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For better or worse, the labor movement is reinventing itself

Haltingly, with understandable ambivalence, the American labor movement is morphing into something new. Its most prominent organizing campaigns of recent years — of fast-food workers, domestics, taxi drivers and Wal-Mart employees — have prompted states and cities to raise their minimum wage and create more worker-friendly regulations. But what these campaigns haven’t done is create more than a small number of new dues-paying union members. Nor, for the foreseeable future, do unions anticipate that they will.

Jeb Bush’s biggest problem for 2016? Economics

Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida, told the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council this week that if he runs for president in 2016, he’ll avoid courting Republican primary voters in ways that alienate the rest of the electorate, and he’s willing to risk losing the primaries in consequence.

Cathy Young — After Ferguson, can we tone it down?

Reactions to the news that Ferguson, Mo., police Officer Darren Wilson will not face criminal charges in the death of black teen Michael Brown have once again laid bare America’s enduring racial tensions — but they also have exposed deep and stark political hostilities. We live in a world of two narratives: one left, one right, both polarized and equally simplistic.

Rekha Basu: Godless are among us, even in the heartland

Rory Moe appeared on Simon Conway’s conservative AM talk radio show recently to explain the “Godless? So are we!” billboards recently put up by the Des Moines, Iowa chapter of United Coalition of Reason, for people without a religion. But there was such a painful disconnect between radio host and guest, it was as if they were speaking different languages and someone forgot to hire an interpreter.

The kids are all right after all

The news media likes to characterize today’s young people as risk averse, narcissistic, app-dependent, over-scheduled, entitled and “pornified.” Among the culprits are too much praise, not enough challenge, helicopter parents, cellphones and, of course, the Internet.

Better late than never: Expect a high court OK on marriage rights soon

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.

Jay Ambrose: Keeping cool about warming

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.

Vickie Raines — Public Input Needed on Flood Damage Reduction Proposals

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.

To fight ebola, create a health workforce reserve force

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.

Doyle McManus — Old echoes in America’s new Middle East policy

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.

Jay Ambrose — Amendment threatens free speech

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.

Christine Flowers — Ray Rice episode being irresponsibly simplified by ratings-hungry media

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.