November 16, 2013
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OPINION: The case is a reminder that race is just a social construct
While institutional racism is the province of the powerful — and, in the United States, the powerful are still mostly white — discrimination based on difference is a human tradition, passed on from one generation to the next, among black families, brown families, tan families, pink families.
OPINION: GOP leaders now worried Supreme Court may gut Obamacare
If the high court rules in favor of conservatives who have challenged the health care law — essentially gutting it — millions of Americans will lose the subsidies that allow them to purchase health insurance. And they will be furious.
OPINION: Texas lawmakers pass 'campus-carry' bill
The bill allows students, teachers, janitors, administrators and anyone else with a firearms permit to carry concealed handguns on college campuses throughout the state
OPINION: Undocumented immigrants have lost another round in federal court
Since Mitt Romney’s defeat in 2012, Republican strategists have attempted to repair the party’s image among Latinos, urging their major political players to adopt a more favorable policy toward illegal immigrants.
OPINION: The drumbeat for war depends on the service of a relatively small percentage of Americans
With recent military victories by the self-proclaimed Islamic State, President Barack Obama’s critics are once again ratcheting up their rhetoric, blaming him for the spreading violence in the Middle East.
OPINION: No one knows for sure why crime is down and keeps falling
The misnamed War on Drugs has probably done more to exacerbate black poverty and destroy black families than any other force of the last 50 years.
OPINION: Politics may overwhelm his other accomplishments
Ben Carson will likely be remembered as the GOP’s latest black mascot, a court jester, a minstrel show. He’ll be the Herman Cain of 2016.
OPINION: Skeptics of climate change ignore mounting evidence
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2014 was the hottest year on record, with continents and oceans warmer than any year since 1880. And despite a bitterly cold winter in the Northeast and Midwest, 2015 is vying to best that. January, February and March were the warmest on record for the planet, scientists say. Climate change is real.
OPINION: A student of current events likely is pessimistic about the prospects for young black men
In some quarters of black America, the achievements of students such as Kwasi Enin and Harold Ekeh don’t bring the same measure of pride and celebration that would accrue if they did not have immigrant roots.
OPINION: How did we forget so quickly?
The political elite, both Republican and Democratic, has arrived at the conclusion that President Obama’s foreign policy has been weak and feckless, contributing to the tumult in the Middle East.
OPINION: There is so much more work to do
In this latest episode of inexplicably brutal police conduct, the video footage is raw and unblinking. This time, a police officer in the South Carolina city of North Charleston shoots an apparently unarmed black man as he flees, striking him several times in the back. The scene provokes bewilderment, disgust and, of course, anger.
OPINION: Profit-making businesses are not religious institutions
There is absolutely no Scripture that admonishes conservative Christians to refuse to bake a wedding cake for same-sex nuptials. It’s simply not there.
OPINION: The Affordable Care Act has failed to produce the disaster its fiercest critics predicted
The worst failings of the Affordable Care Act are beyond its supporters’ control. Because of persistent, irrational Republican opposition, more than 20 states have refused to expand Medicaid — even though the feds would pay the lion’s share of costs
OPINION: Too many adults skip the colorectal screening
Every adult over the age of 50 should be screened for colorectal cancer. Diagnosed and treated early, it has one of the highest survival rates among that collection of malignant maladies we call “cancer.”
OPINION: Letter from GOP senators violates the Logan Act
Disrespect for President Obama reached a new high when 47 Republican letters sent a letter to Iranian leaders saying any deal struck by the administration could end with Obama’s term of office.
OPINION: Citizenship pathway under certain criteria is not a blue state vs. red state issue
There isn’t a state in the union, from the bluest to the reddest, where a majority opposes a path to citizenship, provided certain criteria are met, for those without papers, according to the Public Religion Research Institute.
OPINION: Black history is American history
Black history ought to be taught in the same volumes as the Boston Tea Party, the settling of the Old West, the defeat of the Nazis.
OPINION: Hillary Clinton is a rich, a problem for her presidential ambitions
Even as the economy finally mounts an apparently sustained recovery, income inequality remains a primary worry for American voters.
OPINION: My parents didnt fear vaccines; they feared diseases
Our success in fighting those dread diseases has bred complacency. The Internet has fostered ignorance. Junk science has overtaken reason. As a result, parents who ought to know better have refused to immunize their children, and measles, declared eradicated from the U.S. in 2000, is resurgent. Whooping cough is also rebounding.
OPINION: Gay Alabama lawmaker now says she wont out conservative colleagues who are having affairs
Alabama state legislator Patricia Todd now says she’s not going to name those among her conservative colleagues who have had extramarital dalliances, although she had threatened to do so. But she has stiffened her resolve about this much: She’ll continue to combat anti-gay bigotry, which is what started this imbroglio.
OPINION: The GOP mindset means president has no chance of passing middle-class program
GOP critics of President Obama continue to resist reality, sticking to the old Reagan-era bromide that a “rising tide lifts all boats.” Perhaps that’s true, but those middle-class rowboats are taking on water even as the rich float along comfortably in their yachts.
