Saturday | July 04, 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: Jun 2 2015 - 12:05am

    President BarackObama’s global warming strategy will cut the country’s climate-change-inducing greenhouse emissions significantly — but at some cost. That’s the upshot of a new Energy Information Administration analysis of the Environmental Protection Agency’s landmark Clean Power Plan, which, once finalized, will be at the core of the president’s strategy to reduce U.S. carbon-dioxide output.

  • | Posted: Jun 1 2015 - 12:05am

    The Obama administration has responded to the recent gains by the Islamic State in Iraq with several remedial measures, including accelerating a shipment of antitank weapons to Iraqi forces and pledging to push harder for the delivery of arms to Sunni tribes. But some senior administrative officials have adopted a defensive crouch, blaming the Iraqis for failing to defend the city of Ramadi and insisting that there is no alternative to current U.S. strategy.

  • | Posted: May 30 2015 - 12:05am

    Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is staking his presidential campaign, in part, on his dedication to reforming the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs. So it’s an unfortunate irony that he may be one of a crucial few votes in the Senate that could obstruct the most substantial reform of the NSA that Congress is likely to consider.

  • | Posted: May 28 2015 - 12:05am

    The national unemployment rate ticked down slightly to 5.4 percent in April — a rate not seen since May 2008 — the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported. While this is welcome news, government statistics mask economic troubles that continue to plague millions of Americans years after the end of the last recession.

  • | Posted: May 27 2015 - 12:05am

    A new law threatens to smother what is left of civil society. Russia has just taken another step toward pernicious use of the law to buttress the authoritarian whims of its leader. Both houses of parliament recently passed legislation that would allow the government to label as “undesirable” — in effect, to outlaw — any foreign or international organizations deemed a threat to the “defensive capabilities or security of the state, to the public order, or to the health of the population.” President Vladimir Putin then signed the bill into law. This is the legal version of a blank check for repression.

  • | Posted: May 26 2015 - 12:05am

    It’s been six years since a Virginia woman bled to death in front of her children after the airbag in her Honda Accord exploded, sending shards of metal into her neck and chest. Seven months earlier, an 18-year-old cheerleader in California died the same way after a fender-bender in a school parking lot.

  • | Posted: May 21 2015 - 12:05am

    It has been almost half a decade since the passage of the Dodd-Frank overhaul of financial regulation; how’s it working so far? On the upside, commercial banks are significantly safer than they were prior to the 2008 financial panic, with an average of $13 in capital for every $100 in assets for member banks of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., according to a recent Wall Street Journal report. On the downside, new bank formation has ground to a halt and mortgages have become harder to get for applicants with less than perfect credit, according to a recent Urban Institute report. In other words, we have a system that’s less likely to blow up, in part because it’s less free to fund Americans’ dreams.

  • | Posted: May 19 2015 - 12:05am

    There are just two weeks before a set of Patriot Act anti-terrorism provisions lapses. The House did its job on Wednesday, overwhelmingly passing a compromise bill, the USA Freedom Act, that would renew many authorities but set limits on what the National Security Agency can do. The Senate, however, hasn’t yet endorsed the plan amid disagreement between national security hawks and civil libertarian reformers.

  • | Posted: May 13 2015 - 12:05am

    America’s convoluted tax code has needed comprehensive reform for years. The case for change would be open and shut even if families on low and middle incomes hadn’t come under increasing strain of late — but they have. The middle-class squeeze underscores the need for a far-reaching overhaul.

  • | Posted: May 10 2015 - 12:05am

    A Defense Department report this month found that fewer men and women in uniform said they were subjected to unwanted sexual attention last year and that there has been an increase in victims reporting sex-related crimes. The improvements are, at best, incremental and overshadowed by the unsettling statistic that 62 percent of women who filed sexual assault complaints last year said they faced retaliation for doing so. Reforms that have been put in place, while commendable, are clearly not sufficient to combat a problem so deep-rooted it has plagued the military for decades.

  • | Posted: May 8 2015 - 12:05am

    John Koskinen has some ‘splaining to do. Last June, Koskinen, the IRS commissioner, told Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden and ranking member Orrin Hatch that a computer malfunction somehow zapped thousands of emails to and from Lois Lerner, the scandalized IRS official whose office targeted conservative groups for special scrutiny when applying for tax-exempt status.

  • | Posted: Apr 28 2015 - 12:05am

    After an inexcusable five-month delay, the Senate last week finally confirmed Loretta Lynch to be attorney general. The vote is definitely good news for the White House and, not incidentally, the Justice Department. What it says about the Senate itself is less certain.

  • | Posted: Apr 27 2015 - 12:05am

    People of Earth:

  • | Posted: Apr 26 2015 - 12:05am

    In his admirably direct statement Thursday about the U.S. drone strike three months ago that killed two Westerners held by al-Qaida, President Barack Obama said: “I take full responsibility.” He shouldn’t. The Central Intelligence Agency, Pentagon and especially Congress all have some accountability for America’s drone war and the innocents who have died in it.

  • | Posted: Apr 25 2015 - 12:05am

    When he greeted Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi at the White House last week, President Barack Obama said the Iraqis and their allies, including the United States, had made “serious progress” in pushing Islamic State out of Iraqi territory. That’s true, but the enemy is far from vanquished either in Iraq or in Syria. The most optimistic outlook is for a campaign that will continue well into next year and perhaps beyond.