On Sunday, voters in Venezuela will head to the polls, and in Caracas, the noise level is as high as voters' emotions. There is a background noise that accompanies everyday life in Latin America, a constant soundtrack: music blaring from food stands and cars, loud automobiles that are so run-down they defy the laws of physics, street vendors yelling product names. I've spoken to many immigrants to the U.S. who, like me, first arrived to live in the suburbs and found the absence of bochinche, or ruckus, maddening.
This week marked a new step in Michelle Obama's evolution as first lady. In her hometown of Chicago, she delivered one of the most emotional speeches of her career — about kids dying from gun violence.
"I'm not talking about something that's happening in a war zone halfway around the world," she said. "I am talking about what's happening in the city that we call home."
Fort Sumter at Charlestown, South Carolina was symbolically important to the Union war effort. It was, of course, the site of the war’s beginning and was the first Federal installation under siege to capitulate to the Confederates.
If Sumter could be retaken by force of arms, the Union would score a major psychological victory which would help erase the bitterness of the war’s outbreak. As such, Lincoln desired Sumter to be retaken and was not pleased to learn that Flag Officer Samuel Du Pont’s Union fleet had be badly damaged in its assault against Sumter on April 7.
Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 5:56 pm
Google seems to think of everything for everyone, and the dead are no exception.
On Thursday, the company debuted the Inactive Account Manager: "You can tell us what to do with your Gmail messages and data from several other Google services if your account becomes inactive for any reason," Google explains on its public policy blog. Those services can include YouTube, Google Plus, Google Voice, Blogger and Picasa Web Albums.
Melissa Block talks to regular political commentators E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution, and David Brooks of The New York Times. They discuss gun control legislation, immigration and President Obama's budget.
Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 4:43 pm
Joining the Senate, the House of Representatives approved a measure today that repeals a requirement that top government officials post financial disclosures on the Internet.
The House, like the Senate, acted quietly without a vote. Instead, they sent the measure to the president's desk by unanimous consent.
The provision was part of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (Stock), which became law in March of 2012. The act was intended to stop members of congress from profiting from nonpublic information.
In the age of hundreds of cable channels, millions of 140-character bulletins and an untold number of cat videos, a fear has been growing among journalists and readers that long-form storytelling may be getting lost.
Originally published on Fri April 12, 2013 5:54 pm
While many in Chicago immediately thought of the famous "Billy Goat curse," when a severed goat's head was delivered to Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts at Wrigley Field this week, I immediately wondered if it was a message from the "Rahm-father," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
After all, Ricketts is in the midst of intense negotiations with Emanuel's administration over renovating the iconic 99-year old ballpark, as I reported last week.
The Norse god Wotan - like his counterparts in the south, Zeus and Jupiter - got around as they say. He wasn't named "all-father" for nothing. The second opera of Richard Wagner's Ring cycle is about three of his offspring.
First, the legitimate daughter Brünnhilde, who is a Valkyrie -a collector of the heroic dead slain in battle - and after whom this opera is named. Then there are the twins Siegmund and Sieglende, their mother is Erda - mother earth.