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Why Seven Hours of Sleep Might Be Better Than Eight

Why Seven Hours of Sleep Might Be Better Than Eight

Sleep experts close in on the optimal night's sleep

Experts generally recommend seven to nine hours a night for healthy adults. Sleep scientists say new guidelines are needed to take into account an abundance of recent research in the field and to reflect that Americans are on average sleeping less than they did in the past.

Several sleep studies have found that seven hours is the optimal amount of sleep—not eight, as was long believed—when it comes to certain cognitive and health markers, although many doctors question that conclusion.

Other recent research has shown that skimping on a full night's sleep, even by 20 minutes, impairs performance and memory the next day. And getting too much sleep—not just too little of it—is associated with health problems including diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease and with higher rates of death, studies show.

"The lowest mortality and morbidity is with seven hours," said Shawn Youngstedt, a professor in the College of Nursing and Health Innovation at Arizona State University Phoenix. "Eight hours or more has consistently been shown to be hazardous," says Dr. Youngstedt, who researches the effects of oversleeping.

While Hillary offers a resume, Elizabeth Warren offers a plan

While Hillary offers a resume, Elizabeth Warren offers a plan

Byron York

t seems almost too obvious to mention, but presidential candidates need a clear idea of why they want to be president. In the past few days, Democrats have heard that their still-undeclared frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, needs time to think about the question. Meanwhile, another undeclared hopeful, Elizabeth Warren, is thrilling liberal audiences with a forceful, point-by-point declaration of the principles that would guide her as president. The contrast is striking.

Clinton is offering Democrats her resume. Warren is offering them a plan.

Seeking redemption, Rick Perry finds power in immigration crisis

Seeking redemption, Rick Perry finds power in immigration crisis

Philip Rucker

The Texas governor stares down President Obama and hopes for a second chance in 2016.

Three years ago, the Texas governor blazed a trail across Iowa to become the instant Republican presidential front-runner. Perry had a solid record and signature bravado. (At the Iowa State Fair, he blew a kiss to the cameras and mockingly said of rival Mitt Romney, “Give him my love.”) But after humiliating fumbles, Perry’s 2012 campaign became a death march: He finished fifth in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses and dropped out soon after.

This summer, Perry, 64, is back in the game. What he lacks in sizzle from 2011 he’s making up for with newfound substance on issues ranging from the economy to turmoil in the Middle East. And with tens of thousands of undocumented immigrant children streaming into Texas, the border crisis gives Perry an animating issue placing him at the forefront of Republican politics.

The immigration crisis has given Perry the opportunity to stare down President Obama — they sat across a table from one another in Dallas earlier this month — and a second chance to make a positive impression with Republican voters.

Perry’s political rehabilitation has been slow and methodical. There’s little doubt he has become “wiser,” as he put it in an interview here with The Washington Post. Perry said that if he runs for president again — he insists it’s an if, although his actions suggest a when — he will be a competent candidate and as ready as anyone to sit in the Oval Office.

“I try not to be perceived as being coy,” Perry said in the interview. “I am preparing for the possibility of a presidential run. Yes, I think about it, and I know how to be prepared for it.”

In the 2012 race, Perry’s back surgery and long recovery slowed his campaign. He did not sleep well and often felt pain standing for long debates. Now, he said, he is healthy. He has stopped running and began a new regimen of sit-ups, pull-ups, crunches and time on a stationary bicycle.

 Since giving up on cowboy boots (the arched heels agitated his back) and wearing hipster glasses, Perry has a look more bookish than buckaroo — and more in keeping with his attempt at intellectual reinvention. He sat on a panel in January with former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Next month, he jets to China for his second World Economic Forum and is planning a fall trip to England, Poland, Croatia, Romania and the Baltics.

“The biggest error in judgment I made [in 2011] was thinking that just because I’d been the governor in the state of Texas I was prepared to run for the presidency of the United States,” Perry said in the interview. “It is very different in the sense of having a global grasp of what’s going on in the world.”

Israel hits targets in Gaza as soldier confirmed missing

Israel hits targets in Gaza as soldier confirmed missing

Gaza City

Israeli soldier captured during intense battle as Palestinian death toll nears 600, with 27 IDF troops killed

Israel continued to pound Gaza overnight, including hitting 100 targets in Shujai'iya, the scene of the most intense fighting of the conflict, as the Israeli military confirmed that one of its soldiers was missing.

