It was sort of inevitable that on his first day of campaigning as an announced candidate for president earlier this month, Rand Paul would be asked whether he supported a ban on abortions in cases of rape or incest.
Reporters have been asking Republican candidates that question ever since 2012, when the Missouri Republican Senate candidate said he supported such a ban and added that pregnancies were unlikely in cases of "legitimate rape."
"I would bet on globalization slowly being in abeyance," tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel said in a video interview with George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen. "I think with the benefit of hindsight, we will realize that 2007 was not just the peak year of the finance boom, but also the peak year of globalization, like maybe 1913."
It's a tantalizing thought, and Thiel is well worth a listen. He is the co-founder of PayPal and the first outside investor in Facebook, selling his initial $500,000 investment eight years later for $1 billion. His record for spotting future trends and flexion points is impressive.
Presidents are inevitably shaped by the circumstances in which they campaign for -- and come into -- office. In 1932, Franklin Roosevelt called for "bold, persistent experimentation" and followed through once in office. Had Roosevelt run in another year, or had there been no Great Depression, he would have campaigned and governed differently.
Two weeks ago, Ted Cruz announced his candidacy for president at Liberty University, and last week, Rand Paul announced at the Galt House hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. Marco Rubio is expected to announce this week at the Freedom Tower in Miami. Others will follow.
So what have we learned about the race for the Republican nomination for president so far?
Is the tide turning against President Obama's purported nuclear weapons deal with Iran? One sign that the answer is yes is the devastating opinion article in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal by former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Shultz.
It's springtime, and the Census Bureau has released its population estimates for counties and metropolitan areas as of July 1, 2014. Initial analysis has focused on year-to-year movements or changes since the 2010 Census -- subjects worthy of attention.
But it's also interesting to take a longer look, to see where population has been booming over the 14 years since 2000, one-seventh of the 21st century. The headline here is that growth has been concentrated in relatively few large metropolitan areas.
There has been a great ruckus about Indiana's recently passed religious freedom law. Some, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, see it as endorsing anti-gay bigotry. Democratic Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy has banned state employees from traveling to Indiana, even though Connecticut has a similar law even more favorable to claims of religious objectors. Perhaps he should ban state employees from remaining inside Connecticut.
There are still nearly two years left in Barack Obama's presidency, but historians looking back on his record in foreign policy will surely identify one costly error: his refusal to follow through on the implied threat in stating that the Syrian regime's use of chemical weapons would be a "red line."
Our kids, at least many of them, are not doing very well. The reason, writes Harvard professor Robert Putnam in his just-published "Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis," is the "two-tier pattern of family structure" that emerged in the 1970s and 1980s and continues to prevail today.
Rahm Emanuel heads into a runoff April 7 in his bid for a second term as mayor of Chicago. He's the favorite going in, having won 46 percent in the Feb. 24 first round against longtime local officeholder Chuy Garcia's 34 percent and topping 50 percent in recent polls.
Emanuel, President Obama's first White House chief of staff and architect of the Democrats' 2006 takeover of the House, is politically astute, energetic and profane. Given all that, it's surprising that his support is down from the 55 percent he won in the first round in February 2011.