New York Times Columnist Line of the Day

If you frequent this here premier “web log,” there’s a good chance you may once or twice have read the New York Times op-ed page. You might even recognize the names of the columnists, who every day spout the most conventionally wise of the conventional wisdom. This is a feature that is dedicated to these folks, highlighting one line that is either funny, ridiculous, strange, or actually intelligent or well-written.

Surprise: Today’s is not from David Brooks! It’s from Frank Bruni, who does the Lord’s work in his column today “Trump-ward, Christian Soldiers?” writing:

The holy rollers are smiling upon the high roller. And they’re proving, yet again, how selective and incoherent the religiosity of many in the party’s God squad is.

Would have been happier if they’d cut the lame hair joke, but otherwise, good work.

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Morning Constitutional – Monday, 24 August 2015

Good morning, folks. Kelis is pregnant. Now, your morning constitutional:

Global markets plunged sharply Monday, following concerns of a Chinese economic slowdown. Oil in London dropped below $45 a barrel for the first time since March 2009 on concerns that Chinese demand is slowing as supply swells.

Activists and government officials said Sunday that Islamic State militants set off a large number of explosives at a temple in ancient ruins in Palmyra, Syria.

Negotiations between North and South Korean are now in the third day following a North Korean landmine maiming two South Korean soldiers and the South retaliating with propaganda broadcasts.

Britain reopened its embassy in Tehran Monday four years after it was stormed by protesters.

Three Americans and a Briton who subdued an attacker on a train Friday afternoon were awarded the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honor, by French President François Hollande on Monday.

“The sheer number of militant suspects combined with a widening field of potential targets have presented European officials with what they concede is a nearly insurmountable surveillance task.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will not attend a Chinese military parade next week to commemorate the end of World War II.

“By 8:42 — 69 minutes after the first report — a county of slightly more than 200,000 people had recorded eight overdoses, all believed to be caused by heroin. There would be a total of 16 overdoses in 24 hours and 25 over two days. Three people died. Many of the others were saved by a recent decision to equip every first responder with the fast-acting antidote naloxone.”

Here are the presidents who had not held elected office before.

As minimum wages rise in some jurisdictions, restaurants are abandoning tipping in favor of raising wages across the entire workforce.

How federal housing policy benefits the rich more than the poor.

Katrina wiped out New Orleans’s black middle class.

Finally, giant red ball rolls down the streets of Toledo.

Morning Constitutional – Monday, 17 August 2015

Good morning, everybody. Here’s your morning constitutional:

The Obama administration has warned China regarding Chinese government agents who are working clandestinely in the U.S. to encourage expatriates to return to China.

At least two Ukrainians soldiers and several civilians are dead after fighting flared up between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine Sunday night.

A bomb exploded near a shrine in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, killing at least 12.

Nearly 100 people died during Syrian government airstrikes on a market near Damascus over the weekend.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi approved a tough new anti-terrorism law that sets up new special terrorism courts and protects those who enforce it from legal ramifications of enforcement.

Egypt opened its border with Gaza for the first time in two months for four days.

The U.S. announced Sunday that it will remove two Patriot missile batteries from Turkey.

The Obama administration plans to introduce an initiative to shift the emphasis from punishment to treatment for heroin addicts.

The Japanese economy contracted by 1.6% in the second quarter.

A bill has been introduced in the Australian parliament to legalize same-sex marriage, but because the government opposes it, the bill is likely to fail.

Traffic deaths in the U.S. were up 14% in the first six months of this year as an improved economy and cheap gas leads people to drive more.

Ohio Governor John Kasich to pick up endorsement of Alabama Governor Robert Bentley.

Why Americans are waiting longer to buy their first homes.

How Snoopy killed Peanuts.

Finally, man breaks into car, locks himself in trunk.

Till the End of the Day

Here’s some stuff to read as the day turns to night:

Hundreds reported injured after a massive explosion rocked the Chinese port city of Tianjin on Wednesday.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker cut $250 million from the state’s higher education system and is now spending $250 million on a new basketball arena.

While crews try to clean up Colorado’s Animus River after a massive mine wastewater spill, reminder that another 2,700 other abandoned mines are also similarly in need of cleanup.

The number of Americans without health insurance dropped by more than 15.8 million since 2013, so thanks Obama.

New York Times Magazine has an interesting long-form piece on Liberland, a potential libertarian breakaway micro-nation nestled between Croatia and Serbia.

Great piece on the problem of the very idea of American philanthropy.

Gary Samore, the head of a group opposing the Iran nuclear deal, quit because he supports the deal.

Now, a relevant gif from one of the greatest sitcoms of all time: