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NASCAR star Kurt Busch, 36, investigated for domestic violence

Former flames: NASCAR driver Kurt Busch has been accused of domestic assault by his ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, and police in Delaware said Friday they are investigating

NASCAR star Kurt Busch, 36, investigated for domestic violence

By Associated Press

NASCAR driver Kurt Busch has been accused of domestic assault by his ex-girlfriend, and police in Delaware said Friday they are investigating.

The Dover Police Department said the allegations were brought to the department Wednesday. 

Busch's ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, 36, said the allegations involved an incident inside his motorhome at a race at Dover International Speedway in September. The couple broke up about a week before.

Driscoll has filed court documents asking that a judge order Busch to stay away from her and not contact her. She also is asking that Busch undergo a psychiatric evaluation and be evaluated by a certified domestic violence treatment agency. The documents, filed Wednesday, say Busch was despondent the night of September 26 after his poor performance at the qualifying session.

Under investigation: Driscoll said the allegations involved an incident inside his motorhome at a race at Dover International Speedway in September - The couple broke up about a week before

'He was verbally abusive to her and said he wished he had a gun so that he could kill himself,' the documents say.

Driscoll said Busch, 36, called her names and accused her of 'having spies everywhere and having a camera on the bus to watch him.'

He then jumped up, grabbed her face and smashed her head three times against the wall next to the bed, Driscoll says in the documents.

Driscoll says she pushed Busch away and ran from the bedroom, going to a nearby bus to put an ice pack on her head and neck. She said the incident caused her severe pain, difficulty breathing and bruising on her neck. 

 
J.Lo admits diva ways wrecked her love life

J.Lo admits diva ways wrecked her love life

J.Lo admits diva ways wrecked her love life

 By Mara Siegler

Jennifer Lopez finally admits her diva ways and enormous entourage could have hurt her famous romances.

The singer blamed the failure of her relationships with Ben Affleck and husband Marc Anthony partly on her omnipresent army of handlers and hair and makeup stylists.

J.Lo, 45, opened up to Hoda Kotb about her book, “True Love,” at New York’s 92nd Street Y Thursday. When asked what might have gone wrong in past relationships, she responded, “There’s a lot of people in my life and that’s hard. There’s people in the house. There’s hair and makeup. It’s a lot, I think, for someone to deal with.”

Jenny From the Block famously travels with a huge crew that includes her manager Benny Medina and a cadre of stylists and handlers, as well as her trainer, Tracy Anderson.

Lopez also told Kotb about the pressure of fame, “Forget about all the outside stuff, being judged, being under scrutiny in the relationship . . . I guess that adds in . . . but I think they would say that [the entourage] was a big part of their discomfort, if there was any.”

 
Terrorists foiled in plot to kill Queen Elizabeth

Terrorists foiled in plot to kill Queen Elizabeth

Terrorists foiled in plot to kill Queen Elizabeth

Four Islamic terrorists planned to kill the Queen of England this weekend — but British police foiled the assassination plot, reports said

The anarchist assassins intended to stab Queen Elizabeth II Friday as the country celebrated 96 years since the end of World War I — an annual British jubilee — with numerous public appearances by her Royal Highness.

British police discovered the murder plot by the four freedom fighters, ranging in age from 19 to 27, and conducted multiple raids in West London and Buckinghamshire to thwart their plan.

Cops believe the suspected terrorists planned to use a knife to kill the beloved 88-year-old Queen, but also think they likely had access to firearms.

Officials made Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister David Cameron aware of the potential threat, but her Royal Highness still plans to attend the weekend’s festivities.

 
Churchill Still Stands Alone

Winston Churchill in 1950. Sir Isaiah Berlin called the wartime statesman ‘the largest human being of our time.’

Churchill Still Stands Alone

 
How to Make a Bestselling Book

How to Make a Bestselling Book

Howard Yoon

And why the publishing industry still matters

Are publishers still relevant? Do they have any role to play in the process of bringing a book to market?

