In Europe, the concept of austerity has meant deep, painful cuts to government spending. In India, however, austerity looks a little different.
India's government has started by reeling in departmental spending on things like hotel space and foreign travel. It may seem like window dressing, but it can be difficult to make deep spending cuts in that country. Many voters see government largesse as a right and usually applaud pork-barrel spending.
Here's a movie scene burned into my brain: Harrison Ford, playing Indiana Jones, is on a chase through the streets of Cairo. It's in the original movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, which I saw as a kid. Today I couldn't tell you who was chasing whom or why, but I remember the climax. Jones is pushing through a mass of people when the crowd abruptly parts. He's confronted by a swordsman, who flips his giant scimitar around both artfully and menacingly.
A couple of weeks ago I got an e-mail from my son's middle school alerting families that several students had been diagnosed with whooping cough, also called pertussis. I didn't pay too much attention; my son has been vaccinated and he got a booster shot a couple of years ago so I hoped he would be protected.
Then I started to cough.
A visit to my doctor and a pertussis test confirmed that I am one of the 338 people infected with it in Oregon this year. That's three times higher than last year.
All of Washington is breathlessly awaiting the Supreme Court's imminent decision on the Obama health care overhaul. Rumors circulate almost daily that the decision is ready for release. As usual, those rumors are perpetrated by people who know nothing, but the decision is expected by the end of this month.
Alcoholics Anonymous has long been known for the anonymity of its members. But there are two key figures in AA's history whose names are well known.
One is co-founder Bill Wilson, known as "Bill W." Beginning in the 1930s, Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith began helping other alcoholics in order to maintain their own sobriety.
Wilson's simple grave in Vermont makes no mention of his work. That doesn't stop people from visiting it, especially on this annual Bill W. Day. But people seek out Wilson's grave in a small cemetery near his birthplace in East Dorset, Vt., all year long.