Wednesday | October 07, 2015
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Another foolish shutdown?

| | Sep 22 2015 - 1:30am | Comments

A mere two years after futilely shutting down much of the federal government in a doomed-from-the-start effort to “defund Obamacare,” congressional Republicans appear determined to force another shutdown in a doomed-from-the-start effort to “defund Planned Parenthood.” And with a few notable exceptions, the GOP presidential candidates have been cheering on this exercise in dysfunction.

  • | Posted: Sep 18 2015 - 1:30am

    Pope Francis called unbridled capitalism “the dung of the devil” in July. Now he’ll have to watch where he steps, or rather where he rides, because that devil dung is going to be everywhere.

  • | Posted: Sep 17 2015 - 1:30am

    Student loan debt dogs not just young people, but an increasing number of retirees. Some 700,000 Americans on Social Security are still paying on student loans, and last year the government garnished a portion of disability and retirement payments due nearly 160,000 people with education debt.

  • | Posted: Sep 16 2015 - 1:30am

    Like much of what guides U.S. policy in these times, the debate over accepting more refugees is guided by dollars and a corrosive dose of xenophobia.

  • | Posted: Sep 15 2015 - 1:30am

    Buried in the Senate-passed version of the big highway bill is a provision that would require the Treasury secretary to use private debt collectors to collect unpaid back taxes.

  • | Posted: Sep 14 2015 - 1:30am

    When the Republican presidential candidates debate this week, it would help if voters could hear them offer detailed proposals for dealing with the 800-pound fat cat in the room — superrich donors who are making enormous, often untraceable contributions that undoubtedly tie candidates to special-interest agendas.

  • | Posted: Sep 13 2015 - 1:30am

    The candidates vying to be the next president of Guatemala aren’t exactly paragons of virtue. Even the “outsider” winner of the election’s first round today — a comedian named Jimmy Morales who ran under the slogan “Not corrupt, not a thief” — has dubious ties to military hardliners.

  • | Posted: Sep 12 2015 - 1:30am

    The grisly carnage from mass shootings regularly attracts the nation’s focus as a public safety issue, if only fleetingly. But the highest death toll from guns by far continues to be the far less noticed wave of suicides — nearly 20,000 a year — by Americans whose easy access to guns presents an irresistible temptation in a critical moment of despair.

  • | Posted: Sep 11 2015 - 1:31am

    Coal producers recoiled last month after the Environmental Protection Agency announced rules that will reduce climate-warming carbon emissions over the next decade and lower the nation’s dependence on coal. Now the oil and gas lobby is raising a fuss over the next critical component of the Obama administration’s climate change strategy: a plan that will reduce emissions of the greenhouse gas methane.

  • | Posted: Sep 9 2015 - 1:30am

    After the shootings in Charleston, S.C., state and local officials around the country were right to purge the Confederate battle flag from government buildings. But efforts to erase all discomfiting traces of America’s checkered past are futile and wrong.

  • | Posted: Sep 5 2015 - 1:30am

    Despite heroin’s bogeyman status as one of the most dangerous and addictive drugs on the illicit market, the opium-based drug is staging a comeback across America. Mexican traffickers have developed shorter, faster and easier pathways to bring it to our streets.

  • | Posted: Sep 4 2015 - 1:31am

    If mass incarceration is one of modern America’s deepest pathologies, solitary confinement is the concentrated version of it: far too many people locked up for far too long for no good reason, at no clear benefit to anyone.

  • | Posted: Sep 3 2015 - 1:30am

    Life in prison without parole would be an appropriate sentence for F. Glenn Miller Jr. following his capital murder conviction for fatally shooting three individuals last year in Overland Park, Kan.

  • | Posted: Sep 1 2015 - 1:30am

    It’s not unusual for political leaders in trouble to use diversionary tactics to turn their fortunes around. Hollywood capitalized on this theme in a popular 1997 film called “Wag the Dog” in which, right before an election, a political spin doctor distracts voters from a presidential sex scandal by engaging a film producer to create a fake war with Albania.

  • | Posted: Aug 31 2015 - 1:30am

    The fall of oil and natural gas prices is a boon to U.S. consumers and the economy. Americans should enjoy the break while it lasts.

  • | Posted: Aug 29 2015 - 1:30am

    As former Illinois Republican Sen. Everett Dirksen is credited with saying, “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.” Roughly 50 years later, the federal government’s spending binge has added some zeroes to its debts, and we now talk about liabilities in the trillions of dollars. The U.S. Congressional Budget Office’s latest budget and economic outlook does not inspire much confidence that the government will ever get a handle on its debts.