There’s been a lot of talk about this lately, brought about by the much-publicized dispute between Hachette and Amazon. As a nonfiction literary agent, I wouldn't hesitate to agree that this industry has serious problems, and I think most of my colleagues would agree. Publishers are indistinguishable from one another. Contracts and payments sometimes take months to get processed. Editors jump from house to house, leaving authors—and their books—in the lurch. (I’ve had to deal with four editor changes for four clients this year.)

Let’s be clear, though. As imperfect as our business is, anyone who wants to write a book of lasting value, a book that can change the way people think about the world, a book that can get national and possibly global distribution in real hard copies, knows that the traditional publishing path is still the best path to take.

.................................

People always seem surprised when I tell them the publishing business is doing just fine. They expect me to share tales of woe and misery—and incompetence. I remain optimistic. For every forgettable snarky Facebook rant, for every counterintuitive, impermanent let-me-explain-the-world-to-you thought piece, for every formulaic superhero movie or sitcom, there grows a place in the hearts of thoughtful readers out there for works by writers like Dan and Dana.

Our culture will continue to churn out ephemera online (including, ironically, this piece), and we old schoolers in publishing will continue to chug along at our own slow pace. That’s because we know that no matter what else is out there, readers still want deep, meaningful work that can take years to produce. Isn’t it telling that two of the most successful novels this year, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Goldfinch, and the National Book Award Finalist All the Light We Cannot See, took ten years for the authors to finish?

 
Plenty of Work, but Nowhere to Live

Plenty of Work, but Nowhere to Live

Gillian B. White

Can the Bay Area solve its housing crises by imitating the approach used by the mining industry?

A booming job market is good news, right? Normally, but in Northern California, a growing tech sector in an area plagued with limited housing inventory has made what should be progress decidedly more tricky.

“If you're going to be adding lots of jobs but not adding lots of housing it's inevitable that housing will get more expensive,” says Gabriel Metcalf, the executive director of SPUR, a nonprofit public-policy research organization in the Bay Area.  

Across the nation, rent climbed 3.3 percent between the start of 2013 and 2014. In the top 10 technology hubs, that increase was about 5.7 percent, according to research from real estate website, Trulia. In the priciest of these cities, San Francisco, the cost of rental units jumped 12.3 percent between 2013 and 2014. In August, the San Francisco Bay Guardian reported that median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city had topped $3,000.   

.........................

Jess Silber, a 26-year-old who works for a travel adventure company knows all too well how hard it is to find an affordable home in the Bay Area. Originally from Connecticut, Silber started plotting her move to the Bay while she was in Tanzania, working for an NGO and volunteering. When she arrived in 2012 she was, by her own admission, woefully naive about the realities of the market. “The intention was to stay with my great aunt and uncle for like a week or so while I found an apartment. But then that became three months,” Silber says, laughing at the memory. She quickly became acquainted with the demanding process of apartment-hunting, in which multiple application questionnaires and roommate interviews were commonplace in addition to the high cost.

..............................

In San Francisco, the speed of construction in the area is one of the slowest in any of the 100 major metro areas. Since 1990, the city has allowed construction of only 117 units for every 1,000 units that existed in 1990. In nearby Oakland, the pace is similarly sluggish, 216 units for every 1,000. Seattle’s pace is double that and Raleigh allows for 1,118 new units for every 1,000 that existed in 1990. Why is it so slow? Building regulations around the city and its surrounding areas can make it hard to get plans for large residential projects approved. Zoning restrictions prevent residential building in some areas near large tech campuses. And the city also has height restrictions in many locations, which limits the number of floors, and apartments, that can be created in any single building. To get around such rules, changes to regulations or approval by government entities are generally required.

 
How The Berlin Wall Inspired John le Carré’s First Masterpiece

How The Berlin Wall Inspired John le Carré’s First Masterpiece

Intelligence officer and budding novelist John le Carré was so devastated by the Berlin Wall that he wrote ‘The Spy Who Came in from the Cold’ in a white-hot six weeks.

