Having once served a president, I don't begrudge any president a vacation.
ST. FRANCISVILLE, La. -- I've met some brave people in my life: survivors of war, politics, natural disasters -- and one heroic woman in the Mississippi Delta who lived most of her life in an iron lung. I'm not sure I've ever met anyone braver than the beautiful and elegant Anne Butler of this enchanting Louisiana river town.
A truism: Almost nobody looks good in his booking photo. That said, the 47th governor of Texas, one James Richard Perry, certainly gave it his best shot when he faced the camera at the Travis County Courthouse last week. The resultant image is ... not terrible. Perry is caught somewhere between a tight smile and an outright grimace, his mien taut with confidence and seriousness of purpose.
WASHINGTON -- Responding to the horrifying murder of photojournalist James Foley, Secretary of State John Kerry declared, "ISIL [the Islamic State] and the wickedness it represents must be destroyed." President Obama said, "people like this ultimately fail."
What next? That's what should concern us now.
Soon the cameras, protesters, gawkers and tweeters will depart Ferguson, Missouri, leaving the question: What will be left of this embattled city when the smoke clears?
The short answer is: everything. I'm not talking about the killing of Michael Brown. A tragedy, whatever the facts.
The story of a young man's speed-hiking the 2,663-mile Pacific Crest Trail has raised some environmentalist eyebrows, albeit only slightly. He was racing from California's border with Mexico to Washington state's with Canada.
I've observed many funerals over the last decade in Arlington National Cemetery's Section 60, where war dead from Iraq and Afghanistan are buried.
NEAR PORT GIBSON -- You can waste a lot of time trying to get others to appreciate what you see in certain people, certain places. If the beauty is less than obvious, and more of the haunting variety, it's often a fool's pastime even to try.
Looks like police in Ferguson, Missouri, took it upon themselves to suspend the First Amendment Wednesday night. It seems two reporters, Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post and Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post, were working at a McDonald's, which has been used as a staging ground by reporters covering the ongoing unrest following the Aug. 9 police shooting of an unarmed African-American man.
A riot can be many things.
When the news rippled out on Monday that Robin Williams had committed suicide, even I thought -- for a moment -- "but he had everything." As if suicide is a "choice."
New York's mayor, Bill de Blasio, like so many others who call themselves "progressive," is gung-ho to solve social problems. In fact, he is currently on a crusade to solve an educational problem that doesn't exist, even though there are plenty of other educational problems that definitely do exist.
WASHINGTON -- If the CIA spends half as much energy finding terrorists as it has spent fighting Congress, we should feel very safe. The spooks, taking a break from the mundane work of protecting the nation, have lately been turning their spycraft against the lawmakers who are supposed to be overseeing them. The not-so-secret mission: To block the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on tortu--, uh, enhanced interrogation methods.
GREENVILLE -- The skinny teenager holds his telephone in one hand and uses the other to hitch up low-riding jeans. "I want to tell you right," he insists. I had asked directions. We are only blocks from my intended location, he knows the place, but an opportunity to strut out a phone's high-tech features should not be wasted.
That is how one unnamed official described the military option in Iraq, last Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Of course, the war in Iraq is supposed to be over. It was called "Operation Iraqi Freedom" until its name was changed in 2010 to "Operation New Dawn." It ended in December of 2011, in its eighth year, with the American death toll standing just shy of 5,000.
As dawn creeps over New York's Jamaica Bay, flocks of wide-bodied red-eyes -- overnight flights from the West Coast -- land at JFK International Airport. The minute the wheels touch, cellphones click into action.
"...but we tortured some folks." -- President Barack Obama, Aug.1, 2014
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