doesn’t
“Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life,” counseled Faber College’s Dean Wormer in “Animal House.” For the collegiate class of 2013 — until next year the most indebted ever — add “in hock” to that immortal list. Compared with their parents, current graduates are paying four times more in inflation-adjusted terms for their diplomas while suffering substantially inferior job and income prospects. Like “Animal House’s” witless frat brothers, those who believe college is a last hurrah before plunging into adult reality must Think Again. For generations, Americans practiced what Benjamin Franklin preached — “An investment in knowledge pays
Stretching Oscar Wilde’s adage “I never put off til tomorrow what I can do the day after,” some in the mainstream media have finally started to Think Again about the Benghazi attack launched last year on the anniversary of 9/11 — thanks to new revelations by high-ranking State Department whistle-blowers including experts in security, counterterrorism, and the No. 2-ranking diplomat in Libya under slain Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Contrary to the “spin” that the U.S. Consulate assault was a spontaneous response to an anti-Islam YouTube video, the truth is that American officials knew “from the get-go” that it was a premeditated terrorist
In his 1831 book celebrating America, Alexis de Tocqueville warned, “In democratic societies, there exists an urge to do something even when the goal is not precise, a sort of permanent fever that turns to innovations, … (which) are always costly.” After a spate of traumatic tragedies that impact the gun and immigration debates, feverish politicians are rushing to innovate complex legislation without thoroughly and publicly examining the underlying problems and before “we the people” consent to their solutions. Lawmakers should Think Again, considering that only 4 percent of Americans currently “mention guns or immigration as the most important problems
Barack Obama has a habit of trying to energize his legislative agenda by stoking the fires of emotionally charged current events — and in ways usually illogical and incoherent. The shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords and the horrible mass murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School were cited as reasons for rapid enactment of new gun-control laws — even though the proposed tougher registration rules would not have prevented either mayhem. Tightening up the process for legal acquisition of firearms would not much hinder the mentally ill from getting their hands on guns. And the various measures needed to stop a crazy
Last month, world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon and up-from-nothing African-American idol Ben Carson expressed his contrarian opinion that marriage is between a man and a woman and that no group could change this millennia-old social institution. Appalled medical students at Johns Hopkins University, allegedly a place of intellectual inquiry and diversity and “a forum for the free expression of ideas,” circulated a petition to remove Carson as commencement speaker. Having gained widespread media attention for his recent National Prayer Breakfast speech in which he critiqued political correctness, Carson apologized for his off-the-cuff, maladroit and incorrect political critique of same-sex marriage, reiterating his
Last week, political, media and celebrity worlds converged to produce headlines worthy of “News of the Weird.” Sean Penn eulogized anti-American strongman Hugo Chavez as “a friend (America) never knew it had,” while Dennis Rodman declared North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un “an awesome guy.” Upon returning from the starving gulag-state, Rodman scored a Sunday interview with George Stephanopoulos, and CNN declared him a “diplomatic triumph.” But perhaps the most captivating cause celebre — likely to transform advocates into media and campus darlings — is the crusade to halt the drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”). However, if you expect
Hugo Chavez’s death was met with tributes from Iran, Bolivia, China and El Salvador. The Western left did not waste much time adding their withered roses to El Comandante’s coffin. George Galloway called him another Spartacus. Jimmy Carter described him as a leader who fought for the “neglected and trampled.” Michael Moore praised him for declaring that the oil belongs to the people. Whether or not the oil belongs to the people is a matter of some debate considering how much of it ended up in Chavez’s pocket. Chavez died with an estimated net worth of 2 billion dollars making
This year, Hollywood hit award pay dirt for political dramas inspired by American history. Unlike “The Avengers” — the top-grossing superhero movie — best-picture nominees “Argo,” “Lincoln” and “Zero Dark Thirty” featured authentic, determined and courageous Americans who endured adversity and mortal danger to overcome morally inferior antagonists. Though we´re living through the umpteenth act of a gory political spectacle involving the U.S. budget, Think Again if you expect that Quentin Tarantino will adapt it for the silver screen. Devoid of heroes or valiant rescues, the drama serially unfolding in Washington isn´t even telenovela-worthy, particularly the latest installment known as the
Citing a potential al Qaeda attack, the State Department on Friday issued a worldwide travel alert and warned American citizens that the terrorist group may be plotting a strike in the Middle East, North Africa or elsewhere. “Current information suggests that al Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August,” reads a portion of the alert, which lasts until the end of the month.
