Invent a new communications technology recently? If so, beware: the U.S. government may require you to build it in a way that will enable federal agents to eavesdrop by court order. Otherwise, the New York Times’s Charlie Savage reports, you’ll end up paying a court-ordered fine.
President Barack Obama’s renewed request to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, confirms what the detainees have already shown with their hunger strike: Permanent detention at the U.S. naval station isn’t viable as a matter of practicality or conscience.
My experience of Blackhawk helicopters was restricted to Iraq -- until this morning, when I heard them flying low over the quiet, leafy Cambridge, Massachusetts, neighborhood where I’ve lived for most of my 42 years.
Can U.S. courts sit in judgment of foreigners who commit genocide or torture against foreigners abroad? From 1980 until now, the answer was yes, provided the human-rights violator set foot on U.S. soil or had substantial American contacts. But the Supreme Court, in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, has all but closed the doors to international human-rights litigation in our courts. And in a perverse twist, it relied on principles of international law to do so.
Katy Perry may have been banned from China’s music websites, but her “Teenage Dream” now has its Asian counterpart. Newly confirmed in office, President Xi Jinping, has chosen “Chinese Dream” as his signature phrase to describe the direction of his administration.
A decade ago, Beijing seemed like a cyclist’s paradise. True, there were no dedicated bike lanes, but that was because two-wheeled, man-powered vehicles owned the road. In what seemed like a scene from an environmentalist’s (slightly socialist) fantasy, scores of bikers would wait patiently for the light to change, then embark en masse for their destinations. By contrast, biking around my hometown of Boston seemed faintly crazy -- an invitation to being sideswiped by one of our famously considerate drivers.
Rarely in U.S. history has the end of a war been marked with less fanfare than the withdrawal of the last troops from Iraq in time for Christmas. Indeed, you could almost be forgiven for failing to notice it at all, so arbitrary does the timing seem.
At least since Julius Caesar came back from Gaul and made himself emperor, generals who overthrow the government have followed the same script: They take power only to make the country safe for rule by the people. Then they usually find a way to maintain their influence, even if they allow elections.
Conventional wisdom formed quickly this week after oral arguments in the two same-sex marriage cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. The gist is that the court would duck the fundamental question of whether the Constitution guarantees everyone the right to marry -- implied in the California Proposition 8 case -- and strike down the Federal Defense of Marriage Act on the limited ground that it interferes with states’ rights.