Hello, it's 04:50PM March 28, 2015

George Will: Who says economics is hard?

WASHINGTON — Every day the Chinese go to work, Americans get a raise: Chinese workers, many earning each day about what Americans spend on a Starbucks latte, produce apparel, appliances and other stuff cheaply, thereby enlarging Americans’ disposable income. Americans similarly get a raise when they shop at the stores that made Sam Walton a billionaire. The ranks of billionaires are constantly churned. Most of the per …

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Esther Cepeda: An ode to the joy of inspired teaching

CHICAGO — Writing in the Wall Street Journal, David Gelernter, professor of computer science at Yale and a former board member of the National Endowment for the Arts, made the following bold statement in response to a student’s wondering about why anyone should give a hoot about Beethoven: “You must know Beethoven’s music because no one has ever said anything deeper about what it means to be human, to look life and de …

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Byron York: Does high-tech need overseas workers?

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, believes passionately that the United States needs more skilled foreign workers. He has long advocated increasing the number of so-called H-1B visas, which allow those workers to come to the U.S. for several years and, in many cases, work for lower wages than current employees. Schmidt is frustrated that Congress hasn’t done as he and other tech moguls want. “In the long list of stupid pol …

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U.S. ponders next move with Israel

When President Obama began his second term — the time presidents traditionally build foreign policy legacies — he had two major projects in the Middle East: a nuclear agreement with Iran and a peace settlement based on a Palestinian state. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu planted himself firmly in the way of both. Much has been made of how the two leaders lack personal chemistry. But it’s worse than that; on …

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George Will: Social inequality’s deepening roots

WASHINGTON — The rate of dog ownership is rising ominously. How can a profusion of puppies be worrisome? A report from the Raymond James financial services firm concerning trends in the housing market explains: Increasing numbers of women “are adopting dogs for security and/or companionship,” partly because of “the great education divide.” Since 1979, the report says, the number of women going to college has accelerat …

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Fed patience may be low — but so are its interest rates

The following editorial appears on Bloomberg View: The Federal Reserve’s policymaking committee is no longer saying it will be “patient” about returning to a more normal monetary policy. Does this mean the U.S. has moved a step closer to its first increase in interest rates since the recession? It shouldn’t — and Chair Janet Yellen said it doesn’t. Vocabulary aside, the Fed’s main message and the uncertainties sur …

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Esther Cepeda: Reading beyond the stars, stripes and chili peppers

CHICAGO — The Economist’s recent special report on Hispanics has stoked Latino ire with a cover featuring the stars and stripes composed of denim, stars and red hot chili peppers. The magazine is an unabashedly cheeky publication — as likely to title an article about quantitative easing after a Britney Spears song “Hit me baby one more time,” as it is to put a graphic picture of two angry camels copulating on a cover …

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Trudy Rubin: Israeli leader successfully plays on fear

Israelis are attributing Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu’s surprise election triumph to the fact that he ran a “gevalt” campaign. The Yiddish word gevalt is the equivalent of “Help!” — a cry for rescue at a critical time. And facing a possible defeat as voting day neared, Netanyahu wooed disaffected voters back to his right-wing Likud party by fear-mongering to the max. He raised the specter of an Arab horde (Israel’s Arab …

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Next for Netanyahu: U.S., Israel need to restore relationship

The surprising victory of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the polls last week represents a remarkable personal triumph, making him one of the Jewish state’s longest-serving leaders. Now, let the fence-mending begin — as hard as that may be for both the Israeli leader and his American counterpart. There’s no love lost between Netanyahu and President Obama. Neither is big on charm offensives. But personal p …

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Kathleen Parker: We’re in no race to talk about race

WASHINGTON — I’m standing in the Starbucks line behind 10 other sleepyheads waiting to order my tall skinny cappuccino, otherwise known as a shot of coffee described as I wish to be. Absolutely no one is talking about race. In fact, no one is talking at all except to mumble an order while checking email. I confess I’m not usually here at this 8-ish hour but ventured out in a springtime snowstorm to investigate the c …

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Ohio Gov. Kasich ready to take field

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ideas fly from Gov. John Kasich like sparks from a flint. While explaining his prison reforms, he interrupts himself midsentence — his sentences, like some E. E. Cummings poems, are unpunctuated — to praise a Delaware church that buys prom dresses for low-income high school girls. His spirit would add spice and his policies would add substance to the Republican presidential contest. But only if Jeb Bu …

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Kathleen Parker: Media take up Clinton on her dare

WASHINGTON — Amid all the verbiage about Hillary Clinton’s email, one irrefutable fact emerges: Polls will drive us crazy before the Clintons do. The latest CNN/ORC poll shows that a majority of Americans (51 percent) think the email controversy is “serious,” yet 57 percent would be “proud” to have her as president. So what are we to conclude? Nothing. As former Texas Gov. Rick Perry commented recently: “I was a fron …

