The big puzzle is why anyone is shocked that President Bush eavesdropped on Americans. The National Security Agency for decades has routinely monitored the phone calls and telegrams of thousands of us. The rationale has always been the same, and Bush said it again in defending his spying — it was done to protect Americans from foreign threat or attack. The targets in the past have been Muslim extremists, communists, peace activists, Black radicals, civil rights leaders and drug peddlers.
Three years ago America was amazed to hear about the stories of two ordinary citizens who gave extraordinary gifts to the world: Matel Dawson and Osceola McCarty. Their stories are even memorable given the untold suffering so many faced in the year just ended. First, there was Matel Dawson Jr., a blue-collar worker at Ford Motor Co. in Detroit, who since 1939 lived in a small one-bedroom apartment in nearby Highland Park, Mich.. He was 81
There is something in the eyes of a genuine comedian, something that can't hide the intelligence, curiosity and the absolute drive to express. Sometimes it is too terrible to say outright, but with a twinkle in the eye or a quiver of the lip, or a quick gesture, the comic's depth is safely revealed.
Richard Pryor had those eyes.
What is most just and important to America's future? Health coverage for 1.6 million children or tax breaks for 289,000 of the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans?
Congress will meet in December to vote on a budget bill that will greatly hurt the poor and children, and on tax bills that will greatly benefit the wealthiest Americans.
You can hardly get through the holidays without seeing a news story about the stress that many people experience at this time of year. There's the loss of loved ones who won't be gathering around the table. Family members who are forced together even if they're not on good terms. And there's the letdown of unfulfilled expectations.