Ever since the Watergate era, taxpayers have been able to check a box on their federal tax returns and designate a little bit of their tax payment to help finance the presidential campaigns and wean politicians away from big donors.
The public financing program has had its ups and downs. But now President Obama is prepared to sign legislation that, for the first time, takes taxpayer money out of the fund.
First of all, let's pause to reflect on some of the great moments of American political conventions brought to you by presidential matching funds.
The wry and tuneful Withered Hand is Dan Willson, a graphic artist from Edinburgh who drifted away from the Jehovah's Witnesses as a teenager — but not, you get the feeling, with a satisfied mind. His moniker is a scriptural reference, and he named his 2009 debut Good News, one way Christians refer to the New Testament. (More to the point, its key track is called "Religious Songs.")
Researchers at a South Florida botanic garden want to return the state's orchids to their former glory.
When railroads first came to Florida in the late 1800s, the plants were among the first resources exploited. Millions of orchids were plucked and sent north as potted plants. Now, after more than a century of logging and harvesting, it's rare to find them growing in the wild here.
But if researchers at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden succeed with their Million Orchid Project, the flowers will soon bloom amid the hustle and bustle of city life.
When was the last time you wrote in cursive? Was it a thank-you note for that birthday sweater? Perhaps a check to the baby sitter? The fact is, you may know how to loop and swirl with the best of them, but do your kids or your neighbor's kids know as well?
Searchers are feeling overwhelmed by the task of locating the wreckage of missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.
"We're not searching for a needle in a haystack — we're still trying to define where the haystack is," Australian Air Marshal Mark Binskin said Tuesday. The current search zone stretches across many thousands of square miles of the Indian Ocean off the coast of Australia.