Friday | May 22, 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 11 2015 - 12:05am

    A year ago, China appeared to be pursuing a more aggressive policy toward its Pacific maritime disputes with a half-dozen nations. It engaged in some high-stakes jockeying with Vietnam over disputed maritime claims in the South China Sea, moving an oil drilling rig to the Paracel Islands and declaring an exclusion zone around it. That followed its declaration in 2013 of an air defense exclusion zone over islands in the East China Sea that are also claimed by Japan; the United States and Japan promptly flew planes through the zone to demonstrate they did not recognize it.

  • | Posted: Apr 10 2015 - 12:05am

    The video showing former North Charleston, S.C., police officer Michael T. Slager shooting Walter L. Scott dead is sickening. There is a full-color record of Slager firing eight shots at the back of a fleeing Scott, then deserting the felled body, possibly to tamper with the crime scene. By local authorities’ own admission, it was the fortuitous act of a bystander with a smartphone that led to murder charges against Slager. We can’t help but wonder whether, in its absence, the officer would have escaped with impunity.

  • | Posted: Apr 9 2015 - 1:00am

    President Barack Obama’s move to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba in December was supposed to improve political and economic conditions for average Cubans and remove an irritant in U.S. relations with other Latin American nations, which have been pushing to end the isolation of the Castro regime. Four months later — a short time, admittedly — there is no sign of those benefits. According to Cuban human rights groups, political detentions have increased: There were more than 600 in March alone. More than 50 long-term political prisoners are still being held. Several Cuban opposition leaders are banned from leaving the country, which means they cannot attend this week’s Summit of the Americas in Panama.

  • | Posted: Apr 8 2015 - 1:00am

    The thoroughly discredited story about an alleged University of Virginia gang rape passed off by Rolling Stone magazine as investigative journalism was neither investigative nor journalism. That was clear even before the 12,000-word analysis by a three-person team at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism took it apart.

  • | Posted: Apr 7 2015 - 1:00am

    In the Supreme Court’s landmark 2010 case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the court declared that corporate independent political expenditures are protected free speech under the First Amendment and cannot be constrained. The court wrestled with the possibility that unlimited spending might have a corrupting influence on politics, but in the end it decided that free speech was the overriding goal and that as long as the expenditures were independent of candidates, and transparent, they would not increase corruption. The campaign cycles since then have been increasingly awash in this spending, much of it going to super PACs.

  • | Posted: Apr 6 2015 - 1:00am

    As diplomats for Iran and six world powers negotiated past a Tuesday deadline for a “political understanding” about the future of the Islamic republic’s nuclear program, there was speculation that only a vague statement of principles would be released. Critics of the negotiations were primed to seize on such a “fig leaf” to denounce the negotiations anew.

  • | 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.