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CYNTHIA TUCKER: People are more likely to kill when armed

OPINION: Carrying a gun and getting angry a deadly combination

The odds increase that a person will commit a violent act if a gun is available when tempers flair.

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CYNTHIA TUCKER: Time for President Obama to take his lumps

OPINION: The president had to know his promises on keeping health plans were empty

Despite efforts by Republicans to derail the Affordable Care Act, deception by Obama may be the biggest threat to his legacy.

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CYNTHIA TUCKER: Cuts to food stamps reveal congressional hypocrisy

OPINION: Conservatives in U.S. House threaten food safety net

House lawmakers push a farm bill that provides welfare for farmers, but cuts food stamps out of the legislation.

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CYNTHIA TUCKER: Subsidized cellphones help poor find work

Opinion column: Georgia is wrong to charge those who get federally subsidized cellphones a $5 fee.

The fedeally subsidized cellphones often called Obama phones are from a program that dates to the Reagan administration.

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TUCKER: Tea partiers angry over loss of control

Opinion column

When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, many pundits and political observers were eager to expunge the nation’s brutal and long-running history of stark racial oppression. They spoke of a post-racial society freed from the divisions of tribe, healed of the deep wounds that ached and bled along the color line for centuries.

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TUCKER: Conservatives fear Obamacare will work

Opinion column

Two billionaire brothers are spending millions of dollars to try to persuade young Americans not to buy health insurance. What’s up with that?

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TUCKER: Sensible laws could stop gun rampage

Last week’s horror at the Washington Navy Yard barely interrupted the stale political chatter, the dueling poll-tested messages, the sensational reports on the latest celebrity divorce or stint in rehab. While the newest mass shooting did preoccupy reporters for a couple of days, its import — at least judged in headlines and cable hours — quickly faded.

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TUCKER: GOP attack on food stamps mean-spirited

For decades now, the Republican Party has been honing its reputation for hostility toward the downtrodden, the poor, the disadvantaged. While a few of its leaders have tried to either shed that image or to dress it up with a more appealing facade — think George W. Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” — lately the GOP has been enthusiastically embracing its inner Ebenezer Scrooge.

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'Integrity of the ballot' mostly a myth

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court’s hyper-conservative faction has neutered the Voting Rights Act, Republican officials around the country have re-energized their campaign to block citizens of color from voting.

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Kids can’t choose a better life

Opinion column

Before I was born, I spent some time researching prospective parents. It wasn’t the best time to choose, ah, Negroes — as they were known back then — but I thought I could nevertheless pick a pair prepared to give me a good head start in life.

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Long summer vacation from school no longer makes sense

Opinion Column

The rituals and rhythms of summer are seductive. Long, light-filled days. Afternoons in the neighborhood swimming pool. Fresh tomatoes plucked off the vine. Mosquitoes and humidity.

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GOP won’t attract black voters with bigots in its midst

Opinion column

As a matter of history, black Americans — at least those who were allowed to vote — were Republicans for decades after the Civil War. But some found Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal attractive, and most found Lyndon Johnson’s support for civil rights irresistible. They left the Republican Party.

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Immigration reform may be a mirage

Opinion Column

For a bright, shining moment, it seemed that the abiding spirit among conservative Protestants was one of hospitality and compassion toward the “stranger.” But that turned out to be an illusion. Despite signs that Southern Baptists and other evangelicals might finally embrace the unauthorized immigrants living among us, many conservative churchgoers remain ambivalent or outright hostile to any plans to provide a path toward citizenship.

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U.S. Supreme Court dismantles pillar of civil rights

Opinion Column

In the half-century or so since John Lewis had his head bashed in on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge, the Deep South has undergone a stunning social, cultural and political transformation. Just ask Paula Deen.

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GOP ignores children once they’re outside the womb

Opinion Column

A recent road trip took me into the precincts of rural Georgia and Florida, far away from the traffic jams, boutique coffeehouses and National Public Radio signals that frame my familiar landscape. Along the way, billboards reminded me that I was outside my natural habitat: anti-abortion declarations appeared every 40 or 50 miles.

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White population losing grip on U.S.

Opinion Column

Norman Rockwell is dead. So is his America.

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Washington ignores long-term issues

Scandalfest continues. Official Washington is still flitting from one minor controversy to another, with the news media breathlessly reporting the latest leaked email or unsubstantiated accusation. Clearly, the chattering classes have declared the jobs crisis ended and the economic recovery complete.

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The Grand Old Party needs a reboot

Opinion Column

The political party of Abraham Lincoln is in trouble, threatened with irrelevance, even extinction. Its weaknesses are legion.

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Washington circus steals the spotlight

Opinion Column

Can President Barack Obama put out the brush fires that are sucking the air out of his second-term agenda? Can he stop the spread of mini-scandals that are consuming Washington?

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Make gun use a child safety issue

Opinion column

After a rural Kentucky family suffered an unspeakable gun tragedy late last month, that sad story, unfortunately, became new fuel for the scorching debate over gun control. When news broke that 5-year-old Kristian Sparks had shot his 2-year-old sister with a rifle he had been given as a gift, opposing factions latched on to either defend rural America’s gun culture or to denounce it.

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It’s way past time to close Guantanamo

Opinion Column

Sometimes the absurdities of an official policy or action are so clear that they need not be elucidated. Such is the case with the Obama administration’s maintenance of the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, a grotesque place that only the novelist Franz Kafka, who wrote brilliantly of nightmarish milieu, could adequately describe.

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Immigration reform compassionate, practical

Opinion column

Marco Rubio, Florida's junior senator, is pushing immigration reform because he needs a major legislative accomplishment to cement his credentials as a rising GOP star.

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Gun lobby’s fanaticism prevails over common sense

Opinion Column

You might have thought that the mangled bodies of 20 dead children would have been enough to overcome the crazed obsessions of the gun lobby.

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Cuban embargo has far outlived its usefulness

Opinion column

Find this story and other news, sports and features items at www.albanyherald.com.

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Students are the victims of Atlanta's cheating scandal

Opinion column

Last week, 35 former Atlanta educators were forced to take a perp walk, reporting to law enforcement authorities for arrest in connection with the nation's biggest (so far) academic scandal. It was a disturbing spectacle. Once among the pillars of metro Atlanta's middle class, they've been reduced to pleading that they don't belong in jail.

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Younger Americans accept full humanity of gays

Opinion column

Familiarity breeds ... acceptance. That's why the battle for full equality for gays and lesbians is already won, no matter what the U.S. Supreme Court decides.

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Folly of Iraq invasion needs more public scrutiny

Opinion column

Ten years ago, on March 20, 2003, the administration of George W. Bush launched its disastrous invasion of Iraq. It’s a war most Americans — including many Republicans who enthusiastically supported it — are working assiduously to forget.

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Essential government tasks need reliable funding

Opinion column

Here's hoping that Stewart Parnell goes to prison. The former president of the now-bankrupt Peanut Corp. of America, Parnell ran a filthy Georgia processing plant contaminated with salmonella that injured more than 600 people in a 2008-2009 outbreak, killing nine. Last month, federal prosecutors charged Parnell and three others with criminal offenses, claiming the executives intentionally shipped out contaminated peanut products.

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Voting Rights Act still necessary

Opinion column

If you want to stare into the ugly face of racial resentment, take a good look at Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. His frank, if stunningly injudicious, remarks about a key portion of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) laid bare the bitterness that so many hyper-conservatives still harbor toward black progress

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Noble origins of 'black history' outdated

Eighty-seven years ago — when about half of households owned an automobile, women's suffrage was new and black Americans were still terrorized by lynching, especially in the South — black historian Carter G. Woodson had a simple but powerful idea: Designate a week to celebrate the contributions that black Americans had made to their country. Woodson chose the second week of February to commemorate the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

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Republicans’ rabid right leading party to ruin

Any credible account of the career of U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican, must acknowledge this salient fact: He is conservative. He’s no maverick who managed to win a powerful office in a crimson state despite staking out positions that challenged the beliefs of his base.

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Hagel right man to head Defense Department

Opinion Column

Chuck Hagel has committed unpardonable sins. He has violated the GOP commandment — popularized by Ronald Reagan — against criticizing his fellow partisans. Worse yet, in the eyes of those partisans, he has castigated the warmongering imperialists who dragged the nation into a disastrous invasion of Iraq.

