Hello, it's 11:52PM October 31, 2014

Assad’s chlorine bombs fading Obama’s red line

The following editorial appeared in Friday’s Washington Post. One grim indication that the regime of Bashar Assad has been emboldened by the U.S. air campaign in Syria is the fresh reports of chemical weapons attacks on civilian areas. The Institute for the Study of War has compiled 18 allegations by Syrian sources of chlorine gas attacks by the regime since U.S. strikes against the Islamic State began in August. T …

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Yakama Nation fears irreparable harm from coal shipments

In the Yakama language, we have no word for “mitigation”— no word to describe repairing lands and waters that have been degraded or destroyed. Recently, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead offered me an all-expenses-paid tour of what he calls “environmentally friendly” coal operations in northeastern Wyoming. The answer is no. No amount of wining and dining will make up for the irreparable harm that would be caused by shipping coa …

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Doyle McManus: U.S. now fighting Islamic State to a stalemate

The United States and its allies are no longer losing the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and in the Middle East, that counts as progress. In Syria, the besieged Kurdish town of Kobani, nearly given up for lost two weeks ago, has held off Islamic State’s guerrillas thanks to dozens of foreign airstrikes and an emergency U.S. airlift of guns and ammunition last weekend. Next door, the Iraqi army is no …

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Kathleen Parker: Giving a voice to bears and wolves

WASHINGTON — If politicians preying upon your attentions this season fail to inspire, you might seek common cause with the beasts — the four-legged variety rather than those running for office. Ballot initiatives aimed at protecting bears and wolves from hounding, trapping and other inhumane hunting practices are up for a vote in two states — Maine and Michigan. Oh, be still thy twitching trigger finger. This isn’t …

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Cokie and Steven Roberts: Why Romney may — or may not — run again

‘Run, Mitt, run.” That was the chant as Mitt Romney appeared at a rally for Joni Ernst, the Republican Senate candidate in Iowa. The 2012 GOP standard-bearer hears those words a lot as he campaigns around the country this fall, and they trigger two questions. Will be run? Can he win? “I’m not running for office,” Romney insisted in Iowa. And his wife, Ann, reiterated this week that the family was “done, done, done” wi …

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As oil prices fall, raise the gas tax

Whenever the price of oil spikes, it’s a sure bet that some U.S. politicians will propose another gas tax holiday. So now that oil has fallen below $85 a barrel, and with America’s highways and mass-transit systems starved for funding, is anyone in Washington sensibly calling for a gas tax increase? Of course not. Raising the gas tax is bad politics — and will remain so even after the November elections. But the econo …

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Esther J. Cepeda: Exposing our darkest thoughts

CHICAGO — Raise your hand if you’ve heard the phrase “heart of darkness” about a hundred times lately. It has been used to reference the African continent, the Ebola outbreak, the newly discovered origination point of the HIV virus, as well as beheadings by the Islamic State and Syria’s terrorist tactics, among other calamities. Often it’s an entertainment-related reference to the film “Apocalypse Now” by Francis For …

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Doyle McManus: Why GOP has congressional edge in 2014

National polling on the Nov. 4 midterm elections confirms a doleful trend that’s been firming up all year: Voters aren’t enthusiastic about their choices — on either side. A Gallup Poll last week found that only 32 percent of voters said they felt “extremely motivated” to go to the polls this year, down sharply from the 50 percent who were fired up for the 2010 congressional election. Democrats are less enthusiastic t …

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Kathleen Parker: A modest proposal for stopping Ebola

WASHINGTON — Now, now, let’s not panic. Yes, we have a second Ebola patient infected after treating the Liberian man who apparently concealed his exposure to this often-fatal disease, but this is no reason to panic. “It’s bad news that another person is sick,” Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Wednesday to MSNBC anchor Jose Diaz-Balart. Indeed. It’s actually terrible news to the other 75 health care workers who …

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Disclosure lost in sea of big money

