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Archive for July 15th, 2014

Thor is Becoming a Woman

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 15th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Thor is Becoming a Woman
Thor’s hammer will be wielded by a female hero in an upcoming comic book series, Marvel announced Tuesday on ABC’s The View. “The inscription on Thor’s hammer reads ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if HE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.’ Well it’s time to update that inscription,” said Marvel editor Wil Moss. The company is also introducing a new Captain America after Steve Rogers’ body loses the effects of super soldier serum. “He’s a man in his 90s now without the frame or physical strength, but that doesn’t mean he’s out of the fight,” said writer Rick Remender.

Nick and Vanessa Lachey see pink with baby No. 2

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 15th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Nick and Vanessa Lachey see pink with baby No. 2
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Nick and Vanessa Lachey are expecting their second baby, their publicists confirm.

House approves Highway Trust Fund patch

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 15th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

House approves Highway Trust Fund patch
The White House backs the bill, which will put pressure on the Democratic-led Senate to pass it quickly

?A GOP reality check emerges amid calls for impeachment
As some Republicans relish the idea of impeaching Obama, replacing him with Joe Biden is no better, they say

Senate Democrats shoot down bipartisan child immigrant proposal
A bipartisan bill had been gaining steam among Republicans, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he won’t support it

Politico Columnist Claims Obama “Ignored” Immigration Issues He Already Tried To Address

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 15th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Politico Columnist Claims Obama “Ignored” Immigration Issues He Already Tried To Address

Politico‘s Roger Simon distorted President Obama’s record to claim that his request for emergency funding to deal with the recent flood of unaccompanied minors crossing the border was tantamount to waking “from a deep slumber … to fight a problem he has ignored for years.” In reality, Obama has supported legislation in the past that addressed many of the underlying issues but the legislation has been blocked by the GOP.

Administration Requests Money To Address Surge Of Unaccompanied Minors

WSJ: Number Of Unaccompanied Children Crossing Has Become An “Urgent Humanitarian Situation.” The Wall Street Journal reported that more than 57,000 unaccompanied minors have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border since October 2013. Obama said the border crossings have created an “urgent humanitarian situation.” [The Wall Street Journal7/14/14]

Wash. Post: Obama Requests $3.7 Billion In Emergency FundsOn July 8, Obama asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency spending to address the surge of child migrants. According to The Washington Post, the bulk of that funding would go to the Departments of Health and Human Services, Justice, and Homeland Security:

Under the White House proposal, most of the emergency funds would be split between the Department of Health and Human Services — which would receive $1.8 billion to provide shelter and care to the immigrants — and the Justice and Homeland Security departments, which would get a combined $1.6 billion to handle enforcement.

The State Department would receive $300 million to help the Central American countries repatriate their citizens and create advertising campaigns about the dangers of placing children in the hands of smuggling cartels. [The Washington Post7/8/14]

Politico‘s Simon Claims Obama Has Ignored Immigration Crisis “For Years”

Simon: Obama Asked For Funds As If He Had Just Awoken From A Deep Slumber.” Simon claimed that the $3.7 billion in funding that Obama requested to handle the unaccompanied minors came out of nowhere and that Obama has ignored the problem “for years.” Simon highlighted four ways the White House plans to use the funding: $1.8 billion would go to the Health and Human Services Department for the care of child immigrants, $1.5 billion would go to the Department of Homeland Security for border security, $300 million would go to the State Department to help stabilize the children’s home countries, and $64 million would help the Justice Department streamline the deportation process. From Simon’s July 15 column (emphasis added):

As if he had just awoken from a deep slumber, Obama now wants an immediate $3.7 billion from Congress to fight a problem he has ignored for years.

He wants to give $1.8 billion to the Health and Human Services Department to better care for the immigrant children in the United States. This is a good thing. Seeing pictures of little kids in detention centers wrapped in those silver blankets as if they were ballpark hotdogs was heart wrenching.

And those kids shouldn’t be in detention centers at all. They should be with family members in the United States (about 15 percent of the domestic population of Honduras already lives in the United States) or foster homes, which is what the 2008 law envisioned.

Next, Obama wants to give $1.5 billion to the Department of Homeland Security to beef up border security with more overtime for agents, more aerial surveillance and more drones. This is a waste.

These children from Central America are not fleeing from our Border Patrol agents, they are fleeing to them. These children want to surrender, enter the legal process and find a home here.

Obama also wants $300 million to go to the State Department to help “stabilize” the Central American countries that the kids are fleeing — a nice thought, but how much of that $300 million is going to end up in the pockets of politicians and other criminals?

And lastly, Obama wants $64 million for the Justice Department to hire more immigration judges so he can send the children back to Central America more quickly and hire more asylum lawyers to fight to keep the children here. [Politico7/15/14]

Obama-Backed Senate Immigration Bill Funded Issues Addressed By Current Proposal

Politico: Obama Backs Senate Immigration Reform Bill. In December, Obama called on the House to approve the Senate’s immigration reform package, Politico reported:

Obama praised the Senate bill — as Vice President Joe Biden did last week — and said the House should pass it.

“There are a few differences here and there, but the truth of the matter is that the Senate bill has the main components of comprehensive immigration reform that would boost our economy, give us an opportunity to attract more investment and high-skilled workers who are doing great things in places like Silicon Valley and around the country,” Obama said. “So let’s go ahead and get that done.”

Speaking of his goals for 2014, Obama said he hoped the House would pick up the baton from the Senate.

“We can get immigration reform done,” Obama said. “We’ve got a concept that has bipartisan support. Let’s see if we can break through the politics on this.” [Politico12/20/13]

Border Security

Emergency Funding Request Includes Money To Expand Border Surveillance and Security. The Obama administration’s July 8 emergency funding request included $1.1 billion for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and a further $433 million for Customs and Border Protection, both of which are part of the Department of Homeland Security:

The Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection – $433 million

This proposal would provide the Department of Homeland Security a total of $433 million for Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Of this total:

  • $364 million would pay for operational costs of responding to the significant rise in apprehensions of unaccompanied children and families, including overtime and temporary duty costs for Border Patrol agents, contract services and facility costs to care for children while in CBP custody, and medical and transportation service arrangements;
  • $29 million for CBP to expand its role in Border Enforcement Security Task Force programs, increasing information-sharing and collaboration among the participating law enforcement agencies combatting transnational crime; and
  • $39.4 million to increase air surveillance capabilities that would support 16,526 additional flight hours for border surveillance and 16 additional crews for unmanned aerial systems to improve detection and interdiction of illegal activity. [, 7/8/14]

Senate Immigration Reform Bill Would Have Dedicated $46.3 Billion To Increased Border Security Over 10 YearsAccording to the American Immigration Council, the Senate-passed immigration reform bill “makes enormous investments in border security” that include dramatically increasing the number of Border Patrol agents along the U.S.-Mexico border, and “mandates 24-hour surveillance of the border region using mobile, video, and portable systems, as well as unmanned aircraft” — two measures included in Obama’s latest funding request. The American Immigration Council offered a breakdown of the funding:

Spending on border security will reach record levels. The bill creates a fund with $46.3 billion of initial funding to implement the Act. Additional funding will be provided by visa and other user fees, which may be increased as necessary. $30 billion will be dedicated over a 10-year period to hiring and deploying at least 19,200 additional Border Patrol agents. $8 billion will be dedicated to the Southern Border Fencing Strategy, of which $7.5 billion will be for deployment and maintenance of fencing. $750 million will be dedicated to E-Verify implementation and expansion. $4.5 billion will be spent to carry out the Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy, and — if necessary — $2 billion will be allocated to implement the recommendations of the Southern Border Security Commission. [American Immigration Council, June 2013]

Resources For Undocumented Minors In Immigration Courts

Emergency Funding Request Would Increase Legal Assistance To Children In Immigration Proceedings. Part of the White House’s emergency funding request for increased Justice Department funding would decrease the immigration court backlog by hiring new judge teams and boost legal assistance to undocumented minors in the immigration courts system:

  • $45.4 million would be to hire approximately 40 additional immigration judge teams, including those anticipated to be hired on a temporary basis.  This funding would also expand courtroom capacity including additional video conferencing and other equipment in support of the additional immigration judge teams.  These additional resources, when combined with the FY 2015 Budget request for 35 additional teams, would provide sufficient capacity to process an additional 55,000 to 75,000 cases annually.
  • $2.5 million would be used to expand the legal orientation program that provides assistance to adults and custodians of children in the immigration court system.
  • $15 million to provide direct legal representation services to children in immigration proceedings.
  • $1.1 million to hire additional immigration litigation attorneys to support Federal agencies involved in detainee admission, regulation, and removal actions. [, 7/8/14]

Senate Immigration Bill Would Give Unaccompanied Minors Right To A Lawyer. As the American Immigration Council noted, the Senate immigration reform bill would give all unaccompanied minors in immigration proceedings access to a lawyer:

Under current law, immigrants in removal proceedings do not have the right to appointed counsel if they cannot afford to hire a lawyer. The bill changes this in the case of unaccompanied minor children, immigrants with serious mental disabilities, and other particularly vulnerable individuals, and requires that a lawyer be appointed to represent them. The bill requires that immigrants in proceedings have access to evidence in the government’s files and adds additional immigration judges, additional court staff, and additional training programs for judges and staff. [American Immigration Council, June 2013]

AP: Immigration Reform Bill Would Decrease Court Backlog By Adding 225 Judges. The Associated Press reported that the administration-backed immigration reform bill would help decrease the backlog by adding 225 judges to the immigration courts and increasing funds for support staff:

The Senate passed immigration legislation in June that allocates more money for the immigration courts and called for 225 new judges, as well as an equal number of support staff, over the next three years. But House Speaker John Boehner has said his chamber will not take up that bill nor address a similar one introduced by House Democrats. [Associated Press, 12/22/13]

GOP Obstruction On These Issues Contributed To Problems With Immigration System

USA Today: “House GOP Kills Last Hope For Immigration Bill.” In a July 10 article headlined “House GOP kills last hope for immigration bill,” USA Today reported that the “last remaining hope for Congress to pass an immigration overhaul died” in the House after being stalled for months:

Diaz-Balart has been the main Republican responsible for crafting the House version of an immigration overhaul. At times, he was working with a bipartisan group of legislators to find an immigration overhaul that would be tolerable in the Republican-led House. He was repeatedly encouraged by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other GOP leaders to continue working on the bill.

But after meeting with House leadership on Thursday morning, he says he was told the end had come.

“I’m really, really disappointed,” he said after the meeting. “We have a good bill. We have a unique opportunity to secure our borders, fix our broken immigration system, help our economy and do so in a way that adhere to the rule of law. But unfortunately I’ve been told we’re not going to be able to pursue it. And I think that’s highly unfortunate.” [USA Today7/10/14]

Mother Jones: Bush Administration Acknowledged That Immigration Courts Were Understaffed. As Mother Jones pointed out in a July 14 article, the Bush administration was aware that the immigration court system did not have enough resources and attempted to address the problem in 2006:

As far back as 2006, then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales recognized that the immigration courts were woefully understaffed to process a backlog of cases that back then stood at 169,000. Gonzales called for more funding to increase resources for the courts, including adding more 40 judges. [Mother Jones7/14/14]

Mother Jones: Despite Bush Efforts, 1 In 6 Immigration Judgeships Were Vacant When Obama Took Office. The Mother Jones article reported that the Bush administration’s efforts fell short and that the problems in immigration courts remained at the start of the Obama administration:

By the time Obama took office, immigration courts had a vacancy rate that reached 1 in 6 judgeships. The new Obama administration began hiring judges furiously, eventually adding an additional 44 new bodies to the immigration bench. Even so, his concurrent move to step up border enforcement meant that the deportation caseloads were growing even faster. [Mother Jones7/14/14]

Mother Jones: GOP Stonewalling On Sequestration Has Since Exacerbated The Issue. Mother Jones reported that the automatic across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration have played a role in the problem:

In 2010, the American Bar Association called on Congress and the White House to immediately initiate the hiring of at least 100 new judges to help relieve the existing crisis in the courts. Instead, Congress failed to deal with the budget of any agency, sequestration happened, and the Justice Department started a hiring freeze that didn’t end until December 2013, even though at least 100 sitting immigration judges are eligible to retire this year. Meanwhile, the comprehensive immigration bill passed in the Senate last year would have added 225 new judges to the immigration courts over three years (along with clerks and support staff), but Republicans killed the bill in the House. [Mother Jones7/14/14]