The Spy Who Came In from the Cold, my third book, changed my life and put me on bare-knuckle terms with my abilities. Until its publication I had written literally in secret, from inside the walls of the secret world, under another name, and free of serious critical attention. Once this book hit the stands, my time of quiet and gradual development was over for good, however much I tried to re-create it by, for example, fleeing with my family to a remote Greek island. Therefore, The Spy Who Came In from the Cold is the last book of my period of innocence, and after it, for better or worse, my experimentations would have to take place in public. For years to come there would be no such thing, for the publishing industry, as a “small” le Carré book— a distortion both longed for and abhorred by any artist worth his salt.

I wrote the book in a great rush over a period of about five weeks. I wrote it in the small hours of the morning, in my British Embassy hiring in Königswinter, in odd moments at my desk in the Embassy, and even at the wheel of my car as I crossed the Rhine back and forth by ferry, sometimes parked alongside Chancellor Adenauer’s huge armoured Mercedes (or was it a BMW?) as he made his own stately way to work. There was excitement in Chancery when I was able to report what newspaper he was reading, and the Embassy Press Section was always quick to deduce which leader-writers might have influenced the great man’s mind, but I suspect none did: he was long past being influenced. Sometimes I caught his eye, and occasionally it seemed to me he even smiled at me in my little Hillman Huskie with diplomatic plates. But he resembled by then an ancient Red Indian chief, and his expressions did not follow the patterns of other mortals.

It was the Berlin Wall that had got me going, of course: I had flown from Bonn to take a look at it as soon as it started going up. I went with a colleague from the Embassy and as we stared back at the weasel faces of the brainwashed little thugs who guarded the Kremlin’s latest battlement, he told me to wipe the grin off my face. I was not aware I had been grinning, so it must have been one of those soupy grins that comes over me at dreadfully serious moments. There was certainly nothing to grin at in what I saw, and inside myself I felt nothing but disgust and terror, which was exactly what I was supposed to feel: the Wall was perfect theater as well as a perfect symbol of the monstrosity of ideology gone mad.

 
Obama’s big immigration mistake

Obama’s big immigration mistake

Back in July, when President Obama was deciding whether to take executive action on immigration before the midterm elections, I got into one of those cable-news debates that offer the president unsolicited advice from the unqualified.

I argued that the move would boost Hispanic turnout and rally a depressed Democratic base. Yes, it might hurt some vulnerable Democratic candidates, but it would cement Hispanic loyalty to the party in the long run: “It’s a question of, whose interest is he looking out for?”

My opposite, Bloomberg News’s Mark Halperin, countered against “inflaming” the Republican base. “There’s almost no competitive races where the Hispanic vote is going to be decisive,” he argued, and “there are a lot of Democratic strategists who say, ‘This will hurt our chances in the midterms. Why not wait until November to do it?’ ”

“So,” asked the host, “why are they even considering it?”

Replied Halperin: “My sources and I, we can’t figure it out.”

Maybe they can now.

The president declined to act on immigration before the election. But all the Democratic Senate incumbents in red states that he was trying to protect lost anyway on Tuesday. There is evidence that the combination of low Hispanic turnout and lower Hispanic margins for Democrats doomed some Democratic candidates, including Charlie Crist, who lost his gubernatorial race in Florida, and perhaps Sen. Mark Udall, who lost his reelection bid in Colorado.

Worse, the fading ardor Latinos showed for Democrats raises the possibility that this reliable constituency — crucial to the party’s prospects in 2016 and beyond — is slipping away. Now Obama, to avoid even more trouble with Latinos, has vowed to take unilateral action on immigration by year’s end, even though GOP leaders say that will “poison the well” with the congressional majority. As the NBC News political team speculated: “Given the current situation, we think the White House wishes it went ahead and issued that executive action back in the summer.”

 
Chastened Republicans Beat Democrats at Their Own Ground Game

Chastened Republicans Beat Democrats at Their Own Ground Game

The Republicans’ ground game and digital strategy in 2012 were disasters, bad enough to become a political punch line. The party was determined not to repeat those mistakes, and operatives were well on their way to overhauling its systems this election cycle when the Democrats announced their “Bannock Street project,” an ambitious voter-mobilization program.

Though the Republicans were already building a national ground game, they decided to leverage the Democrats’ $60 million get-out-the-vote effort to their own advantage. They devoured news reports about the project and scoured Federal Election Commission filings to learn as much as they could about how their rivals were structuring their turnout operations in battleground states.

“It was kind of a mirror image of what we were doing,” said Rob Collins, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “It gave us the scope, it gave us the size, and it gave us the target, which was helpful.”

“We just felt we were in catch-up mode,” he added, “and you never know how fast you can catch up.”

Advances in data, analytics and targeting helped Republicans pick up at least seven Senate seats and add to their ample majority in the House. They hope that forward motion will help them when the stakes are even greater in 2016, when they will be trying to win the White House and maintain control of Congress in a much more difficult electoral climate.

“We made a commitment to mechanics and data and digital operations first and foremost,” said Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee. “In many cases we’re beating the Democrats at their own game, and in other places we’re at a tie.”

The Democrats, meanwhile, were relearning the hard way what they say they have always known: that even the best funded, most sophisticated turnout operation, in the words of Guy Cecil, the executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, “is necessary but not sufficient to win.”

“The Republicans could have been printing their voter file list from a Commodore 64, and it would not have fundamentally changed the election,” said Mr. Cecil, who helped mastermind the turnout effort intended to make the composition of the 2014 electorate more like that of a presidential year. Referring to the voter turnout operation, he added, “This election was not a field election.”

Nationally, the older and whiter electorate this cycle did not come close to resembling the Democratic coalition that twice lifted President Obama to victory. And Democrats and Republicans turned out in roughly equal numbers rather than Democrats outnumbering Republicans, as was the case in 2008 and 2012, according to the national exit polls conducted by Edison Research.

 
An Unpresidential Election

An Unpresidential Election

By Jelani Cobb

Two days before the midterm elections, Barack Obama arrived at a high school in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to campaign for Governor Dannel Malloy, who was then locked in a statistical tie with his Republican opponent in his reëlection race. The President gave a rousing speech, concluding with the obligatory photo op of him raising Malloy’s hand in presumptive victory. Nothing about the event was noteworthy, yet something about it seemed discordant. The most salient element of that image was not the President offering assurances on behalf of an embattled governor—rather, it was that the governor thought those assurances were still worth having. By contrast, Allison Lundgren Grimes, during her run for the Kentucky State Senate, would not even admit to having voted for Obama, and Michelle Nunn, in Georgia, had to be prodded to do so. The President was utilized so rarely by Democrats this past election season that the appearances he did make served only to underscore his near-pariah status. Nationally, Obama’s approval rating was just forty-two per cent. But he had a seventy-six-per-cent approval rating among Democrats and eighty-four-per-cent approval among black voters. Tuesday’s electoral returns may have been a referendum on Obama’s leadership, but they also commented on the efficacy of the obstruction and recalcitrance that has attended his time in office nearly since his swearing in. 

Barack Obama’s election as President was accompanied by expectations that were outsized even for the historic nature of his Administration. His more than three hundred sixty-five electoral votes were more than double John McCain’s final tally, and he bested McCain by more than ten million popular votes. The huge database of thirteen million Obama supporters and the campaign’s adroit capacity to raise money through hundreds of thousands of small donations made it appear that Obama was poised to create a new kind of populism, a multihued, progressive version. Instead, Tea Party populism, indignant, highly organized, and deeply invested in a kind of entitled patriotism that saw Obama’s ascent as the country being “taken” from them, took hold. Amid the tempest of paranoia and recrimination in that surrounded the town hall discussions of the Affordable Care Act in the summer and fall of 2009, the most noteworthy thing was not the angry crowds gathered to attack a law that, in their view, sought to kill off their grandmothers but the absence of a cohesive grassroots counteroffensive. This has been a theme in the Obama Presidency. In order to become President, Barack Obama had to create a grassroots machine that could, in primary election after primary election, circumnavigate the Democratic establishment. Yet his Administration has been as insular and remote in its functioning as that of any institutional standard-bearer.

