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In The Public Interest

A winning issue for Democrats to embrace

In The Public Interest

How inert can the Democratic Party be? Do they really want to defeat the Congressional Republicans in the fall by doing the right thing?

A winning issue is to raise the federal minimum wage, stuck at $7.25 since 2007. If it was adjusted for inflation since 1968, not to mention other erosions of wage levels, the federal minimum would be around $10.

Here are some arguments for raising the minimum wage this year to catch up with 1968 when worker productivity was half of what it is today.

Exceptional journalist leaves lasting legacy

In The Public Interest

Anthony Shadid, called the “most gifted foreign correspondent in a generation” by his then Washington Post colleague, Rajiv Chandrasekaran (author of the widely heralded book “Imperial Life in the Emerald City”), didn’t really need a byline. For anyone familiar with his peerless, unique reports from the Middle East would read them and just know they were a Shadid special.

Unsanctioned boxing: It’s time to end fighting in hockey

In The Public Interest

Call it what you will, but staged, premeditated or planned fighting in the National Hockey League (NHL), where two big “enforcers” slug each other’s heads with their bare fists, has no place in the game of hockey. Such fighting is boxing and as such requires a boxing license under many state laws.

The NHL does not take out a license for the fighters. The concussion epidemic, the fatal overuse of pain-killing drugs player suicides — two NHL players last year — may soon evolve into a law enforcement matter by some state prosecutors.

Democrats should be beating Republicans in landslides

In The Public Interest

I often ask Congressional Democrats these days: “If you agree that your Republican counterparts in Congress are the most craven, corporatist, fact-denying, falsifying, anti-99 percent, militaristic Republicans in the party’s history, then why are you not landsliding them?” Their responses are largely in the form of knowing smiles and furrowed brows.

The Jirga medal of honor

In the Public Interest

The U.S. war in Afghanistan is testing so much futuristic detect and destroy weaponry that it can be called the most advanced all-seeing invasion in military history. From blanket satellite surveillance to soldiers’ infra-red vision to the remotely guided photographing, killer drones to the latest fused ground-based imagery and electronic signal intercepts, the age of robotic land, sea, and air weaponry is at hand.

Tell today’s dysfunctional congress to get back to work

In The Public Interest

The editor of The Hill, a newspaper exclusively covering Congress, has said Congress was not going to do very much in 2012, except for “the big bill” extending the payroll tax cut and unemployment compensation, which expire in late February.

That two-month extension will likely reignite the fight between Democrats and Republicans that flared last month.

Making Iraq’s mistakes in Iran: The neocons are at it again

In The Public Interest

The same neocons who persuaded President George W. Bush and crew to, in Ron Paul’s inimitable words, “lie their way into invading Iraq” in 2003, are beating the drums of war more loudly these days to attack Iran. It is remarkable how many of these war-mongers are former draft dodgers who wanted other Americans to fight the war in Vietnam.

Democrats celebrate hollow victories

In The Public Interest

Ezra Klein, the bright, young, economic policy columnist for the Washington Post, believes that Obama came out ahead last year in the “administration’s bitter, high-stakes negotiations with the Republicans in Congress.”

Congressional tyranny and White House surrender

In the Public Interest

Paraphrasing Shakespeare, something is rotten in the state of Capitol Hill. A majority of Congress was just about to put the finishing touches on an amendment to the military budget authorization legislation last week that would finish off some critical American rights under our Constitution.

Here is how two retired four-star marine generals, Charles C. Krulak and Joseph P. Hoar, described in the New York Times the stripmining of your freedom to resist tyranny in urging a veto by President Barack Obama:

Look what isn’t made in America

In the Public Interest

“Here, look at this handsome L.L. Bean catalog and tell me what you want for Christmas,” said a relative over Thanksgiving weekend. I started leafing through the 88-page cornucopia with hundreds of clothing and household products, garnished by free gift cards and guaranteed free shipping. I wasn’t perusing it for any suggested gifts; instead, I was going through every offering to see whether they were made in the United States or in other countries.