Hello, it's 07:22AM July 28, 2014

George Will: Oregon doctor right choice for ailing Senate

PORTLAND — “Are you kidding?” This is Monica Wehby’s amiable response to people who wonder whether she will be able to bear the pressures of office if she wins her race as a Republican Senate candidate. For 17 of her 52 years she has been a pediatric neurosurgeon, holding in steady hands sharp steel and the fate of children’s brains. She probably can cope with the strains of legislative life. Today, her task is to per …

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Rein in Putin or watch out

The following editorial appeared in Friday’s Washington Post. Vladimir Putin has responded to the international outrage over the destruction of a Malaysian airliner by his proxies in eastern Ukraine by escalating his aggression. According to U.S. officials, tanks, artillery and other heavy weapons have continued to cross from Russia to Ukraine since the passenger jet was shot down. On Wednesday, two more Ukrainian …

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Advice to Dems: Don’t repeat 2010 mistake of tax increase

‘Definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” That saying is particularly appropriate regarding Democrat legislators current talk about raising taxes. A history lesson is needed. In 2009, we had a setback: our tax initiative that year didn’t succeed. A November 2009 op-ed published in The Seattle Times was titled “End of Tim Eyman era signals opportunities for ref …

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Trudy Rubin: A way to peace in Gaza

As the Gaza war drags on and the terrible civilian death toll keeps rising, it’s necessary to look to the past to find a way to stop the killing. It’s particularly vital to revisit the moment in 2005 when Israel made a strategic error by unilaterally withdrawing from the Gaza Strip. I wrote then that Israel should have negotiated its withdrawal with the moderate Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, and let …

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George F. Will: Goldwater 2.0 — California dreamin’

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Fifty Julys ago, up the road near San Francisco, in the unfortunately named Cow Palace, the Republican National Convention gave its presidential nomination to Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, who knew he would lose: Americans were not going to have a third president in 14 months. Besides, his don’t-fence-me-in libertarian conservatism was ahead of its time. His agenda, however, was to change his party …

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Esther Cepeda: There’s no easy solution for border kids

CHICAGO — Those who want to deport the border kids immediately and those who want to extend them protections have dug into their positions — as if either course of action would suffice. Those in the “help” camp are resolute — to the point that pro-immigrant alliances are starting to crumble along the fine line of just how much help to extend and how much air should be sucked away from the bigger, decades-old immigrat …

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Trudy Rubin: After plane horror, Europe must stand up to Putin

Vladimir Putin has become a global menace. There is an irrefutable link between the Russian leader’s reckless policies on Ukraine and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. This tragedy is the direct outgrowth of his decision to train and arm Ukrainian separatists with heavy weapons in an effort to destabilize Ukraine. It doesn’t matter whether the triggerman thought he was targeting a Ukrainian military plane ra …

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Border no minor problem

The following editorial appeared in the Los Angeles Times on July 16. There have been some recent stirrings of reasonableness in Washington over the humanitarian crisis at the Mexican border, stirrings that should be supported and nurtured like, well, a child. But let’s not fool ourselves: The proposals being bandied about address current political and bureaucratic problems, but they will do little to resolve the i …

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Trudy Rubin: New Gaza war is the new normal

Here’s the awful truth about the Gaza war in which Israeli air strikes are matching Hamas rockets number for number. This kind of violence is likely to become the new normal now that both Israelis and Palestinians believe the peace process is over. Israelis have enjoyed a relative calm for the past several years, with West Bank Palestinians confined behind a separation fence and Gazans locked inside their wretched str …

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Margaret Carlson: Republican first round pits Paul against Perry

WASHINGTON — Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky are the first would-be contenders for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination to go mano-a-mano. The fight is sharply drawn. In an op-ed in the Washington Post, Perry warned of a growing “isolationism” in the country, singling out Paul as “curiously blind” to growing threats in Iraq. Perry also reminded voters that he had served in the military and …

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This fire season, watching, hoping and praying are in order

What do you say to someone who just lost their home? Is there something meaningful to contribute to people who hours before saw much of their town swept away by a wave of flame? Not just one house or two, but the town? The work of countless people over a century, to make their home and their livelihood and raise their families where Methow meets Columbia, is now an orange glow in a rearview mirror, a column of ash they …

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Esther Cepeda: Amid border focus, we’re blind to our needy

CHICAGO — It is hard not to wonder what kind of impact $3.7 billion — the amount President Obama has requested to deal with the child migrant border crisis — might have on the traumatized children of Chicago’s South Side. If a humanitarian crisis is, as the Humanitarian Coalition defines it, “an event or series of events which represents a critical threat to the health, safety, security or well-being of a community or …

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Trudy Rubin: There’s actually good news from Ukraine

I’ve got some foreign policy good news. Really. Never mind that U.S. foreign policy appears irrelevant in Gaza, spineless in Syria, irresponsible in Iraq and grossly stupid in Germany (whoever OK’d our dumb spy efforts there should be fired). There is one important country where U.S. efforts may yet achieve a positive outcome. I’m talking about Ukraine, where Russia’s Vladimir Putin has just blinked in his efforts to …

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You can’t bank on politics of today

Here’s a quiz: Which politician favors reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, which aids American companies that compete in world markets and last year helped support $37 billion in exports and 205,000 domestic jobs while actually turning a profit? Is it Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the new majority leader of the House of Representitives, who voted for the agency in 2012 and belongs to a party long defined by its devotion to b …

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Borderline inaction is troubling

The following editorial appeared in Friday’s Washington Post. Nobody knows for sure how much weight, or blame, to assign each of the factors that have contributed to the flood of unaccompanied children and teens crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months. The surge of illegal entries has crested into a full-blown immigration crisis, the resolution of which now depends on the unpromising hope of cooperation be …

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For bicyclists, Washington state again leads the national pack

Last Saturday, 198 brave men mounted their bicycles and undertook one of the most difficult challenges in professional sports: the 2,271-mile Tour de France. When Le Tour finishes July 27, it’s not likely that any of the eight American riders will be standing on the podium. But when the next great U.S. cyclist comes along, don’t be surprised if he hails from Washington state, the best state for biking. The Evergreen S …

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Will soccer catch on in U.S.? Yes: Americans are seeing beauty of ‘beautiful game’

VIENNA, Va. — Unbelievably, World Cup soccer has become the topic of conversation around the water cooler at work. In recent weeks, television ratings for the sport have soared, with games involving Team USA equaling the recent NBA finals and surpassing baseball’s World Series. “Watch Parties” drew tens of thousands nationwide and huge crowds at AT&T Stadium in Dallas and Soldier Field in Chicago. This time around. Am …

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Will soccer catch on in U.S.? No: It’s simply not entertaining enough

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Soccer is easy to mock. In what other sport can we compile a scorecard of the number of ersatz “injuries” or the time the supposedly injured players spent writhing on the ground. Or in which “injured” players are regularly carried off on stretchers — when’s the last time you saw that in any American sport? — only to return to the game seconds later? But I am not here to mock. I’ve tried to like soc …

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Trudy Rubin: It’s time for Iraqi leader to go

Having ignored Iraq since 2009, the Obama team is now desperately trying to devise a way to prevent its total collapse — and to roll back the jihadi state newly established on a third of Iraqi territory. The only slim hope of doing either requires the ouster of the leader whom the United States has backed for nearly a decade, Iraq’s paranoid prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki. Al-Maliki’s sectarian Shiite politics have d …

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Margaret Carlson: When presidential passion goes public

WASHINGTON — Every so often, we get a poignant reminder of what has been lost now that letter writing has been replaced by texting, emoticons or nothing at all, if you’re a politician afraid to commit anything to paper for fear it will show up on page one or be read aloud by a committee chairman on a tear. History is the poorer for it. Nevermore will we have a Winston Churchill or Franklin D. Roosevelt, Teddy or Ike f …

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Doyle McManus: The drawbacks of drone warfare

The drone has become America’s counter-terrorism weapon of choice. But does drone warfare really further U.S. goals abroad? To wartime strategists under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the new weapon, like many innovations in the history of military technology, seemed at first like a silver bullet. Drones with lethal missiles could hover for hours over potential targets, waiting for the moment to strike. They co …

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Byron York: Patriotic pride, for different reasons

Despite prolonged economic troubles, deep political divisions, headaches abroad, and a sense that the country is on the wrong track, the heartening news this summer is that a majority of people say they often feel proud to be an American. A new Pew Research Center poll divides the public into seven political categories. There are “steadfast conservatives” who embrace social and small-government conservatism. “Business …

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Cokie and Steven Roberts: Longing for a new ‘Great Conciliator’

Howard Baker wrote his own epitaph. The Tennessee Republican served in the Senate for 18 years — eight of them as his party’s leader — before retiring in 1984. When he died recently at 88, we looked up a speech Baker gave in 1998, in which he described his leadership style. “Very often,” he said, he found himself “engaged in fire-breathing, passionate debate” with fellow senators. But afterwards, “I would usually walk …

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George Will: Manufacturing more strife

WASHINGTON — Two 5-4 decisions last week on the final decision day of the Supreme Court’s term dealt with issues that illustrate the legal consequences of political tactics by today’s progressives. One case demonstrated how progressivism’s achievement, the regulatory state, manufactures social strife, and can do so in ways politically useful to progressives. The other case arose from government coercion used to conscri …

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Action and reaction: Extremists fueling tragedy

The following editorial appeared in Thursday’s Washington Post. Israel and the Palestinian territories have been an unlikely island of calm in a Middle East wracked by war and revolution. Yet now their anxious populations are witnessing how quickly a spiral of violence can be triggered by extremists. Following the abduction and slaying of three Israeli teenagers by militants believed to be linked to the Hamas movem …

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Two views of Hobby Lobby: ‘Narrow’ ruling actually has widespread implications

The Supreme Court’s decision striking down the contraceptive mandate for family-owned businesses seems narrow, but its implications are broad and disturbing. The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling Monday, held that it violated the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act to require that a family-owned business, technically called a “closely held” corporation, include contraceptive coverage for women in the insurance it pr …

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Cepeda: For July anyway, let kids be kids

CHICAGO — We’re deep into my family’s unprecedented “Summer of Lethargy.” SOL (for those of you who like acronyms) is progressing as anyone might expect. At present count, my youngest son has been in pajamas for a good 42 hours and counting. My oldest hasn’t done laundry in at least two weeks. No firm plans have been put into place for anything, with each day oozing unpredictably into the next. After last year’s “Summ …

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Two views of Hobby Lobby: Relax — court isn’t taking away anyone’s birth control

WASHINGTON — Virtually all of the criticism of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision has assumed that women who work for Hobby Lobby and other religious businesses will lose their free contraceptives. That’s false. As Justice Samuel Alito explained in his opinion for the court, the effect of its ruling on these women’s access to contraception is “precisely zero.” The reason is this: the regulations under the Afford …

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George Will: Judicial minimalism visible in rulings

WASHINGTON — Even when Supreme Court decisions are unanimous, the justices can be fiercely divided about fundamental matters, as was demonstrated by two 9-0 rulings last week. One overturned a Massachusetts law restricting speech near abortion clinics. The other invalidated recess appointments that President Obama made when the Senate said it was not in recess. In the first, four justices who concurred in the result re …

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Esther Cepeda: Polarized, except where we’re not

CHICAGO — America is growing more polarized — or so we’ve read in what seems like a zillion headlines in the weeks since the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press released “Political Polarization in the American Public.” This is the report that spurred an untold number of late-night comedy show one-liners with the statistic that three out of 10 consistent conservatives and about a quarter of across-the-boa …

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Steve and Cokie Robert: Walk as if your life depended on it

PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. — Walking is the real miracle drug. Scientists have long connected systematic exercise to better health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, regular walkers “live longer and have a lower risk for heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, depression and some cancers.” A recent New York Times headline proclaimed, “To Age Well, Walk.” The story reported on a massive new study t …

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Trudy Rubin: Obama must explain why Iraq matters

When President Obama went on TV to outline his response to terrorist advances in Iraq, he missed a chance to do something essential: convey how serious the threat is to the Mideast — and to us. The practical steps he proposed made sense in the short run (although they should have been taken at least a year earlier): Increase U.S. intelligence surveillance of Iraq and Syria; send up to 300 more U.S. military advisers t …

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George Will: Mississippi’s no different

WASHINGTON — Chris McDaniel, 41, the flawed paladin of the tea party persuasion who in Mississippi’s Republican Senate primary failed to wrest the nomination from the faltering hands of six-term incumbent Thad Cochran, 76, came into politics after a stint in talk radio. There practitioners do not live by the axiom that you don’t have to explain something you never said, and McDaniel had some explaining to do about some …

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Even in a 9-0 ruling, abortion counseling divisive

The following editorial appeared in the Chicago Tribune on Friday, June 27. The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday refined the First Amendment rights of abortion opponents who want to talk with prospective patients outside abortion clinics. In a 9-0 ruling, the court gave new guidelines to states and cities, Chicago included, that seek to regulate the opponents outside clinics: In essence, such statutes may protect pub …

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Complicated WWI worth remembering

Commenting recently about seeing the play “War Horse,” one of my 11th-grade students expressed surprise that “even some of the Nazis had humane feelings” for the plight of animals caught up in war. “It’s about the First World War,” I replied. “There weren’t any Nazis in that one.” “No Nazis?” He sounded disappointed. “Darn!” It is not the first time kids in my history classes have misplaced the Nazis. They often ident …

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Esther Cepeda: Retaining minority teachers will help students, faculties

CHICAGO — Few issues in education are more important than the retention of high-quality teachers. And that goes double for high-performing minority teachers. There are more of them among the teacher corps these days, but they are still hard to keep. “Over the past two decades,” writes Glenda L. Partee in “Retaining Teachers of Color in Our Public Schools: A Critical Need for Action,” the latest in a series of reports …

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Trudy Rubin: An American’s ordeal in Egypt

Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry rightly criticized an Egyptian court’s conviction of three international journalists with al-Jazeera English on blatantly fake charges cooked up for political reasons. But Kerry failed to mention the equally grim case of an idealistic young American held without trial for nearly a year in Cairo’s horrendous jails. Mohamed Soltan was arrested in August for trying to document the …