Hamas claimed on Sunday that it had captured an Israeli soldier during the intense battle in Shujai'iya.

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) named the missing soldier as Sergeant Oron Shaul, 21, a combat soldier of the Golani brigade.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad reportedly agreed to a five-hour pause in the fighting. However, Haaretz quoted senior Israeli officials as saying a humanitarian ceasefire was "not on our agenda right now".

As the fighting continued, John Kerry, the US secretary of state, was due to meet the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, and Egyptian mediators in Cairo. Barack Obama said on Monday that Kerry had been authorised to do "everything he can to help facilitate a cessation of hostilities", in a sign that international diplomacy had been galvanised by the weekend carnage in Shujai'iya.

Gaza City
Bomb damage in the streets of Gaza City. Photograph: Ezz al-Zanoun/NurPhoto/REX

Kerry described Israel's military offensive as an "appropriate and legitimate effort" to defend itself but added that the consequences were of deep concern.

Israel Rejects Humanitarian Ceasefire

Israel Rejects Humanitarian Ceasefire

Gaza officials puts day's death toll at 27 - 608 since start of op

Israel's Operation Protective Edge enters its third week on Tuesday, and the IDF's ground incursion into the Gaza Strip moved into its fifth day. Nine IDF soldiers were killed on Monday, raising the number of Israeli military fatalities since the operation commenced to 27. At least 130 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began its ground operation, raising the recent escalation's death toll in Gaza to 604, with 3,700 wounded.

If the Left Wants Scapegoats, Just Look in the Mirror

obama looking in mirror

By Kevin Drum

....In point of fact, there were plenty of things Obama’s Democrats could have done that might have put the right out of business once and for all—for example, by responding more aggressively to the Great Recession or by pounding relentlessly on the theme of middle-class economic distress. Acknowledging this possibility, however, has always been difficult for consensus-minded Democrats, and I suspect that in the official recounting of the Obama era, this troublesome possibility will disappear entirely. Instead, the terrifying Right-Wing Other will be cast in bronze at twice life-size, and made the excuse for the Administration’s every last failure of nerve, imagination and foresight. Demonizing the right will also allow the Obama legacy team to present his two electoral victories as ends in themselves, since they kept the White House out of the monster’s grasp—heroic triumphs that were truly worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize. (Which will be dusted off and prominently displayed.) 

As for Obama, could he have done more? I suppose he probably could have, but it's a close call. Even with his earnest efforts at bipartisanship at the beginning of his presidency, he only barely passed any stimulus at all. If instead he'd issued thundering populist manifestos, even Susan Collins would have turned against him and the stimulus bill would have been not too small, but completely dead. Ditto for virtually everything else Obama managed to pass by one or two votes during his first 18 months. If that had happened, the economy would have done even worse, and if you somehow think this means the public would have become more sympathetic to the party in the White House, then your knowledge of American politics is at about the kindergarten level. Democrats would have lost even more seats in 2010 than they did.

Look: Obama made some mistakes. He should have done more about housing. He shouldn't have pivoted to deficit-mongering so quickly. Maybe he could have kept a public option in Obamacare if he'd fought harder for it. Maybe, maybe, maybe. But probably not. Like it or not, America was not poised for a huge liberal wave in 2008. It just wasn't. It was poised for a fairly routine cycle of throwing out the old bums and electing new bums, who would, as usual, be given a very short and very limited honeymoon. Democrats actually accomplished a fair amount during that honeymoon, but no, they didn't turn American into a lefty paradise. That was never in the cards.

Amazon at 20: billions and battles

Amazon at 20: billions and battles

Mark Hooper

Amazon fulfilment centre prepares for Christmas, Swansea, Britain - 13 Dec 2012

It's 20 years since entrepreneur Jeff Bezos registered the company that would become Amazon. How did it get so big so fast?

1996: Send us your freaks

Despite losing $52,000 in 1994, Amazon's fortunes begin to change, not least because of Bezos's bullish attitude. The new unofficial company motto becomes "Get Big Fast". Amazon introduces an 8% referral commission to sites that direct customers to Amazon to purchase a book. A front-page interview in the Wall Street Journal in May ("How Wall Street whiz finds niche selling books on the internet") proves a watershed moment. Daily orders double overnight, with revenues growing at 30-40% a month. To meet demand at the warehouse, an Amazon representative allegedly tells a temp agency to: "Send us your freaks."