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GOP letter to Iran not illegal, but not smart or helpful, either

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a rising conservative star, persuaded 46 fellow Republicans to sign a letter to Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei et al warning that Congress could revoke any nuclear deal that President Obama makes. But as one of Napoleon’s ministers said of a decision that went awry, it was worse than a crime; it was a blunder. Notwithstanding yelps from overwrought Democ …

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George Will: Life, science prove value of families in escaping poverty

WASHINGTON — In the mid-1960s, a social scientist noted something ominous that came to be called “Moynihan’s Scissors”: Two lines on a graph crossed, replicating a scissors’ blades. The descending line charted the decline in the minority male unemployment rate. The ascending line charted the simultaneous rise of new welfare cases. The broken correlation of improvements in unemployment and decreased welfare dependency …

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We hope we see real change, soon, in Secret Service

The following editorial appeared in Friday’s Washington Post. “Only a director from outside the service, removed from organizational traditions and personal relationships, will be able to do the honest top-to-bottom reassessment this will require.” President Obama rejected that assessment by a special panel probing the operations of the U.S. Secret Service when he tapped a 27-year veteran of the service to lead the …

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Authority on trade needed for state’s ag

In Washington’s rural communities, hard work and innovation have led to record-breaking production of a wide variety of crops. The latest statistics show the value of Washington’s 2013 agricultural production reached $10.2 billion, setting a record high for the third consecutive year. Five of the state’s top crops, including milk, potatoes, cattle and calves, grapes and pears, set records for production value that year …

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Pasco police shooting: Race issues still simmer beneath surface

PASCO — On a recent afternoon in his City Hall office, Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger recalled his meeting with the family of Antonio Zambrano-Montes after the man was gunned down by police. Zambrano-Montes, a Mexican immigrant, died Feb. 10 after throwing rocks at police and cars in a busy intersection. More than half of this Eastern Washington city’s residents are Hispanic. The chief said the first thing the family …

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Trudy Rubin: GOP steps beyond water’s edge

Imagine if a group of antiwar Democratic senators had penned a letter to Saddam Hussein in 2003 saying, “Don’t worry about President Bush’s war threats. We will undercut him.” “Treachery!” Republicans would have roared. Yet 47 Republican senators, including Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey, have written an open letter to Iran’s clerics saying Congress or the next president will probably rescind any deal signed by President O …

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George Will: Export-Import Bank’s terrible grip

WASHINGTON — Conservatives’ next disappointment will at least be a validation. The coming reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank will confirm their warnings about the difficulty of prying the government’s tentacles off what should be society’s private sphere. The bank, which exists to allocate credit by criteria other than the market’s preference for efficiency, mirrors the market-distorting policies of foreign gov …

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Byron York: President Clinton would be secretive, too

News that Hillary Clinton exclusively used a private email account to keep secret her communications as Secretary of State should surprise no one. She came to Washington more than 20 years ago determined to keep secrets, and she’s still at it. In 1993, the newly inaugurated President Bill Clinton chose his wife to head his administration’s most important domestic initiative, health care reform. Hillary Clinton proceed …

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Kathleen Parker: GOP senators declare diplomatic war

WASHINGTON — With a few tweaks to Scripture, herewith today’s relevant verse: What therefore President Obama hath joined together, let Republicans put asunder. The letter from 47 Republican senators to Iran’s leaders proffering a civics lesson on the U.S. Constitution has predictably triggered outrage. In a sneeringly adolescent tone, the senators basically said that Obama will be gone in two years and they’ll still …

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Doyle McManus: Hillary Clinton again making unforced error

It’s impossible to know whether Hillary Rodham Clinton’s use of a private email account to conduct business as secretary of state is a serious scandal or merely a tempest in a teapot. Impossible, because Clinton and her aides have ducked the most important questions. Yes, secretaries of state are allowed to use personal email accounts. But why did Clinton choose never to use the government’s official system? She hasn’ …

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Debate, but don’t derail Iran talks

The following editorial appears on Bloomberg View. In the afterglow of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s fiery speech to Congress, the Republican-controlled Senate is feeling its oats on foreign policy. Senators should be careful not to undermine President Barack Obama’s negotiations with Iran. Leave aside for the moment the typical partisan debate and more high-minded questions over the respective roles …

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George Will: Obama won’t get far on TPP without GOP

WASHINGTON — Michael Froman received from a Harvard Law School classmate, Barack Obama, a job that validates the axiom that the unlikelihood of any negotiation reaching agreement grows by the square of the number of parties involved. In trade negotiations, even one’s own country is troublesome, as the catfish conundrum illustrates. And the degree of difficulty in achieving a free trade pact is proportional to the numbe …

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Quick way to increase health care providers

