Two years have gone by since I first suggested to President Obama that he create a new Cabinet post, and appoint distinguished fiction writer Jim Harrison as secretary for quality of life. The president still has not responded to my suggestion, and meanwhile Harrison has gone on to publish his latest book of novellas, which deepens and broadens his already openhearted and smart-minded sense of the way we live now, and what we might do to improve it.
In 1961, Robert Frost became the first poet to read at a U.S. inauguration when he recited "The Gift Outright" at President John F. Kennedy's swearing in. Since then, only three other poets have taken part in subsequent inaugural ceremonies: Maya Angelou, Miller Williams and Elizabeth Alexander. Now, there's a fifth.
Guns are piled inside a crate outside a police station in Tucson, Ariz., on Tuesday during a buyback. Tuesday marked the second anniversary of when a gunman opened fire on former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as she met with constituents in 2011, killing six people and leaving 12 others injured.
Credit Brian Skoloff / AP
Gun buyers inspect their purchases outside a police station in Tucson, Ariz., on Tuesday. About a dozen buyers offered cash to sellers in the parking lot of a police station where a city councilman had set up a gun buyback program.
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and her husband, Mark Kelly, have formed a political action committee to support prevention of gun violence. The announcement came Tuesday, the second anniversary of the mass shooting in Tucson that left six dead and wounded 13, including Giffords.
Churches and fire stations around the city rang bells in memory of the victims and in commemoration of other mass shootings since Tucson.
Weeks before President Obama officially nominated Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense, the lobbying battle was well under way. The fight might be bigger than any other Cabinet nomination in history as the former Republican senator's friends and foes prepare for modern combat on TV and the Internet.
A photographic screen hangs in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, which is undergoing renovations. On Wednesday, the justices will hear arguments in a case that asks whether police without a warrant can administer a blood test to a suspected drunken driver.
Across the United States, college administrators are poring over student essays, recommendation letters and SAT scores as they select a freshman class for the fall.
If this is like most years, administrators at top schools such as Harvard and Stanford will try hard to find talented high school students from poor families in a push to increase the socioeconomic diversity on campus and to counter the growing concern that highly selective colleges cater mainly to students from privileged backgrounds.
During first period at Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary School in Encinitas, Calif., Kristen McCloskey leads about two dozen third-graders through some familiar yoga poses.
"All right, so let's do our opening sequence A," she says, instructing the kids. "Everyone take a big inhale, lift those arms up. Look up."
At the end of the half-hour class, 8-year-old Jacob Hagen says he feels energized and ready for the rest of the day. "Because you get to stretch out and it's good to be the first class because it wakes you up," he says.