Executive Director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns Mark Glaze gave some ambiguous and potentially dangerous self defense advice Friday on “Hardball.” Glaze, speaking in opposition to “Stand Your Ground” laws, said in a circumstance where someone “comes at you” with an axe handle one should attempt to either “talk,” “fight with your fists,” “run away,” or “deescalate the situation,” but not shoot the attacker: MARK GLAZE: Very often somebody will come at you. They might want to have a fistfight. They might come at you with an ax handle. CHRIS MATTHEWS: Would you consider the guy with the ax handle armed or not?
American scientists claim the planet is undergoing one of the largest changes in climate in the past 65 million years. Climatologists at Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment have warned the likely rate of change over the next century will be at least 10 times quicker than any climate shift since the dinosaurs became extinct. If the trend continues at its current rapid pace, it will place significant stress on terrestrial ecosystems around the world, and many species will need to make behavioral, evolutionary or geographic adaptations to survive, they said.
About 400 area retail and fast-food workers, together with colleagues nationally, participated in a strike Thursday to demand raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. “If not $15, then something. I mean give us something. I work 36 hours a week and barely make enough to pay my rent, gas bill, light bill. It gets to the point where I barely have enough for lunch sometimes,” said Angel Richardson, 21, who works at McDonald’s. “I’m five months pregnant, what am I going to do in four months? I hope something changes.” The minimum wage is $7.25 nationally and $8.25
The administration has popped the bubble of hope some small business had that switching to part-time staff would let them escape the high costs of Obamacare. The Small Business Administration on Thursday created a website to explain to businesses that the government will simply tally up the number of part-time employees firms have to determine if enough hours have been worked to essentially create a "full-time equivalent." Some smaller businesses had thought that if they could get under the 50 full-time employee cap that activates Obamacare by cutting full-time workers and hiring more part-time workers they would escape
Government workers in the city of Seattle have been advised that the terms "citizen" and "brown bag" are potentially offensive and may no longer be used in official documents and discussions. KOMO-TV reports that the city´s Office of Civil Rights instructed city workers in a recent internal memo to avoid using the words because some may find them offensive. "Luckily, we´ve got options," Elliott Bronstein of the Office for Civil Rights wrote in the memo obtained by the station. "For ´citizens,´ how about ´residents?´"
You don´t have to be gay or even Russian to feel the wrath of the Russian government´s homophobia. You could go to jail if you are "pro-gay," whatever that means. And that´s under just one of a growing number of hate-infused bills becoming law at a time when, as it happens, Russia is preparing to host the world in the next Winter Olympics. The perverse anti-gay legislation is inflaming an atmosphere of persistent intimidation and at times deadly violence against Russian gays and lesbians. The question now is: What should the rest of the world do?
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) suggested on Friday morning that the tea party movement is comprised of the same types of people who fought against the civil rights movement during the 1960s. Speaking with the Daily Beast, Rangel said of the movement: “It is the same group we faced in the South with those white crackers and the dogs and the police. They didn’t care about how they looked. He added that the tea party movement can be defeated similar to how the civil rights movement eradicated Jim Crow mentality: “It was just fierce indifference to human life that caused
[Video] Rapper Jay Z appearing on HBO´s "Real Time" with Bill Maher says that the black community wants upward economic mobility rather than a stronger police presence. In a conversation with former Congressman Barney Frank about police tactics such as stop-and-frisk, Jay Z suggests the stagnant economy and wealth inequality could cause widespread social unrest: "The real problem is there´s no middle class, right? So the gap between the have and have-nots is getting wider and wider... It´s gonna be a problem that no amount of police can solve, because once you have that sort of oppression
The nation´s most active death penalty state is running out of its execution drug. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice said Thursday that its remaining supply of phenobarbital expires in September and that no alternatives have been found. It wasn´t immediately clear whether two executions scheduled for next month would be delayed. The state has already executed 11 death-row inmates this year, and at least seven more have execution dates in coming months. "We will be unable to use our current supply of phenobarbital after it expires," agency spokesman Jason Clark said. "We are exploring all options at this time."
I think she’s one of the most fascinating women of our time and this world,” confessed Bob Greenblatt, the chairman of NBC, as part of his announcement that his network is making a miniseries about former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, with Diane Lane in the starring role. Words are funny things. For instance, G.K. Chesterton once remarked that that the word “good” has many uses: “For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of 500 yards, I should call him a good shot but not necessarily a good man.” So it is,
After purchasing the Boston Globe in 1993 for a then-record $1.1 billion, the financially troubled New York Times just announced it sold the 141 year-old paper to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry for a mere $70 million. That´s a straight 93% loss. Figuring in two decades of inflation would only make it worse -- as does the fact the Times retains the Globe´s pension liabilities, estimated at over $100 million. (snip) What might have sweetened the lower offer for the Times is that Henry offered a straight cash deal, which is expected to close sometime in September or October.