Key product Amazon's bestselling book of the year was a prescient one – David Siegel's Creating Killer Web Sites: The Art of Third-Generation Site Design.

Are the Obamas buying a home in Rancho Mirage?

Hot Property: Barack and Michelle Obama

Are the Obamas buying a home in Rancho Mirage?

 President Obama and his wife, Michelle, could be the owners of a home in Rancho Mirage listed at $4.25 million before the month is out.

The First Family is believed to be in escrow on a contemporary home in a gated community where entertainers Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby once maintained estates.

The White House said rumors regarding a home in Rancho Mirage are not true.

The 8,232-square-foot compound in question sits adjacent to a bighorn sheep preserve on a 3.29-acre hilltop with panoramic views. The custom-built main house, constructed in 1993 and designed for entertaining, includes a gym, four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. A 2,000-square-foot casita has three bedrooms and three bathrooms. Over-the-top exterior features include a pool with a 20-foot waterfall, a rock lagoon, two spas, a misting system and a putting green with a sand trap.

‘Telegenically Dead Palestinians’: Why Israel Is Losing the American Media War

‘Telegenically Dead Palestinians’: Why Israel Is Losing the American Media War

By Benjamin Wallace-Wells

In many ways, the story of this month's eruption of violence in Israel and Palestine has been depressingly familiar. But in one interesting way it has been a little bit different from the beginning: American audiences are seeing the story of the conflict, perhaps more than ever before, through Palestinian eyes.

That this is the case is probably something of an accident. But after Israeli extremists kidnapped and murdered a Palestinian kid named Mohammed Abu Khdeir, apparently in retribution for the earlier murder of three Israeli teenagers, police detained and beat up his cousin, Tariq Abu Khdeir, a 15-year old Palestinian-American from Tampa, vacationing with his family*. It is common for television news broadcasts to carry sympathetic stories of a local American kid tragically caught up in Middle Eastern violence. It is not so common for that kid to be Palestinian. Soon the networks were broadcasting sympathetic interviews with Tariq Abu Khdeir's angry mother. "The Palestinians live like this every day," Suha Abu Khdeir told ABC. "They kind of say, okay, we'll deal with it. But us, as Americans, it's just, it's not human."


Earlier this month, the IDF's Twitter feed had been full of images of besieged Israelis. But by this weekend Israel was so clearly losing the public-relations war that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu complained to reporters, tersely, that Hamas uses "telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause."

If Netanyahu is so bothered by how dead Palestinians look on television then he should stop killing so many of them. But his complaint is in itself a concession. The story of the conflict between Israel and Palestine looks a little bit different this time around. Social media have helped allow us to see more deeply inside war zones — in this case, inside Gaza — and allowed viewers much fuller access to the terror that grips a population under military attack. America's changing demographics (the country's Muslim population has skyrocketed in the past decade and is now as much as half the size of the U.S. Jewish population*) have meant both a more receptive audience for sympathetic stories about Palestinians and more Americans like Abu Khdeir, with connections back to Palestine. The sheer imbalance in the human toll, in the numbers of dead, has been impossible to elide or ignore.

Ron Paul: U.S. partly to blame for Malaysia Airlines disaster

** FILE ** Then-Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican, speaks during a campaign stop in Manchester, N.H., on Dec. 19, 2011, during his bid for the party's presidential nomination. (Associated Press)

Ron Paul: U.S. partly to blame for Malaysia Airlines disaster

By Jessica Chasmar - The Washington Times

Former Republican Rep. Ron Paul said Sunday that the United States shares part of the blame in the attack on the Malaysian Airlines passenger jet in eastern Ukraine last week, and that the Obama administration may try and use the tragedy as an excuse to attack Russia.

“It had to be Russia; it had to be Putin, they said,” the Texas Republican wrote. “While western media outlets rush to repeat government propaganda on the event, there are a few things they will not report.

“They will not report that the crisis in Ukraine started late last year, when EU and U.S.-supported protesters plotted the overthrow of the elected Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych,” he said. “Without U.S.-sponsored ‘regime change,’ it is unlikely that hundreds would have been killed in the unrest that followed. Nor would the Malaysian Airlines crash have happened.”

