I glanced at the map display on my side of the passenger jet's instrument panel. A small blue circle within 100 miles of the magenta line that defined our course identified the airport in Gander, Newfoundland. This would be our best alternate if our medical problem became an emergency.
The pronouncement by the Roman Catholic Church at its extraordinary synod that "homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community" has left many pondering if this is a turning point for the LGBTI debate.
As the story goes, in 2010 there was a dramatic political course correction. The electorate that just two years earlier had overwhelmingly voted for hope and change, sweeping Democrats into office, up and down the ballot, across the country, had buyers' remorse.
ISIS is looking to take over a good chunk of the Middle East -- if not the entire Muslim world. At least, that's the message the terrorist movement is sending in its English online magazine, Dabiq.
President Obama's poll numbers have hit a new low and he's under fire for everything from the rise of ISIS to the response to the Ebola threat. So it may seem surprising to many readers that the Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman -- who has been one of the president's strongest critics from the left -- has written a cover story for Rolling Stone entitled "In Defense of Obama."
It began as an attempt to shut up one woman -- a video-game developer who had criticized the entrenched sexism and misogyny in her industry -- by "slut-shaming" her and then threatening her.
Conservatives can't bash and slash government and then suddenly act surprised if government isn't there when we need it. After all, anti-government rhetoric and anti-tax austerity have real-life consequences -- consequences playing out at this very moment in the public health response to Ebola.
When you hear "trick or treat" this year, think "nudge."
The announcement by senior Nigerian military and government officials that an agreement has been reached with Boko Haram for the release of more than 200 kidnapped Chibok girls is welcome, although it has understandably been greeted with considerable caution. And news that a ceasefire has also been agreed, and that further negotiations will take place, is another positive development.
The world's response to Ebola is its own sort of tragedy.
Russia's policies on foreign adoptions made headlines when the government announced it would no longer allow Americans to adopt Russian children. But hidden away in Russian orphanages are thousands of children with disabilities who aren't orphans, whose harmful treatment has long been hidden from public view -- even from most Russians.
It is a question that the global community is seeking to understand as the crisis in Iraq and Syria deepens. How can such a numerically small force as ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State, have taken control of vast swathes of Syria and Iraq, and how can it hold the ground taken while simultaneously conducting multiple offensive actions in both countries?
More than a quarter-million American women served honorably in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. These brave women sacrificed much to keep us safe. Now that they are home, or soon to be home, our country has a solemn obligation to help them transition back to civilian life.
The website for London law firm Doughty Street Chambers crashed Tuesday after reports emerged that human rights attorney Amal Alamuddin, who married George Clooney in late September, had changed her name to Amal Clooney, as seen on her professional profile page. Everyone had to see for themselves -- and, predictably, throw up their collective arms in response.
Of the two of us, Linda is the fan of professional football. And every football fan realizes football games are extremely violent. We are both also feminists. And every feminist knows the women's movement denounces all forms of violence. For a woman who is a football fan, this can be hard to reconcile.
Once more, as I often do, I find myself wishing for the late, great Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. It was he who said, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." But it was Florida Gov. Rick Scott who brought Thompson's maxim to life Wednesday. In fact, Gov. Scott brought it to the stage of a televised debate.
How big a threat do foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq pose to the West? It's a question that has been much on the mind of policymakers and commentators, especially since U.S. President Barack Obama announced the United States was ramping up its military role in the region. Will such fighters return with dangerous new skills and experience that they are determined to use against their home country? Or is the potential threat by these fighters overhyped?
This week Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stepped up to the microphone and took responsibility for the worst mistake in Dallas' Ebola-stricken hospital: its utter lack of preparedness.
The midterm elections are less than three weeks away, but by several measures, Democrats have already won.
At some 7 billion people, the world can sometimes seem like a crowded place. But if the latest estimates are to be believed, then in less than a century it is going to feel even more so -- about 50% more crowded, in fact. Such dizzying numbers understandably raise an important question, one that we have been wrestling with at least since Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Can the world's supply of food continue to meet demand?
Many Americans might feel reassured when Tom Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, says the battle against Ebola in the United States is being waged effectively. His bedside manner is impeccable and his calm confident demeanor inspiring. Yet many might also wonder how the Ebola virus entered the United States and appeared in Dallas under his watch in the first place.
Today's world is more interconnected than ever, making the transmission of communicable diseases that originate abroad easier to reach our shores. And the ongoing Ebola outbreak is simply the latest unsettling reminder that all the benefits of an interconnected world also come with significant risks that must be addressed and mitigated.
Nurses are the unsung heroes of the Ebola outbreak. Yet, there are troubling signs we're failing them.
