FROM Jon Ward
Another President, Another Presidential Library America's 43rd President now has the country's 13th presidential library. The George W. Bush Presidential Center houses the bullhorn from Ground Zero, the pistol from Saddam Hussein's spider hole and a statue of two favorite dogs. How much is there on missing weapons of mass destruction or Wall Street bailouts? Do Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld or Karl Rove get much attention? Every president since FDR has a similar mix of historical fact and self-serving propaganda assembled on his behalf. We look at the contents, the architecture and the symbolism of Bush's Center in Dallas and at the role of presidential libraries in our political life.
Political Party Platforms: Do They Really Matter? A committee of party insiders met for two days this week to write the Republican platform . It's expected to be adopted by the convention in Tampa next Monday. But the party chairman, Reince Priebus has already made it clear that it's "the platform of the Republican Party. It's not the platform of Mitt Rommey ." Party platforms contain language to appease insiders, even though that carries the risk of political damage. In Tampa this week, the Platform Committee's anti-abortion plank revealed a split within the Republican Party and a potential threat to support from Independents. Advocacy of a flat tax and abolition of mortgage relief might also look too extreme. The Democrats will have to explain the embrace of same-sex marriage. When provisions cater to narrow constituencies, will politicians try to enact them if they're elected? Will the platforms have long-term influence once the conventions are over?
In Janesville, WI, Middle America meets the new American dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn't prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. We hear what's happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.
Is Venezuela becoming a dictatorship? Venezuela may have the world's largest oil reserves, but it's a nation in trouble… economically and politically. Is a populist promise to rescue democracy turning out to be a prelude to dictatorship?
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?