Tuesday September 02, 2014
May 18th, 2014
An essay in Vanity Fair last week taught us more about Monica Lewinsky than we had learned since Ken Starr wrote his sordid x-rated report in 1998.
The print journalism world has been shaken by the firing in no uncertain terms of Jill Abramson, the first female executive editor of the New York Times. The reaction has created as much buzz within the newspaper craft as the resignation little more than a year ago of Pope Benedict XVI.
Are words going out of style? At a time when the public's hunger for news reaches new heights, it is startling to hear the new word-count limits that Reuters and the Associated Press have imposed on their reporters.
Recently two research teams, working independently and using different methods, reached an alarming conclusion: The West Antarctic ice sheet is doomed. The sheet's slide into the ocean, and the resulting sharp rise in sea levels, will probably happen slowly. But it's irreversible. Even if we took drastic action to limit global warming right now, this particular process of environmental change has reached a point of no return.
In 2006, shortly after being elected to Congress - indeed, as he recalls it, before he had even taken his oath of office - John Sarbanes was approached by several Washington lobbyists. "They offered to do a fundraiser for me," he said. "I thought, 'I don't want to start down this road.'" So he put the lobbyists off.
The American economy has gone through some tough times lately. But, happily, we still lead the world in the production of corn, soybeans, beef, cheese and stories about Hillary Clinton.
The word "crisis" pops up frequently in "Ivory Tower," a compelling new documentary about the state of higher education in America.
It pops up in regard to the mountains of student debt. It pops up in regard to the steep drop in government funding for public universities, which have been forced to charge higher and higher tuition in response. That price increase is also a "crisis" in the estimation of one of many alarmed educators and experts on camera.
There has been much mockery of political correctness run amok on college campuses this spring, with knots of know-it-all students and teachers knifing their commencement speakers.
The Times' Timothy Egan dubbed the protesters "commencement bigots," and The Wall Street Journal's Daniel Henninger christened the trend the "Bonfire of the Humanities" - a "ritualistic burning of college-commencement heretics."
As long as I live, I'll never forget the rickshaw driver, tears streaming down his cheeks, rushing a gravely injured student to a hospital - and away from the soldiers who had just gunned him down.
That rickshaw driver was a brave man, a better man than I, and he taught me an indelible lesson.