Right now, two-thirds of Americans are suffering from "Fear-bola," according to a new Washington Post poll. It's a hyper-contagious disease that affects the brain, making sufferers fear a widespread Ebola outbreak in the United States.
With Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry set to meet in Vienna and the November 24 deadline to the P5+1 and Iran nuclear talks in sight, the White House's ability to provide Iran with significant sanctions relief early in a nuclear deal remains unclear. At the same time, any perceived failure by the U.S. to deliver could complicate, if not poison, what will already be a tenuous post-deal period.
Elections such as the one approaching in November tend to focus Americans on our differences. We intensely debate competing visions for the future of our country. We listen to a variety of candidates try to persuade us to vote for them. And we watch as intricate coalitions become majorities.
Through sweat, toil and sacrifice, you built your business into a success. Things are looking good. But suddenly, a horrific terrorist group emerges that calls itself the same name as your company.
Some revolutions happen in a single day; others over decades. The rise of the voluntarily single woman has been happening in Western societies slowly, over time, concomitant with well-paying jobs, legal protection from economic or physical abuse, reliable birth control and the possibility of fulfilling careers and adventures.
Democratic candidates who run from President Obama in red states where he is unpopular are making a big mistake. Their holding Obama at arm's length deprives voters of a clear choice at the ballot box.
When people watch the cold-blooded beheading of a western journalist on TV they react emotionally. They want revenge. So do I. But I have come to understand that is not the best way to go about tackling terrorist groups. History suggests you need a coolly thought-out strategy if you want to "degrade and ultimately destroy" ISIS as U.S. President Barack Obama put it, rather than a knee-jerk reaction.
I had drinks not long ago with a woman I know. Let's call her Claire.
Which state has given us B.B. King, Jimmy Buffett, Sam Cooke, Faith Hill, Britney Spears and Elvis Presley?
It's time to deal with another scandal involving the Secret Service ? one that leads directly into the White House.
Just when you thought it was impossible for ISIS to become any more contemptible, the group in its latest publication boasts of its success in bringing the return of slavery. More specifically, it announced and provided elaborate justification for the enslavement of women.
The Catholic church can't have it both ways on gay rights.
The death of Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan, who succumbed to Ebola in a Dallas hospital, is of course tragic. But the extraordinarily poor way his case appears to have been handled may also inadvertently have done the United States an enormous service -- not just in shining a light on the threat posed by this virus but also by revealing the profound problems both in our health care delivery system and the public health programs supposed to help prevent outbreaks, track contacts and control the spread of disease.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering how to best regulate electronic cigarettes as tobacco products. While some regulation is needed, the current proposal entails a huge paperwork burden that will create a barrier to entry into the market for all but the biggest players -- namely, Big Tobacco.
In American business great CEOs embody their companies. They persuasively connect their companies' brands to the emotions, desires, aspirations and, yes, the fears and challenges of consumers -- men and women alike. Jack Welch of General Electric, Roger Enrico of PepsiCo, Howard Schultz of Starbucks, Steve Jobs of Apple all come to mind.
I am a Muslim, but I wasn't always. I converted to Islam in November 2001, two months after 9/11.
Over the past two years, 12 Americans have been charged with supporting militant groups fighting in Syria or have died while fighting with such groups.
My heart goes out to Brittany Maynard, who is dying of brain cancer and who wrote last week about her desire for what is often referred to as "death with dignity."
In 2003, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. At that time, 60% of Americans opposed the idea and the move provoked an immediate backlash. In the next year, 12 states passed constitutional amendments outlawing same-sex marriage. Eventually 30 states, including traditionally liberal California, passed such measures.
While America faces many big issues -- unrest in the Middle East, the effects of climate change, uneven economic growth, growing income inequality, a costly and less than optimal health care system and more -- the contest to control the House and Senate does not really seem to be turning into a defining struggle over the national agenda.
On Friday, the Sayreville High School football team was supposed to host a rival team in a homecoming game. But instead of taking the field, seven Sayreville, New Jersey, players were taken into custody, arrested and charged in flagrant sexual assaults on younger players. Many have referred to the incident as pervasive locker room "hazing."
The publication this week of memoirs by Leon Panetta has stirred up a sharp controversy in the press, but as so often happens these days in Washington, the focus seems to be on the sensational rather than the important.
Historically in the United States, communities of color and the police have maintained strained relationships. The death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has stirred up dormant, yet strong emotions.
By now, everyone knows who Malala Yousafzai is. But most people had never heard of the heroic and highly effective work of her fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner, Kailash Satyarthi. By awarding the prize jointly to both of them, the Nobel Committee made an inspired choice.
What is going on inside the heads of those nine Supreme Court justices? This week's legal drama around same-sex marriage makes me worry that they're all thinking more about politics than doing right by the Constitution.
