The month that changed America?

President Barack Obama pauses while delivering a statement on the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, in the Rose Garden at the White House on June 26, 2015 in Washington, DC

Does history change all at once? June 2015 certainly had its singular historic moments - but almost all were the outcome of long-term forces and long-fought battles, say Nick Bryant.

The shelves of American bookstores almost buckle under the weight of titles identifying a single year, season, month, week, day or hour as essential turning points in history's long march.

So one would imagine that publishers are already being inundated with pitches for books bringing together the events of the past few weeks, perhaps under the working titles of "Ten Days in June", "America's Liberal Spring", "The Summer of Love" or "June 2015: The month that changed America."

The narrative almost writes itself. It opens with the cover of the June edition of Vanity Fair, which featured an alluring photograph of Caitlyn Jenner dressed in a silk bodysuit. Jenner, of course, is a one-time Olympic champion, formerly called Bruce, whom most Americans are more used to seeing in an athletics singlet and shorts.

It would encompass two momentous Supreme Court decisions - the first in defence of Obamacare, the second in support of gay marriage. Both were not just victories for President Barack Obama but also triumphs, more broadly, of progressivism.

Read full article The month that changed America?

Charleston shooting: Obama's evolving language on race

Comedian Keegan Michael-Key with President Obama
Does Obama still need an "anger translator"?

Barack Obama has tended to be reticent about race, and left others to attach racial meaning to his presidency.

His public comments on racist atrocities, like Charleston, and racial controversies, like Ferguson, have generally been measured and controlled, as if he is trying to keep a lid on his feelings.

Read full article Charleston shooting: Obama's evolving language on race

Charleston shooting: Attack at church opens old wounds

  • 19 June 2015
  • From the section Magazine

The struggle for black equality was not just a social revolution. For many it was a religious crusade. Throughout, the church was central.

During the height of the civil-rights era black churches echoed to the anthems of the movement, their pews crammed with protesters ready to stream from the doors and out onto the streets.

Read full article Charleston shooting: Attack at church opens old wounds

The myth that America doesn't like football

USA fan

Outside the courthouse in Brooklyn where the trial of the Fifa officials charged with corruption will take place is an all-weather football pitch crowded throughout the week with players of all ages.

Not far away, in Brooklyn Bridge Park, where once derelict piers have been converted into outdoor sports centres, the soccer pitches are usually more crowded than the basketball courts.

Read full article The myth that America doesn't like football

Chuck Blazer's blog chronicles his lavish Fifa days

Member of the FIFA Executive Committee and Commissioner of the American Soccer League and Executive Vice President of the United States Soccer Federation and General Secretary of CONCACAF Chuck Blazer is seen in Hungexpo of Budapest 2012 25 May

If ever you have wondered how a corrupt Fifa official spends their time and ill-gotten money then the blog Travels with Chuck Blazer and his friends will make for informative reading.

The blog was maintained by the Falstaffian figure who was once the domineering powerbroker of American soccer, but has now pleaded guilty to racketeering, wire fraud, money-laundering and income tax evasion.

Read full article Chuck Blazer's blog chronicles his lavish Fifa days

Iraq war casts long shadow over US and UK politics

Jeb Bush
Jeb Bush has struggled to articulate what he would have done over Iraq

On both sides of the Atlantic, the Iraq war continues to cast a diffuse shadow from which politicians are struggling to escape.

It falls upon the fight for the Republican presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton's White House quest and the debate over the future direction of the Labour Party in Britain.

Read full article Iraq war casts long shadow over US and UK politics

Why are 60,000 homeless in New York?

It has been one of the coldest winters on record in America's north-east, and in New York City freezing temperatures have coincided with record numbers of homeless.

The city's homeless population at all-time high of 60,000 and 25,000 of those are children.

Read full article Why are 60,000 homeless in New York?

Brian Williams and the decline of the US news anchor

  • 5 February 2015
  • From the section Magazine
Television journalist Brian Williams arrives at the Asbury Park Convention Hall during red carpet arrivals prior to the New Jersey Hall of Fame inductions, in Asbury Park, N.J 13 November 2014
NBC's top news presenter Brian Williams has apologised for the "mistake"

Usually it's in late night bars that journalists are prone to exaggeration. But fabricating a story on a late-night talk show, and then repeating it, has landed Brian Williams in trouble.

Appearing on the David Letterman show in 2013, he told a riveting story from the Iraq war of how his helicopter was forced down after being hit by a rocket propelled grenade.

Read full article Brian Williams and the decline of the US news anchor

Mitt Romney: The aura of a serial loser

Mitt Romney, speaks at the podium as he concedes the presidency during Mitt Romney's campaign election night event at the Boston Convention 7 November 2012
Mitt Romney's presidential runs were hobbled by his image problems, Nick Bryant writes

The shiny black hair, the quarterback smile, the lantern jaw. Mitt Romney has never had any difficulty looking like an American president.

Getting voters to elect him to that job has long been a problem. In 2008, he failed in his first attempt to win the Republican presidential nomination partly because he was seen as inauthentic - a moderate Republican, who had served as the governor of liberal Massachusetts, who tried too hard to recast himself as a conservative.

Read full article Mitt Romney: The aura of a serial loser

Snowperbole: New Yorkers ask 'Is that it?'

Commuters make their way across the Brooklyn Bridge after a snow storm in New York January 27, 2015.

In the end it was the threat of a monster storm that paralysed New York City, rather than the snowfall itself.

Just five inches were recorded in Central Park, nowhere near the forecast of up to three feet. Warnings, near apocalyptic, that the city faced an extreme weather event of epic and historic proportions, which started with a press conference on Sunday conducted by New York Mayor's Bill de Blasio, now sound alarmist.

Read full article Snowperbole: New Yorkers ask 'Is that it?'