Archive - 2014

December 17th

In Politics, Does Evidence Matter?

    One of the lovely formulations in John F. Kennedy's inaugural address expressed his hope that "a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion." Kennedy was talking about the Cold War, but we could use a little of this in the partisan and ideological warfare that engulfs our nation's capital.

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Immigration peril threatens Republicans from within

    The furor over President Barack Obama's executive action shielding millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation poses hazards for him, including legislative complications, a possible legal challenge and a public backlash.

    The risks for Republicans are greater, threatening schisms among the party's members of Congress through next year, spilling over to the 2016 presidential contest and perhaps costing them votes.

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A nation of generalizations

    Police did not kill Michael Brown. One policeman did.

    Black people did not burn down buildings in Ferguson, Mo. A few idiots did.

    It is our sad nature to assign the acts of one, or of a few, to the many (see: Islam) and that’s one reason why we appear to be going nowhere when it comes to racial harmony in this country.

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5 questions about the CIA interrogation report

    The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday is planning to release the executive summary of its inquiry into the CIA's detention and interrogation program, more than eight years after President George W. Bush announced the closure of the agency's secret overseas prisons. The report is expected to find that the agency's use of harsh interrogation techniques were not effective and that the CIA misled government officials about the success of the program. Here's the context:

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In a crowded GOP presidential field for 2016, here's the top 10

    If there's one thing you can say about the 2016 Republican presidential field, it is this: It is going to be huge.

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Garner case puts Staten Island's racial divide in spotlight

    No protests, no chants and no bullhorn-amplified outrage echoed through the streets of Staten Island in the days after the world learned that there would be no criminal indictment in the death of Eric Garner.

    But on Bay Street in Tompkinsville, on a sullen stretch of Staten Island sidewalk beneath a handwritten sign scrawled with the words "We Can't Breathe," 14 votive candles continued to burn in memory of Garner, 43.

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December 11th

Roses, Suffering, And Solidarity

    President Obama’s Executive Order on Immigration has created quite a furor, and although the order was issued to solve the problem of congressional gridlock and millions of suffering  people, our relationship to the floods of refugees from Central America has many beginnings. Here is one.

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Recovery at Last?

    Last week we got an actually good employment report - arguably the first truly good report in a long time. The U.S. economy added well over 300,000 jobs; wages, which have been stagnant for far too long, picked up a bit. Other indicators, like the rate at which workers are quitting (a sign that they expect to find new jobs), continue to improve. We're still nowhere near full employment, but getting there no longer seems like an impossible dream.

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New enemy, another presidential war

    Ever since George W. Bush in 2002 began driving up public frenzy for his invasion of Iraq on trumped-up justifications a year later, Congress's constitutional role to declare war has continued to be cold-shouldered.

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Cop cams: A good tool, not a cure

    As the tragic chokehold case of Eric Garner illustrates, police body cameras are not the solution to all police brutality complaints. But they can bring a much-needed clarity to what we're arguing about.

    Unlike the recent death by police shooting of unarmed18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the police assault on unarmed Eric Garner, an asthmatic and diabetic, had a single narrative provided by the video.

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