Over at The New York Times, Timothy Egan notices a strange similarity between Paul Ryan's rhetoric on poverty, and that of the English authorities during the 19th century potato famine in Ireland:
A great debate raged in London: Would it be wrong to feed the starving Irish with free food, thereby setting up a "culture of dependency"? Certainly England's man in charge of easing the famine, Sir Charles Trevelyan, thought so. "Dependence on charity," he declared, "is not to be made an agreeable mode of life."
And there I ran into Paul Ryan. His great-great-grandfather had fled to America. But the Republican congressman was very much in evidence, wagging his finger at the famished. His oft-stated "culture of dependency" is a safety net that becomes a lazy-day hammock. But it was also England's excuse for lethal negligence.
There is no comparison, of course, between the de facto genocide that resulted from British policy, and conservative criticism of modern American poverty programs.
But you can't help noticing the deep historic irony that finds a Tea Party favorite and descendant of famine Irish using the same language that English Tories used to justify indifference to an epic tragedy. [The New York Times]
I don't think anyone really thinks dependence on charity or a culture of dependency ought to be a long-term condition. Self-reliance is an indisputable virtue. But for the truly helpless, there can be no pathway back to self-reliance if one starves to death. Famine is not honorable or virtuous. Nor is it civilized to live in a country where the poor starve to death.
Paul Ryan would do better to set out an agenda of job creation than lecture the poor on the virtues of self-improvement. There are lots and lots of people who want jobs, who want to work and want the dignity of self-reliance — so many that there are 2.9 job seekers for every job opening. People can't lift themselves out of poverty and off welfare if the economy isn't creating an abundance of jobs. Job creation comes first. John Aziz
Oh, and it's also a battle of whose celebrity supporters are hotter — at least, that's what Donald Trump implied at a Wednesday rally in Tampa, Florida:
Trump says "the only people enthusiastic about [Hillary] are Hollywood celebrities in many cases celebrities that aren't very hot anymore."
— Alexandra Jaffe (@ajjaffe) August 24, 2016
So, America, forget your thoughts on health care, same-sex marriage, or the role of the federal government. Your choice this fall amounts to this: Who wore it better, Scott Baio and Omarosa Manigault, or Jessica Biel and Magic Johnson? Kimberly Alters
Getting old might not be as bad as it's cracked up to be. Though growing older inevitably comes with the aches and pains of an aging body, a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry added further evidence to the theory that it also comes with increased levels of happiness. After surveying 1,546 San Diego residents between the ages of 21 to 99, researchers found that the older people were, the happier they seemed to be.
While the elderly suffered more physically and cognitively than younger individuals, it was people in their 20s and 30s who had "the highest levels of depression, anxiety, and stress, plus the lowest levels of happiness, satisfaction, and wellbeing," Time reported. "Contrary to the stereotype of old and grumpy, the study found older people to be happy and contented," Dilip Jeste, the study's lead author, told Live Science.
Studies have previously suggested that older people are happy, but happiness is usually cast in a bell-shaped curve, with a big dip during middle age. This study, however, found happiness peaking in old age. Researchers don't have an explanation for their findings, but they speculated it may be because with old age comes the wisdom and perspective to better deal with whatever comes your way. Becca Stanek
In the wake of renewed interest in her private email server and her family's non-profit organization, Hillary Clinton reportedly has a new strategy to win the White House this fall: "Run out the clock." Politico's Annie Karni says that's how Clinton confidants sum up their candidate's thinking, as she seeks to dance fleet-footedly through the latest minefield of controversies surrounding her presidential aspirations.
Earlier this week, the FBI announced it had uncovered nearly 15,000 more emails from Clinton's private server that were not disclosed by her legal team during the initial email dump in December 2014. The emails themselves reveal that many foreign donors to her family's organization, the Clinton Foundation, also received access to Clinton while she was serving as secretary of state under President Obama. While no smoking gun exists, the optics, as they say, aren't great.
That's got Team Clinton looking to run out the next 75 days until Election Day on Nov. 8, Karni reports. "Clinton's team thinks 'they can ride out' any negative reaction to [the emails]," Karni writes. "'That doesn't mean no response,' one Clinton team insider said, 'but a muted one rather than a five-alarm fire.'" This decision apparently stems from the candidate's staunch belief that the entire email conspiracy is nothing but an unfounded partisan attack, and is rooted her confidence that rival Donald Trump's "profound weaknesses" will sink him regardless — read more on Clinton's thoroughly uninspiring strategy at Politico. Kimberly Alters
America's newest national monument is situated in Maine's North Woods. On Wednesday, President Obama designated 87,500 acres of the forest as the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, marking the 413th preserved area in the National Park Service, National Geographic reports, and Maine's second national monument.
The designation came at the request of Burt's Bees founder Roxanne Quimby, who donated the land valued at $60 million to the federal government this week in honor of the National Park Service's 100th anniversary. Quimby had been trying to make the area a national park for years, but her proposals had been met with resistance from Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine). The state's Republican Gov. Paul LePage opposed its creation as an "ego play" by "rich, out-of-state liberals," while residents worried it would invite a "federal government intrusion," The Associated Press reported.
Numerous sources reported Wednesday that American University of Afghanistan, located in Kabul, is under attack. "Several gunmen attacked the American University in Kabul and there are reports of gunfire and explosions," an Afghan interior ministry official told Reuters.
Hundreds of students and several American professors, as well as Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Massoud Hossaini, are believed to be trapped inside the university compound. Many have reportedly managed to escape through emergency doors.
I talked to my brother at AUAF, says they are safe, no infiltration of militants, the campus is locked down & many students are inside
— Abbas Kazimi (@abbaskazimi) August 24, 2016
#Kabulattack ambulance sirens heard as they rush to Emergency hospital
— Jamal Ahmad Mahmood (@JamalAMahmood) August 24, 2016
— Javid Ahmad (@ahmadjavid) August 24, 2016
#AUAF under attack. I along with my friends escaped and several other of of my friends and professors trapped inside.
— Ahmad Mukhtar (@AhMukhtar) August 24, 2016
Donald Trump's new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway is confident there are more people voting for Trump than polls would suggest — they just don't want to admit it. In an interview with the UK's Channel 4, Conway explained why the polls, which overwhelmingly show Trump lagging behind rival Hillary Clinton, don't tell the whole story. "Donald Trump performs consistently better in online polling where a human being is not talking to another human being about what he or she may do in the election," Conway said. "It's because it's become socially desirable, especially if you're a college-educated person in the United States of America, to say that you're against Donald Trump."
When asked if she had any numbers to support that claim, Conway demurred, saying it's "a project we're doing internally" and that she can't yet discuss the details. "I call it the 'undercover Trump voter,'" Conway said, "but it's real."
Donald Trump will be sharing a stage with Brexit leader Nigel Farage in Jackson, Mississippi, on Wednesday night. Sky News' Darren McCaffrey reports that Farage will not endorse Trump, but will be "there to tell the Brexit story."
"Brexit is just massive over here," Farage told The Daily Telegraph, referring to the United States. He added: "I went to the [Republican] convention in Cleveland and I just could not believe that ordinary people [were] talking to me about Brexit." Trump has deemed himself "Mr. Brexit" on Twitter, despite apparently not closely following the vote, which took place in June and determined Britain will leave the European Union.
They will soon be calling me MR. BREXIT!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 18, 2016