Why America Works

Jim Jaffe

It is true that Congress enacts few new laws, but a census of legislation action is hardly a measure of government efficacy.  It may merely indicate that we’re talking a pause as we try to come up with a majoritarian position on a number of complex issues ranging from immigration to climate change.  There’s no glory in acting quickly but imprudently, and the main lesson of Obamacare is that making big changes with the slimmest of majorities throws sand in the gears until  we reach an equilibrium point where a substantial majority of voters agree with the outcome.

El Greco in New York: The Met’s 400th Anniversary Celebration

Sandra Bertrand

The Met’s own collection of El Greco’s religious paintings, portraits, and the incomparable rare landscape of the artist’s, The View of Toledo, is the finest outside of the Prado’s in Madrid.  Added to this, the generous loans of six other works from the Hispanic Society of America make this a special treat for the viewer. (Concurrently, three El Greco pictures which cannot be removed, are on view at The Frick Collection.) The comprehensive display can be seen in one room and if at first, it may not seem expansive enough for the jaded gallery-hopper, it is truly an embarrassment of riches.  

Missouri Puts National Guard on Alert Ahead of Ferguson Grand Jury Announcement

Washington Informer

Gov. Jay Nixon signed an executive order Monday activating the Missouri National Guard to support law enforcement during any period of unrest that might occur following the grand jury’s decision concerning the investigation into the death of Michael Brown. The Governor said the Guard will provide support for law enforcement’s objectives of maintaining safety and protecting constitutional rights.

America’s Middle Class Struggles to Preserve Retirement Security

Pamela Yip

“Half of today’s working-age households are unlikely to have enough resources to maintain their standard of living once they retire,” according to the National Retirement Risk Index, compiled by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research. That conclusion is based on very conservative assumptions, according to the index, which measures the share of working-age American households at risk of being unable to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living in retirement.

’22 Jump Street,’ ‘If I Stay’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

When “21 Jump Street” hit theaters in 2012 it was a delightful surprise. The film – a comedic, big-screen re-imagining of the 1980s and early ’90s television series – was witty, unexpected and creative. It also marked the pleasant introduction of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as a comedy duo. With “22 Jump Street,” returning directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller continue the fun, producing a movie with a likable plot.

China and the U.S. Announce New Climate Goals

John H. Cushman, Jr.

The United States and China announced new goals for reducing their global warming pollution in the coming decades, with the U.S. ramping up its rate of decarbonization in five to 10 years and China promising that its carbon emissions will peak in the next 15 years. The announcements, which came at a multinational summit in Beijing Tuesday, made clear for the first time the commitments that the two biggest sources of greenhouse gases will make as part of the urgent United Nations negotiations. 

A Tale of Death and Texting in Matt Richtel’s ‘A Deadly Wandering’

Lee Polevoi

A Deadly Wandering tells the story of Reggie Shaw, a Utah college student whose Chevy Tahoe veered into another lane one night in 2006 and clipped a car carrying two rocket scientists, which then collided head-on with a truck, killing the two men. Shaw was texting a friend at the time of the accident. Richtel casts a wide net in the telling of this story, including a cast of characters that ranges from the scientists’ widows and children to lawmakers, prosecutors, neuroscientists and one tireless victim’s advocate. 

Bob Dylan and the Holy Grail: Basement Tapes Officially Released After 47 Years

Benjamin Wright

While recovering from the crash, Dylan spent some time in Woodstock, New York, joined soon after by other members of his band, the Hawks – Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson – the group who would soon become well-known simply as “The Band.” In those months of his absence from the public view Dylan and the Band recorded over 100 tracks in houses in and around Woodstock.

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