The following editorial appeared in Monday’s Washington Post. The Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, permitting unlimited corporate and union donations for independent political activity, stated explicitly the meaning of independent. “By definition,” the court declared, “an independent expenditure is political speech presented to the electorate that is not coordinated w …

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Trudy Rubin: Nobel committee makes perfect choice

The Nobel committee finally got the Peace Prize right in 2014. After blowing the chance to choose Malala Yousafzai last year — as a brave and inspiring champion of girls’ education worldwide — the committee finally tapped her, along with Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian campaigner against child labor. These choices couldn’t have come at a better time. At a moment when the global news is nonstop negative and ugly, these he …

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George Will: An opportunity for liberty before Supreme Court

WASHINGTON — Come Tuesday, the national pastime will be the subject of oral arguments in a portentous Supreme Court case. This pastime is not baseball but rent seeking — the unseemly yet uninhibited scramble of private interests to bend government power for their benefit. If the court directs a judicial scowl at North Carolina’s State Board of Dental Examiners, the court will thereby advance a basic liberty — the right …

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China, protesters should find common ground

The following editorial appears on Bloomberg View. With Hong Kong protest leaders calling their supporters out onto the streets again, there’s good reason to doubt whether talks with the government that were expected Friday will ever take place, let alone whether they could accomplish anything. Protesters’ demands for full democracy remain irreconcilable with Beijing’s decree that only China loyalists be allowed to …

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Cepeda: The season to celebrate our darkest thoughts

CHICAGO — Death is all around me. The bleached bones of a desiccated human skeleton are scattered across my neighbor’s front yard. Rotting skulls, eviscerated rib cages and decomposing corpses twist in the wind during my neighborhood strolls. It’s driving my dog crazy — but I love it! With all the real horrors going on, it’s liberating to indulge in zombie/super virus apocalypse fantasies instead of pondering the hear …

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Cokie and Steven Roberts: Dems’ hopes hinge on ‘secret weapon’

Bill Clinton campaigned in Arkansas last week, focusing on college campuses and urging students to support candidates like Mark Pryor, one of the most endangered Democrats in the Senate. At each stop, staffers scurried through the crowds, gathering email addresses and cellphone numbers that could be used to mobilize voters on Election Day. “You don’t have the luxury of staying home,” the former president intoned at Ar …

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Trudy Rubin: A battle that must be won in Syria

The Syrian Kurdish leader’s voice on the telephone on Monday sounded desperate. He told me the Islamic State is on the verge of defeating Syrian Kurds, who have been fighting fiercely for weeks to defend the town of Kobani near the Turkish border. “There are 15,000 to 20,000 civilians still in Kobani, people who say they will die on the ground,” said Salih Muslim, the top Kurdish opposition leader in northern Syria. “ …

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George F. Will: Today Jersey, tomorrow America?

NEWARK, N.J. — Gov. Chris Christie could be forgiven if he had chips on both shoulders as big as those shoulders. This year, the first of his second term, has been overshadowed by often partisan investigations, more protracted than productive, of the involvement of several of his former aides — he fired them — in the closing of some access lanes to the George Washington Bridge. Nevertheless, Christie today radiates …

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Esther J. Cepeda: Attitude, not attire, is school problem

CHICAGO — Rarely does a day go by that I’m not grateful I no longer have to deal with the pain of enforcing dress codes in public schools. I remember wishing to be delivered from this torture multiple times a day when I was a high school teacher and was bombarded by skin-tight, low-cut tops, micro-mini skirts or shorts, and low slung pants. Never mind the fact that teachers have to play avert-the-eyes in order not to …

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Kathleen Parker: Somebody needs to get involved

WASHINGTON — Words have a way of seeping into our vocabulary and, through overuse or distortion, soon begin to lose their meaning. Who could have imagined that the word “beheading” would become commonplace, as though we were discussing a sport or a new product? “Another American was beheaded yesterday,” the newscaster explains. And then, “On a brighter note, a lost little kitten found her way home in a shocking way. W …

