Archive - Mar 2014

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March 12th

Frozen in a Niche?

    As the statuesque Cate Blanchett clutched her statuette, she sent an acid air kiss Sandra Bullock's way.

    The "Blue Jasmine" star told her vanquished rival, who was gamely smiling after losing for "Gravity," "Sandra, I could watch that performance to the end of time, and I sort of felt like I had."

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Putin's cynical choice

    Let's be real. It's one thing to say that Russia's takeover of the Crimean Peninsula "cannot be allowed to stand," as many foreign policy sages have proclaimed. It's quite another to do something about it.

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Religious right runs out of steam in Arizona

    Religious conservatives have had a good run. Since the 1970s, when Paul Weyrich and other conservative thinkers recognized that conservative evangelical Christians had untapped potential to change U.S. elections, the "religious right" has been a powerful, if always secondary, force in the Republican Party. Conservatives did such a thorough job of rallying evangelicals around causes such as abortion that the word "evangelical" in a political context is now almost synonymous with "conservative."

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Why Putin Doesn't Respect Us

    Just as we've turned the coverage of politics into sports, we're doing the same with geopolitics. There is much nonsense being written about how Vladimir Putin showed how he is "tougher" than Barack Obama and how Obama now needs to demonstrate his manhood. This is how great powers get drawn into the politics of small tribes and end up in great wars that end badly for everyone. We vastly exaggerate Putin's strength - so does he - and we vastly underestimate our own strength and ability to weaken him through nonmilitary means.

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A problem in need of a correction

    Kerry Kennedy was just acquitted, and rightly so, of "drugged driving" -- she mistook a sleeping pill for her thyroid medication and conked out at the wheel.

    It's an outrage that she was prosecuted in the first place, but even more of an outrage that steps aren't being taken to prevent this disturbingly common problem.

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A Sweet Victory

    The Food and Drug Administration recently came out with a sweet surprise. Its proposed new nutrition label will finally give us a bit of key information we need to understand our food: the amount of added sugars.

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Billion Dollar Babies

    The Koch brothers are in the news more than Justin Bieber.

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Kids in poverty need a bailout, too

    It's not hard to persuade hardcore conservatives to turn against their own ideas, as soon as President Barack Obama agrees with them.

    You can see and hear that in the chilly shrug that some folks on the political right are giving to the president's new "My Brother's Keeper" initiative -- a five-year, $200 million public-private partnership aimed at helping at-risk minority youths.

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North Carolina's toxic deregulation experiment

    A dystopian nightmare is unfolding in North Carolina. It is what the whole country would look like if you were to marry David Koch to Ted Cruz, with a prenup by ALEC, the outside agitator also known as the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is the group that writes regressive laws, saving right-wingers the trouble of having to do it themselves.

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Obama's cool-headedness is diplomacy, not appeasement

    To hear some American hawks talk about President Obama's reaction to the Russian move into Crimea, you'd think he's grabbed Neville Chamberlain's umbrella of appeasement and rushed off to Munich.

    But Obama's response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's power move in Crimea can hardly be compared to the British prime minister's fateful surrender to Adolf Hitler's blatant theft of the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia in 1938.

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