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GOP’s restraint mostly in their heads

Opinion Column

Thanks to an ultraconservative congressional faction, many Americans now view the Republican Party as extremist, petty and irresponsible. You need look no further than the ridiculous, drawn-out drama over the so-called fiscal cliff to see the GOP’s inability to negotiate reality.

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The answer to gun carnage is not to arm teachers

Have you ever seen the holiday film classic “A Christmas Story?” Set in 1940s Indiana, it’s the charming tale of young Ralphie, whose only wish for Christmas is a Red Ryder BB gun. Poor Ralphie is constantly rebuffed by the adults in his life, who warn him, “You’ll shoot your eye out.”

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McCain's attacks on Rice sign of grudge

Opinion column

In 2000, John McCain seemed a respectable political figure -- admired for his wartime heroism, well-regarded for his refusal to kowtow to partisan dogma, liked by journalists for his refreshing candor. He failed that year in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, but he ran a decent campaign, sticking to the high road even when he was waylaid by offensive personal attacks.

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Be thankful for fewer Tea Party cranks

Opinion column

Apparently, some of my fellow Americans want to secede from the union, undaunted by the disastrous result of that infamous attempt back in the 19th century. They are likely congenital cranks, destined to be dissatisfied.

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Scandal focuses on wrong seduction

Opinion column

We Americans are easily titillated by the suggestion of sexual scandal, so it’s no surprise that the news media have been obsessed with the escapades of David Petraeus and those in his inner circle. But the narrative is misleading and superficial. It focuses on the wrong seduction.

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GOP’s Southern strategy no longer works

Opinion Column

Last week, 18-year-old Christopher Berry, who is black, stood in line for an hour at a suburban Atlanta polling place to cast his very first ballot. He voted for President Obama because, he said, “I really like his stance on health care (and) I feel like he is a president for all the people of the United States.”

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Broad immigration reform is Obama’s goal for second term

Among Latinos, President Obama’s broken promise to fix the nation’s dysfunctional immigration system remains a bitter reminder of the limits of politics. The president shored up his support among that critical demographic with his DREAM Act Lite, a presidential directive that could give about a million young undocumented persons work permits for two years.

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Obama prepped for wrong Romney

The Mitt Romney who showed up on a debate stage at the University of Denver last week was a commanding figure — warm, engaging, polished and smart. He was the missing Mitt, the one little seen since the Republican primaries began.

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Voter I.D. laws a political strategy

Clint Eastwood’s memorable appearance at the Republican National Convention quickly inspired a meme: Conservatives are angry with an invisible President Obama, a man whom most voters simply don’t see. That explains their insistence that the president is a socialist, a Muslim, a weak and cowardly apologist for American strength.

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Gabby Giffords embodies resilience

The bands played, the confetti flew and the pundits pronounced on Bill Clinton's folksy wonkiness, Jennifer Granholm's YouTube-ready theatrics and President Obama's "workmanlike" acceptance speech. I'm consumed, however, by the less-expected star turns by understudies at last week's Democratic National Convention.

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Akin reflects GOP's growing hostility

Even as Mitt Romney worked to clean up the mess left by Todd Akin, GOP activists made sure that his ludicrous comments about rape would continue to hound the Republican presidential ticket. Last week, those activists endorsed extreme language on abortion -- indicating no exceptions for rape, incest or the mother's life -- in the Republican Party's platform.

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Both sides right, wrong in Chick-Fil-A flap

Last week, I walked by an Atlanta Chick-fil-A crowded with customers.

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Racism tinges opposition

Last week, the GOP-dominated House of Representatives voted to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- or "Obamacare." As expected, the vote fell largely along party lines.

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U.S. will be stronger, healthier because of ruling

With his surprising vote to uphold the core of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Chief Justice John Roberts may have salvaged the legitimacy of his court. A lopsided majority of Americans has come to see the court as just another partisan institution, according to a recent poll, and the chief justice probably doesn't want that as his legacy.

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New political home for Davis may not be right fit

Last week, GOP operatives gloated over the defection of Artur Davis, a former Democratic member of Congress and one-time Obama supporter who announced that he had become a Republican. The GOP had every right to cheer. In making his announcement, Davis posted an online spiel that came right out of the Republican playbook.

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When in need of political distraction, bash the poor

Poor people are useful during political season.