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Doyle McManus: We deserve better federal government

Whatever happened to good old American know-how? The nation that invented modern management seems to be suffering a crisis of competence. The Secret Service can’t protect the White House. Public health authorities can’t get their arms around a one-man Ebola outbreak. The army we trained in Iraq collapsed as soon as it was attacked by Islamic extremists, and our own veterans can’t get the care they need at VA hospitals …

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George Will: New Jersey has real Bell-ringer

PRINCETON, N.J. — Every 36 years, it seems Jeff Bell disturbs New Jersey’s political order. In 1978, as a 34-year-old apostle of supply-side economics and a harbinger of the Reagan Revolution, he stunned the keepers of the conventional wisdom by defeating a four-term senator, Clifford Case, in the Republican primary. Bell, a Columbia University graduate who fought in Vietnam, lost to Bill Bradley in the 1978 general el …

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No more Iran concessions

The following editorial appeared in Friday’s Washington Post. The deadline for completing a nuclear agreement with Iran is now less than eight weeks away, and the omens are not good. U.S. officials had hoped that an intensive week of negotiations at the United Nations last month would open the way to a deal but, by the account of both sides, little headway was made. “The gaps are still serious,” said a U.S. officia …

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In the line of ire: Not even Clint Eastwood’s can rescue agency from its dysfunction

The American psyche has taken a serious hit from the jaw-dropping Secret Service scandal that unfolded in the nation’s capital this week. Why? Because practically all of us, regardless of our backgrounds or our smoldering anger at political Washington’s ineptitude, believed in the myth of the agency’s invincibility. And the dismantlement of that myth has left us reeling far more than a typical, bureaucratic Washingto …

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Guest editorial: STEM efforts help connect schools and employers

We know Washington students need greater science, technology, engineering, and math skills to be successful as they enter college and the workforce. And we know that businesses around our state can’t find enough of the workers they need to grow and prosper. So what are schools, businesses and communities going to do about it? The state’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards in math and the Next Generation Scie …

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Esther J. Cepeda: Hispanics declare independence from Democrats

CHICAGO — Hispanics contemplating the upcoming elections must be wondering: “What now?” President Obama has shown Hispanics that he takes us for granted. The midterm elections won’t feature a “Latino vote” storyline in the most contested high-level races. As far as 2016 is concerned, it’s a crapshoot. How best to proceed then? Disengage from the political process? Carry on with straight-ticket voting and hope that an …

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Trudy Rubin: Take Hong Kong events seriously

Once again, as we have seen so frequently and so recently in many countries, massive crowds of young people are demonstrating for democracy against a repressive government. This time the civic protests are ongoing in downtown Hong Kong. As in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in 2011, or in the early days of Syria’s uprising, or last fall in Kiev, or in Moscow’s Pushkin Square in 2012, the crowd is predominantly youthful and nonv …

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George Will: New case for congressional term limits

“The legislative department is everywhere ... drawing all power into its impetuous vortex.” — James Madison, Federalist 48 WASHINGTON — Unfortunately, Congress’ vortex now spins the other way, throwing off powers that the executive scoops up. Hence this autumn’s spectacle: Feverish House and Senate candidates waging ferocious campaigns to win or retain offices that are of rapidly diminishing significance. It is o …

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Esther Cepeda: Diversity, achievement and token resistance

CHICAGO — The inevitable result of affirmative action is contempt for those it is supposed to benefit. After institutions have been begged, cajoled or scolded into diversifying their ranks, minorities who get the opportunity to bring their unique views to a previously homogenous organization are immediately seen as tokens — not good enough to get in on merit alone. This situation awaits the next minority journalist to …

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Kathleen Parker: Who declared this ‘war on women’?

