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The U.S. and the art of empty electioneering

I’ve lived in the United States for 10 years now — and would like to stay if it will have me. But even in this nation of immigrants I’ve come to see that I’ll always feel like a foreigner. I feel especially foreign during presidential election campaigns. Unfortunately, that means all the time.

STEPHEN CARTER: Obama’s Orwellian language on drone strikes

There is an eerie Orwellian cost to the Obama administration’s refusal to use the term “War on Terror” to describe its … war on terror. In his briefing after the White House’s admission that two hostages — one American, one Italian — were killed in a U.S. “operation,” press secretary Josh Earnest struggled mightily to avoid the word “war” to describe exactly what the U.S.is up to. Finally he gave in and stated that under the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, the nation is “at war” with al-Qaida.

LETTER: With great freedom comes great responsibility

The American people are a good and just people of good conscience. Their convictions are not hollow offerings made only for social pretension. We enjoy a standard of living that allows us time to contemplate and enjoy all the cultural niceties and, by law, we cannot be persecuted for worshiping the way we like, but such privilege does come without responsibility. Our salient decadence is bound to elicit deep resentment and jealousy in less prosperous nations. Historically most of the major wars in human history were catalyzed by simple petty emotions. Discontented nations can be easily mobilized to make war on prosperous nations.

REMINISCENT: A Shaggy Dog story

I grew up in Brinker, Texas, U.S.A., the Hub of the Universe, east of Sulphur Springs in Hopkins County, a community that had more characters per square mile than any other place in the world. Practical jokes abounded, and my dad’s stories of his growing up in Brinker kept us in tears of laughter. It was only after I was grown that I realized he was probably chief among the characters when he was at his prime. This is the story of one of his best pranks.

LARRY PHILLIPS: Grad requirements, fee changes among bills passed by Texas House

It has been reported that tens of thousands of students will not graduate from high school this year because of the failure to pass an end-of-course test, including many cases in which a student has completed all other required coursework. A high school diploma makes it much easier for a student to attend college, join the military, and qualify for jobs.

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VIVEK WADHWA: The coming problem of smartphones being more intelligent than us

PALO ALTO, Calif. — Ray Kurzweil made a startling prediction in 1999 that appears to be coming true: that by 2023 a $1,000 laptop would have the computing power and storage capacity of a human brain. He also predicted that Moore’s Law, which postulates that the processing capability of a computer doubles every 18 months, would apply for 60 years — until 2025 — giving way then to new paradigms of technological change.

STEPHEN STROMBERG: ACA polling shows Americans still lukewarm on ‘Obamacare’

The Kaiser Family Foundation released a poll Tuesday showing that public opinion is divided on the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.” Forty-three percent of respondents reported that they approve of the health-care law, and 42 percent said they disapprove. That’s a marked improvement from much of the last year. But those of us who believe that the ACA is decent policy that’s working fairly well still need to ask: Why do its polling numbers remain so low?