Simpler is not really better for college tests

When the going gets tough, well, why not just make the going easier? This seems to be the conclusion of the College Board, which administers the dreaded SAT college entrance exam. Board officials recently announced test “improvements” to better gauge what students actually study and learn in high school.

President Obama is wrong on the Cold War and wrong on Putin

President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent, has said that the collapse of the evil empire was “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century. That alone should have been a clue to the Obama White House that misspelled reset buttons weren’t going to cut it. But they were too stuck in the past to see it.

The poor consequences of a retreating America

In the 20th century, the U.S. was irreplaceable because it exercised great power without the blood-and-soil nationalism of Russia, Germany or Japan. It stood for universal, liberal, democratic ideals. We should not expect those humane ideals to thrive in the vacuum left by a retreating America.

Beware the ‘improvers’ and their careless policy

President Barack Obama is seeking diplomatic and especially economic leverage against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ramshackle nation in order to advance the enormous U.S. interest in depriving him of Ukraine. Unless Obama finds such leverage, his precipitous slide into Jimmy Carter territory will continue.

‘Job killer’ rhetoric has it all wrong on wages

Forget what you’re hearing from the Republicans and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce about a minimum wage increase being a job killer. The real job killers in America are lousy jobs at lousy wages. Even Wal-Mart may be starting to understand this.

Turn up the pressure and counter the Russian bear in Ukraine

Ukraine will either fall to Russian hegemony, or finally determine its own future — if America balances Russia’s power. Whether anything Barack Obama says or does would stop anyone remains questionable, but surely the West has more financial clout than Russia’s kleptocratic economy that exports little but oil, gas and vodka.

Hillary Clinton stands to affirm an era of change

An observer can be forgiven for being heartened at the prospect of Hillary Clinton campaigning for president in 2016, much less a Clinton victory. Either would send a much-needed message to those who are still waiting for America to get back to “normal,” a world wherein straight, white Christian men still call all the shots.

President Obama’s focus on at-risk youths is late, but a welcome move

Whatever one’s politics, President Barack Obama’s new outreach initiative to help at-risk boys of color is great news for the country. A nation can’t long flourish without the commitment of fathers to raise their sons — and, yes, their daughters, too. It is gratifying progress and marks a victory of common sense over ideology.

Let the authority of ‘hidden law’ rule in Arizona

Future historians will likely be flummoxed by the moment we’re living in. In what amounts to less than a blink of an eye in the history of Western civilization, homosexuality has gone from a diagnosed mental disorder to something to be celebrated — or else.

Democrats distracted by feel-good, errant issues

Climate alarmism validates the progressive impulse to micromanage others’ lives — their light bulbs, showerheads, appliances, automobiles, etc. Although this is a nuisance, it distracts liberals from more serious mischief.

New economy at work in Facebook’s $19 billion deal

If you ever wonder what’s fueling America’s staggering inequality, ponder Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp. The mobile messaging company’s value doesn’t come from making anything. It comes instead from two other things that need only a handful of people. First is its technology. Second is its network effect.

The narrative shifts in political Middle Earth

Whether discussing women’s reproductive systems or offering up unelectable candidates, Republicans couldn’t stop handing gifts to their opponents. Meanwhile, Democrats successfully labeled the GOP as the “party of no.” But then one day, President Barack Obama apparently lost his magic ring.

When ‘diversity’ is an excuse for intolerance

Swarthmore College invited a famous left-wing Princeton professor, Cornel West, and a famous right-wing Princeton professor, Robert George, to have a debate. The two men are friends, and by all accounts they had a civil exchange of ideas. But that only made the whole thing even more outrageous.

Failed Syria policy ramps up uncontainable threat

From a U.S. perspective, this disaster in Syria is not just humanitarian but strategic. A Somalia-like future for Syria would be an uncontainable regional and global threat. One of the largest challenges is strategic despair. It is easy to argue that any given policy change would be inadequate, late or risky.

Vote at Tennessee car plant is a major victory

For 30 years, the the United Auto Workers union has tried and failed to unionize a “transnational” — a factory making foreign-brand vehicles — in the South. The union may never have a better chance than it had at the 3-year-old Volkswagen plant Chattanooga, Tenn.

What happened to a sense of mutual responsibility?

America has a serious “we” problem — as in, “Why should we pay for them?” The question is popping up all over. It underlies the debate over extending unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed and providing food stamps to the poor.

A last chance for a good Israeli-Palestinian pact

Secretary of State John Kerry has done Israelis and Palestinians a huge favor by pushing them to make one last try at negotiating a two-state solution. Yet Kerry has managed, by his obsession, to force both sides to face the consequences if his efforts end in failure.

Out of the shadows and onto the heroic games

One of the best ways to counter stigma has been pioneered by Special Olympics. Here in Malawi, participants grow close to their coaches, perhaps the first non-related adults they encounter who do not view them as useless.