Mr. Paul argued that neither Russia nor the separatists in eastern Ukraine have anything to gain by shooting down a plane full of civilians. He did say, however, that “the Ukrainian government has much to gain by pinning the attack on Russia.”

Life After Life

Life After Life

By Rosemary K.M. Sword

Rick had a boyish charm, but it was his big brain I fell in love with.

When my husband Rick was diagnosed with fatal gastric cancer 14 months ago, I suffered a massive heart break. But having a broken heart is a gift–because it gives you the opportunity to rebuild it, ideally better for having loved well, even if that physical reality is gone.

Tony Blair to Europe: Quit Begging the U.S.

Tony Blair to Europe: Quit Begging the U.S.

By Nico Hines

The former British prime minister and partner of George W. Bush says 70 years is enough time depending on Washington.

The former British prime minister said it was time the continent stood on its own two feet more than 70 years after America intervened decisively in the Second World War. Recent crises in the region and conflicts in countries along the border have exposed the total reliance on Washington to alter events within Europe’s neighborhood.

Blair said it was incongruous that such an economically powerful union was still “having to turn to the U.S. and ask for their help” whenever a foreign policy crisis erupted whether it be Libya, Syria or Ukraine. More than a decade after the birth of his partnership with President George W. Bush, he said Brussels (capital of the European Union) should develop a stronger foreign policy and more powerful defense strategy.

“Now I’m a great fan of the U.S.,” he said. “I think it’s important that we remain strong allies of the U.S. but we ought to develop in Europe the capability of being able to handle the problems on our own doorstep.”

Athletes paid $216.8 million in California income taxes in '12

 by Michael McCann & Robert Raiola

California’s long term debt is about $500 billion, but you wouldn’t know it from the taxes it collects from professional athletes. According to data obtained by from the California Franchise Tax Board, California collected a staggering $216.8 million in income taxes from professional athletes in 2012, the most recent year available. This included state income taxes paid by athletes who work, and in some cases reside, in California. They also included so-called “jock taxes” imposed on out-of-state professional athletes whose teams visit to play games in California.

Billionaire oligarchs 'scared of sanctions but more scared of Putin'

Billionaire oligarchs 'scared of sanctions but more scared of Putin'

Russia's billionaires 'horrified' at sanctions threat that could push economy into recession but too terrified of Putin to speak out

Hitting back: Wearing a dark suit and looking tired and drawn Russian president Vladimir Putin issued a defiant warning that the MH17 crash must not be used for 'selfish political' advantage

Financial experts believe Russia's $2 trillion economy could soon be pushed in to recession if tough sanctions against Russian involvement in Ukraine are introduced.

Russia's billionaire businessmen are 'horrified' at the prospect of crippling economic sanctions in response to Moscow's involvement in Ukraine, but are too terrified of president Vladimir Putin to say so openly, it has been claimed.

The U.S. has already imposed a raft of sanctions against Russian companies and individuals with Britain and the Netherlands pushing for the EU to impose even tougher measures following the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.

Additional U.S. measures may be imposed in the next few weeks and financial experts believe Russia's $2 trillion economy could be pushed into recession.

Is It Better To Love Or Be Loved?

Is It Better To Love Or Be Loved?

By Stephen Joseph, Ph.D.

Who holds the power in your relationship? An unequal balance of power in relationships fosters inauthenticity.

In an ideal world we would love and be loved in equal measure. Unfortunately, we often love someone who doesn’t love us as much and in the same way in return.  It can be heartbreaking experience.  They may reject us, or it may develop into an unequal relationship where one person holds the power.

Texas Governor to Send National Guard Troops to Border

Texas Governor to Send National Guard Troops to Border


Gov. Rick Perry is expected to announce the deployment of 1,000 troops to bolster security amid an influx of Central American immigrants.

Governor Perry, state law enforcement officials and ranchers in the area have said that Mexican drug cartels and other criminal organizations were benefiting from the diversion of resources and so more security was needed.

Still, the precise role the National Guard troops will play on the border is unclear. Previously, Governor Perry has said he wanted any National Guard deployment to use helicopters and have “arrest powers to support Border Patrol operations.”

The deployment will likely be used by both Republicans and Democrats as a new rallying point in the debate over immigration. Republicans have accused the Obama administration of failing to secure the border and helping to create the crisis with policies that encourage, rather than discourage, illegal immigration. Other Republicans in Texas and Washington have called on Mr. Obama to deploy the National Guard to deal with the border crisis, but Governor Perry could benefit from being viewed as the first to take action. Democrats, including Texas lawmakers in the border region, immediately lined up in opposition to the deployment plan, calling it an attempt to score political points and to militarize the border.

Government agents 'directly involved' in most high-profile US terror plots


Government agents 'directly involved' in most high-profile US terror plots

Spencer Ackerman

Nearly all of the highest-profile domestic terrorism plots in the United States since 9/11 featured the "direct involvement" of government agents or informants, a new report says.

Some of the controversial "sting" operations "were proposed or led by informants", bordering on entrapment by law enforcement. Yet the courtroom obstacles to proving entrapment are significant, one of the reasons the stings persist.

The lengthy report, released on Monday by Human Rights Watch, raises questions about the US criminal justice system's ability to respect civil rights and due process in post-9/11 terrorism cases. It portrays a system that features not just the sting operations but secret evidence, anonymous juries, extensive pretrial detentions and convictions significantly removed from actual plots.

"In some cases the FBI may have created terrorists out of law-abiding individuals by suggesting the idea of taking terrorist action or encouraging the target to act," the report alleges.

Out of the 494 cases related to terrorism the US has tried since 9/11, the plurality of convictions – 18% overall – are not for thwarted plots but for "material support" charges, a broad category expanded further by the 2001 Patriot Act that permits prosecutors to pursue charges with tenuous connections to a terrorist act or group.

Did the United Nations Give Rockets to Hamas?


Did the United Nations Give Rockets to Hamas?

The U.N. agency that runs schools and hospitals in Gaza is supposed to be neutral. But it gave 20 rockets found in one of its buildings to cops who many believe report to Hamas.

When 20 rockets were discovered last week in a U.N.-funded school in Gaza, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees was quick to condemn the storage of weapons of war in a building meant to educate children.

But rather than turn them over to a third party, or arrange for their disposal, the agency, known as UNRWA, handed them over to the local police force, which was established by Hamas, and is believed to be under the militant group’s control. In other words, the supposedly neutral agency may have given weapons to one of the combatants in a conflict that has claimed more than 360 lives in the past two weeks.

“We are examining what happened with these rockets. If UNRWA did pass it to Hamas it strongly harms [UNRWA’s] credibility and impartiality,” an Israeli official told The Daily Beast.

Obama: MH17 burden is on Russia

Obama: MH17 burden is on Russia

MH17 site

US president says Russia must use its influence to make sure investigation into downing of jetliner is unimpeded

Black boxes will be handed over at 9pm local time, according to Razak.

Even though this agreement had been made with the rebels, Najib stressed that a "number of steps" still had to be taken in order for the required work to be completed. The rebels had agreed to ensure that "continued cooperation" between all relevant parties took place.

Even though it was clear that Malaysia was gravely upset over the way the investigation had so far been handled, Najib said it was up to the government to promote peace and calm in order to get things done and that he hoped these developments would a step in the right direction.

"In recent days, there were times I wanted to give greater voice to the anger and grief that the Malaysian people feel. And that I feel. But sometimes, we must work quietly in the service of a better outcome."

Why should we be shocked that Hillary Clinton curses?

hillary shocked

Why should we be shocked that Hillary Clinton curses? Swearing is so cool

jeb lund

Jeb Lund

But if you think that profanity is even better when women participate, you're part of the problem

A lot of people have trouble with Ed Klein's new book about the Clintons, Blood Feud. They focus on his verbatim recall of events he didn't witness, eclipsing even the legendary Bob Woodward's ability to didactically cite fictional minutiae with more instantaneous fidelity than a preteen correcting you about Harry Potter's owl's name. (It's Hangry, you little shit.)

But all the debate over Klein's veracity has overshadowed the importance of Hillary apparently calling Barack Obama a "motherfucker", which is problematic.

But because you could – and many have – nitpick Hillary's "quote" to make a point about Klein writing his books from within an Imaginarium, the American public has overlooked Klein's point, which is that Hillary is bad. She's bad because she said bad words, and we know they were bad words because we call them that. In Klein's world, that is just basic thuganomics – but I have to raise vociferous objections to his thesis, because girls swearing is cool.

