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Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Legislative chaos and dysfunction still grip the U.S. Congress even though Republicans promised effective governance after taking control of both houses of the legislature. The battle over funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) tells the tale.
The Middle East is burning. Jet fighters from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt have attacked numerous Islamic State (IS) movement targets in Syria, Iraq and Libya, mainly in response to the sadistic killing of a captured Jordanian pilot, Moaz al-Kasasbeh.
As “Jihadi John,” he was a terrifying figure, his identity concealed by a black mask, his threatening tone backed up by his oversize, serrated knife and his willingness to use it in the name of Islamic State and its self-declared caliphate.
For U.S. President Barack Obama, it will be a week to invoke America's civil rights struggles from past to present.
Monday, March 2, 2015
Run for the hills
It's a difficult thing, finding your way through a jungle at night. Harder still to distinguish between diverging paths when you have no idea where you're going or how to get there. Surrounded in three dimensions by mud and foliage, there's little hope for those unfamiliar with the terrain. So, it's really no surprise that, on the dark side of a densely forested mountain on the outskirts of Taipei, I wound up hopelessly turned around even as I became further and further separated from my companions.
Japan is lacking in far-sighted diplomats. One really prescient diplomat was Baron Kijuro Shidehara, 44th prime minister. Despite growing Japanese militarism, he attempted to maintain a non-interventionist policy toward China and uphold the principles of the League of Nations.
A friend recently wondered if she should stop taking flights at night because they were not as safe as those during the day. This statement prompted a debate and the question was eventually put forward to me. My initial guess was that it shouldn't make a difference given that most modern planes effectively fly themselves.
Satire, which was pushed to the fore following the Charlie Hebdo affair in January, is an irreverent art form that intends to shock, provoke and offend, aiming to elicit a change in perspective through sometimes taboo representations.
Sunday, March 1, 2015
There is progress in the long-term struggle to achieve a nuclear agreement with Iran. Reliable reports indicate the United States and Iran have moved toward compromise.
Jewish House Democrats personally offered Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a chance to lower the political temperature after he accepted a Republican invitation to speak to Congress next week on Iran — a less provocative, closed-door session.
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
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