Anyone who wondered how Barack Obama was going to spend the last two years of his presidency got an answer last week: He’ll be fighting a war.
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Over the last year, lower federal court judges have removed most of the suspense from the questions of whether and when the Supreme Court might rule marriage equality to be a federal constitutional right. In case after case, in red states and blue, judges have ruled that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional. This makes it very likely that the Supreme Court will grant review in such a case this year, and even more likely, assuming it does, that it will rule that the Constitution requires states to extend marriage equality to gay couples.
Addressing a United Nations summit on global warming, President Barack Obama said that here was “the one issue that will define the contours of this century.” And, yes, it could, especially if the politicians insist on remedies that aren’t remedies, ignore remedies that actually fix things, confuse speculation with certainty and show the climate a thing or two about ways to hurt people.
Edward Snowden appears this month on the cover of Wired magazine from his hideout in Russia, clutching an American flag. It’s an image bound to rile folks who consider the former National Security Agency worker more traitor than patriot for leaking classified documents he stole.
December 2007 and January 2009 brought epic floods to our Chehalis River watershed. Communities throughout the Basin were impacted significantly, many forever. Floods of the scale experienced in 2007 and 2009, do permanent and lasting damage. Floods damage infrastructure. Floods damage homes, schools, communities and families. Floods destroy jobs and businesses. Floods also sear indelible memories into those of us who’ve experienced them, memories we do not want to repeat.
A recent projection of the West Africa Ebola outbreak is that it now may take 12 to 18 months to control and will infect 100,000 people. President Obama announced the deployment of 3,000 military troops, more than a hundred Centers for Disease Control and Prevention personnel and millions of dollars to help stem the tide.
Time to take social media out of the freedom of expression “toy box.”
Here’s the nightmare scenario that kept Obama administration officials awake at night this summer as they watched the black-masked guerrillas of Islamic State sweep across Iraq: First, the insurgents could invade Baghdad, toppling Iraq’s government and forcing a Saigon-style evacuation of the U.S. Embassy. Then they could move into Jordan, a close U.S. ally that has maintained a peaceful border with Israel for a generation. From there, they could even threaten Saudi Arabia, the linchpin of the world’s oil markets.
By recently voicing full-hearted approval of a bill eviscerating the First Amendment guarantee of free speech, Senate Democrats showed themselves to be among the most extreme, irresponsible, self-serving and historically ignorant establishment politicians of this era. If they should actually get their way — and they conceivably could short of voter outrage — we could someday see a once strapping American spirit hopelessly hobbled when imperiousness comes its way.
I’ve never been a victim of domestic violence, but I’ve loved people who have been. I say “people” because some of the victims have been men, despite the general “Burning Bed” stereotype of the muscled brute beating the living daylights out of the 100-pound female. Violence is violence, victims are victims and abusers are abusers regardless of gender, color, religion, and affluence. This is an equal opportunity horror.
Five years ago, a federal immigration judge refused to grant political asylum to a Guatemalan woman who had fled to America after years of severe battery by her husband. The judge didn’t doubt her story, but said she couldn’t claim membership in a particular social group that had a well-founded fear of persecution in her homeland, as asylum claims require. The judge deemed the ongoing abuse of Aminta Cifuentes to be arbitrary criminal acts by her husband.
The House Republican leadership appears to have forestalled for now any threat by the party’s often fractious tea party forces to force a government shutdown to get their way on issues from immigration to the Export-Import Bank.
Now that President Barack Obama has finally laid out a strategy to “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State, there are only two (very big) questions that matter:
There are few things more disturbing than seeing a man viciously strike a woman.
Often, when I write something that is in the vaguest of terms controversial (as in, we shouldn’t change the names of our local train stations) I’ll get at least a few emails telling me to consider another “career.” There is the presumption that I’m a journalist, and not a very good one at that. One recent reader took umbrage at a column I wrote on immigration and sent me a not-so-veiled threat. Others have used every four letter word in their rich vocabularies to tell me how much I’m appreciated.