Katie CouricIn less than half a century since Newton Minnow, then the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, called television “a vast wasteland,” the wasteland has become ever more vast and vastly more inane. And I am speaking not only of shows like America’s Funniest Home Videos or Dancing With the Stars. I mean the newscasts as well. Case in point: CBS News' Katie Couric won a Walter Cronkite award for her impact on the last presidential election. But Couric is no Cronkite.

Obama CubaThe White House announced on April 13 that the Obama administration will ease U.S. restrictions on dealings with Cuba, including allowing unlimited travel and money transfers by Cuban Americans to family in Cuba. The news had been leaked earlier in the day by a senior administration official, who told news agencies such as the Associated Press and AFP on condition of anonymity, "Restrictions on the families will be lifted." A formal announcement was made at the White House in the afternoon, during presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs' daily briefing with reporters.

US Army in IraqPresident Obama is seeking another increase in war spending, this time with an $83.4 billion “supplemental” appropriations request. Whatever happened to the Obama who campaigned as a peace candidate?

Statue of LibertyThe Commentary magazine website has posted an interesting article from its March issue authored by John Bolton, who served as the U.S. Representative to the United Nations during 2005-2006. The article reviews a report published in September 2008 entitled, A Plan for Action, which carries the subtitle, “A New Era of International Cooperation for a Changed World: 2009, 2010, and Beyond.” The thesis of the report can be pretty much summed up by a sentence from its Executive Summary:  “International cooperation today must be built on the principle of responsible sovereignty, or the notion that sovereignty entails obligations and duties toward other states as well as to one’s own citizens.”

smokestacksRetreating somewhat from promises made during Barack Obama's presidential campaign, the White House announced on April 8 that the administration might agree to postpone auctioning off 100-percent of emissions allowances under a cap-and-trade system proposed to limit so-called greenhouse gas pollution. John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, told reporters that a group of cabinet-level officials is trying to establish principles to guide the climate legislation now being considered by Congress.

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