In October 2013, my daughter came home from school excited about Christopher Columbus. He had come to visit her class! During his visit, he told the children that he had figured out the world was round and then bravely led his crew to discover America. Then they all made telescopes.
North Korea's dictator is still missing. Kim Jong Un has not been seen in public since early September, and on Friday he missed the symbolically important anniversary of the Korean Workers' Party.
No one who works full-time -- in this, one of the wealthiest nations on Earth -- should have to raise a family in poverty. That is the fundamental principle behind our work to increase the national minimum wage. And today, on 10/10, National Minimum Wage Day, we are saying louder than ever that hard work should be rewarded with fair pay of at least $10.10 per hour.
You have to love Malala.
On World Mental Health Day, around the globe many of us, perhaps hundreds of thousands or even millions, will be raising awareness of mental health issues to challenge outdated views, and to put an end to life-limiting, and sometimes life-threatening, stigma and discrimination that's still attached to having a mental health problem in so many countries and communities.
Much has been written about the many failures the ongoing Ebola crisis in West Africa represents: from the genuine lack of access to basic health care in many developing countries to the fact that the front line first response has largely fallen upon the brave volunteers of the nongovernmental sector.
The tragedy of Ebola is not just its staggering toll. It's also the implicit racism that the deadly virus has spawned. The anecdotes are sickening, particularly a Reuters report this week that children of African immigrants in Dallas -- little ones with no connection to Thomas Duncan, the Liberian Ebola patient who died Wednesday in a local hospital -- have been branded "Ebola kids" simply because of their heritage or skin color.
Ebola is now a big enough concern that the American people deserve some straight answers. And judging from the latest polling, plenty of people will be listening to what they are.
If they're going to pull out a victory in the midterm elections, Republicans need to win over women. But they're doing everything in their power to alienate them, from pushing extreme anti-abortion measures that even most Republican voters oppose to blocking equal-pay legislation to, well, just opening their mouths. A leading Republican congressional candidate in Georgia recently said, sure, a woman can run for office if she is "within the authority of her husband."
Speculation has been rampant over what exactly has happened to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. After all, Kim hasn't been seen in public in over a month, and the country's media took the unusual step of admitting that Kim is in an "uncomfortable physical condition." Some commentators believe this suggests Kim might be more seriously ill than the country is letting on. But others have speculated something more dramatic might have occurred -- namely a coup.
In many parts of the world, being born a girl means being born without rights.
"Where your treasure is, there is your heart also." So goes one biblical quote that could be applied to the United States' intervention in Syria.
I get it. Raven-Symone doesn't like labels. But she is wrong to run away from her blackness, seemingly hoping that no one acknowledges her beautiful brown skin and the history written all over her face.
I once took care of an 84-year-old woman with end-stage heart failure who told me she couldn't bear feeling short of breath any longer and pleaded with me to help her die. "Is November 15 a good day for you?" she asked.
The story of Ahmad al-Shayea is the story of all that has been wrong -- and continues to be wrong -- with the United States and our allies' campaign against Islamist extremism.
Between Mike Rowe's television work and his philanthropic efforts with the Mike Rowe Works Foundation, Rowe holds true to one central passion: tipping his hat to those who work hard without much fanfare.
The world has been watching events unfold in Hong Kong in recent weeks, after tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters took to the streets to occupy key locations in the heart of this financial hub.
As the November 24 deadline for a deal over Iran's nuclear program approaches, Washington seems fixated on the technical details of what an agreement should look like: the types of centrifuges Iran might be able to keep, for example, or the level of low-enriched uranium it could stockpile. But as important as these discussions are, the focus on mechanics risks missing a bigger and arguably more important reality: that the negotiations are central to the future of Iran's political system.
Despite facing a punishing air bombing campaign, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria continues to march across Syria. This week, it tightened its siege on the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani. Though it is too soon to write off the American strategy to "degrade and ultimately destroy" ISIS by relying on air power and Syrian rebels, the opening week was a box office flop.
On New Year's Day, after months of suffering from debilitating headaches, I learned that I had brain cancer.
Bill Maher, the man famous for hating religion, is now becoming infamous for hating one religion in particular: Islam.
Turkey is in a tough spot. It has ISIS militants threatening the Syrian border town of Kobani, inching ever closer to confronting Turkish security forces. In addition thousands of Syrian Kurds, fleeing ISIS attacks, have massed along its border, adding further to Ankara's troubles.
If our children's children should die from Ebola here in the United States, President Obama would be to blame.
As we well know, ISIS is recruiting angry young men as far afield as Minneapolis and London. The allure is much like the allure of a street gang -- in part, because ISIS looks an awful lot like a street gang.
