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Column: Send in the Drones, but After the Lobbyists

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Oh no! The United States is falling behind in yet another big area — commercial use of drones. (Those things that buzz around and gather information and drop bombs overseas but don’t yet deliver Amazon packages.) Although drones seem to be in wide use elsewhere, the Federal Aviation Administration is nervous about letting U.S. skies fill up with them, citing safety and privacy concerns. The FAA already fined a photographer …

Column: Should We View a Barbaric Terrorist Act, or Ban Its Showing?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Don’t watch the video. Don’t share it. That’s not how life should be.” So tweeted Kelly Foley, a cousin of beheaded journalist James Foley, as the video of the brutal execution began to go viral — as the Islamic State intended. Beheaded journalist. How horrible to write a sentence featuring that shorthand, so …

Column: Report From the Front Lines in Ferguson

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Night had just fallen in Ferguson, Mo., as I watched a standoff from the town’s main thoroughfare. Approximately 150 protesters stood on West Florissant Avenue, their hands held up to symbolize nonviolent compliance. A hundred yards south, the six-lane avenue was blocked by a line of police vehicles, including armored SWAT carriers. The …

Column: Airstrikes in Iraq Will Lose Effectiveness

Saturday, August 16, 2014

In the winter of 1951, President Dwight Eisenhower reluctantly allowed the French army to employ American napalm against the Viet Minh at the Battle of Vinh Yen. The effect was electric. Enemy soldiers were petrified: “The bomb falls closely behind us, and I feel its fiery breath,” a …

Column: Whistleblowers Say Patients Were Hospitalized Unnecessarily

Friday, August 15, 2014

What kind of people would knowingly expose someone to the risk of infection just to make a buck? Read carefully the allegations underlying the recent $97 million settlement between the U.S. Department of Justice and Community Health Systems and that question may be answered. Responding to lawsuits brought …

Column: Pot Arrests Remain Significant

Friday, August 15, 2014

Skyrocketing incarceration rates for nonviolent drug offenders have come to symbolize the futility of the national “war on drugs.” Even the most ardent drug legalization opponents are beginning to view drug use through the lens of public health, rather than criminal justice. This shift in focus is evident …

Column: Putin Puts Russian Foodies on a War Footing

Friday, August 15, 2014

Russians are about to lose access to virtually all food imported from the West — which is to say, a significant portion of the food that Russians consume. President Vladimir Putin ordered the ban on imports to retaliate …

U.S. Has A Chance to Stop the Islamic State

Friday, August 15, 2014

It would be wrong to view President Obama’s decision to order airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and to give weapons to Kurdish fighters as a continuation of the war in Iraq. It is more accurate to …

Editorial: A Bumper Crop Of Car Loans

Friday, August 15, 2014

The U.S. auto market is booming, with new car sales on track to hit 16.5 million in 2014, the best year since 2006. On the whole, this is great for the economy, since more demand for cars means more jobs in automobile manufacturing, sales and service. It’s a …

Column: Things Get Rough as Obama Hits the Links

Thursday, August 14, 2014

President Obama must really be teed off. Hillary Rodham Clinton, his once-loyal secretary of state and his likeliest successor, has gone rogue, criticizing his foreign policy as too timid. Obama responded with not one but two rounds of …

Column: Sprawl, and Hipsters, Come to the South

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Should the Piedmont area of the Carolinas and Georgia have stayed a poor region of mill villages and farms? Should prosperity be a first-come-only-served condition? Do new houses represent prosperity in the Northeast but pollution in the South? A new paper from the U.S. Geological Survery and comments …

Column: How to Lose Friends: Politics on Facebook

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Shortly after Israel invaded the Gaza Strip in 2009, a close Muslim friend I’d known since elementary school suddenly disappeared from my Facebook feed. She’d been excoriating Israel in her posts, and I’d said nothing. Then I posted a statistic showing the number of Hamas-fired missiles landing in …

Willem Lange: A Musical Web Link Sends Me on a Sentimental Journey Home

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I wandered today to the hill, Maggie, to watch the scene below: The creek and the old rusty mill, Maggie, where we sat in the long, long ago. I really should spend less time in front of this computer. Like a maelstrom, it can suck you into so …