Yakima County needs help to recruit health care providers, and the Washington State Health Professional Loan Repayment Program is just the ticket. Statistics tell the story. More than 500,000 newly eligible adults now have insurance through Medicaid, including 25,198 in Yakima County. This is great news, but it also means that we need enough providers to make sure they can access care. In a recent study, the Robert Gra …

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Trudy Rubin: Netanyahu urges wrong policies at wrong time

Benjamin Netanyahu did a disservice to the U.S.-Israel alliance and the goal of preventing an Iranian bomb by his political grandstanding before Congress last week. If his real goal was to prevent Tehran from getting nukes (and not just to boost his re-election odds or trash President Obama), then he undercut it. Let me count the ways. First: By accepting a Republican invitation to address Congress issued behind Obama …

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Iran meddling? That’s Congress doing its job

Put aside the overheated spat about the wisdom of inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress last week. The deeper constitutional issue involves the insistence by President Barack Obama that the House and Senate have no business floating sanctions bills that might upset the administration’s negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. The truth is that there’s nothing remote …

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Kathleen Parker: Words can hurt — and kill

WASHINGTON -- “At least nobody died,” we often hear in politics to explain away some regrettable act. As in: So, yeah, maybe President Obama wasn’t telling the complete truth about keeping your doctor, but at least nobody died. Or: Oh, sure, we said mean things about her, but she can take it. Words aren’t lethal. With the suicide last month of Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich, we should lay such thoughts to rest. Words d …

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George F. Will: Stopping corruption of IRS

WASHINGTON — Rep. Peter Roskam is now chairman of the Ways and Means subcommittee whose jurisdiction includes oversight of the Internal Revenue Service, and hence of Lois Lerner’s legacy. He knows how interesting her career was before she, as head of the IRS exempt-organizations division, directed the suppression of conservative advocacy groups by delaying and denying them the tax-exempt status that was swiftly given t …

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Esther J. Cepeda: Latino vote may swing Chicago election

CHICAGO — Who would have thought that something as seemingly inevitable as the re-election of Rahm Emanuel as mayor of Chicago would thrust Hispanics into the national spotlight? Four outspent, outgunned challengers forced President Obama’s former right-hand man into a mayoral runoff, the first the city has ever had. And Chicagoans are left with a showdown that pits establishment power and big money against population …

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Kathleen Parker: GOP carries out its death wish

WASHINGTON -- I’m getting that deja vu feeling as House Republicans these past several days have failed to alter the public’s perception that they’re incapable of governing. This week marked Episode 2, Season 2 in the series “Homeland Security Face-Off.” Subtitle: “How Republicans Forfeit the White House in 2016.” Notwithstanding Tuesday afternoon’s vote, which funded the Department of Homeland Security through the e …

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Doyle McManus: The leaders of the CPAC

The fervent Republicans who throng the Conservative Political Action Conference every year aren’t representative of the American electorate. They aren’t even representative of the GOP electorate. For four of the last five years, their straw poll for president has chosen Rand Paul or Ron Paul. These are not everyday Republicans. Yet the conference, which took place Thursday through Saturday, is still an important event …

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George Will: Reading lessons from Supreme Court

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court frequently ponders arcane matters. But this week, however, in oral arguments concerning two cases, the justices’ task will be to teach remedial reading to Congress and to Arizona. On Wednesday, the justices will consider this: Did Congress mean what it said when, with patently coercive intent, it stipulated in the Affordable Care Act that subsidies for persons compelled to purchase heal …

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West’s failure eggs on Putin

The following editorial appeared in Wednesday’s Washington Post. When Ukraine’s president, pressed by the leaders of France and Germany, signed a peace agreement for eastern Ukraine on Feb. 12, he hoped it would purchase several months of calm during which the beleaguered government in Kiev could move ahead with economic reforms and bolster its military defenses. That didn’t happen: Russian forces launched a major …

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Esther J. Cepeda: Changing our eating habits, within reason

CHICAGO — Now that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has dropped high-cholesterol foods like eggs and shrimp off its naughty list, it’s time to completely revise our way of eating. And in addition to giving the green light to these foods, the panel of experts who revised the eating guidelines took dead aim at sugar. For the first time, the panel said that Americans should limit their added sugar — sweeteners …

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5 myths about Supreme Court and ACA

Once again, the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is in the Supreme Court’s hands. In King v. Burwell, which will be argued before the court Wednesday, opponents of “Obamacare” are claiming that under the law, subsidies for health insurance should be available only to people buying coverage on exchanges “established by the state” — i.e., state-run marketplaces. But 34 states don’t have their own exchanges, so the …

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Cokie and Steven Roberts: An accord on trade? Maybe

There is a very short list of topics on which the Democratic president and the Republican Congress might actually cooperate. In fact, the list might contain only one item. Trade. The United States is the world’s second leading exporter, after China. Foreign markets already support 1 out of every 5 American jobs. And as President Barack Obama noted in his radio address last weekend, increasing trade is clearly in the n …

