Monday | April 27, 2015
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How was a mailman in a gyrocopter able to pierce the world’s best-protected airspace?

| | Apr 19 2015 - 12:05am | Comments

Doug Hughes, the letter carrier who piloted a featherweight gyrocopter over the treetops to alight on the Capitol lawn Wednesday, was acting out a one-man “voter’s rebellion.” In the name of campaign finance reform and “honest government,” he managed to slice through the world’s best-protected airspace no more molested than the birds who wheel and soar in the breeze.

  • | Posted: Apr 5 2015 - 1:00am

    There are people in New York City who want to frighten, attack, maim and kill. If our concerns about that are often vague, they were given names and faces Thursday.

  • | Posted: Apr 4 2015 - 1:00am

    The “key parameters” for an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program released Thursday fall well short of the goals originally set by the Obama administration. None of Iran’s nuclear facilities — including the Fordow center buried under a mountain — will be closed. Not one of the country’s 19,000 centrifuges will be dismantled. Tehran’s existing stockpile of enriched uranium will be “reduced” but not necessarily shipped out of the country. In effect, Iran’s nuclear infrastructure will remain intact, though some of it will be mothballed for 10 years. When the accord lapses, the Islamic republic will instantly become a threshold nuclear state.

  • | Posted: Apr 3 2015 - 1:00am

    Children learn what to do — and what not to do — by watching adults. Nowhere is that truer than in the classroom, with teachers serving as role models for students.

  • | Posted: Apr 2 2015 - 1:00am

    President Barack Obama’s climate plan is no longer just at the center of a domestic debate about coal country and the Environmental Protection Agency. On Tuesday, the Obama administration made the president’s greenhouse-gas emissions strategy an official international commitment, staking the good faith and reputation of the United States on its fulfillment. It’s an important step that should prod other nations to follow suit.

  • | Posted: Apr 1 2015 - 1:00am

    The United States has unsuccessfully opposed some of its key allies’ decisions to join China’s new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

  • | Posted: Mar 31 2015 - 1:00am

    Payday lending is capitalism at its unloveliest. It’s a business that wouldn’t even exist if the market were providing everyone with enough income to meet their needs — yet 12 million adults, the vast majority of them low-income, resorted to short-term, high-interest loans to cover cash shortages in 2010. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, a typical borrower takes out eight payday loans a year totaling $3,000, paying about $520 in interest. Not infrequently, borrowers pay off old payday loans with new ones, creating a pyramid of debt that ends in default.

  • | Posted: Mar 30 2015 - 1:00am

    Some welfare programs exclude people who have financial assets, and for good reason. If the goal is to help people who are living in poverty, the program shouldn’t waste resources on people who aren’t actually poor. If you lose your job but have enough money in the bank to tide you over comfortably, you don’t need food stamps, disability payments or other forms of public support as much as people with no savings do.

  • | Posted: Mar 29 2015 - 1:00am

    President Barack Obama’s announcement this past week that he will delay the withdrawal of some 4,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan is an acceptable course correction. Keeping troop levels at their current strength will allow the United States to continue training Afghan forces while also helping with counter-terrorism efforts, officials said. If those efforts help stabilize the country and prepare it for the moment when the U.S. withdraws for good, that’s fine with us.

  • | Posted: Mar 28 2015 - 1:00am

    A locked cockpit door, a commonsense post-9/11 security measure, gave the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525 all the time he needed to deliberately crash the aircraft in the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board.

  • | Posted: Mar 27 2015 - 1:00am

    The House of Representatives passed Thursday a major piece of Medicare legislation with strong support from the leadership and rank and file of both parties. Yes, you read that right: The House voted on a package that permanently eliminates the expensive annual budgetary charade known as the “doc fix,” while enacting tens of billions of dollars worth of structural reforms to the massive program for seniors — and providing a two-year, $5.6 billion dollop of funding to an important children’s health care program to boot. For their labors in moving this bill to passage, we’d pat House Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Calif., on the back — if they weren’t already doing so themselves.

  • | Posted: Mar 26 2015 - 1:00am

    President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced a much-needed adjustment in his plans for drawing down U.S. forces in Afghanistan, telling visiting President Ashraf Ghani that a scheduled halving of the 9,800 currently deployed troops by the end of this year would be set aside, and the force maintained into next year. This was a sensible response by Obama to a range of developments, including Ghani’s impressive efforts to improve relations with Washington. But the adjustment still falls short of what will be needed to give the new Afghan government a reasonable chance of success.

  • | Posted: Mar 25 2015 - 1:00am

    Two pieces of good news about U.S. defense spending: Both President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans have recognized that cuts imposed by the 2011 “sequester” scheme are unacceptable, and both have moved to restore tens of billions of dollars in funding for next year’s budget. Two pieces of bad news: The proposed increases still face thorny political challenges — and even the revised spending plan remains far from adequate at a time when the United States has returned to war in the Middle East and faces mounting threats elsewhere.

  • | Posted: Mar 24 2015 - 1:00am

    Most Americans want a third party, which probably explains why leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties have conspired for the past three decades to exclude third-party candidates from the presidential debates. Never mind how unlikely a third- party victory may be, they say. Keep those interlopers away from the cameras!

  • | Posted: Mar 23 2015 - 1:00am

    Members of the U.S. Senate are making a mockery of important legislation to help victims of human trafficking. If Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., doesn’t intervene, he risks much-deserved criticism his caucus is bandying women’s health issues around for political gain.

  • | Posted: Mar 22 2015 - 1:00am

    Congress is within reach of trashing the old and unworkable formula that Medicare uses to pay doctors. By itself, this is what it sounds like — a bureaucratic maneuver that matters little to anyone but the doctors who treat Medicare patients. The system that Congress replaces it with, however, could represent a big step forward in improving the quality, and lowering the cost, of everyone’s health care.