Hello, it's 02:46PM December 22, 2014

George F. Will: Lighting fuses in Oklahoma and nationally on reach of government

OKLAHOMA CITY — Scott Pruitt enjoyed owning a AAA baseball team here, but he is having as much fun as Oklahoma’s attorney general, and one of the Obama administration’s most tenacious tormentors. The second existential challenge to the Affordable Care Act began here. In the first, decided in June 2012, the Supreme Court saved the ACA by reading it imaginatively. The court held that although Congress could not, in the …

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Trudy Rubin: Will Pakistani leaders act now?

Pakistanis, and sympathizers the world over, are mourning the Taliban’s horrific massacre of at least 132 schoolchildren and 13 staff in a crowded school in Peshawar. On the surface, this obscene assault — in which the Pakistani Taliban hunted down children cowering under desks and burned a teacher to death — seems to have stiffened the backbones of Pakistan’s politicians, who have long waffled about confronting the c …

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Other views: Disturbing fallout from North Korea cyberattack

The following editorial appeared in Friday’s Washington Post: The cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment has taken an even more disturbing turn. First it demonstrated how cyberthieves can raid a company’s most valuable trade secrets. Now it has escalated into a blatant terrorism threat by a group linked to North Korea and an assault on the freedom of speech directed from a capital of totalitarianism. Both the c …

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Connecting with Cuba: What the island nation gets from all this

WASHINGTON — For the Obama administration, the motivation for last week’s moves to normalize relations with Cuba is clear. The embargo against Cuba is increasingly unpopular, even in parts of the Cuban-American community that long supported it, and the president has been eager to find areas of both foreign and domestic policy where he can act without cooperation from Congress. But what’s driving this move on the Cuban …

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Connecting with Cuba: Is Obama taking practical approach? Maybe, but there are many pitfalls

WASHINGTON — The U.S. embargo on Cuba — or what’s left of it after President Obama’s dramatic Cuba policy announcement — may be a futile gesture. But it is, or was, not an empty gesture. It put the United States firmly on record that it would have as little as possible to do with a regime whose misdeeds have included inviting Soviet nuclear weapons onto its soil, sponsoring violent guerrilla groups throughout the West …

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Cokie and Steven Roberts: Jeb, Hillary mirror each other

Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton badly need each other. They cancel out each others’ greatest weaknesses and deprive their foes of some of their strongest arguments. Both have similar flaws and are vulnerable to the same charges: that they are too old (Jeb would be 63 on election day 2016; Hillary, 69), too out of practice (Jeb was last elected governor of Florida in 2002; Hillary was last elected senator from New York in …

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George F. Will: How Texas got a lot on its plate

WASHINGTON — The Battle of Palmito Ranch near Brownsville, Texas, on May 13, 1865, is called the last battle of the Civil War, but the Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) might consider that judgment premature, given its conflict with the state’s Department of Transportation and Department of Motor Vehicles. This skirmish is of national interest because it implicates a burgeoning new entitlement:- …

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Esther J. Cepeda: Dark clouds obscure rainbow

CHICAGO — I recently had to reiterate to my husband that minorities are far more scared of the police than nonminorities, even when we haven’t done anything wrong. I suspect my mindset stems from being a Chicagoan — our racial tensions are legendary. And Illinois’ law enforcement has a long, documented history of being more likely to pull over and ticket minority drivers than white ones, even though records show the p …

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Kathleen Parker: Smoldering issue of misconduct

WASHINGTON — First there’s the spark, then the conflagration, followed by the litigation and then, surely, the movie. Call it “Moonlight Fire,” and prepare to suspend disbelief. The story is a doozy — a tale of corruption, prosecutorial abuse, alleged fraud upon the court, and possible government cover-ups in the service of power and greed. All the script needs is a Forest Service employee urinating on his bare feet i …

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Doyle McManus: Budget is ugly, as is compromise

The trillion-dollar spending bill that the House of Representatives passed last week had something for everyone to hate. But it was still a step, however awkward, toward making the United States governable again. What was not to like? Plenty. Tea party conservatives hated the bill because it didn’t hobble the two programs they hate most, President Obama’s health-care law and his executive action on immigrants in the c …

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George Will: Real tax reform could cheer up everyone

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.” — Mr. Micawber in “David Copperfield” WASHINGTON — If America’s long-term economic growth were 3.5 percent, the result would be the restoration of cheerfulness. If long-term growth is closer to 2 percent, the result will be conti …

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Hacked in Hollywood: What it means for rest of country

This editorial appeared in Friday’s Washington Post. To get a taste for the havoc possible in today’s digital world, consider the recent cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment. Intruders calling themselves “Guardians of Peace” claim to have broken into Sony’s networks and stolen around 100 terabytes — that’s 100,000 gigabytes — of financial information, budgets, payroll data, internal e-mails and feature films …