Calling attention to women who swear is stupid. It's stupid when it's a mendacious and politically cynical attack designed to rob a woman of her identity by likening her to a supposedly offensive masculinity. And it's just as stupid when it's the gentle paternalism of a feminist ally who thinks it's just so adorable when the slight bookish brunette girl at the Model UN quotes Office Space and calls an opponent a no-talent ass-clown. Everything about the idea of "ladylike" is preposterous up and until certain criteria are met anyway – like owning a fancy horse house and specially-tailored horse pants and, ideally, a horse with a name like Aquitanica.

Michael Tomasky: American Statesmanship Is MIA

By Michael Tomasky

Kid refugees at the border, 300 souls shot down, Gaza aflame—we’re lurching from crisis to awful crisis, but gone are the days when our politicians could put aside partisanship to act.

It’s been the most depressing two weeks of the Obama presidency. The child border crisis, the new Gaza war, the Russian separatists shooting down that plane—these aren’t just infuriating political squabbles of the sort we follow every week but profound political crises with enormous human tolls. Any of the three on its own would have been dreadful enough. All three of them in succession, the incomprehensible suffering and death of innocent victims of calculation and avarice, are almost more tragic than the mind can bear.

The tragedy in each case is deepened by American impotence. It’s not that we couldn’t prevent these things that’s upsetting. The border crisis, despite what they say on the black-helicopter right, was not fomented by President Obama in an attempt to force Congress to act on immigration. It’s a function of nightmarish conditions in Central America from which destitute, desperate people are fleeing, and of a network of completely immoral hustlers at the border who exploit them. Israel makes an incursion into Gaza every few years, and we always have little choice but to let it play out. And Russian separatists, with a nudge from Vladimir Putin, are going to do what they’re going to do.

World dangers test US resolve, including Obama’s

World dangers test US resolve, including Obama’s 

President Obama has been criticized for "leading from behind" on foreign policy. Secretary of State John Kerry counters that the US is heavily engaged around the world and to great effect, an assertion critics scoff at.

Politically speaking, the low point in how President Obama’s approach to foreign policy is perceived may have been in 2011 when an advisor described his actions in Libya, where a coalition was trying to oust dictator Muammar Qaddafi, as “leading from behind.” 

Most Americans aren’t used to hearing that. Even though they’re weary of war, either they want a more assertive United States, it seems, or the kind of non-interventionist approach favored by Sen. Rand Paul. “Leading from behind” sounds so … unexceptional.

Also appearing on “Meet the Press,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina, along with Sen. John McCain one of the Senate’s leading hawks, called Kerry’s foreign policy views “ridiculous and delusional.”

“It scares me that he believes the world is in such good shape. America is the glue that holds the free world together. Leading from behind is not working. The world is adrift. And President Obama has become the king of indecision," Sen. Graham said. "His policies are failing across the globe, and they will come here soon."

The US needs immigration reform, not another opportunity to blame the GOP

immigration protest

The US needs immigration reform, not another opportunity to blame the GOP

allison kilkenny

Allison Kilkenny

The child refugee crisis is an chance for Obama to push for real change. Instead, it's just deportations as usual

The Obama administration has a problem on its hands: the moral implications and aesthetic disaster of cameras documenting defenseless young child refugees being returned by force to their often-dangerous motherlands. This could be an opportunity for the administration to push for immigration reform (or show some kind of leadership on the issue), but it seems as though the White House's strategy is to deflect uncomfortable questions about mass deportations, avoid the moral and political consequences of estranging the Latino community and hope the GOP does something even worse.

Obama and Latinos at the Breaking Point

The deportations have been bad enough, but Obama’s inaction on the border crisis might be the straw that breaks the donkey’s back.

For Latino Democrats, especially Mexican-Americans, supporting President Obama’s reelection in 2012 was about voting for the lesser of two evils. Now, given the Obama administration’s callous treatment of thousands of unaccompanied minors fleeing violence in Central America and its plans to send the kids back into harm’s way forthwith without the encumbrance of due process, never mind “lesser.” We’re left only with “evil.”

Latino Democrats have been biting their tongues over how Obama has racked up 2 million deportations—mostly of Latinos—in five and a half years. But given how much Latinos worship the institution of the family and how they fawn over children, the border kids could just be the straw that breaks the donkey’s back. 