We’ve come to expect congressional losses for the President’s party in midterm elections, but even so the 2014 elections look like a bloodletting. In successive midterms, Obama has lost control of the House and the Senate. In his comments on the election yesterday, he pointed out that nearly six out of ten eligible voters stayed home—and electorate that is even smaller than the diminished turnout of the 2010 midterm. Following that loss, Obama pledged to find common ground with the new House majority. Instead, we witnessed a moribund grand bargain on the budget, successive, manufactured crises surrounding the debt ceiling, a bogus lawsuit against the President filed by the Speaker of the House, and repeated moot votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act—all theatrically orchestrated to appease Republican grassroots movements.

Addressing the results of this week’s election, Obama made a similar promise, yet not even he believes that it is likely to be seen through. The G.O.P.’s newfound majority was facilitated by the fact that they haven’t found common ground with the President. Obama’s idealism survived for barely twenty-four hours. In a press conference where the tone alternated between patronizing and belligerent, John Boehner all but threatened Obama, should he issue an executive order regarding immigration. “He’s playing with fire,” the Speaker said. “He’s going to burn himself if he continues down this path.”

 
Mark Zuckerberg: Social Network movie ‘made up stuff that was hurtful’

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg: Social Network movie ‘made up stuff that was hurtful’

The Social Network suggested that Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg, only created Facebook to attract women following a breakup. However, the tech mogul said that contrary to the film’s plot he was not single at the time and had been dating his now-wife, Priscilla Chan.

“I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about that movie in a while. I kind of blocked that one out,” he said.

Zuckerberg said that David Fincher’s film had embellished elements of the nascent Facebook because the reality of writing code was not glamorous.

“I think the reality is that writing code and then building a product and building a company is not a glamorous enough thing to make a movie about, so you can imagine that a lot of this stuff they had to embellish or make up,” he said.

“They went out of their way in the movie to try to get some interesting details correct like the design of the office, but on the overarching plot … they just kind of made up a bunch of stuff that I found kind of hurtful.”

Zuckerberg said that he met Eisenberg and tried to be nice. “There were pretty glaring things that were just made up about the movie that made it pretty hard to take seriously.”

One aspect of his life that the film makers did get right was Zuckerberg’s wardrobe, including the famous grey T-shirt that Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer, confirmed he wore every day.

“I really want to clear my life so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything, except how to best serve this community [of Facebook users],” he said.

 
Obama, GOP leaders deeply divided on immigration at White House luncheon

President Obama and Republican congressional leaders skipped the bourbon Friday at a post-election lunch — but they still took shots.

President Obama, GOP leaders deeply divided on immigration at White House luncheon

BY Dan Friedman / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

The two-hour lunch — which featured herb-crusted sea bass, tomato-lemon confit and grilled vegetables at the White House — laid bare the stark differences between Obama and Republicans in Congress.

President Obama and Republican congressional leaders skipped the bourbon Friday at a post-election lunch — but they still took shots.

The president vowed to use his executive powers to reshape immigration policy by the end of the year if Republicans in Congress fail to act.

But House Speaker John Boehner (R—Ohio) warned that unilateral action by Obama — especially after the Republicans’ triumph in Tuesday’s elections — would make it “harder for Congress and the White House to work together successfully on other areas where there might otherwise be common ground.”

Just two days earlier, Obama suggested that he and incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) enjoy some Kentucky bourbon together.

And before Friday’s sit-down, Obama stressed that Americans want “to see more cooperation. And I think all of us have the responsibility, me in particular, to try to make that happen.”

An unnamed “senior House Republican aide” told the Associated Press that the gathering was tense at times.

According to Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo), Republicans told Obama that any unilateral action on immigration reform or any other issue, would be a “toxic decision.”

“He still hasn’t come to grips with the reality of the election and the consequences of the election,” Barrasso said.

 
Marijuana for Alzheimer’s Disease

Marijuana for Alzheimer’s Disease

By Professor Gary L. Wenk, Ph. D.