OPINION: As the State of the Union nears, President Obama is seeing higher approval ratings
In a stunning show of chutzpah, the president’s harshest critics, the hyper-conservatives who’ve done everything they could to wreck his presidency, want to take credit for the recovery they tried to sabotage.
OPINION: An Arctic blast does not mean climate change is fiction
Last week, the Japan Meteorological Agency announced that 2014 was the hottest year in more than a century of record-keeping.
OPINION: I am forgoing new years resolutions
Once upon a time, I was quite the dedicated maker of New Year’s resolutions, which ended up broken halfway through February.
OPINION: It's time to end the ridiculous U.S. policy toward Cuba
The outdated strategy accomplished nothing except to give the Castro brothers an excuse for the dire poverty in which their citizens live.
OPINION: Spy shows have Americans accepting of torture acts
It’s no wonder that so few Americans seem troubled by the Senate’s report on the CIA’s use of torture, a damning document that makes it perfectly clear that the United States violated international treaties, flouted our own laws and lost our moral compass.
OPINION: Deaths during arrests handled differently in NYC than in Ferguson
No expressions of sympathy or regret can resurrect Eric Garner, the New York City man killed by police in July. Garner died after an officer placed him in what appears to be a chokehold during an arrest for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes, an offense not usually regarded as a capital crime.
OPINION: Undocumented immigrants thankful for action by President Obama
While Obama’s action has drawn withering criticism from his conservative critics, the president framed his decision as an attempt to keep families from being torn apart.
OPINION: Women are accusing Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting them
The accusers, whose accounts date back to 1969 and forward to 2004, say that, under the guise of offering career counseling, Cosby lured them to his quarters, gave them drinks that were laced with a substance meant to render them pliable, and proceeded to rape them.
OPINION: Last week, Obama sealed a deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping to limit carbon dioxide
President Obama’s focus on climate change may be the most important part of his legacy. There is no issue more crucial to the future of the United States — indeed, to the future of the planet — than ameliorating rising global temperatures.
OPINION: Dont expect the GOP to turn back the clock on the Affordable Care Act
Despite what you may have heard and despite the caprice of electoral campaigns, the changes wrought by the Affordable Care Act are here to stay. That’s because it accomplishes much of what it set out to do — and its beneficiaries mostly like it.
OPINION: Republican candidates exploit fears to boost chances at the polls
Fear is among the most powerful of human emotions, more likely to motivate people to react than sorrow, joy or even anger.
OPINION: Public opinion on same-sex marriage has changed in the past decade
Michelle Nunn clearly believes that backing gay unions is a winning strategy — even in a Deep South state where the religious right still holds considerable political sway.
OPINION: Voter ID laws have nothing to do with protecting the ballot box from fraud
During the Bush era, conservative partisans launched the most insidious onslaught against minority voting rights since the 1960s: the voter ID movement. Claiming, falsely, that the ballot needs more protection against fraud, they promoted restrictive voting laws in state legislatures around the country.
OPINION: In another case, a young black man is gunned down for no reason
The August shooting of 22-year-old John Crawford III by suburban Ohio police did not incite weeks-long protests, prompt congressional action or provoke candid national conversations over race, as did the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri, which occurred four days later. But Crawford’s death may be an even graver injustice.
OPINION: Obamacare is rarely mentioned these days by GOP candidates
Nearly a dozen of the 29 Republican governors have abandoned their party’s dogma to expand Medicaid. Several more are expected to do so next year after the midterm elections, when pressures to conform to partisan ideology will have faded.
OPINION: The federal judges ruling is the first setback for gay marriage among the recent court decisions
Before the ruling in the Louisiana case, 21 consecutive federal court rulings found state same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional.
OPINION: The death of Michael Brown has renewed sense of urgency with black residents of Fergusom, Mo.
As the demographics of Ferguson have changed over the last 10 to 20 years, its newer residents have not exercised their political clout. The city was about 80 percent white in 1980, but its white population was down to less than 33 percent by 2010.
OPINION: Hillary Clinton is out of step with public on Middle East intervention
Hillary Clinton’s criticism of President Obama’s approach in Syria shows a tone-deafness, a calculated disregard for the attitude most Americans now hold toward foreign interventions.
OPINION: The criminal justice system reeks of institutional racism and a plethora of human prejudices
The troubling racial disparities do not absolve the looters, the rioters, the thugs who have attacked police and damaged property since protests began. There is no excuse for criminal conduct; moreover, it detracts from legitimate gripes with the police.
OPINION: The divide between haves and have-nots is growing
The United States is not held together by a common religion or language or ethnicity, but by its promise of equal opportunity for all.
OPINION: The American system of public education is in dire need of comprehensive change
The professional organizations that represent educators are dominated by resistant and retrograde voices, so-called leaders whose interests don’t seem to lie in improving the lives of their charges.
