Archive

Date

February 20th, 2014

A Human Face

    "On Aug. 4, he's an Eagle Scout and has the highest honor," Pascal Tessier's mother, Tracie Felker, told a reporter. "Aug. 5, all of a sudden, he's no longer good enough to be a Boy Scout."

    Pascal Tessier is not the first gay Eagle Scout. He is the first openly gay Eagle Scout, just as Michael Sam, if drafted, would be the first openly gay football player to play in the NFL.

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Bipartisan Fecklessness

    Those who complain about the absence of bipartisanship in the nation's capital are sorely mistaken. When it comes to caving to a powerful constituency and bestowing benefits, bipartisanship is flourishing.

    Today's exhibit: military pensions.

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Boxing Us into Poor Job Prospects

    You know what America needs? More jobs, that’s what.

    Not Walmart-style “jobettes,” but real jobs. We need more stable employment with a good salary and benefits, union jobs so workers have a say in what goes on, and jobs that have strong protections against discrimination.

    This country needs more jobs that help launch workers into a career, in which you do useful work, take pride in it, earn promotions, and are respected for what you do.

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Don't overreact to celebrity drug deaths

    As a long-time fan of Philip Seymour Hoffman's work, I view the widespread reactions of grief over his death with a mixture of appreciation and dread.

    As a fan, I appreciate the recognition that this Oscar-winning actor's astounding talents richly deserved.

    But I also brace myself for the sort of anger-driven, self-defeating, lock-'em-up antidrug crusades that too often have followed shocking drug-related celebrity deaths.

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Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

    Finding true love, philosophers have always understood, can get complicated in deeply unequal places. Grand fortunes tend to give Cupid a hard time not just on Valentine’s Day, but all the time.

    “If you gain fame, power, or wealth, you won’t have any trouble finding lovers,” as the late social critic Philip Slater noted years ago. “But they will be people who love fame, power, or wealth.”

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Scandal Reporting Turns Newspapers Into Tabloids

    My absolute favorite tabloid newspaper headline ever appeared in something called the Weekly World News: "3-Breasted Gal Joins Clinton as His New Intern." I still have a copy somewhere. Supposedly, the former president hired the "three-bosomed bombshell" after Hillary got caught cuddling with a space alien.

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The Best Way to Keep Our Water Safe

    2014 has been a bad year for drinking water. First, a coal industry chemical spill left West Virginia residents in nine counties with water so polluted they could only use it to flush their toilets. And now 82,000 tons of coal ash have found their way into a river that supplies drinking water to parts of North Carolina and Virginia.

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The myth of maximizing shareholder value

    In a well-intentioned op-ed in The Washington Post, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales recently extolled his new phone venture, which has pledged to devote a quarter of its profits to "good causes" selected by an independent foundation. Now, I support good causes as much as the next fellow, and I have nothing negative to say about this initiative. I am compelled, however, to note that in delineating the obligations that corporations must meet, Wales made an error at once so common and so fundamental that it screams for correction.

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The politicizing of Hillary Clinton's marriage

    How responsible is a wife for the betrayal of her husband?

    In the case of Hillary Clinton, the answer is, a lot, according to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Senator Rand Paul.

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The Ultimate Captive Market

    Now here’s a heads-they-win, tails-we-lose situation: Three of the contracts Arizona signed with private companies to house its prisoners require 100 percent occupancy.

    That’s right: If the state fails to send along enough jailbirds to fill all the beds, it pays a penalty. Nationwide, similar arrangements in two-thirds of these contracts either guarantee high prison occupancy or penalize taxpayers when there aren’t enough convicted criminals to keep behind bars.

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