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Trudy Rubin: Save Yazidis from ISIS horror

In August, President Obama authorized air strikes to prevent the Islamic State from carrying out a genocidal slaughter of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, tens of thousands of whom had fled their besieged city and villages into barren mountains. The Yazidi struggle continues. The Islamic State is selling off 2,000 captured women and girls as sex slaves. Six thousand Yazidis remain trapped on Mount Sinjar. Hundreds of thousands …

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Doyle McManus: Yes, CIA used torture — but other issues remain unresolved

The catalog of horrors contained in Tuesday’s report from the Senate Intelligence Committee ought to settle one argument for good: Yes, the CIA did use torture on suspected terrorists in its secret detention program a decade ago. Not convinced waterboarding is torture, even though the U.S. military considers it that? Then try sleep deprivation, which the State Department calls torture when it’s used by other countries …

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Interrogating the CIA: Moral posturing on torture just isn’t good enough

Reading the summary of the just-released report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation program is a deeply depressing experience. The accounts of torture in the name of national security are shaming and revolting. They are bound to incline any decent person to the view that torture is wrong, always and everywhere. That conviction, I’m sure, ought to dictate policy — but it’s unsatisfactory nonetheless. It …

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Interrogating the CIA: Senate report wrongly discounts agency’s success in foiling terrorist plots

The most incredible and false claim in the Senate intelligence committee’s report on the CIA interrogation program is that the program was neither necessary nor effective in the agency’s post-9/11 pursuit of al-Qaida. The report, written by the committee’s Democratic majority and disputed by the Republican minority and the CIA, uses information selectively and distorts facts to “prove” its point. I won’t try to convin …

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Esther Cepeda: A generation lost in videoland

CHICAGO — Last week, my eighth-grader engaged in World War I-style trench warfare. It involved students in his classroom arrayed in ranks and a great many wadded paper balls. My school-hating son called it his best class ever. In his mind, it’s just too bad that every day can’t involve something as fun. He’s like far too many kids today who believe school is boooring. A slog through snatches of books, subjects and ski …

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George Will: America’s plague of overcriminalization

WASHINGTON — By history’s frequently brutal dialectic, the good that we call progress often comes spasmodically, in lurches propelled by tragedies caused by callousness, folly or ignorance. With the grand jury’s as yet inexplicable and probably inexcusable refusal to find criminal culpability in Eric Garner’s death on a Staten Island sidewalk, the nation might have experienced sufficient affronts to its sense of decenc …

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Byron York: Obama leaves dangerous legacy for Democrats

Now that the 2014 elections are over and national politics is all about 2016, Democrats have good reason to worry that, for all his success at the polls, President Obama will leave his party with a toxic legacy. The Obama damage is two-fold. First, his success relied on a coalition that likely will not survive, or at least survive at full strength, without Obama himself on the ticket. Secondly, Obama drove a significa …

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Esther J. Cepeda: How trade deals boost immigration



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Kathleen Parker: Feminism and following the right path

WASHINGTON — It is probably too soon to declare a feminist reformation, but a few signs here and there give one hope. Hold it, sirs, don’t stop reading yet. I realize that seeing the F-word in the first paragraph is like discovering that your bride is wearing pantyhose, but bear with me. This week in the nation’s capital, where female leaders in government, business and media gathered for the second annual “Women Ru …

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Doyle McManus: Some still resisting needed compromise

After November’s midterm election, polls found that most Americans wanted their members of Congress to seek compromise — anything to end the gridlock that has plagued Washington. An NBC-Wall Street Journal survey found that even among Republicans, more favor compromise over intransigence. Four years ago, only 27 percent of GOP voters were in the compromise camp; now 49 percent are, while just 45 percent want their legi …

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George Will: Big government serving only the strong

WASHINGTON — Intellectually undemanding progressives, excited by the likes of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. — advocate of the downtrodden and the Export-Import Bank — have at last noticed something obvious: Big government, which has become gargantuan in response to progressives’ promptings, serves the strong. It is responsive to factions sufficiently sophisticated and moneyed to understand and manipulate its complexit …

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D.C.’s power is declining

Now that the midterms are behind us, let’s have an honest assessment of what’s really happening in our nation’s capital: The federal government’s power is diminishing. Washington is becoming less effective at addressing many of our nation’s problems and less consequential in bolstering the cities and regions that drive the economy. Given the excessive partisanship on display, it’s tempting to blame Washington’s stumbl …

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Stabilized Syria key to U.S. policy

