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[25 Nov 2014 | No Comment | ]

More than a year ago, when in my naiveté,  I thought the congress might actually do something about immigration, I added to the discussion one widely overlooked benefit: adding millions of undocumented immigrants to the workforce would have a positive benefit on the economy, especially to the Social Security system.

To quote myself:  “Contrary to the conservative argument that undocumented residents are a financial burden on the U.S., there are powerful arguments that citizenship and the right to work will bring an ultimate economic benefit and strengthen Social Security.
” Social Security …

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[18 Nov 2014 | No Comment | ]

Far more questions than answers emerge after the Democratic/Obamanian disaster of last week.
The immediate questions are strategic: Will the Republicans make any small moves toward compromise to show they can govern? There are a few issues, such as lowering the corporate tax rate, which hardly any corporations pay anyway, that some Democrats mention as an area of compromise–providing a deal doesn’t cut net revenues. Some Democrats even suggest they might let the Keystone pipeline go through in exchange something or another of value–though Obama’s recent statements suggest he is less …

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[10 Nov 2014 | One Comment | ]

It’s a good thing I picked a low limb to crawl out on in last week’s election prediction column, because it sure came crashing down. My Thanksgiving dinner will be a healthy dose of crow–with no gravy to disguise the taste. (Does anyone know what the hell crow tastes like anyway?)

I don’t know anyone who actually predicted the wave that developed during the last few days, though I noted parenthetically that fears over ISIS and Ebola could cause one. I would, however, have expected an earlier warning sign.
Why is it …

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[4 Nov 2014 | One Comment | ]

Get your chainsaws ready. Several weeks ago I went out on a limb and suggested the Democrats would somehow hang on to the US Senate–maybe by their fingernails, but hang on, despite widespread media sentiment in the other direction.
Since that time there has been more back-and-forth in the polls than a weekend at Wimbledon, but things seem to be settling more and more to the GOP side. The Republicans need a net six seats and estimates are running anywhere from six to eight. Polling analysts and numbers crunchers such as …

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[27 Oct 2014 | 3 Comments | ]

Attention sports fans and media critics!
I depart this week from analyzing such depressing stuff as ISIL, cyberwarfare, Ferguson, etc. to report on an amusing and befuddling set of exchanges with the New York Times–with whom you rarely win an argument even if you’re right on the facts.

Last week, the insightful op-ed columnist Frank Bruni (like me, a former restaurant critic) was rightly lamenting the crass commercialization of naming theaters, stadiums, stages and everything else in sight after some product or corporate entity. In it he quoted the Consumerist website as …

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[21 Oct 2014 | No Comment | ]

Ferguson, Missouri, the once obscure St.Louis suburb catapulted to international prominence last August when police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed a fleeing–many say surrendering–unarmed young black man named Mike Brown. Night after night of protest and militarized police response followed and continue today as a grand jury meets. In the meantime another unarmed young black man was killed by police nearby.
I don’t want to reiterate or relitigate the now universally known case, but rather call your attention to an impressive, scrupulously researched paper by Richard Rothstein of the Economic …

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[14 Oct 2014 | No Comment | ]

What’s your biggest worry? ISIS? Ebola? Iran? Putin? The economy? The elections?
Let me add to this menu of misery the wide-ranging prospect of cyberattacks–which some call cyberwarfare.
There was that major cyber-assault on J.P. Morgan Chase and 9 other banks, though we’re assured it’s done no harm–yet. Plus the hacking of Target, Wal Mart and other retail giants, which “compromised” millions of credit cards but no one hurt–yet. We’re also advised that China stole business secrets from major corporations.
Once information stolen, it’s difficult to find the hacker. But it’s also possible …

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[7 Oct 2014 | No Comment | ]

For endless years every time our government gets into a serious discussion with Mexico or a Central or South American country about shutting down the drug trade, the typical–and accurate–response goes something like this: “You Americans are the biggest part of the problem. You have such an overwhelming appetite for (fill in your favorite drug here) that you are the biggest and best customer of the cartel. They would not produce or export so much without your insatiable desire and the wealth you have to satiate it.” It’s undeniable. …

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[3 Oct 2014 | No Comment | ]

The concerns about American citizens–native or naturalized–fighting for the so-called Islamic State (aka, ISIS or ISIL) then returning to carry out an attack here at home, raises a couple of serious questions:
First, why are these people (as well as Brits, Europeans or Australians) going to war against their “home” countries?
Second, has it happened in our other conflicts?
To answer the first, it is unsurprising that IS attracted the hundred Americans reported to be over there. Almost all are Muslims by birth or conversion–including several African American converts. It’s likely they feel …

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[16 Sep 2014 | 4 Comments | ]

I would like to be able to support President Obama’s strategy to “degrade and destroy” the self-proclaimed Islamic State, whether you call it ISIS or ISIL–the latter suggesting the entire group of Eastern Mediterranean countries historically called the Levant, a territory well beyond Iraq and Syria that includes Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian territories and southern Turkey.
Unfortunately there is a gaping hole in his strategy.

I fully agree ISIS is a murderous, genocidal army of terrorists bent on establishing a new caliphate. Unlike other jihadist entities we fought before, it is …