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George Will: Reversing course of corruption in Illinois

CHICAGO — The most portentous election of 2014, which gave the worst-governed state its first Republican governor in 12 years, has initiated this century’s most intriguing political experiment. Illinois has favored Democratic presidential candidates by an average of 16 points in the last six elections. But by electing businessman Bruce Rauner, it initiated a process that might dismantle a form of governance that afflic …

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Esther Cepeda: The captain of my family’s ship

CHICAGO — Every descendant of immigrants eventually goes through a moment of disconnection when the person who initiated their family’s move to this country dies. It is the moment when a family’s origin story becomes just that — no longer a living fact, but a story. After the passing of a trailblazing loved one, the story feels crucial to preserve so that it can be passed on to subsequent generations. This was my ta …

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Kathleen Parker: The love-America litmus test

Republicans seem ceaselessly enamored of litmus tests, but the newest one — Do you believe President Obama loves America? — makes birthers seem witty. The question arose after former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani told a private audience that he doesn’t think Obama loves America. He further noted that Obama wasn’t raised like him or members of the audience (conservative business people and assorted media), which, t …

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Doyle McManus: Islam and semantic eggshells

For weeks, Republicans have lambasted President Obama for what they claim is a major foreign policy failure: His refusal to use the term “Islamic” to describe the terrorists of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. “The president and his administration dogmatically refuse to utter the words ’radical Islamic terrorism,’ “ Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said on Fox News. “You cannot defeat an enemy if you refuse to acknowledge what …

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George Will: Is tweeting against terrorism our strategy?

“We’re here today because we all understand that in dealing with violent extremism, that we need answers that go beyond a military answer. We need answers that go beyond force.” — Vice President Joe Biden at the Countering Violent Extremism Summit, Feb. 17 WASHINGTON — The Obama administration’s semantic somersaults to avoid attaching the adjective “Islamic” to the noun “extremism” are as indicative as they are …

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Safety goes off the rails: Modernize oil train fleet now

The following editorial appeared in Friday’s Washington Post. Residents near Mount Carbon, W.Va., heard a “big boom” on Monday, an explosion so forceful that it resulted in a fireball hundreds of feet high and sounded like a massive bomb exploding. Days later, toppled tank cars from a derailed train carrying 3 million gallons of oil were still burning near the Kanawha River, and officials were still scrambling to p …

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Guest editorial: Tourism means business; time for state to get busy again

Here are a few facts about Washington that not everyone knows: • Tourism is the fourth-largest industry in our state. • Washington is the only state in the U.S. that does not have a robust tourism promotion program. • Washington’s share of tourism growth has been below the national average for the past four years. We’ve been losing share of the tourism pie to other states since our Legislature closed the state to …

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Guest editorial: State Voting Rights Act lets us solve own problems

I grew up on Scenic Drive and graduated from West Valley High School. I still go home to see Mom whenever time allows. As a legislator, I represent the Olympia area, but often think how bills might affect my hometown, not just my district. That’s why I support the proposed Washington Voting Rights Act (VRA), House Bill 1745, because I understand how it will help Olympia, Yakima and our entire state. It is about keepin …

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Kathleen Parker: War of words against Mideast enemy

WASHINGTON — Channel-surfing the nightly cable news, one is reminded that certitude is the enemy of sanity. On both Fox News and MSNBC, conversation has centered lately on the proposed war against the Islamic State and President Obama’s related summit with religious leaders. On Fox, the summit was viewed as an exercise in “community organizing” that was divorced from reality. The right is also insistent that Obama c …

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Esther J. Cepeda: How migrating to a better life may be hazardous to your health

CHICAGO — Like all migrants, the estimated 5 million blacks from the Deep South who moved north during the Great Migration were seeking a better life. Many of them found it — but got fewer years of it in the process. This previously unknown phenomenon was recently uncovered by a group of economists in a study led by Duke University. They believe their paper is the first attempt to establish a link between the Great Mi …

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Scientists, Americans differ on many topics

LeftAlign.20A recent Pew Research survey shows major differences between scientists and the public on a range of subjects. LeftAlign.14• Safe to eat genetically modified foods Scientists: 88% U.S. adults: 37% • Favor use of animals in research Scientists: 89% U.S. adults: 47% • Safe to eat foods grown with pesticides Scientists: 68% U.S. adults: 28% • The Earth is getting warmer mostly because of human acti …

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George Will: War authorization’s difficult debate

WASHINGTON — Americans, a litigious people, believe that rules for coping with messy reality can be written in tidy legal language. This belief will be tested by the debate that will resume when Congress returns from a recess it should not have taken, with a war to authorize. The debate concerns an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against the Islamic State and also against ... Well. The debate’s difficu …

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