The following editorial appeared in Friday’s Washington Post. Under pressure from allies, the Obama administration appears to be creeping toward a correction of its strategy in Syria. If so — and officials stress that President Obama has made no decisions and none is imminent — the change would be welcome. The president has been counting on moderate Syrian forces to fight the Islamic State while refusing to address …

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Esther J. Cepeda: The many states of teacher pay

CHICAGO — How much money you can make from teaching is a little like real estate — location, location, location. In cities such as Baton Rouge, La., Fresno, Calif., and Northside, Texas, it can take anywhere from 24 to more than 30 years to achieve an annual salary of $75,000. Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, an “exemplary” teacher can hit $75,000 in a mere eight years, according to the National Council on Teacher Quality ( …

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Ferguson fallout: Are police out of control? Here are 5 myths

America’s police forces are in the spotlight. After the police shooting deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, as well as this past week’s decision by a grand jury not to indict the officer caught on video choking New York resident Eric Garner, who later died, Americans from the White House to the streets are debating or protesting police militarization, body cameras, le …

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George Will: Granting another case for term limits

WASHINGTON — In 2010, Plymouth, Conn., was awarded $430,000 for widening sidewalks and related matters near two schools. This money was a portion of the $612 million Congress authorized for five years of the federal Safe Routes to School program intended to fight childhood obesity by encouraging children to burn calories by walking or biking to school. Really. Fortunately, Plymouth is near Sharon, Conn., home of the B …

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Esther Cepeda: For kids, dolls are nothing to toy with

CHICAGO — With the exception of a few Lego sets, the kids in my immediate family are past the age of wanting toys for Christmas. Am I grateful. Toys, and especially dolls, have stirred discontent lately. They seem to have taken on the gender anxieties of parents who put too much pressure on playthings to represent or address any number of societal ills. Barbie, that under-the-Christmas-tree stalwart, has had a parti …

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Kathleen Parker: Ferguson as a made-by-TV event

WASHINGTON — As the curtain closes on the latest episode of “Ferguson,” the media series, it is fair to wonder whether events might not have spiraled out of control to the extent they did had the media settled on another topic. Ebola, say. Remember that one? I’m not the first to wonder or comment on the media’s role in contributing to events, but some further clarifications seem warranted in this case. First, as alway …

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Trudy Rubin: Iraqi helpers now need our help

In Thanksgiving weekend columns past, I’ve written of my gratitude to this country for taking in my immigrant grandparents, and my belief that immigration makes this country great. This year I’m thinking about a special group of would-be immigrants: a group whom the United States should be welcoming with thanks, but is instead treating shamefully. I’m referring to thousands of Iraqis who helped American soldiers and c …

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George Will: A case for self-restraint for vain Obama

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. — Newton’s Third Law of Motion WASHINGTON — America’s Newtonian Constitution might again function according to Madisonian expectations if a provoked Congress regains its spine and self-respect, thereby returning our constitutional architecture to equipoise. But this is more to be hoped for than expected. Even without this, however, the institutional vand …

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Tax talks may blow new hole in the budget

The following editorial appeared in Wednesday’s Washington Post. Republicans and Democrats hardly agree on anything these days, with one exception: It’s a lot easier to hand out tax breaks to special interests when you don’t have to offset them with spending cuts or tax increases on someone else. Consider the negotiations underway between the Republican-controlled House and the (still) Democratic-led Senate over a …

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Ferguson fallout: Time to find a treatment for the ‘I know I’m right syndrome’

The following editorial appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Tuesday: All of St. Louis owes a debt of gratitude to the 12 St. Louis County citizens who served on the grand jury that has decided that Ferguson, Mo., Police Officer Darren Wilson will not stand trial for the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown. The debt is owed not for the decision. The debt would have been owed had the grand jurors come back …

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State class-size initiative is not right answer to school problems

Initiative 1351’s prevailing vote for smaller class sizes for school children intends to improve the state’s investment in students and their futures, generating tremendous challenges in its implementation. A daunting task awaits legislators and school districts, including funding allocations from already stressed state budgets, securing additional classroom space and finding qualified teachers. We picture bright, wel …

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Doyle McManus: GOP ponders next move on immigration

When President Barack Obama announced his decision to allow roughly 4 million undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation, Democrats and Republicans in Washington disagreed furiously about the move. No surprise there. Still, I confess to being a little amazed at how, in the days since, not only politicians but eminent legal scholars have lined up to cheer their own sides’ positions. To Demo …

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Cokie and Steven Roberts: Conspiracy Crowd confronts Benghazi facts

The late, great Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan was fond of saying, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” His adage has become a familiar cliche around Washington, but it took on new meaning after the House Intelligence Committee issued a unanimous, bipartisan report about the attack in the Libyan city of Benghazi that killed four Americans in September 2012. The report forcefully dispelled …

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If you really want to enjoy the holidays, choose to give

CHICAGO — I’ve never been drawn into Black Friday. Maybe that’s why over the years, I’ve grown more and more disgusted with stores that have decided to open on Thanksgiving Day. Such businesses deprive workers of some sorely needed time off with their families on our national day of thanks just to satisfy the ravenous deal-hunting of American shoppers. It’s a temporary insanity that grips people who, after having …

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George Will: Thank you for entertaining U.S.