The only question is: “What are Latino Democrats going to do about it?” Answering it requires confronting what we already know—that most of our elected officials, of all colors and backgrounds, are in it for themselves and don’t represent their constituents. It also brings us to the sensitive subject of how U.S.-born Latinos often don’t care what happens to Latino immigrants or refugees, especially if they show up at the back door without permission.

Immigration battle could dog the GOP

Immigration battle could dog the GOP

Immigration battle could dog the GOP

How the current border fight could be perilous for the party in 2016.

Right now Republicans are responding to the crisis by calling for an end to Obama’s deferred-deportation program for DREAMers, which is effectively a call to deport them all. But if Obama expands that program — and no one knows how ambitious he will be — Republicans will be calling for that expansion to be rolled back, which means their calls for deportation will only grow. This could put Republicans heading into 2016 with a position on immigration that’s further to the right than Mitt Romney’s self-deportation prescription.

The current crisis undoubtedly holds major political risk for Obama. The pressure on him to show it can be managed is intense. But the optics for Republicans are perilous, too. Here’s what we might see this fall: Republicans will have failed to respond to the current debacle because they wanted kids deported faster and didn’t want to spend money on a humanitarian response — and they will have failed to act on the broader immigration crisis because they can’t accept legalization of the 11 million — even as they are showing themselves quite capable of … forging ahead with their lawsuit against the president. That contrast would look pretty bad on its own. But it could also send Republicans even deeper into a posture of total resistance to unilateral Obama action. Even as he is acting to solve the broader immigration crisis they refuse to address, Republicans will be committing themselves to the demand for ever more deportations.

What If Social Mobility Is a Myth?


What If Social Mobility Is a Myth?

  By Benjamin M. Friedman

An economist examines cases of economic inequality from the 1200s to today.

With the gap between rich and poor widening to Gilded Age levels, if not beyond, lately the question has attracted even more attention than usual. (When was the last time a book on economics created a sensation like Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century?) Vast inequality may be acceptable to most citizens if anyone, or at least anyone’s grandchild, has a fair shot at the top. But if wealth and poverty simply perpetuate themselves within families, ever wider inequality becomes ever harder to justify. In America, the debate about inequality is, inevitably, also a debate about mobility.

Mobility is hard to measure, however, turning not just on who earns what today but on how what people earn—and what they have—relates to their parents’ income and wealth, and their grandparents’ and prior generations’ too. Economists, to their credit, are increasingly stepping up to this difficult empirical challenge. Some are tackling the politically touchy question of whether mobility is greater in America than in western-European countries. (Our traditional civic myth notwithstanding, the answer is no.) Others are investigating whether mobility in America has declined in recent years. (Contrary to President Obama’s recent statements, it apparently hasn’t.)

Obama looked other way on child border-crossing crisis for 2 years

President Barack Obama smiles at a group of people welcoming him as he arrives in New York where he will attend fundraisers Thursday, July 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Obama looked other way on child border-crossing crisis for 2 years

By Cheryl K. Chumley - The Washington Times

U.S. border patrol agents spent the last two years issuing warnings to the Obama administration about an uptick in the number of illegal minor-aged immigrants crossers, a new report from the University of Texas at El Paso found.

How Hamas uses its 'terror' tunnels

March photo of Hamas tunnel in Israel. (Reuters)

March photo of Hamas tunnel in Israel. (Reuters)

How Hamas uses its 'terror' tunnels

Terrence McCoy

The labyrinthine underground network is a primary target of the Israeli invasion.

Such “terror tunnels,” the Israeli military said in a statement on Friday, are “complex and advanced.” And their use, Israel said, is “to carry out attacks such as abductions of Israeli civilians and soldiers alike; infiltrations into Israeli communities, mass murders and hostage-taking scenarios.”

Describing this emerging “tunnel war,” a Palestinian militia document obtained by Al-Monitor said the objective of the underground network was “to surprise the enemy and strike it a deadly blow that doesn’t allow a chance for survival or escape or allow him a chance to confront and defend itself.”