The Jewish State in a Morally Sick World

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 15th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

The Jewish State in a Morally Sick World
Dennis Prager, RealClearPolitics
Let’s drop the names “Hamas” and “Israel” and make a list of the characteristics of two imaginary warring entities. We’ll call them Entity A and Entity B. Entity A: –Declares that its raison d’etre is to annihilate Entity B. –Sends missiles to explode in the most populated parts of Entity B in order to kill as many civilians as possible. –Uses families and individual civilians as human shields to protect its own leaders from attack. –Tortures and kills domestic political opponents. –Has no political or religious freedom and has no freedom of speech, press, or assembly, and no independent…

Borderline Behavior: GOP Demands Action, Blocks Solutions — and Always Complains
Joe Conason, RealClearPolitics
Listening to Republicans in Washington (and Texas and Arizona) scream about the “crisis” of migrant children arriving from Central America on our southern border, it is puzzling to realize they don’t actually want to do anything to solve the problem. Nor do these hysterical politicians — led by that down-home diva Rick Perry, the governor of Texas — want to let President Barack Obama do anything, either. Except that they insist the president absolutely must visit the border, in person, preferably with a thousand members of the National Guard (who could join the Border Patrol and local…

Faith at Center Stage in Arkansas Senate Race
Caitlin Huey-Burns, RealClearPolitics
The Bible has made its way to the center of one the most highly contested and consequential U.S. Senate races this cycle. The Good Book, in fact, was the focus of one of Mark Pryor’s re-election campaign ads last December. “My compass, my North Star,” the Arkansas Democrat called it. And the Scriptures made a return to the airwaves last week in another Pryor ad — this time in response to comments his opponent, Republican Rep. Tom Cotton, made about his faith. “The Bible teaches us no one has all the answers, only God does,” the two-term senator says in the…

Jose Antonio Vargas: The Face of the Entitled Illegal Alien
Michelle Malkin, RealClearPolitics
They’ve blown it again, big time. They just can’t help themselves. During the Bush years, the open-borders movement won over bleeding hearts in the White House but alienated the American public with radical displays of La Raza (“The Race”) militancy, desecrated American flags and Che Guevara shirt-wearing, fist-thrusting marches across the country. Left-wing public relations consultants taught the amnesty mob to tone it down, turn the flags right-side up and stop threatening Reconquista. But the phony red-white-and-blue dye job didn’t last. The movement’s true extremist, entitled roots can’t…

Cameron chooses Tory peer for EU job

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 15th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Cameron chooses Tory peer for EU job
David Cameron nominates Lord Hill, the leader of the House of Lords, to be the UK’s next European Commissioner.

Four sacked AMs set to be reinstated
Four Conservative AMs sacked from the party’s front bench at the assembly are to be reinstated, BBC Wales understands.

Pakistanis Detail Gains Against Militants

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 15th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Pakistanis Detail Gains Against Militants
As local news media reported that the military had captured a senior Taliban commander, the military took over a district capital that had become a headquarters for the global jihadist movement.

In Call, Obama and Merkel Discuss ‘Cooperation’ on Intelligence
The White House said President Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed “ways to improve cooperation” after revelations of American spying activities jarred relations between the two countries.

World Briefing: Somalia: Sweep Aims at Militants
More than 200 suspects were arrested Tuesday in a security sweep aimed at stemming a wave of militant attacks in Somalia’s capital, a senior police official said.

Open Source: Young Israelis Fight Hashtag Battle to Defend #IsraelUnderAttack
A group of Israelis is using social media to rally support, but online efforts sympathetic to Palestinians seem more resonant on social networks.

Chinese Oil Rig Near Vietnam to Be Moved
A Chinese energy company said it would move a giant oil rig from disputed waters off the coast of Vietnam, two months after its arrival raised tensions.

Pope Francis: Migrant Children Must Be ‘Welcomed And Protected’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 15th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Pope Francis: Migrant Children Must Be ‘Welcomed And Protected’

“This humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcomed and protected,” Pope Francis said.

