Archives for News

Charles Annenberg Weingarten: Fish Out of Water: Veterans Using Nature to Deal with the Pains of War

War generates many casualties. Some, such as death and destruction, are visible to the naked eye while others fester just below the surface, in the minds and hearts of those touched by it. And it’s the subtle pains of war that are often forgotten or overlooked by the masses yet, ironically, are felt deeply in so many small towns and family circles across America and the world. Think about this — a RAND study from 2008 estimates that the number of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who currently have post-traumatic stress disorder (300,000) or who have suffered some form of
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Aaron Sorkin: Bumper-Sticker Patriotism Is No Way to Honor Our Veterans

I was 18 when President Carter rattled America’s saber. The Soviets had just invaded Afghanistan, and Carter wanted to show the Russians that we weren’t kidding around so he re-instituted registration for the draft. (He didn’t re-institute the draft, just registration for the draft.) I’d just finished my freshman year at Syracuse University and had a summer job in Boston when my 18th birthday came up. My parents insisted that I register at a Boston post office, using my Scarsdale, New York, home address and my Syracuse, New York, dormitory phone number in the hopes that it would somehow slow
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White House Gives In On Bush Tax Cuts

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s top adviser suggested to The Huffington Post late Wednesday that the administration is ready to accept an across-the-board, temporary continuation of steep Bush-era tax cuts, including those for the wealthiest taxpayers. That appears to be the only way, said David Axelrod, that middle-class taxpayers can keep their tax cuts, given the legislative and political realities facing Obama in the aftermath of last week’s electoral defeat. “We have to deal with the world as we find it,” Axelrod said during an unusually candid and reflective 90-minute interview in his office, steps away from the Oval Office.
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Chris Weigant: Obama’s Next Steps

President Obama conveniently scheduled a trip to Asia immediately after this year’s midterm elections. This has worked, so far, as designed — it removed Obama from the political scene in Washington, while serious jockeying for position takes place among both major American political parties (leadership elections will be one of the first things the lame duck Congress will do when it reconvenes next week). This also has allowed Obama a pause to consider exactly what his next political steps are going to be, now that he faces two years of a politically-divided Congress (with Republicans in charge of the House,
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Alaska Senate Race: Write-In Ballots Break Towards Murkowski

JUNEAU, Alaska — Alaska election officials began counting more than 92,500 write-in ballots Wednesday in a Senate race that may hinge on voters’ penmanship and their ability – or lack of – to spell “Murkowski” on their write-in ballots. Murkowsi. Murkowsky. Even, possibly, Muckowski. All were variations of Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s name noted by ballot counters and immediately challenged by observers for Joe Miller, her GOP rival in the still-unsettled Nov. 2 race. Murkowski ran as a write-in candidate after losing Alaska’s GOP primary to Miller, a tea party favorite, in August. In the Nov. 2 election, voters cast
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Scott Atran: Bush’s Blarney: A Tale of Wishful Thinking and Willful Ignorance

“Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.” ~ Benjamin Franklin In George W. Bush’s just released memoirs, Decision Points, America’s previous president tries to re-establish his battered reputation by defending his most controversial and consequential decisions. He audaciously asserts his belief that the decision (at first denied) to allow waterboarding of detainees “saved lives,” especially American and British lives; that the invasion of Iraq has led to a Middle East “more hopeful with a young democracy setting an example for others to follow”; and that nation building
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Ten Flash Points In The Fiscal Commission Chairmen’s Proposal

The two deficit-hawk extremists President Obama put in charge of his fiscal commission released their personal suggestions for cutting the federal budget deficit on Wednesday. And while it’s quite possible that not a one of them will make it into the commission’s official recommendations, which require the approval of 14 or the 18 commissioners (not just two), the document will inevitably be welcomed as a “serious” contribution to the debate – at least by Republicans and conservative Democrats. But taken as a whole, the plan authored by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson would have devastating effects on the government and
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Meryl Chertoff: Three Myths About Judicial Elections

While all eyes were on the Reid-Angle Senate battle in Nevada last week, a ballot initiative with broad bipartisan support was defeated in the Silver State. That measure, Ballot Proposition 1, inspired by scandals in the state’s judicial system, would have moved Nevada from its present system of expensive, partisan judicial elections to a system known as merit selection. Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor felt so strongly about the measure that she became actively involved in the fight for Proposition 1. Its defeat says a lot about what Americans think they know about state judges, and a lot
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Is Tea Party Keeping Bristol Palin On ‘Dancing With The Stars’?

Is the Tea Party keeping Bristol Palin alive on “Dancing With The Stars” despite her poor performance scores? The 20-year old daughter of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will perform again next week on ABC’s hit TV show even after tallying the judges’ worst rating. Luckily for her and her partner Mark Ballas, however, viewer voting also plays into the equation, and some, including the show’s producer himself, think that her mother’s avid Tea Party following might be bolstering the contestant’s otherwise unimpressive showings. “There’s a strong popular movement behind Sarah Palin at the moment and she’s receiving a lot
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