Archives for Opinion

Maybe we should run credit checks on candidates for office

As more and more details emerge about the acceptance of gifts, loans and more by former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen during their fours years in Executive Mansion in Richmond, a picture of a chief executive up to his butt in debts and scrambling to pay bills emerges. McDonnell and his wife were living far beyond their means and came to office deep in a financial hole. Maybe what we have learned about the real reasons why the governor and his wife had their hands out for financial assistance from Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams shows that
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Dr. King and the irony of racism on a life

For some Virginians — those who work in state and county jobs — today is the end of a four day weekend because Friday was the “official” observance of Lee-Jackson Day, a state holiday that honors Virginia civil-war generals Robert E. Lee and  Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Monday is the national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King. Some find it ironic that Virginians enjoy a long weekend dedicated to men who either led others in a fight to, among other things, protect the right to own and use slaves and one who fought to bring equality to those of his
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On NSA, Obama says ‘trust me,” but can we?

President Barack Obama’s speech on Friday on intelligence reform marked a bullish shift in his approach to the National Security Agency. The president dropped the pretense that there was “nothing to see here” — which his administration has offered since former government contractor Edward Snowden first revealed the NSA.’s expanding surveillance. Obama now acknowledges that there are problems to be solved. Yet his reforms boiled down to “trust me.” While Obama did announce several new ways to increase accountability at the NSA, most were limited to executive actions. So the president basically changed his mind about the limits that he
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Congressional wrecking ball threatens foreign policy

By design or accident, it is increasingly clear that the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s second-term foreign policy is a nuclear agreement with Iran. Whether Obama can succeed, however, now depends on Congress staying out of the negotiations. Over the last few weeks, 16 Democratic senators have supported a bill that would impose new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program. They have defied the White House’s intense campaign to block Congress from adding new conditions to any deal. In this way, Obama is the victim of an increasingly craven Washington — where members of his own party are abandoning
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Yes, Chris Christie crossed the line

Back in the 1970s, a Jewish organization commissioned a poll to investigate anti-Semitism in the United States. The poll included several open-ended questions. One asked, “Is there anything in particular you like about Jewish people?” The answers were recorded verbatim. One respondent — a worker from Pittsburgh — answered, “What I like about them is that they are hardworking, aggressive and know how to get ahead.” The next question asked, “Is there anything in particular you don’t like about Jewish people?” His answer: “They’re too pushy and aggressive.” The puzzled interviewer asked, “Isn’t that what you just said you like
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Are all lanes now closed on Christie’s future?

This much we know for sure about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s bridge scandal: In mid-August, one of his staffers sent an email instructing an official, appointed by the governor, that it was “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.” The official at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey responded, “Got it.” Fort Lee access lanes to the George Washington Bridge, which connects the New Jersey city to Manhattan, were closed and days of vehicular mayhem ensued. When confronted about the closures, Christie’s people lied and lied about the reason for the closure, citing a non-existent
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Chris Christie and his scandal of hubris

The scandal involving New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie, whose aides virtually shut down Fort Lee by throttling its access to the George Washington Bridge into New York City, reportedly to punish the city’s mayor for not endorsing their boss, is so classic that you could put it in a textbook on how a politician can make a developing political scandal much, much worse. The model goes like this: aides to a governor, a rising political star, are looking to hurt the governor’s enemy. They engage in behavior that is definitely low, likely illegal, and possibly criminal. People start pointing
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Chris Christie and the art of political vendettas

The art of the great American political vendetta was born in New Jersey, just a short drive – barring heavy traffic – south of the George Washington Bridge. There, in the town of Weehawken, on a majestic cliff overlooking the Hudson River, the vice president of the United States, Aaron Burr, shot and killed his longtime political nemesis, the former secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, in 1804. Burr blamed Hamilton for his loss in the New York gubernatorial election a few months earlier and decided it was time to extract revenge in the most direct way possible. Luckily, for
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Yes, America did well in the ‘war on poverty’

In an unabashed endorsement of government action to alleviate the plight of the poor, this week President Obama commemorated the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty with his own call for new policies to address the continued struggles of tens of millions of Americans. In his official statement, Obama remarked that, “In the richest nation on earth, far too many children are still born into poverty, far too few have a fair shot to escape it, and Americans of all races and backgrounds experience wages and incomes that aren’t rising… That does not mean… abandoning the War on Poverty. 
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What is populism? Do any populists really exist?

In the American political lexicon, few words are as prevalent — or as confusing — as “populism.” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) gets described as a populist because she wants to curb the power of corporations and increase Social Security benefits. So does Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who thinks small businesses are crippled by “an explosion of regulation” and has called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme” that should be replaced by individual savings accounts. Journalists, meanwhile, routinely affix the P word to liberals who want to raise taxes on the rich and to conservatives who claim higher taxes just benefit liberal
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