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Kim Horatio Alger Jong Un, prodigy

Kim Horatio Alger Jong Un, prodigy

North Korea is truly the land of opportunity and advancement, where a lad in his 20s of no great distinction or education can ascend effortlessly to the highest offices in the land. It helps to be named Kim and be the son and grandson of ruthless dictators Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, who starved millions and enslaved millions more to make North Korea safe for their unprepossessing descendant, Kim Jong Un. Young Kim on Wednesday was named marsh... Read more

Mix drought with politics and we all suffer

Mix drought with politics and we all suffer

Driving across the Midwest a few days ago, I was heartsick to see what the worst drought in half a century has done to once-gorgeous corn fields. In county after county, crops are withered, stunted and pathetic. The ramifications for a nation struggling to avoid falling back into recession will be devastating. And, as usual, politics is gumming up the works. It is astounding how many products contain corn, from animal feed to wallpaper paste. T... Read more

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Mix drought with politics and we all suffer

Mix drought with politics and we all suffer

Driving across the Midwest a few days ago, I was heartsick to see what the worst drought in half a century has done to once-gorgeous corn fields. In county after county, crops are withered, stunted and pathetic. The ramifications for a nation struggling to avoid falling back into recession will be d... Read more

Economic disillusionment marks young voters' views

Economic disillusionment marks young voters' views

My oldest granddaughters can vote for president for the first time --one as a 21-year-old who wasn't 18 in 2008 and the other who is 19. They belong to a group of young Americans who worry less these days about politics and more about their post-college futures -- futures filled with the need to pay... Read more

Syria threatens to use chemical weapons

Syria threatens to use chemical weapons

Even though it has been an open secret for 40 years, Syria has always been studiously ambiguous about whether it has chemical weapons. But this week, the Syrian government said it would deploy chemical weapons against any foreign -- presumably Western -- intervention in its civil war. The U.S. De... Read more

Pakistani doctor should be honored, not jailed

A 48-year-old Pakistani surgeon, Dr. Shakil Afridi, has been sentenced to 33 years in prison for treason -- specifically, for aiding the United States in the hunt for Osama bin Laden. His real crime was being guilty of a sin that Islamabad finds unforgivable: He hugely embarrassed -- "humiliated" m... Read more

Obama finally 'evolves' on same-sex marriage

Obama finally 'evolves' on same-sex marriage

So, President Barack Obama has finally endorsed same-sex marriage, a position he held in 1996 and later reversed for his campaigns for U.S. Senate and the White House. By 2010 his position was, he said, "evolving," and it continued evolving as late as Monday if his beleaguered and bobbing and weavin... Read more

Agency scandals raise serious questions about oversight

Agency scandals raise serious questions about oversight

Who is minding the store? It seems a fair question with front pages, TV and the Internet full of sensational stories, blogs and twitters about obvious government malfeasance from the FBI to the Secret Service to the General Services Administration. At first glance, the vaunted Secret Service was mor... Read more

Norway's gentle justice for a mass murderer

Norway's gentle justice for a mass murderer

If you're a lunatic mass murderer, you couldn't pick a much better venue for the crime than Norway. That's the lesson from the trial that began Monday in Oslo of Anders Breivik, who has admitted to killing eight people in a bomb blast in the capital's downtown and, later that same day, 69 youngsters... Read more

What do you mean you don't want a driver's license?

Since the beginning of the Republic, the nation has been afflicted with a breed of scholars, social critics and think tankers who take indecent relish in predicting the decline, even the imminent demise, of the United States. I've always thought this a harmless kind of nuttery, akin to the doom... Read more

Smartphone anti-theft plan seems, um, smart

Smartphone anti-theft plan seems, um, smart

Cellphones readily lend themselves to theft. People strolling along city streets chatting away on cells are not paying attention to their surroundings -- you can see it in that faraway look when they talk -- and are easy prey for snatch-and-run robbers. When cellphones became smartphones, they beca... Read more

NRA should take a hit for gun deaths in schools

NRA should take a hit for gun deaths in schools

Oh, another week, another school shooting. Once again, America yawns. This one took place on April 1, when another mentally ill person secured use of a handgun and killed students at a private Christian university in East Oakland, Calif. At the time of this writing, seven were dead and three wounded... Read more

Will there be a fourth wave of feminism?

Will there be a fourth wave of feminism?

There's a lot of talk about a fourth wave of feminism. A New York Times article last week posed the following question: Who will succeed Gloria Steinem (leader of second-wave feminism) as head of the next wave of feminism? But I have a question that precedes the question posed by the Times: Will th... Read more

The unintended unmaking of Afghan hearts and minds

The unintended unmaking of Afghan hearts and minds

A decade of war and American sacrifice half a world away has come down to this: Afghanistan's mountains, valleys, plateaus, cities and farmlands are reverberating with the sounds of hearts and minds shattering. Among them are hearts and minds that once seemed securely won. Young boys, military-aged... Read more

Hu and Wen are leaving. China asks: What next?

Hu and Wen are leaving. China asks: What next?

Once every 10 years, the inner circle of China's ruling Communist Party retreats behind closed doors and quickly re-emerges to inform the Chinese people, and the world, who the new leaders will be. The hierarchy is very likely horrified by the messy primary, caucus and convention process by which t... Read more

Obama will get credit or blame for gas prices

There are many reasons for high gasoline prices. Some of them: surging demand in newly emerging industrial powers like China and India; Japan's shift from nuclear to oil for power generation following the tsunami; unrest in oil producers Sudan and Yemen; Libya still recovering from its civil war; u... Read more

GOP foolishly turning off women voters

When will Republicans awaken to the dangers of alienating women, a growing number of whom now regard them as anti-female, not just anti-feminist? Maybe some GOP leaders, if there are any these days, already have seen the potential disaster such an image portends. But they seem helpless to avoid it i... Read more

Stop beating the drums for war with Iran.

Out of the blue, an old buddy this week sent me some photos of us as soldiers in Vietnam back when we were young and stupid. That lamentable war seemed a good idea at the time, and for my part I remain proud that I served, but over the years I have come to think that the statesmen who sent us were t... Read more

Don't tie U.S. debt reduction to future 'kids'

Don't tie U.S. debt reduction to future 'kids'

Fiscal conservatives unwittingly sabotage themselves by invoking "the children" when explaining the dangers of America's ballooning national debt. They should spend lots more time discussing how federal red ink harms adults today. Tying debt reduction to parenting causes two problems:First, if Amer... Read more

Middle East Requires New Mode of Thinking

Middle East Requires New Mode of Thinking

As the crisis with Iran continues to simmer, Albert Einstein's often-cited remark, in its own way as profound as his theory of relativity, comes to mind: "The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe." This rema... Read more

Problematic voter rolls undermine confidence

Reports of dead voters are greatly understated. While Democrats dismiss voter fraud as a collective Republican hallucination, a study released Tuesday by the Pew Center on the States confirms the GOP's concerns. The ghosts in America's voting machines may be the least of our worries. Pew has discov... Read more

The blood-stained reign of Bashar al-Assad

The bloody slaughter of civilians in Syria was playing in cable-news snippets on television sets throughout the White House West Wing and State Department on Tuesday, as the man who expects to become China's new leader this year met with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and was fe... Read more

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