On Saturday, in what The Washington Post called an “audacious attack,” Hamas fighters wearing Israeli army uniforms infiltrated central Gaza through a tunnel and attacked an Israeli army patrol, killing two Israeli soldiers. In a second attempt Saturday to enter Israel through their tunnels, the Post reported, the Israeli military discovered Hamas operatives carrying handcuffs and tranquilizers in an apparent attempt to kidnap soldiers — the militants were killed. Also on Saturday, a militant climbed out of a concealed tunnel in southern Gaza and started firing at soldiers.

Cruz: Obama, Reid Holding Border Children 'Ransom' For Immigration Reform

Brendan Bordelon

Ted Cruz

'The Gang of Eight bill is one of the causes of this problem'

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz accused President Obama and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of holding for “ransom” the tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children at the border, claiming they are using their plight to push amnesty and their plan for immigration reform.

Cruz spoke Sunday with Fox News’ Chris Wallace about his new bill banning President Obama’s ability to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants, which he believes will help stem the ongoing flood of illegal children fleeing poverty and violence in Central America.

Unsurprisingly, many Democrats do not share Cruz’s view on the issue.

Some Democrats say — you talk about helping the children — that this is a humanitarian crisis above all else and the key is to help the children,” Wallace told Cruz. “Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid blames you, attacked you this week, saying radical Republicans are trying to hold these kids ransom.”

Wallace played a clip of Reid claiming “we wouldn’t be having this issue” if Congress had passed comprehensive immigration reform — adding also that “the border is secure.”

“Well, you know, President Obama and Harry Reid both engage in debates divorced from the facts and divorced from the reality,” Cruz claimed. “Harry Reid lives in the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C. And I’m sure from his perspective, the border seems secure.”

Ukraine Knew of Separatists' Air-Defense Capabilities, Say Officials

Ukraine Knew of Separatists' Air-Defense Capabilities, Say Officials

Claims Raise Questions of Why Ukraine Failed to Close Airspace

By Margaret Coker And Robert Wall

 Ukraine intelligence officials said they knew three days before the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 that rebels in the east of the country possessed sophisticated air-defense systems capable of felling a jetliner at altitudes in excess of where the Boeing 777 was flying.

The disclosure deepens the mystery of why Ukrainian aviation officials failed to entirely close off the airspace in the Donetsk region, where the jet was flying went it was shot down, killing all 298 people on board.

Three Buk-M1 medium-range antiaircraft systems, also known as the SA-11 Gadfly under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization designation, were known to be in rebel hands as early as July 14, said Vitaly Nayda, the head of the counterintelligence division of Ukraine's security service. (Follow the latest updates on the Malaysia Airlines crash in Ukraine.)

Ukraine imposed a partial flight ban in the region on flights below 26,000 feet on July 1, and raised the ceiling of the exclusion area to 32,000 feet on July 14. The Malaysia Airlines plane was flying at 33,000 feet.

The altitude restrictions on commercial flights were raised after rebel separatists backed by Moscow on July 14 shot down a Ukrainian military Antonov An-26 transport plane with eight people on board over the skies of the Luhansk region. The aircraft was flying at 21,000 feet.

Elizabeth Warren has already changed the Democratic conversation

Elizabeth Warren has already changed the Democratic conversation

Rebecca Berg

As Elizabeth Warren delivered the keynote address Friday at the progressive Netroots Nation conference here, her surroundings had all the trappings of a presidential campaign launch.

Outside of the ballroom where Warren spoke, supporters with the unaffiliated group Ready For Warren distributed “Elizabeth Warren For President” signs and hats to enthusiastic throngs of people; later, the convention center hosting Netroots would be littered with the swag. Supporters tweeted out a kitschy music video, “Run Liz Run.” And when people met in the halls, “Hello” was replaced with, “Did you see Elizabeth speak?”

Warren, the senator from Massachusetts who has become the standard-bearer for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, isn’t running for anything, at least not yet.

It doesn’t matter. Progressive Democrats are freshly encouraged that Warren’s gravitational pull will move other Democrats, such as Hillary Clinton, to fight for and campaign on the same issues.

“What I believe we’re going to see (in 2016) is the Wall Street Wing versus the Warren Wing, and the question’s going to be, where does Hillary ultimately land?” said Charles Chamberlain, executive director of the progressive group Democracy For America. “She’s been in the Wall Street Wing for a long time, and it’s really exciting to see her giving winks and nods towards the Warren Wing now, but she’s got to deliver on it.”

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