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‘Alone Yet Not Alone’ vs. Academy’s ‘ethics’
  6 Feb 2014     12:03 am

In a world where Woody Allen can get a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes at the same time his adopted daughter accuses him of sexually abusing her when she was a child (Allen has repeatedly denied it), and where a film “The Wolf of Wall Street” sets a record for use of the F-word, it is a wonderment that an obscure, low-budget film called “Alone Yet Not Alone” has had its Best Original Song Oscar nomination withdrawn for allegedly violating ethical rules.

The Los Angeles Times writes that Cheryl …

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Retreating on illegal immigration
  4 Feb 2014     12:02 am

At a time when Republicans have Democrats playing defense on Obamacare, jobs and the economy, the GOP is inexplicably ceding political ground to the Democrats on an issue that can only provide more votes for that party and possibly lead to a permanent Democratic majority.

Meeting in Cambridge, Md., last weekend for what they called — with no little irony — a “retreat,” Republican leaders signaled they are open to considering some sort of legal status for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants who have overstayed their visas or violated American …

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State of the Union 2014
  30 Jan 2014     12:06 am

Suppose a president of the United States delivered a State of the Union address and nobody cared? Isn’t that what happened Tuesday night when the increasingly irrelevant — and, yes, boring Barack Obama — droned on about predictable things in a predictable way? We have been forced to listen to him so many times (often several times in a single day) that it could qualify as cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Constitution.

One of the problems with political speech is that it exists in its own world and …

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Jay Leno: Mr. Nice Guy
  28 Jan 2014     12:02 am

Anyone in the news business will tell you that a side benefit is the diverse number of people one gets to meet.
Jay Leno, who leaves “The Tonight Show” on Feb 6 after a 22-year run (retire is not the right word in his case), is one such person.
The circumstances surrounding our first meeting involved a column I wrote 15 years ago in support of his wife’s activism on behalf of Afghan women. Jay and Mavis Leno invited my wife and me for a visit. Things progressed from there.

Last October when we attended …

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Cuomo to conservatives: Leave New York
  23 Jan 2014     12:03 am

Everyone “knows” it is conservatives who are mean-spirited, intolerant, censors of speech with which they don’t agree, anti-gay, anti-black and anti just about everything else, right? We know this because the left keeps telling us so.

Which is why in this era of increasingly corrosive language — note the overuse of the f-word in the film “The Wolf of Wall Street” — and acidic political discourse, recent comments by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.), ought to shock and outrage everyone, regardless of party affiliation or ideology.
In a radio interview on WCNY, Cuomo …

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The shame of Benghazi
  21 Jan 2014     12:02 am

When anything bipartisan comes out of a polarized Washington, one should be grateful. That’s why a Senate Intelligence Committee report on the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans represents progress of sorts.

The committee, chaired by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, (D-CA), faults the State Department and intelligence community for failing to prevent the attacks. The committee determined that the U.S. military command did not know about a CIA annex in Benghazi and that, writes The Washington Post, “…the Pentagon didn’t have …

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The NHS: Dogma vs. experience
  16 Jan 2014     12:03 am

BELFAST, Northern Ireland — While the Obama administration offers life support to its Affordable Care Act, in the UK a growing number of people are asking whether it’s time to pull the plug on the National Health Service (NHS), which is in critical condition.

For many years the UK media have carried stories that not only bode ill for the future of government-run health care, but also continue to serve as a “code blue” warning to the U.S. as to what might be in our future if we decide to go …

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A political bridge too far
  15 Jan 2014     12:06 am

A multiple choice question: Select the scandal(s) that affects the most people and has long-term implications for the country in a time of war, a country with a struggling economy that last month produced the weakest job growth in decades. (According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 92 million Americans are no longer in the labor force.)

A) The closing of traffic lanes in Ft. Lee, N.J., allegedly in retaliation for the refusal of a Democratic mayor to endorse New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie for a second term.
B) …

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Interview with Ariel Sharon
  14 Jan 2014     12:02 am

Cal Thomas conducted an interview with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Oct. 12, 2003 in which Sharon outlined the five conditions that must be met before the peace process can proceed. Also, Sharon commented on the security wall, which he continued to build in the face of U.N. disapproval, the probability for more attacks in Syria and the value of pre-emptive strikes. In light of Sharon’s death, we are releasing this interview as a bonus offering. It is available for immediate release.

Q. Given the recent acts of terrorism, do …

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Bye, Bye Phil Everly
  9 Jan 2014     12:03 am

One mark of a good song is that it makes Billboard’s top 10 list. An even greater indicator is its staying power; whether it is remembered decades after it was a hit. Perhaps the highest accolade is whether the artist influences other musicians. All of these standards were met by the singing duo the Everly Brothers, one of whom, Phil, has died days shy of his 75th birthday.

