Archive - 2014

Obstructed by the Constitution

    President Obama's plan to transform the U.S. health-care market is once again in trouble. This time, two Republican-appointed judges on a federal appeals court have invalidated a key portion of the program.

    In other words, the U.S. constitutional system is functioning normally.

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To Share Is Not Always to Share Alike

    The online rental booking service Airbnb is a fast-growing empire that pairs travelers with people wanting to profit off a room in their house -- or the whole house. Like VRBO, HomeAway and similar platforms, Airbnb occupies the lodging sector of the "sharing economy."

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Chamber Lost Its Way in Right Turn

    Twice a year, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce convenes what it calls its Committee of 100 - which is composed of heads of regional chambers and Washington trade associations. They hear about the business climate from the chamber's longtime president, Thomas J. Donohue, and about the political landscape from Bruce Josten, its chief lobbyist.

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Losing the moral high ground

    The civilian death toll in Gaza from Israel's latest incursion is appalling. The right to self-defense is inalienable, but it is not free from moral constraints.

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Obama's relevance hangs on Dem showing in midterms

    Congressional midterm elections, the poor cousin to presidential voting in the American political system, will take on a critical role for President Obama in November. The results may well determine whether he will become a premature lame duck two years before his second and last term expires.

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The American Way of Death

    I will readily admit that I have been all over the map when it comes to the death penalty.

    As a young lawyer and law professor, I was opposed to it. Actually, it was easy to be against it. The evidence that it was being administered arbitrarily and unfairly was so overwhelming that the Supreme Court had effectively placed a moratorium on it. When it came back, in the late '70s, I was there, literally.

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Angell in the Outfield

    Roger Angell takes off his brown J. Press sports coat and blue cap, yanks out his hearing aids, stashes his cane, and sits down for a shave and haircut at Delta barbershop at 72nd and Lex., the same spot he's patronized for 40 years. "I don't see Henry Kissinger doing any interviews in a barbershop," he says dryly.

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Don't let your kids grow up to be Ivy grads

    You need to stop sending your kids to Ivy League schools.

    In brief, according to an article in the New Republic by William Deresiewicz, who taught at Yale for 10 years, the students who are sent there are conformist, over-privileged overachievers. They emerge from homogeneous backgrounds and grow up to be elitist little twits. (He also went to an Ivy League school, but he is different now.)

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Tales of an earlier flood of immigrants

    As the politics of immigration play out, grimly so, and with the send-'em-all-back crowd and the build-bigger-walls cabal vying for control of the outcome, little attention goes to the justice-seeking lawyers in the border states. As an admirer of their work, I confess to partiality: My father, born in 1888, was an immigration lawyer.

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The World's Coolest Places

    Travel season is here, when so many Americans decamp to Cape Cod or the Jersey Shore. All of which is wonderful, and someday I plan to do a 10-part series on the world's best beaches.

    But travel can also be an education, a step toward empathy and international understanding. So for those with an adventurous streak who want to get beyond the madding crowd this summer, here are a few little-known travel spots that I recommend.

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