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OPINION
January 3, 2013
'You never want a serious crisis to go to waste," Rahm Emanuel famously told a group of corporate executives a little more than four years ago, when he was President-elect Obama's chief of staff. Emanuel's words apparently have been forgotten in the nation's capital, where lawmakers manufactured a potentially serious crisis by timing billions of dollars of tax cuts to expire at the end of 2012, days before huge across-the-board spending cuts were set to take effect. The deal that the Obama administration struck this week with Congress to avoid sending the country over this so-called fiscal cliff did little more than push the tough bargaining off for another day, when the stakes may actually be higher.
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OPINION
December 30, 2012
A newspaper in White Plains, N.Y., stirred up local gun owners - as well as an angry debate on the Web - by publishing an interactive map showing the names and addresses of people with permits to own handguns. To the newspaper, it was a public service intended to inform a community rattled by the recent school massacre in Newtown, Conn., about the presence and prevalence of firearms. To gun owners, as well as many conservative pundits, it was an invasion of privacy that exposed law-abiding citizens to potential harassment and crime.
OPINION
December 27, 2012
The prospect of recovery-killing across-the-board tax hikes and spending cuts at the end of the year hasn't been enough to spur lawmakers to craft a plan to avert those changes. The onus for Congress' inaction falls squarely on House Republicans, whose refusal last week to follow their own leadership has quashed just about any hope of a "grand bargain" with President Obama to address the federal government's long-term fiscal woes. The main hope now is that lawmakers will find a way out of the impasse before the damage to the economy gets much worse.
OPINION
December 23, 2012
In yet another tussle between the teachers union and the school reform movement, the Los Angeles Unified school board decreed last week that district administrators must obtain board approval before applying for any grants of more than $1 million, in order to ensure that they don't seek out grants that come with problematic strings. The idea is reasonable enough, but the way the new policy is written, it unnecessarily ties the hands of staff without necessarily protecting the district.
OPINION
December 20, 2012
First, critics went after U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and unfairly short-circuited her candidacy to be secretary of State. Now, a similar campaign is being waged against former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), who reportedly is President Obama's choice to be secretary of Defense. We aren't ready to pronounce Hagel qualified for the position. But once again, just as with Rice, the comments being seized on by his opponents are not sufficient to disqualify him from consideration. There are essentially three counts in the indictment: that he is too eager to reduce Pentagon spending; that as a senator he opposed sanctions against Iran at a time when that country was meddling in Iraq; and that he is hostile to Israel.
OPINION
December 12, 2012
Nothing exposes partisan hypocrisy quite like the filibuster, that irksome parliamentary rule that allows a minority of U.S. senators to block legislation, judicial appointments and other business by requiring a 60-vote majority to proceed to a vote. Almost invariably, the party in power considers the filibuster to be an enemy of progress that must be squashed, while the minority fights to preserve it at all cost. That the same players often find themselves arguing from opposite sides depending on whether they control the Senate or are in the minority hardly seems to trouble most lawmakers.
OPINION
December 12, 2012
A vote by millions of Egyptians on a new constitution should have been an occasion for national celebration. But overreaching by Islamists, including the country's president, has made the referendum that begins Saturday a source of division. Even if the document is approved, President Mohamed Morsi will need to reach out to Egyptians - including Christians, secularists and women - who feel they have been excluded from a revolution they helped create. Yes, Morsi was legitimately elected, but that doesn't relieve him of the responsibility to preside over an inclusive government.
OPINION
December 5, 2012
After 20 months and tens of thousands of deaths, the civil war in Syria may be reaching a turning point. The ragtag group of rebels that took up arms during the Arab Spring has advanced to the outskirts of Damascus and has a credible chance, if all goes well, of ousting the Assad dynasty that has ruled the country for more than 40 years. Should the United States, which mostly has confined its involvement to fruitless efforts to oust President Bashar Assad through economic sanctions, belatedly get involved militarily?
OPINION
November 30, 2012
The Democratic Republic of Congo has been repeatedly ravaged by war, rebellion and attacks on civilians in the last two decades. Though the country is rarely without some skirmish going on somewhere - a result of a complicated history of rivalries among ethnic groups and constant conflicts over land ownership and resources - the government made a strategic move toward peace several years ago. It signed a treaty on March 23, 2009, with a rebel group...
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