January 13, 2012 |
Every year, the State Department issues reports on individual rights in other countries, monitoring the passage of restrictive laws and regulations around the world. Iran, for example, has been criticized for denying fair public trials and limiting privacy, while Russia has been taken to task for undermining due process. Other countries have been condemned for the use of secret evidence and torture. Even as we pass judgment on countries we consider unfree, Americans remain confident that any definition of a free nation must include their own — the land of free.
April 30, 2012 |
Not so long ago, Reginald "Polo" Burwell would bound to the stage nightly as the leader of TCB, the band that pioneered go-go's bounce beat groove. He had created a sound that strayed from the conga-based percussive that had been a staple of the music that got its start in the District. And it was divisive. The band's percussionist played with rototoms or drums with no shell. The higher-pitched percussive attack was a stark contrast to the traditional deep-toned polyrhythmic thump older listeners knew.
July 1, 2012 |
The battle has been going on since at least the 1880s, when the first New England textile mills began moving production to the Carolinas. Whatever name it goes by — "runaway plants," "outsourcing," "global sourcing," "offshoring"— workers and the public tend to hate it, executives view it as inevitable and economists defend it as part of the painful process by which market economies prosper. Now, President Obama and his election-year rival, Mitt Romney , have joined the debate.
February 10, 2012 |
If Wendy Braitman were writing a screenplay about her life, this scene would play at the top, to set the tone. It is 1993, and she is the 39-year-old only daughter of her parents' long and loving marriage. Her mother has suffered a stroke, so Braitman has flown from California to New York to be with her. She finds her mom awake, but groggy, and hopped up on meds. After an embrace, her mother asks, "So, how's your boyfriend?" "Mom, what boyfriend?" Braitman replies. "We broke up six months ago. " Braitman patiently retells the story of their split: He wasn't the right guy, it just didn't work out. Her mom reacts with disappointment.
August 15, 2013 |
The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents. Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by statute and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls.
March 28, 2013 |
The U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq will cost taxpayers $4 trillion to $6 trillion, taking into account the medical care of wounded veterans and expensive repairs to a force depleted by more than a decade of fighting, according to a new study by a Harvard researcher. Washington increased military benefits in late 2001 as the nation went to war, seeking to quickly bolster its talent pool and expand its ranks. Those decisions and the protracted nation-building efforts launched in both countries will generate expenses for years to come, Linda J. Bilmes, a public policy professor, wrote in the report that was released Thursday.
August 21, 2013 |
A military judge on Wednesday sentenced Pfc. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison, bringing to a close the government's determined pursuit of the Army intelligence analyst who leaked the largest cache of classified documents in U.S. history. The long prison term is likely to hearten national security officials who have been rattled by the subsequent leaks from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. Manning's conviction might also encourage the government to bring charges against the man who was instrumental in the publication of the documents, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.
September 28, 2013 |
Four years into an economic recovery in which most of the benefits have flowed to the top earners, a majority believe that the American Dream is becoming markedly more elusive, according to the results of a Washington Post-Miller Center Poll exploring Americans' changing definition of success and their confidence in the country's future. Although most Americans still think hard work and education breed opportunity, their faith in a brighter tomorrow has been eroded by intensifying struggles on the job and at home that have led some to conclude that the United States has emerged from the Great Recession a fundamentally changed nation.
August 20, 2013 |
The body needs fuel to perform. But what fuel? And when? These are the questions many of us ask ourselves as we get ready for a long run or finish up an hour in the weight room. "You wouldn't expect your car to run on an empty tank, right? Same thing with your body. If you want to perform well, you have to fuel well," says Mansur Mendizabal, a D.C.-based fitness trainer and owner of www.mansurtraining. com . This means giving your body the carbohydrates and protein it needs. Pre-workout Early-morning workouts present challenges beyond just dragging yourself out of bed. If you have less than an hour before your workout, you will have to eat something that is easily digestible and high in carbohydrates.
July 15, 2013 |
I used the pill for a decade before I began having children in my early 30s. It seemed like a foolproof method of birth control. After having two children fairly close together, I felt that my family was complete. So imagine my surprise when I turned up pregnant in the spring of 2011 — while on the pill. After some panicked Googling, I thought I had found the culprit: A few weeks earlier, I'd come down with strep, and the family doctor had prescribed an antibiotic. I had taken the antibiotic with no thought whatsoever about birth control.
June 30, 2009 |
Rarely since Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper crashed and died more or less simultaneously in an Iowa cornfield on Feb. 3, 1959, has the Celebrity Death Rule of Three fulfilled itself with such swift efficacy. That's the old rule that celebrities die in threes. Between Ed McMahon's passing on June 23 and Michael Jackson's death on June 25, less than three days elapsed. Farrah Fawcett also died on the 25th. Even in the face of such powerful evidence for the triplicity of bold-face morbidity, skeptics denied it. They blogged with learned-sounding certainty about how celebrity deaths, like all human demises, occur with random frequency.
April 1, 2013 |
Late last week, many colleges and universities released their last rounds of admissions decisions. At many of the country's most exclusive schools, acceptance rates again declined, although often by just a smidgen. And in addition to the thousands of students accepted — and the many, many more rejected — there are also thousands of students now sitting on waiting lists. This time of year it's important to remember that when it comes to receiving a quality undergraduate education, it often matters more what you do in college than where you go. As admissions officials have said over and over again — often in a calming and soothing voice when talking to a heartbroken and rejected student — success can be found at any number of schools.
February 24, 2013 |
Who knew that John Tyler had so many fans? I heard from several of them after my column last Monday about a new book from the Smithsonian on presidential trivia . These Tyleristas did not take kindly to my assertion that Tyler was a traitor — or, as the Smithsonian puts it, that he was "the only president to commit a public act of treason against the U.S. government. " Here's what appears on Page 180 of "The Smithsonian Book of Presidential History": "As president in the early 1840s, Tyler, who was a native Virginian, supported many policies his party did not — states rights and slavery, to name two. Sixteen years after leaving office, when Civil War seemed inevitable, Tyler chaired a peace conference between representatives from the North and South with the goal of keeping the Union intact.
June 28, 2013 |
There is a feast of good books about South Africa and by South Africans, from novels by Nadine Gordimer and Zakes Mda to histories by Leonard Thompson and Noel Mostert to Charles van Onselen's studies of the country's late-19th-century gold rush, which helped shapemodern South Africa. Among books about Nelson Mandela and his legacy, here are five top choices: Mandela: The Authorized Biography , by Anthony Sampson (2000). A reader should take any authorized biography with a pinch of skepticism, especially one written when the subject is still alive.