Best and worst
Absence apparently makes the heart grow fonder when it comes to presidential popularity. Ronald Reagan, who was last president in 1989, recently was chosen the best president since World War II in a Quinnipiac University National Poll, while President Barack Obama was selected as the worst.
George W. Bush, Obama's predecessor, finished second in the list of worst presidents, while Bill Clinton was second in the tally of best presidents.
Reagan was the favorite choice of people ages 30-49, 50-64 and 65 and over, but Clinton and John F. Kennedy tied for the top pick for people ages 18-29. Obama was the selection for worst president for respondents ages 50-64 and 65 and over, but George W. Bush fell to the bottom for people ages 30-49 and 18-29.
The same poll also found, by a 45-38 margin, that respondents believe the country would be better off if Mitt Romney had been elected in 2012.
Free to be you and me?
The satisfaction of United States' residents in their level of freedom has dropped from 91 percent in 2006 to 79 percent today, according to a new Gallup survey.
The drop moves the country from among the highest in the world to 36th place, outside the top quarter of the 120 countries sampled and behind countries such as Nagorno-Karabakh, Paraguay and Rwanda.
Only 10 other nations experienced as steep a drop as the United States during the period. Most of those nations, such as Egypt, Greece, Italy, Venezuela, Pakistan and Spain, have experienced some measure of political or economic strife since 2006.
Topping the survey were New Zealand (94 percent) and Australia (93 percent).
Despite some signs the U.S. economy is improving, another recent Gallup survey reported a seven-point drop to 29 percent on confidence in the presidency, a four-point drop to 30 percent for the Supreme Court and a three-point drop to a record low 7 percent for Congress.
Birds of a feather?
Bill Ayers, a former radical member of the Weather Underground and former occasional associate of President Obama, said in a recent interview with Fox News's Megyn Kelly that he doesn't "regret setting bombs" and feels "we didn't do enough."
A onetime fugitive for his participation in the bombing of a New York City Police Department division, the Pentagon and the Capitol building, he also said if recently released U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is found to be a deserter, he "is a hero." Indeed, he said, "I think throughout history we should build monuments to the unknown deserters."
Ayers, who admitted his 1970s activity was "reckless" and "crossed lines with legality," nevertheless defended it by saying the United States was killing people in Vietnam at the time.
If the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, part of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, made the decision to rule that the Washington Redskins' nickname was disparaging to American Indians, the office must have received an avalanche of letters decrying the name, right?
Wrong. The office did not have a record of any correspondence from the public about the name, positive or negative, before the board's June 18 ruling, according to the Washington Times.
The office canceled the team's trademark registrations after criticism from President Obama and several Democrat politicians. The team, meanwhile, is appealing the decision.
5-year-old's 'depantsing' draws sex charge
A 5-year-old boy in Surprise, Ariz., now has a note in his permanent school file for "sexual misconduct" after pulling his pants down on the playground this spring. He received detention for the act, but his mother was not notified by the school that the kindergartner was forced to sign a note in the assistant principal's office.
Dysart Unified School District has a policy that a parent does not have to be present for a disciplinary meeting unless the student requests it. As a 5-year-old, the kindergartner wasn't up to speed on all school policies.
"He did not know he could ask for me," mom Erica Martinez said of what was termed the child's "depantsing," according to a CBS Las Vegas report.
Martinez has been fighting to have the "sexual misconduct" charge removed from her son's file, and a state-sponsored initiative which helps districts collect information and clarify it recommends each district take into account the age and maturity of a student before putting his actions in the sexual offense category. But so far she only has met with resistance from the superintendent's office.