WASHINGTON — Amid all the dark news from Afghanistan, every now and then a sliver of light slips through the cracks.
Afghanistan, it turns out, is rich in minerals. Trillions rich. It’s going to become the Saudi Arabia of lithium, they say. Thanks to vast stores of that resource, plus iron, copper, cobalt and gold, this impoverished, war-torn nation could become a wealthy nation.
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon doesn’t want it. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says it’s unnecessary. Former President George W. Bush was against it, as is Barack Obama, who has threatened to veto a defense authorization bill that includes it.
So why have so many House leaders voted for a $485 million “earmark” for General Electric and Rolls-Royce for continued development of an alternate engine for a military jet, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter?
WASHINGTON — When a long-ago South Carolina legislator described his state as “too small to be a republic and too large to be an insane asylum,” he might have added, “but just perfect for a bordello!”
What’s with all these kissy-boys spilling the beans on their paramours? Whither chivalry? Whither, alas, manliness?
The women in these romantic imbroglios are steel magnolias to the weeping willows of their undoubtedly regrettable (and perhaps forgettable) dalliances.
WASHINGTON — The magnificent author and son of the Great Santini, Pat Conroy, began “The Prince of Tides” with these words: “My wound is geography. It is also my anchorage, my port of call.”
Those 13 words imprinted on my brain when I first read them years ago and have stuck with me. Somewhat oddly, they came to mind a few days ago upon the nomination of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court.
WASHINGTON — When Bill Clinton said in 1992 that he wanted to make abortion safe, legal and rare, many Americans applauded. Even if one dismisses this as rhetoric, it is a sentiment shared by the large middle and provides nearly everyone a thread of hope.
But how does one get to “rare” in a sexualized world where choice is a sacrament? The only plausible answer is through education, but of what should that education consist? Most everybody older than 10 knows how to apply a condom these days. And moral education — the kind that might suggest remorse over the ending of a life — is frowned upon.
WASHINGTON — As thousands prayed across the nation Thursday in celebration of National Day of Prayer, the Rev. Franklin Graham held his own vigil in the Pentagon parking lot.
Oh well, it doesn’t matter where one prays, right? All prayers lead to heaven. Or do they?
Not if you’re Graham, who lost his place at the Pentagon altar after he mocked other religions, specifically Muslims and Hindus. A plea to President Obama to reinstate him apparently fell on pitiless ears.
WASHINGTON — Once you’ve gone viral, there’s no turning back.
That’s the hard lesson for a Seattle cartoonist who sketched some doodles and unwittingly launched a movement.
Molly Norris, a reluctant phenomenon, wants to return to her quiet artist’s life, the one she lived largely unnoticed until she drew the Prophet Muhammad — as a spool of thread, a box of pasta, a cup of coffee, a domino, a cherry and a doggie purse.
WASHINGTON — The upcoming 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 people in the nation’s worst act of terrorism before 9/11, has prompted renewed concerns about growing anti-government sentiment.
Is the political environment becoming so toxic that we could see another Timothy McVeigh emerge?
WASHINGTON — One of President Obama’s consistent education themes has been the wish that every child cross paths with that one teacher who hits the light switch and changes one’s life.
Each time he expresses some iteration of that thought, I suspect thousands or millions think briefly of the person who held that distinction in their life. The light master. Or, in my case, the one who extended an imaginary sprig of verbena and, holding it to his nose, inhaled deeply in a gesture of solidarity with William Faulkner.
WASHINGTON — Paging Dr. Khalilzad.
That is, Zalmay Khalilzad, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and now a wandering consultant on all things Afghan and Middle Eastern. Might we impose on him one more time?
Khalilzad is not a real physician, but to the extent that he has apparent healing powers, he is a doctor of diplomacy. He came to mind unavoidably in recent days, as Afghan President Hamid Karzai seemed to be sporting a lighted fuse from the top of his jaunty Persian lamb cap.
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NEW YORK — This is doubtless heretical, but I’ll say it: I can wait to find out who the Republican presidential candidates will be.
To be clear, I said “can,” not “can’t.”
Let’s go further: I don’t care who they’ll be. At least not yet.