WASHINGTON — It has long been accepted by the conventionally wise that the Republican Party is waging a “war on women.” Let’s be clear. The war on women is based on just one thing — abortion rights. While it is true that access to abortion has been restricted in several states owing to Republican efforts, it is not true that women as a whole care only or mostly about abortion. I promise, this isn’t another abortion …

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Trudy Rubin: Containing, not conquering ISIS

Last week I praised President Obama’s important speech at the United Nations that urged world leaders to reject “the cancer of violent extremism.” But, like many Americans, I voiced concern about whether his strategy — including bombing ISIS and al-Qaida targets in Syria — could achieve his objectives. I promised to examine this question in a subsequent column, so here goes. First, the president had no choice but to o …

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Battle royal in Iowa over Tom Harkin’s seat

URBANDALE, Iowa — The Machine Shed restaurant, where the waitresses wear bib overalls and suggest a cinnamon roll the size of a loaf of bread as a breakfast appetizer, sells a root beer called Dang!, bandages made to look like bacon strips, and signs that proclaim “I love you more than bacon.” For Joni Ernst, however, the apposite sign reads “No one ever injured their eyesight by looking on the bright side.” She, nou …

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Holder let us down after 2008 financial crisis



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Yakima Basin plan critical to region’s economy

Water is important to the economic vitality and way of life in Central Washington and our communities envision a Yakima River Basin with abundant fish and a vibrant farm economy. This vision is at risk. Perhaps the biggest lesson we’ve learned over decades and decades of conflict between competing water needs is that it’s better to work together, make a plan, and find the best way to support our collective needs in t …

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Doyle McManus: The Clinton complication for Democrats

The 2016 presidential election is more than two years away. Heck, the 2014 midterm election is still more than a month away. But it’s never too early to speculate about presidential nominations, especially for politicians who are thinking about running. It’s no surprise that potential Republican candidates are already stumping around the country asking voters and contributors to take a look. Their field is wide open. …

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U.S. airstrikes: Obama’s Syria war is not Bush’s 2003 Iraq mistake

Generals, they say, tend to fight the last war. In the case of the U.S.-led campaign against Islamic State, so do some prominent news organizations. The “last war” in this case is the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a catastrophic strategic mistake. The threats cited to make such expensive and destabilizing carnage necessary — weapons of mass destruction and an Iraqi al-Qaida presence — were false. The United States introduced …

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U.S. airstrikes: Congress should roll back Obama’s war without borders

Last week’s air strikes in Syria mark the latest step in the escalation of the U.S. war in the region. A conflict that started as a bid to provide humanitarian aid and protect U.S. personnel in Iraq has grown in just over two months into a war without borders. There are now more than 1,600 U.S. troops in Iraq, more than three times the number President Barack Obama authorized back in June at the outset of the current …

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George Will: High stakes on high plains of Kansas

SHAWNEE, Kan. — Tacked to the wall of Greg Orman’s campaign office is a print of a John Steuart Curry painting, “Tragic Prelude,” that hangs in the capitol in Topeka. It depicts John Brown of Osawatomie, 39 miles south of here, as what he was, a deranged product of “bleeding Kansas,” the Civil War’s overture. Today, Orman, who is as calm as Brown was crazed, is emblematic of fascinating Kansas. Orman wants to deny Pa …

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Esther Cepeda: Hispanic heritage too often misread

CHICAGO — It’s Hispandering Heritage Month, err, I mean Hispanic Heritage Month, once again. This is a time when — as the Democratic National Committee put it in their email introduction to daily profiles of Hispanic political candidates — “we celebrate the contributions of Hispanics to the United States and honor Hispanic leaders who have paved the way and fought for the Hispanic community.” And here I was thinking …

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Cokie and Steven Roberts: Why U.S. must fight Ebola, too

When Steve was hosting a show on NPR last week, several callers questioned whether the United States should be sending 3,000 troops and $500 million to help control the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa. It’s true that Washington is 4,669 miles from Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, where the epidemic is centered. It’s also true that the resources sent to Africa could be used here at home to improve the healt …