The post Pope Francis: Migrant Children Must Be ‘Welcomed And Protected’ appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Italy Pope Good Friday


Pope Francis directly addressed the growing crisis surrounding unaccompanied children on the U.S. border this morning, speaking up on behalf of the young immigrants and calling on the international community to do more to care for their needs.

In a message sent to the Mexico-Holy See Colloquium on Migration and Development, the first Argentinian pope called for an immediate humanitarian response for the roughly 50,000 unaccompanied minors who have crossed the U.S. border this year.

“I would also like to draw attention to the tens of thousands of children who migrate alone, unaccompanied, to escape poverty and violence: This is a category of migrants from Central America and Mexico itself who cross the border with the United States under extreme conditions and in pursuit of a hope that in most cases turns out to be vain,” he said. “They are increasing day by day. This humanitarian emergency requires, as a first urgent measure, these children be welcomed and protected.”

Francis also noted that, in addition to a robust relief effort by those on the U.S. side of the border, the international community should also move to address the vicious cycles of violence and poverty that are spurring the children to flee their countries of origin.

“These measures, however, will not be sufficient, unless they are accompanied by policies that inform people about the dangers of such a journey and, above all, that promote development in their countries of origin,” he said. “Finally, this challenge demands the attention of the entire international community so that new forms of legal and secure migration may be adopted.”

Since ascending to the papacy last year, Pope Francis has made immigrant populations and their struggles a central focus of his ministry. His first official trip outside the Vatican was to Lampedusa, an island in the southern Mediterranean that harbors African migrants seeking passage to Europe. There he met with immigrants and later tweeted, “We pray for a heart which will embrace immigrants. God will judge us upon how we have treated the most needy.” On the World Day of Migrants and Refugees in September 2013, he condemned human trafficking, saying “Migrants and refugees are not pawns on the chessboard of humanity. They are children, women and men who leave or who are forced to leave their homes for various reasons, who share a legitimate desire for knowing and having, but above all for being more.” He also surprised 2,000 immigrant residents at the Dono di Maria shelter near the Vatican with Christmas gifts last year, offering them care packages and prepaid phone cards so they could contact their families over the holidays.

Pope Francis has also had personal encounters with America’s immigration issues. While leading mass the day before he was scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama in March, Francis was approached by a 10-year-old girl who pleaded with the pontiff to address the rise in deportations of immigrants under the Obama administration. Francis reportedly responded by blessing the girl, and promised to speak with the President about her concerns.

Catholic groups such as Catholic Charities, along with many other faith-based groups, are already playing an active role in the effort to provide care and shelter for unaccompanied immigrant children on the border. However, many are reportedly already overwhelmed by the sheer number of kids, and are urging the President and Congress to do more to help with the crisis. The pope, for his part, is considering a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border in 2015.

The post Pope Francis: Migrant Children Must Be ‘Welcomed And Protected’ appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Foreign Governments Consider Reverting To Typewriters To Thwart NSA Surveillance

Some European countries are reverting back to typewriters to shield their governments from the U.S. National Security Agency.

The post Foreign Governments Consider Reverting To Typewriters To Thwart NSA Surveillance appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Typewriter with dark background

CREDIT: Shutterstock

Russia and Germany may be rejecting digital technology, instead turning to handwritten notes and typewriters for official government communications in an effort to keep U.S. government surveillance at bay.

In a television broadcast, German politicians said members in the Bundestag — Germany’s parliament — are strongly considering dropping email altogether, opting for typewriters and penned notes to prevent the United States’ National Security Agency from eavesdropping, the Guardian reported Tuesday. Russian government officials also said last week they were reverting to paper communications. The FSO, an agency that protects the Kremlin government and other top officials, has already ordered nearly two dozen typewriters, according to USA Today.

“Any information can be taken from computers,” former head of Russia’s Federal Security Service, the domestic successor the KGB, Nikolai Kovalev, told Izvestia. “[F]rom the point of view of keeping secrets, the most primitive method is preferred: a human hand with a pen or a typewriter.”

The move to typewriters reflects a waning trust in the U.S., where many overseas doubt the nation is as free as it claims. According to a new Pew Research survey, the NSA surveillance scandal has caused a drop in the world’s view that America champions its citizens’ personal liberties. Sixty-two percent of respondents said that U.S. surveillance of its own citizens is unacceptable. Another 81 percent disapprove of U.S. surveillance in their home country.