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Esther Cepeda: Addressing the reparations difference

CHICAGO — In his 2004 book “The Presumed Alliance: The Unspoken Conflict Between Latinos and Blacks and What It Means for America,” author Nicolas C. Vaca shatters the myth of a Rainbow Coalition among minorities. Paraphrasing Latino activist Daniel Osuna, Vaca notes that though, in theory, “Latinos and blacks have parallel histories of suffering at the hands of white America, and that they also share a history of …

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FAA must wake up to dangers

The following editorial appeared in the Miami Herald on Monday. The news has been scarier than usual: Iraq is on the boil, which has serious implications for U.S. security, random and mass-shooting tragedies seem to be coming at us weekly. Add to these the fact that air-traffic controllers are too sleepy, and anyone who boards a plane should be very afraid. The controllers are suffering from chronic fatigue while …

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Improve Voting Rights Act: Give voters a bill of rights

The following editorial appears on Bloomberg View. When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key formula in the Voting Rights Act last year, Chief Justice John Roberts had a constructive but not entirely practical suggestion: “Congress may draft another formula based on current conditions.” Against all odds, this Congress — on track to be the least productive in modern history — actually came up with a new formula. …

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Healthy oceans depend on more than just U.S.

The following editorial appeared in Monday’s Washington Post. Humanity depends on the oceans, but their worsening state gets little attention. Good for Secretary of State John F. Kerry, then, for trying to elevate the issue last week in an international oceans conference in Washington. The conference produced a billion dollars in pledges for ocean programs, promises from other nations to better protect their marine …

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Doyle McManus: War lite: Obama’s limited Iraq goals

The United States is stepping into its third Iraq war in 24 years. But if President Obama has his way, this one will be fought under different rules. In a speech at West Point last month, Obama outlined a new “light footprint” approach to fighting terrorist groups in the Muslim world, one that relies mostly on U.S.-supported local forces, not American troops. The strategy, he explained, “expands our reach without send …

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Tolerance scores, late in game

The following editorial appeared in Thursday’s Washington Post. Shortly after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced Wednesday that it was canceling the Washington Redskins’ trademark registration because the team name disparages Native Americans, team owner Dan Snyder waved off a reporter’s question about the decision and walked away. Snyder plans to appeal; even if he loses, he won’t be barred from using …

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Stopping a lawless president is essential

WASHINGTON — What philosopher Harvey Mansfield calls “taming the prince” — making executive power compatible with democracy’s abhorrence of arbitrary power — has been a perennial problem of modern politics. It is now more urgent in America than at any time since the Founders, having rebelled against George III’s unfettered exercise of “royal prerogative,” stipulated that presidents “shall take care that the laws be fai …

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NCLB is failing, not state schools

Most of Washington’s public school students have now begun summer vacation after successfully achieving their grade-level learning goals this past year. Meantime, school administrators throughout our state will be spending the summer trying to resolve how their schools will be designated as “failing,” following last April’s action by the U.S. Department of Education to make Washington the first state to lose its waive …

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Esther Cepeda: A famed author offers summer reading for ages

CHICAGO — When the celebrated Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez died two months ago at the age of 87, I barely had a clue who he was. In over two decades’ worth of formal education and countless other years of devouring literature for the sheer joy of it, I’d never become acquainted with the Nobel Prize-winning Marquez, who, I learned from his adoring obituaries, was nicknamed “Gabo.” Shortly after his death, m …

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Trudy Rubin: U.S. overdue in recognizing Iraq’s problems

For more than a year, Mideast analysts have warned about an al-Qaida offshoot that was creating a virtual state in eastern Syria and western Iraq, where it trained European and American recruits. The Obama team failed to focus on this virulent threat to U.S. interests, either in Syria or Iraq. Now those jihadis — known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) — have jolted the region by pouring out of Syria, seiz …

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Doyle McManus: ISIS may fall by its own extreme sword

Just how terrifying is the Sunni Muslim extremist group that’s taken over a huge swath of territory in northern Iraq? Here are some clues: After seizing Iraq’s second-largest city, the group, known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, boasted of massacring 1,700 prisoners in cold blood. ISIS leaders have announced that they intend to assassinate Iraq’s Shiite Muslim religious leaders and destroy their shri …

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Esther Cepeda: Food fights come to the dinner table

CHICAGO — What is “real food”? My oldest son’s official definition is: anything that doesn’t taste good but is good for you. As he witnessed the latest dinner table tug-of-war between me and his picky-eater younger brother, he jumped to his sibling’s defense while honoring my role as health promoter: “It’s not your fault we don’t like real food, Mom. It’s just that everything we ever eat away from home is chemically …

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