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Lack of education make harried moms

I came to this motherhood business late, after my friends' children were all off to college. My energy, heaven knows, is limited but my resources more plentiful than they would have been had I adopted a child 20 years ago rather than three years ago.

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America's love affair with firearms is national insanity

It has been 46 years -- nearly a half-century -- since Charles Whitman, a troubled ex-Marine, climbed atop the iconic University of Texas Tower to use it as a staging zone for a shooting spree. He killed 16 people on and around the campus, including his wife and mother.

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Access to contraceptives can curb abortion

For nearly four decades, advocates for reproductive rights have been stuck fighting an ugly, expensive and sometimes dangerous campaign to ensure that women have access to safe and legal abortions. It's a Groundhog's Day sort of battle in which both proponents for choice and the opposing camp -- rigid anti-abortionists -- trot out the same arguments over and over, with neither side persuading the other.

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Class inequalities should be examined, not derided

When Ronald Reagan spoke those words, the American economy was still a colossus astride the globe -- its workers unchallenged by the Chinese, undaunted by the Japanese and South Koreans, barely aware of low-wage Mexicans. American factories still hummed with the hustle of well-paid workers assembling automobiles, stitching garments and making reams of silver halide film.

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Nation would change if Paul had his way

It’s tempting to simply forget Ron Paul’s unfortunate history on racial issues, especially since he seems to be trying to forget it himself. He won’t be the Republican nominee, and his years in Congress have done little to popularize his out-of-the mainstream views. The nation won’t be returning to the gold standard any time soon.

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America’s best days are ahead of us

Actually, 2011 wasn’t such a bad year.

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D.C. still gets deserved respect

In 2009, when a staunchly conservative and visibly angry group of American voters launched a new political movement they called a “tea party,” I was more than a little confused by the association with a seminal moment in the early history of this country. The Boston Tea Party grew out of American colonists’ fury at a tax imposed by a faraway British Parliament whose members they did not elect.

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Public acts trump behavior

I don’t want to talk about Newt Gingrich’s many marriages. I really don’t. Nor do I want to talk about an alleged extramarital affair that Herman Cain may have carried on for 13 years. There are so many better reasons to doubt the leadership skills of both men — sound, practical grounds to resist their claims of fitness for the nation’s highest office.

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Airline travel not for the faint of heart

I was never one of the airlines’ pampered passengers. A few years ago, before motherhood and a recession slowed me down, my annual flight mileage allowed me the perquisite of early boarding — before all the baggage bins were full. But I rarely saw first class except when passing through it on my way to steerage, ah, coach.

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Hostility to knowledge has no place

If you’ve been paying any attention to the trial heats of the Republican presidential contest, you’ve noticed an alarming trend: the conflating of ignorance with authenticity. Herman Cain’s fans, for example, seem to believe that his profound lack of knowledge about most of the world is one reason to support him. It makes him a regular guy, more trustworthy than those hated “elites” and longtime Washington pols.

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Cain’s beliefs about race alienate black voters

There are sound reasons for the scarcity of black tea partyers. A fight-the-federal-government philosophy doesn’t appeal to the vast majority of black Americans, who have depended on federal intervention to save them from the tyranny of state law and the violence of local custom — especially in the Deep South. Furthermore, even a handful of tea party protesters holding up overtly racist signs — President Obama dressed as a witch doctor, for example — would be enough to persuade most black voters that the group isn’t serving any tea they’d like to drink.

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Obama’s agenda serves blacks and whites

After President Obama gave a stem-winder of a speech that drew a standing ovation from most of the crowd attending a Congressional Black Caucus gala last month, his most vociferous black critics among the liberal elite should have been temporarily quieted. But they were not. They distorted his remarks as an excuse to keep up their volley of disrespect, disparagement and blame.

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Rich hold special place in G.O.P.

When I was a kid, rich people were just, well, rich people. They weren’t endowed with superhuman traits or placed on pedestals to be worshipped by the lumpenproletariat. They weren’t believed to hold special keys that turned the universe.

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Clinton years offer good perspective on taxes

Once upon a time, taxes were higher and unemployment was lower. People prospered. The federal treasury overflowed. The deficit disappeared.

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Wisdom about Perry may be premature

Is President Obama privately rooting for Rick Perry?

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