Privacy concerns have escalated across Europe after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden released documents in last year that unveiled the agency’s expansive global surveillance program. Tensions peaked when Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA had bugged the phone of Germany’s Social Democrat chancellor in 2002 and its current chancellor, Angela Merkel, last year. European governments have taken extra precautions as a result, launching several investigations to find out the extent of NSA spying and scrutinizing U.S.-based tech companies that collect or house European citizens’ data.

Tech companies have also experienced significant backlash since last year’s document leaks spotlighted the agency’s backdoor access to consumer emails, private messages and phone data collected and housed by companies such as Google and Facebook. To quell privacy concerns, tech companies have become outspoken against the NSA’s spying, releasing reports on government and law enforcement data requests in the U.S. and abroad. The most recent NSA revelations released earlier this month didn’t help matters, showing that 90 percent of the emails and online messages the NSA collected were from private citizens and not terrorist suspects.

But even with strides to be more transparent, European governments bristle at the NSA’s considerable access to consumers’ information worldwide. Last month, Germany announced plans to end its contract with U.S. wireless carrier Verizon because of legal requirements “to provide certain things to the NSA,” according to the German Interior Ministry.

The European Union’s high court is also expected to decide whether Facebook illegally let the NSA spy on European users after an Irish judge questioned whether its citizens’ data stored on servers in the U.S. fell victim to snooping. If the court rules against Facebook, it could mean any company that gave the NSA backdoor access through its controversial PRISM program — namely Google, Microsoft and Apple — submit to stricter privacy protections such as getting users’ permission before collection or storing personal data and storing users’ data on European soil.

The post Foreign Governments Consider Reverting To Typewriters To Thwart NSA Surveillance appeared first on ThinkProgress.

The Distorting Reality of ‘False Balance’ in the Media

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 15th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

The Distorting Reality of ‘False Balance’ in the Media
From: Katrina vanden Heuvel

Too much media has becomes fixated on finding “balance,” even if it means presenting fiction on par with fact.

The Palestinians Must Put an End to Suicidal Hamas
From: Bob Dreyfuss

For too long, Hamas has served as Israel’s useful bogeyman.

The Cheney Family Gets the Soprano Family Fade-to-Black Treatment
From: Leslie Savan

When protesters interrupted an interview with the Cheneys to call the former vice president a war criminal, C-SPAN’s feed mysteriously cut out. 

This Bill Could End State Abortion Restrictions
From: George Zornick

Senate legislation could put the pro-choice movement back on the offensive.

Will Rahm’s Top Nemesis Take Him On?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 15th, 2014 11:08 pm by HL

Will Rahm’s Top Nemesis Take Him On?
Jason Zengerle, The New Republic
If you like your political campaigns bloody, then you have to be cheered by the new poll that found Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis beating Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in a hypothetical matchup 45 to 36. Lewis, who’s been Emanuel’s primary political antagonist for the last three years and led the 2012 teacher’s strike that represented the first chink in Emanuel’s mayoral armor, had long said she had no interest in running against him next February. But in recent weeks, as Chicago (and Emanuel) have reeled from yet another outbreak of gun violence, she began…

The Stakes in the Midterm Elections
Julian Zelizer, CNN
Most Americans don’t think that midterm elections really matter. The majority of voters come out only for presidential elections. Midterms are left to the most activist parts of the population, the people who like to follow politics in off hours and who care as deeply about who wins elected office as they do about sports teams or celebrities.

When Teachers Cheat
Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker
One afternoon in the spring of 2006, Damany Lewis, a math teacher at Parks Middle School, in Atlanta, unlocked the room where standardized tests were kept. It was the week before his students took the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test, which determined whether schools in Georgia had met federal standards of achievement. The tests were wrapped in cellophane and stacked in cardboard boxes. Lewis, a slim twenty-nine-year-old with dreadlocks, contemplated opening the test with scissors, but he thought his cut marks would be too obvious. Instead, he left the school, walked to the corner store,…

Obama and Clinton’s Problems Grow
Noemie Emery, DC Examiner