The year 2012 was a historic one for Saudi Arabia. It was the first time two women from the country competed at an Olympic Games. A month earlier, ten Saudi women climbed to Mount Everest base camp, headed by Princess Reema Bandar to raise awareness of breast cancer and to promote physical activity.
Hong Kong's pro-democracy demonstrations have been front-page fodder this past week in international media, which have painted the story as a David-and-Goliath struggle between local Hong Kongers and a powerful but distant authoritarian master in Beijing.
Any baseball fan who has been alive in the last decade is familiar with a truism: "That's just Manny being Manny."
I know from experience how the lack of tangible evidence gnaws at an accident investigator. Eventually, the passion driving efforts to find answers is replaced with a feeling of futility and hopelessness. For the investigator in charge, valuable time that could be spent on the search and investigation will be spent justifying the cost of the search to the bureaucracy. But as the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 resumes after a four-month hiatus, investigators must realize the question here is not how much it will cost to find the airplane and determine the cause to ensure it won't happen again. Instead, the question should be this: How much will it cost if they don't?
A vintage car collection, exotic birds and a gaudy palace; former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych was seemingly living the high life even as his country's economy stalled. Now, as economic growth goes into reverse, Ukraine is in desperate need of financial help. The question is whether the country's lawmakers will do what they must to persuade the world that there won't be a repeat of Yanukovych's gaudy lifestyle.
The crackdown on protesters after the police shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, highlighted that more and more, police departments possess sophisticated weapons and equipment originally designed for the battlefield. Federal anti-terrorism funding is a major driver of this trend, but once police departments have this equipment they use it -- even if it's not against terrorists.
Same-sex marriage will be the law of the land -- inevitably but not immediately.
It's no secret that the Obama administration has been routinely using the war budget as a safety valve to pay for equipment and operations that have nothing to do with fighting wars.
In a speech on October 2, 2007, then-Sen. Barack Obama pledged that if elected commander in chief, "I'll give an annual 'State of the World' address to the American people in which I lay out our national security policy."
With the news that a Liberian citizen has been diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil, the Obama administration must finally act to ensure that the disease does not spread further.
Silly girls. If you didn't show-off your lady parts, you wouldn't be as remotely prone to sexual harassment as you are now. Or worse -- rape.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren has just been handed a giant political opportunity.
Passengers on a United Airlines flight from Brussels were quarantined at New Jersey's Newark airport and later released this weekend over Ebola fears that turned out to be unwarranted. In this case and that of the Ebola patient in Dallas, government and our citizens struggle to define the parameters of the sanctioned suppression of individual liberty that is the quarantine.
The selfie pandemic -- the cultural Ebola of our networked age -- is going global. It's bad enough that we've had the selfie as the word-of-year, the selfie as a "brilliant and terrible" TV show, the smiling selfie at Auschwitz, the selfie with a suicide as its backdrop and the selfie proudly blocking Rembrandt's most masterful self-portrait.
The massive protests in Hong Kong took an ugly turn on Friday when students pressing for representative democracy clashed with opponents, prompting a breakdown of talks aimed at defusing the crisis.
The U.S. and Arab allies' campaign of airstrikes against al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is a necessary step, but airpower on its own won't be enough to ensure a military victory. To beat ISIS and extremist affiliates, the United States and its allies must work more closely with the groups that these terrorists most fear: the Free Syrian Army and Sunni Arab tribes.
Same-sex marriage has risen into the headlines again, as the U.S. Supreme Court mulls over whether or not it should weigh in on its constitutionality. But even Sen. Rand Paul, a likely contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, has suggested that it should not be a matter of federal concern. "It is a local issue and always has been," he told an interviewer in South Carolina this past week. The tide on this issue seems, quite rapidly, to have shifted.
Last week Apple announced that it is closing a serious security vulnerability in the iPhone. It used to be that the phone's encryption only protected a small amount of the data, and Apple had the ability to bypass security on the rest of it.
On the off chance you've never been to Iceland's version of the White House, here's what that's like, courtesy of Foreign Affairs deputy editor Stuart Reid:
It all comes down to this: 11 years later, the front door was unlocked.
These are tough times for idealistic revolutionaries. Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong know that taking on the Chinese government has never been an easy task. Their chance of success gets worse by the day. There are signs that this could end badly.
The U.S. health system has been preparing since late March for the news we announced Tuesday: the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States.
The first case of Ebola in the United States was diagnosed in Texas. Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention took to the airwaves to assure the public that there is no risk of widespread infection.
There's one possible upside to the saddening news that an Ebola case has been discovered in Dallas: It might catalyze the world to help stop this crisis.
Let's say you're on a job hunt and you've talked with people at two different companies.