Archive - Jan 2014

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January 22nd

Health-site bungling exposes a state of incompetence

    No one can look at The Washington Post's exhaustive investigation into the construction, rollout and crash of the Maryland health insurance exchange and walk away with any measure of confidence in government.

    How could this epic bungling have happened in a state that often oozes self-satisfaction with its progressive policies, led by a governor who considers himself a 2016 presidential contender?

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Single-Payer Is Not Dead

    The prospects for single-payer health care -- adored by many liberals, despised by private health insurers and looking better all the time to others -- did not die in the Affordable Care Act. It was thrown a lifeline through a little-known provision tucked in the famously long legislation. Single-payer groups in several states are now lining up to make use of Section 1332.

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Tines That Try Men's Souls

    Far be it from me to defend what Jon Stewart has demolished.

    But I would like to speak up on behalf of the fledgling New York mayor's de Blasphemy, now universally deemed his first mistake and possibly grounds for impeachment: daintily carving up his smoked-mozzarella-and-sausage pizza at Goodfellas in Staten Island with a knife and fork.

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Where Is The Democrats' Outrage?

    Shame on Republicans for blocking the resumption of long-term unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans. And shame on Democrats for letting them.

    The GOP cannot be allowed to cast this as a bloodless policy debate about "incentives" that allegedly encourage sloth. Putting that spin on the issue is disingenuous, insulting and inaccurate: As Republicans well know, individuals receiving unemployment checks are legally required to look for work.

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A sex scandal might be just what Hollande needs

    Will the revelation of French President Francois Hollande's affair with actress Julie Gayet wound him and overshadow his economic policies? Don't be so sure.

    Hollande ran for office as the anti-Nicolas Sarkozy - a modest, mild-mannered alternative to all the bling and Carla Bruni supermodel razzmatazz that the former president represented. Now, though, the image that won him the election has become a liability. He's a boring and indecisive leader, something the French don't really want.

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America Still Has Much To Learn From Elizabeth Smart

    If I had to describe Elizabeth Smart with a single adjective, that word would be "sane." If allowed a second, I'd add "courageous."

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Breeding Superbugs

    Can antibiotic medicines, long hailed as miracle drugs, be too much of a good thing? Yes.

    Two factors are at work here. First, bacteria (one of the earliest forms of life on Earth) are miracles in their own right, with a stunning ability to outsmart the antibiotic drugs through rapid evolution.

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How Brave Girls Helped Crack A Taboo

       NAIROBI, Kenya - For a window into rape culture, consider an 11-year-old girl named Flevian, who says that her grandfather has been raping her almost daily since she was in the first grade.

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Life According To Sam

    Sam Berns died last week, at the age of 17.

    I never knew him, but he touched my heart -- and those of so many others.

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More free trade means more inequality

    When President Obama delivers his State of the Union address this month, he will surely highlight the issue of growing economic inequality and argue for such remedies as raising the minimum wage. He may also put in a plug for the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement his administration is negotiating with 11 Pacific Rim nations and for fast-track legislation that would limit congressional input in the accord to facilitate its ratification.

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