Archive

September 1st, 2016

Donald Trump tries to leverage a high-profile slaying into a campaign appeal

    The death of Nykea Aldridge on Friday afternoon is a death of the sort that's become sadly familiar in Chicago this summer. A young mother fatally shot on the street - this time accidentally, after hundreds of others that were intentional. What made Aldridge's death unusual is that she had a famous relative, Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade.

    Wade tweeted about his cousin's death, in a call to address the gun violence that has plagued the city.

    Wade's hashtag, #EnoughIsEnough, was a slogan used at the start of ESPN's annual awards show this year by Wade and other basketball stars to try to draw attention to the problem of gun violence. "The end of gun violence in places like Chicago, Dallas, not to mention Orlando, has to stop," Wade said during the program. "Enough. Enough is enough."

    Wade wasn't the only one to tweet about Aldridge's death. So did Donald Trump, on Saturday morning.

    Trump's message was different.

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Bringing a chicken to the immigration fight

    Cockfighting, although practiced around the world, is banned in all 50 states. But is someone who breaks the ban committing a crime of moral turpitude? A federal appeals court has said no, declining to deport an immigrant convicted of facilitating a cockfight. In a line that may outrage animal-rights activists, the court said that a crime of moral turpitude must involve harm to third parties, not just directly to the chickens.

    The outcome is correct for the immigrant, but not precisely for the reason the court gave. In a society that condones the factory-farm killing of billions of animals, it would be the height of hypocrisy to deport someone for killing just one rooster pursuant to an unfamiliar cultural practice.

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Trump's hot air balloon is ripping

    Donald Trump's supporters can pretend otherwise, but deep down they must know the truth: Trump has been playing them for fools all along.

    All that bluster about creating a "deportation force" to round up 11 million undocumented immigrants and kick them out of the country? Forget about it. Trump is now "softening" that ridiculous pledge, which he could never have carried out, into a new policy in which "we work with them."

    Hmmm. Work with them how?

    All we know of the details, so far, is what Trump said Wednesday at a town hall hosted by Sean Hannity of Fox News: "Now, everybody agrees we get the bad ones out. But when I go through and I meet thousands and thousands of people on this subject, and I've had very strong people come up to me, really great, great people come up to me, and they've said, 'Mr. Trump, I love you, but to take a person who's been here for 15 or 20 years and throw them and their family out, it's so tough, Mr. Trump.' I mean, I have it all the time. It's a very, very hard thing."

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Trump's 2,000-mile mistake on immigration

    Even Donald Trump recognizes that he has an immigration problem. No, I'm not talking about his wife, Melania, whose promised news conference detailing her sketchy immigration history has, almost three weeks after Trump announced it, still failed to materialize. I'm talking about the pronouncements -- mass deportations, the famous Mexican-financed border wall -- that have been the centerpiece of Trump's presidential campaign.

    With November's election fast approaching, it seems Trump is having second thoughts. Given this particular candidacy, it's equally plausible that Trump is having first thoughts. There is no evidence that he has ever seriously considered any issue, including immigration. His purpose throughout the Republican primary was to convey hostility to Hispanic immigrants, and to validate the hostility of his crowds. Accusing Mexicans of crimes and promising deportations and a wall to keep them out accomplished his goal. Were his pronouncements actual policies that Trump intended to carry out? I don't know. Maybe.

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Paramedics are taught not to risk their lives after mass shootings. They should.

    I followed news of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting with one thing on my mind: Where was EMS? As Omar Mateen's three-hour assault played out, we now know, the 80 medics on the scene were kept more than 100 yards from the club, outside what's known as the "hot zone." Many of the injured were transported to hospitals in pickup trucks.

    The same was true during the Columbine school shooting in 1999, when crews waited outside nearly an hour for a SWAT team as a teacher lay dying. Medics were also kept from entering the Aurora, Colo., movie theater where 12 people were killed in 2012 during a showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." Cops took many of the victims to hospitals in their squad cars.

    After these tragedies, grieving friends and family have pressed officials for answers - why were the lifesavers kept from the victims?