At age 16 I was a disc jockey for a suburban Washington, D.C., radio station. I hosted a weekend music program called “The …

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Ideology Vs. Reality
  7 Jan 2014     12:02 am

French President Francois Hollande has been confronted by the glaring light of reality — sort of.
On New Year’s Day, as his massive tax increases began taking effect, Hollande, a member of the Socialist Party, admitted that taxes in France have become “too heavy, much too heavy.”

Indeed, as of Jan. 1, French households now must contend with a new value added tax on many goods and services and, writes International Business Times, “French companies will be required to pay 50 percent tax on all employee salaries in excess of 1 million …

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The War On Poverty At 50
  2 Jan 2014     12:03 am

In his State of the Union address on Jan. 8, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson declared a “war on poverty.” Today, with roughly the same number of people below the poverty level as in 1964 and with many addicted to government “benefits,” robbing them of a work ethic, it is clear that the poor have mostly lost the war.

In 1964, the poverty rate was about 19 percent. Census data from 2010 indicates that 15.1 percent are in poverty within a much larger population.
The lack of government programs did not cause poverty, …

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Not Getting What We Pay For
  31 Dec 2013     12:02 am

In real life when you find yourself paying more and getting less, you usually search for another product or service. With the federal government, it isn’t possible to take your business elsewhere unless you are prepared to give up your citizenship, as some have done. Such a drastic step is rejected by most of us because we still believe in the ideal that once was America, though not in the direction in which the country is currently headed.

At the end of the year comes a letter from the person who …

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Tribune Content Agency
  26 Dec 2013     12:03 am

The outrage industry was in high dudgeon just before Christmas over remarks “Duck Dynasty” family patriarch, Phil Robertson, made to GQ magazine about homosexuality. Outrage is the primary ingredient for political fundraising and political power. One must always have an enemy.

Let’s go down the “I Take Offense” checklist and make sure all the boxes were “ticked” before considering a larger point.
– Liberal New York writer goes slumming among the hayseeds in Louisiana and deliberately creates a controversy by asking a Bible-loving Christian to define sin. Check.
– Bible-reading Christian quotes from …

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A Gift That Will Keep On Giving
  24 Dec 2013     12:02 am

Each year during the period of conspicuous consumption known as Christmas shopping, I try to think of a gift that will not be returned, exchanged or forgotten before next Christmas. One year it was a goat for a poor African farmer through World Vision. Another year it was a sewing machine for a woman in Ghana who wanted to lift herself out of poverty by starting a small business.

This year it is The Children’s Scholarship Fund (CSF), started by the late John T. Walton, son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, …

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Big Brother 2013
  19 Dec 2013     12:03 am

In his classic novel “1984,” George Orwell warned about the evils of a totalitarian state dominated by a single ruling party with total power over its inhabitants. Oceania, his fictional superstate, is under complete surveillance by the authorities. The character known as “Big Brother” reminds everyone he is constantly monitoring the citizens of Oceania, mainly by “telescreen.”

At the end of 2013, the federal government may not yet have telescreens, which in Orwell’s imagination had the ability to eavesdrop on people’s conversations and broadcast propaganda, but it does have the nonfiction …

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Culture of death (continued)
  17 Dec 2013     12:02 am

During the Christmas season when many celebrate a unique and miraculous birth, what the late Pope John Paul II called “a culture of death” continues its march.

Last week, the upper house of the Belgian Senate voted to extend a 2002 law legalizing euthanasia for adults so that it includes incurably ill children. The amended law will now have to be voted on by the Parliament’s lower house, a vote expected to take place before elections in May, but if passed, writes The New York Times, children afflicted with “constant and …

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Income ‘inequality’
  12 Dec 2013     12:03 am

In a December 4 speech, President Obama declared income “inequality” to be “the defining challenge of our time.”
It is time for me to come clean; to own up to a dark secret I have been hiding most of my life. It is embarrassing to admit it, but I suffer from income inequality.

Yes, there are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people who make more money than I do and it has affected my life in ways too numerous to recount.
Starting with my first summer job as a bellhop and kitchen …

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Two Mandelas
  10 Dec 2013     12:02 am

When John Lofton of The Washington Times and I were granted an interview with Nelson Mandela inside Pollsmoor Prison near Capetown, South Africa, in August 1985, it was a rare occurrence, personally approved by then-South African President P.W. Botha over the objections of his foreign minister.

Mandela gave us a tour of the prison. The guards, apparently, allowed him to roam almost at will. He showed us a small garden he tended of which he seemed proud.
The first thing we noticed about him was his gentle spirit. Whether this was the …

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Detroit’s decline didn’t have to happen
  5 Dec 2013     12:03 am

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes has ruled that Detroit, Mich., may seek to protect itself from its creditors under Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy protection, thus making this once proud city the largest municipality in American history to go bust.

The city is $18 billion in the hole thanks to its debt and long-term liabilities, such as pensions it could not afford and people abandoning the city in droves, which led to an erosion of the tax base.
It didn’t have to be like this. There were signs of Detroit’s decline that began …

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