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Doyle McManus: Closing gap between Iraq goal, means

Discordant notes from the Obama administration last week were widely interpreted as a collision between a war-weary president and a gung-ho military. And it was easy to see why. President Obama ordered airstrikes against Islamic State militants, but promised that no U.S. ground troops would enter the fray. “The American forces deployed to Iraq do not — and will not — have a combat mission,” he vowed. Then Army Gen. Ma …

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George Will: Pay voters? That’s just wrong

WASHINGTON — The pursuit of perfection is usually foredoomed, but the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, which has a latitudinarian understanding of ethical behavior, has a perfectly awful idea. It is urging the City Council to consider ways of paying — starchier ethicists might call it bribing — people to vote. Some ideas are so loopy that they could only be conceived by governments, which are insulated from market …

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Economy is getting better, but not for all

The following editorial appeared in Friday’s Washington Post. Amid other good news about the U.S. economy — a declining unemployment rate, lower child poverty — the Federal Reserve has just reported that the net worth of U.S. households rose $1.4 trillion, to $81.5 trillion, during the second quarter of 2014. This means that families’ assets, such as homes and stocks, have risen roughly $23 trillion in value since …

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United Way helps people, communities get stronger

United Way has been an active force for community improvement in the Yakima Valley since 1955. It has collected and invested more than $70 million through local nonprofit organizations chosen as the most effective and efficient in addressing community needs. Giving to United Way is the simple and perfect choice if you are going to choose to give to one organization. Thousands of us give either through payroll deducti …

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Esther Cepeda: Admirals and generals go to war over obesity problem

CHICAGO — Four years after a group of more than 450 retired military leaders released a report called “Too Fat to Fight,” chronicling the expanding waistlines of our armed forces, the admirals, generals and others are waging this war anew. Their group, called “Mission: Readiness,” is back with a new report warning that “Retreat is Not An Option.” The latest effort follows up “Still Too Fat to Fight” from the group tw …

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Margaret Carlson: A warning to heed on Islamic State

WASHINGTON — Remember Richard Clarke, the presidential counterterrorism adviser whose hair was on fire about al-Qaida long before the Sept. 11 attacks and whose warnings of a threat from hijacked planes were ignored by the administration of President George W. Bush? Well, his hair is about to burst into flames again. This time, it’s the threat from Islamic State that has him worried. “They’re well-organized,” he says. …

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5 myths about the NFL

Over the past few weeks, Americans have been confronted by a slew of scandals besieging our most popular sport. Outrage over the off-the-field violence of star running backs Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson has been accompanied by the revelation that the National Football League expects almost one-third of its retired players to develop long-term cognitive problems at “notably younger ages” than the rest of the population. …

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George Will: This means war — and Congress

WASHINGTON — The United States last declared war many wars ago, on June 5, 1942, when, to clarify legal ambiguities during a world conflagration, it declared war on Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. This week’s issue is not whether to declare war but only whether the president should even seek congressional authorization for the protracted use of force against the Islamic State. Promising to “destroy” this group with t …

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Esther Cepeda: Why the missing bobolink matters

CHICAGO — “Bobolink bobolink spink spank spink; call is a metallic pink.” This is how my “Birds of Illinois” guide describes the bubbly, musical “voice” of Dolichonyx oryzivorus, known to the ornithologically minded as the bobolink. I know this only because in June I spent a few weeks’ worth of Sunday strolls being driven nearly insane trying to identify the amusing trill of something unknown to me — a bird I’d come t …

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Kathleen Parker: Mark Sanford’s ongoing saga with himself

WASHINGTON — As a South Carolinian, it befalls me to examine the peculiarities afflicting our former governor and now-congressman Mark Sanford, who, contrary to decorum and taste, continues to demand attention. Yes, that Mark Sanford — the erstwhile Appalachian Trail wanderer who in 2009 found himself not out hiking, as his gubernatorial staff had reported, but befuddled and besotted in Argentina with his longtime so …

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