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Five myths about mosquitoes

    It's a hot, steamy summer across much of the United States, and mosquito bites are as much a part of the season as backyard barbecues. This year, though, daily headlines remind us that a bite can bring more than an irritating itch. Mosquitoes can be highly efficient disease-transmission machines. The outbreak of Zika virus in parts of Miami has put pregnant women there at risk. Mosquitoes can also transmit West Nile virus, dengue fever and chikungunya, another viral illness finding its way into the United States. Separating fact from fancy can help us better protect ourselves against mosquito bites and the diseases they can spread.

 

Myth No. 1

    Mosquitoes find everyone equally tasty.

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Discrimination against Muslims at airports actually hurts the fight against terrorism

    Recently, newspapers across the world - including in the United States, Britain and Israel - have reported on the challenges that Muslims, and people perceived to be Muslim, have faced at airports and on planes. Just last week, three siblings were removed from a plane in London and questioned by police for an hour after passengers incorrectly claimed that one of them had references to Allah on her phone and was therefore a member of the Islamic State.

    This suspicion toward all things Islamic or seemingly Islamic has given rise to the expression "flying while Muslim." The challenge for Western countries where Muslim immigrants have settled is that "flying while Muslim" threatens to undermine the successes that some countries have had in actually integrating Muslims into society.

    We can learn a lot about this subject from the experience of Scotland. Relative to other European nations, Scotland has actually accommodated Muslim diversity quite well. Moreover, Muslims and the police generally have a positive relationship. But the experiences of Muslims at Scottish airports are far less positive.

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Believe it or not, women are doing better

    It's easy to get the impression, as the U.S. celebrates the 45th annual Women's Equality Day on Friday, that the march toward equality has slowed to a crawl. Allow me to disagree.

    True, the usual statistics tell a story of stalled progress. Women's labor force participation stands at less than 57 percent, down from a peak of 60 percent in the late 1990s. The rapid improvements in the gender wage gap that occurred in the 1980s and early 1990s show little sign of returning. And mothers -- particularly the large number who are single -- still shoulder most of the burden of child-rearing.

    A deeper look, however, suggests more fundamental change in women's experiences as equals at home and in the workplace.

    Despite slow progress in earnings on average, more women are out-earning their husbands. Men, for their part, are increasingly recognizing the importance of making a contribution at home: They are now more likely than women to say that work is interfering with their family life, and are increasingly seeking out employers that offer paternity leave and workplace flexibility.

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August 31st

In search of humble prophets

    Over the last several decades, those who view religion with respect regularly come back to the same question: What has happened to the religious intellectuals, the thinkers taken seriously by nonbelievers as well as believers?

    In this increasingly secular time, a natural follow-up question ratifies the point of the original query: Who cares? Why should the thinking of those inspired by faith even matter to those who don't share it?

    Well, historically, secular and religious intellectuals often engaged in helpful dialogue, and Alan Jacobs, a Baylor University scholar, suggests that religious intellectuals are the missing solvent in our fractious culture wars: They are uniquely well-placed to mediate between secular liberals and conservative believers whom progressives often see as "forces of reaction."

    The religious intellectuals, Jacobs writes in the current issue of Harper's, are "people who understand the impulses from which these troubling movements arise, who may themselves belong in some sense to the communities driving these movements but are also part of the liberal social order."

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Zika is just the first front in the 21st-century biowar

    There are many national security challenges facing the United States, but too often our focus is exclusively on threats from terrorism geopolitics and cyberattacks. As the country confronts the arrival of the Zika virus and contemplates travel bans to Miami, it's time to have an adult conversation about the threats posed by biology.

    It's not hard to understand why our lives are increasingly wrapped up in the latest twists and turns of the cyberworld. That supercomputer you are carrying in your pocket (when its tiny colorful screen isn't parked six inches in front of your eyes) is a synthesizer of all the world's knowledge, photography, art, music, and data. It is also a kind of X-ray machine that can provide insights into the deepest recesses of our personal lives: our preferences, choices, intimate moments, health, purchases, and indeed our character.

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