OPINION: Sen. Rand Paul will not easily change the GOP view on military might
Here’s to the senator’s efforts to help his party lay down its battle armor and beat its swords into plowshares.
OPINION: Politics surrounding the surge of migrant children at our Southern border are predictable
The United States cannot solve Central America’s problems of poverty and violence, nor can it take tens of thousands of undocumented children. But it can take those who would qualify for legitimate refugee status.
OPINION: The religious right continues to stand in the way of birth control
The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision — in which the court’s conservative wing gave religious rights to corporations — is just one more battleground in the never-ending culture war.
OPINION: Many young feminists and their allie discount ways they have to protect themselves
Men have no right to women’s bodies, but that doesn’t mean young women shouldn’t do everything possible to stay out of harm’s way.
OPINION: Neocons refuse to acknowledge their disaster in Iraq
Before George W. Bush invaded Iraq, al-Qaida in Iraq was just a jihadist fantasy. Deposing Saddam Hussein — a sadistic tyrant, but the glue that held together that fractious country — allowed terrorists to bloom.
OPINION: These days, even a college degree does not guarantee success in the job market
There are no easy solutions to this dilemma, but there are certainly some social and political changes that would help.
OPINION: It is simply impossible to be humane when killing someone, no matter what the person has done
The brutality inherent in this form of punishment is just part of the problem. The other defect lies in our uncertainty about the guilt of those defendants we send to death row. A statistical study published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences estimates that one in 25 death row inmates is innocent.
OPINION: The Obama administrations deportation policy is a travesty
While the president has worked hard to get a reluctant Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, many immigration advocates say they’d rather see Obama relax his draconian deportation policies.
OPINION: The 7 million sign-ups show demand for the Affordable Care Act
The Afforable Care Act has already made great strides in improving access to health care, which in itself is quite an accomplishment.
OPINION: If two values conflict, the right of equality should win out
The government has an overriding interest in ensuring that women’s health care is treated no differently from men’s, and reproductive services are vital.
OPINION: America needs to have an honest conversation about the poor
Since Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, which 50 years ago highlighted the abysmal living conditions of so many black Americans, many have assumed that poor equals black. That notion is woven through our politics.
OPINION: The simple diagnostic test is the best tool for detecting colon cancer
Colon screenings, along with exercise, is the best act of prevention for the deadly disease.
OPINION: The nominee was scuttled for doing his job as a defense attorney in a cop killer capital case
Debo P. Adegbile was doing his job in helping get a former Black Panther’s death sentence in the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer commuted to life in prison.
OPINION: Georgia governor wants to bar the uninsured from hospital emergency rooms
Gov. Nathan Deal hates Obamacare and refuses its Medicaid expansion, which would keep the working poor out of emergency rooms. In addition, he wants to deny them access to emergency rooms unless they can pay.
OPINION: Florida shooting verdict unwelcome specter over Black History Month
A juror told ABC’s “Nightline” that race never entered the deliberations, but it’s obvious that pernicious stereotypes about young black men hung over the proceedings.
OPINION: America is headed for a demographic crisis with too many old and too few young
The lack of a sufficicient number of children and young adults has the CBO projecting a diminishing pass of economic growth.
As policymakers try to close the income inequality gap, it makes no sense to make someone a criminal for getting high on marijuana.
OPINION: The compromise ag and nutrition legislation protects the rich and punishes the poor
The farm bill ends direct payments to farmers, but continues crop subsidies and insurance while it cuts 1 percent from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
OPINION: Unusually frigid winter has global warming skeptics heating up
Climate change is real, and a serious threat to te economy, food supply and ecosystem.
OPINION: Republicans have no workable plans for reducing poverty
Republicans have nothing to offer in the way of helping struggling Americans maintain a decent standard of living.
Ex-husband Jimmy Dean's defense of Paula Deen tops albanyherald.com's list of most-read stories in 2013
Online voting for high school football players was a popular item at albanyherald.com
Jimmy Deen’s defense of ex-wife Paula Deen sits atop www.albanyherald.com’s 25 most-read stories of 2013
OPINION: Class divide is one of the biggest problems the United States is facing
The “affluenza” case in Texas in which a rich family’s teen son got probation and rehab for killing four people while driving drunk opened national discussion on economic inequality.
OPINION: Undocumented immigrants should get a pathway to citizenship
It’s high time for Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration bill that would grant a path to citizenship to the millions of unauthorized immigrants waiting to be new Americans.
OPINION: Agreement with Iran signals thawing of relations
The silliest reactions in the United States were those that claimed Obama was negotiating with Iran in order to distract attention from the problems with his rollout of Obamacare.
OPINION: So-called Christmas warriors overlook real enemies of the holiday
Promoters of Christmas should rail against commercialism and consumption instead of terminology.
OPINION: Post-JFK America has gained much, but lost much, too
It is hard to envision a president riding in an open vehicle in a day when presidential motorcades are rolling war machines.