Archive

Date

May 22nd, 2014

Poverty Is Not a State of Mind

    Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush, the didactic-meets-dynastic duo, spoke last week at a Manhattan Institute gathering, providing a Mayberry-like prescription for combating poverty in this country: all it takes is more friendship and traditional marriage.

    Ryan said: "The best way to turn from a vicious cycle of despair and learned helplessness to a virtuous cycle of hope and flourishing is by embracing the attributes of friendship, accountability and love."

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Springtime for Bankers

    By any normal standard, economic policy since the onset of the financial crisis has been a dismal failure. It's true that we avoided a full replay of the Great Depression. But employment has taken more than six years to claw its way back to pre-crisis levels - years when we should have been adding millions of jobs just to keep up with a rising population. Long-term unemployment is still almost three times as high as it was in 2007; young people, often burdened by college debt, face a highly uncertain future.

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Hillary's Obstacle Course

    Reince Priebus made a joke on Sunday.

    I don't know that he meant to - comedy isn't his forte - but the only way to hear one of his comments on "Meet the Press" was as a put-on. He said that Hillary Clinton wouldn't run for the presidency if "she has another month like she just had," with questions about Monica, about Benghazi, about Boko Haram, about her brain.

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Four Words Going Bye-Bye

    The more I read the news, the more it looks to me that four words are becoming obsolete and destined to be dropped from our vocabulary. And those words are "privacy," "local," "average" and "later." A lot of what drives today's news derives from the fact that privacy is over, local is over, average is over and later is over.

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Harvest of Shame: America's Poisoned Children Need a Hashtag

    More than 50 years ago, CBS correspondent Edward R. Murrow revealed to America the awful conditions suffered by migrant farm laborers in "Harvest of Shame," an angry documentary that would become a classic. While conditions have improved for some of the families whose work provides our cornucopia of affordable food, there remains a special group of workers that our political system refuses to protect: the children who pick tobacco.

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Heads need to roll at the VA

    Finally, an authentic scandal: incompetence and deception at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Given what we know so far, more heads need to roll -- and a criminal investigation should be launched.

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Other Paths to Better Pay

    Did you read about investors in Chipotle Mexican Grill rejecting the outlandish pay package the fast-food chain's two CEOs had cooked up for themselves? Stockholders overwhelmingly booed the mega-million payout, which would have come on top of the $300 million the duo have harvested in recent years.

    By the way, the average starting salary at a Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant is $21,000. And one of the CEOs, founder Steve Ells, makes 778 times the median salary at the chain.

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Remember to Forget

    The Right to Be Forgotten.

    It sounds like the title of a classic novel about desire and memory, perhaps Marcel Proust's sequel to "Remembrance of Things Past."

    It is, in fact, based on a French legal phrase, le droit à l'oubli, the "right of oblivion," which allows criminals who have paid their debt to society to object to the publication of information about their conviction and jail time.

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An American Banking Revolution Awaits

    Vermonters aren’t like the rest of us: They live in a small state with a flinty history and a legendary suspicion of outsiders.

    That independent streak gained luster when 15 Vermont towns voted earlier this year to reinforce this independent tradition by approving a proposal to create a state bank.

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College Students Can Protect Themselves From 'Triggers'

    Supposedly, students at some of our most prestigious universities find themselves confronted with existential challenges. Some are required to read books and watch films that could conceivably upset them emotionally. Hence many campuses are considering "trigger warnings" to alert the more delicate flowers against getting their little feelings hurt.

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