WASHINGTON — Before the tryptophan in the turkey induces somnolence, give thanks for living in such an entertaining country. This year, for example, we learned that California’s Legislature includes 93 persons who seem never to have had sex. They enacted the “affirmative consent” law directing college administrators to tell students that sexual consent cannot be silence but must be “affirmative, conscious and voluntary …

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Kathleen Parker: Bill Cosby deserves rule of law

WASHINGTON — By now, most Americans probably have formed an opinion about what comedian Bill Cosby did or didn’t do sexually to or with at least 16 women beginning in the 1960s. According to several women who have accused him of sexual predations, Cosby’s usual modus operandi was to drug women who were with him voluntarily and then force sexual acts upon them. We know these things based mostly on the women’s media in …

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Trudy Rubin: Long-term solution to ISIS lacking

If there was ever an issue that required politics to stop at the water’s edge, it’s the fight against ISIS. With its Mideast land grab, its growing army of Western volunteers, and its global aspirations, ISIS threatens U.S. security interests and must be confronted. But no one, not the White House, not GOP leaders, certainly not Congress, has come up with a coherent plan to curb the group in the long run. In a sane go …

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George Will: Rockefeller’s life illuminates today’s political parties

WASHINGTON — Seen through the prism of subsequent national experience, Nelson Rockefeller resembles a swollen post-war automobile — a land yacht with tail fins, a period piece, bemusing and embarrassing. He remains, however, instructive. Richard Norton Smith, a biographer as talented as he is industrious, could not have known, when he began his labors 14 years ago, that publication of his “On His Own Terms: A Life of …

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New war needs new resolution

The following editorial appeared in the Los Angeles Times on Thursday. When President Barack Obama declared in September that the United States would be part of an international effort to “degrade and ultimately destroy” Islamic State, he said vaguely that he welcomed congressional support but insisted that he already had the necessary legal authority to act. It soon emerged that the administration was relying for …

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Diabetes and dental issues tied together

Chances are you know someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes. But what you may not know is that good oral health can reduce the severity of the disease. Some 29 million Americans, roughly 12 percent of adults in the United States, have diabetes, according to a 2014 Centers for Disease Control & Prevention report. In our state, about 600,000 adults have diabetes and 1.8 million more are at high risk for develop …

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Congressman-elect looks back, looks ahead

I am writing this from Washington, D.C., where I have spent the past few days meeting with my new colleagues, voting on leadership and rules for the new Congress and starting work on important issues. I don’t officially take office until January, but there are a few things I would like to say before the new Congress begins. First, I would like to thank the voters of Central Washington for the honor to serve you in the …

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Esther Cepeda: Research punctures myths about Hispanics

CHICAGO — For those of you who aren’t close observers of the changing face of the U.S. Latino population, I beg you: Take a closer look. For most of the last decade, the image of Hispanics in America has followed well-worn stereotypes: impoverished and with little education and few skills other than picking fruit and butchering animal carcasses. Plus, an apathy toward learning English and bitterness toward a country t …

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How can both sides go so wrong on the immigration issue? Here’s how

Welcome to the Cable News Boxing Channel. Tonight, like every night, our main event features the same two heavyweights — Congressional Republicans versus the Obama White House. This time, they are battling over immigration reform. There’s the opening bell — and once again both fighters are immediately punching furiously, landing powerful lefts and rights to the head and body. But wait! We’ve never seen anything quite l …

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George Will: Using a bludgeon in Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE — It is as remarkable as it is repulsive, the ingenuity with which the Obama administration uses the regulatory state’s intricacies to advance progressivism’s project of breaking nongovernmental institutions to government’s saddle. Eager to sacrifice low-income children to please teachers unions, the Department of Justice wants to destroy Wisconsin’s school choice program. Feigning concern about access for ha …

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Kathleen Parker: Pope calls for family resurrection

WASHINGTON — News that Pope Francis will visit the U.S. next year for the triennial World Meeting of Families brings elation to Catholics, excitement to pope watchers — and perhaps a little chagrin to some who too soon interpreted Francis’ broad compassion as a precursor to doctrinal changes related to marriage. Nothing could be further from the truth. In recent comments in a variety of forums — from the bishops’ syno …

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