In his 1973 opus “The Gulag Archipelago,” Russian novelist and historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn relayed a story from a Soviet party conference during the rule of Joseph Stalin, noted dictator and late-night cinema enthusiast. The Communist leader had just given a rousing speech — or at least I assume it was rousing, given what happened next:
Subscribe to Local Commentary RSS feed
This is my third consecutive column about the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black youth, by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
I was born too late to encounter the colorful swindlers called “roaders,” as roving livestock merchants were called in the early decades of the 20th century. After reading about their exploits as recorded by Western writers like Elmer Kelton, I believe I missed something interesting. The traders with their strings of horses and mules made their way over the dirt roads, closely followed by clouds of dust and flies. They carried guns and lived out of wagons, cooking over open fires.
Finally, there’s news that puts the firing of Ray Rice and the death of Joan Rivers on the back page. Princess Kate is going to have a baby! A tweet from the Royal tweeter says the baby will be born in April and will be a spare to the heir of the throne, which moves some royals down a peg in the lineup for the crown. If it’s a girl, maybe she’ll look like a twee Shirley Temple, since her older brother, precious Prince George, could pass for Spanky on Little Rascals.
Just in the United States, the cosmetics industry pulls in some $70 billion a year in sales of what’s commonly called “makeup.” But lipstick, mascara, eye shadow and the like aren’t the only kind of makeup the cosmetic giants are peddling.
This November, Texas voters will elect someone new to most of the state-wide offices: The office of the governor; lieutenant governor, comptroller, agriculture commissioner, land commissioner and railroad commissioner. Over the next several weeks, I will talk about the duties and powers of each office, and how the office effects the lives of Texans.
As a grateful beneficiary of Medicare who had some major medical expenses covered by it this year, I pay attention to news about its fiscal health. There has been too much talk in Washington by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan and others about privatizing Medicare or raising the age at which older Americans can receive benefits. In contrast to these disturbing proposals, the recent news about Medicare has been good.
It’s a great premise, I’ll give them that. Executives at Fox have green-lit a new reality show, slated to hit your boob-tube Sunday night, called “Utopia.” The network is dumping 15 people onto a secluded compound and tasking them with creating a society from scratch. It’s a little bit “Survivor,” a little bit “Lord of the Flies.”