Proof that smoking marijuana can slow the advance of Alzheimer’s disease has not previously existed. The evidence has been quite circumstantial and often seemed rather secondary to the known actions of cannabis in the brain. Things have changed recently.

Our human brain produces its own endogenous marijuana-like chemicals. One of them is call 2-AG and is the most abundant of the endogenous marijuana-like chemicals. 2-AG has been repeatedly shown to protect the brain from many different harmful toxins and mutant proteins.  2-AG is destroyed by an enzyme called MAGL. Selectively inhibiting MAGL leads to elevated levels of 2-AG in the brain.  A recent study demonstrated that elevated levels of 2-AG causes a suppression in the production of a toxic protein, beta-amyloid, that is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and is thought to contribute to the death of cells in the brain as the dementia symptoms progress.

 
Mexican gang suspected of killing 43 students admits to mass murder

Missing Mexican students

Mexican gang suspected of killing 43 students admits to mass murder

Associated Press in Mexico City

Attorney general says detainees admitted setting fire to bodies, believed to be those of the missing students, in a rubbish dump near Iguala

Suspects in the disappearance of 43 college students have described a macabre and complicated mass murder and incineration of the victims carried out over an entire day and ending with their ashen remains being dumped into a river, Mexican authorities have said.

In a sombre, lengthy explanation of the investigation, the attorney general, Jesus Murillo Karam, played video footage showing hundreds of charred fragments of bone and teeth fished from the river and its banks. He said it will be very difficult to extract DNA to confirm that they are the students missing since 26 September after an attack by police in the southern state of Guerrero.

“I know the enormous pain the information we’ve obtained causes the family members, a pain we all share,” Murillo Karam said at a news conference on Friday. “The statements and information that we have gotten unfortunately points to the murder of a large number of people in the municipality of Cocula.”

Some 74 people have been detained so far in a case that prosecutors have said started when police, under orders of the mayor and working with a drug gang, opened fire on students in the city of Iguala, where they were collecting donations and had commandeered public buses. Six people were killed in two confrontations before the 43 were taken away and handed over to members of the Guerreros Unidos cartel.

Murillo Karam said authorities are searching for more suspects.
In the most comprehensive accounting to date of the disappearances and the subsequent investigation, Murillo Karam showed videotaped confessions by those who testified to loading the students in dump trucks and carrying them to a landfill site in Cocula, a city near Iguala. Some 15 of the students were already dead when they arrived at the site and the rest were shot, according to the suspects.

They then built an enormous funeral pyre that burned from midnight until 2 or 3pm along the river San Juan in Cocula. “They assigned guards in shifts to make sure the fire lasted for hours, throwing diesel, gasoline, tires, wood and plastic,” Murillo Karam said.

 
Jameis Winston and point-Shaving
 
Kevin McCarthy running for majority leader

McCarthy running for majority leader

By LAUREN FRENCH

Kevin McCarthy is pictured. | AP Photo

Kevin McCarthy has announced his intention to seek his first full term as House majority leader.

The California Republican has served in the No. 2 spot in House GOP leadership since August when former majority leader Eric Cantor resigned the post after losing a primary challenge.

McCarthy wrote to his Republican colleagues late Thursday he would push for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and an expansion of free trade for the new Congress, which begins in January.

“In the 114th Congress, we will focus on both small issues and large, offering big ideas on the most important issues while continuing to confront the President when necessary,” McCarthy wrote. “Presidential veto threats have never stopped us from pursuing bold and ambitious policies that Americans want, and they will not stop us now.”

Speaker John Boehner said on Thursday House Republicans would also push for a vote to repeal Obamacare, President Barack Obama’s signature legislation. McCarthy similarly pledged to hold the Obama administration accountable in his candidacy letter to House Republicans.

 
The Democrats Flunk Their Midterms

Maryland Democratic gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown walks offstage after conceding to Larry Hogan. Brown‘s loss was part of a sweeping national defeat for Democrats.

The Democrats Flunk Their Midterms

By Jill Lepore

A midterm is an exam you don’t much want to give to students who don’t much want to take it. It’s too early in the semester. You’ve hardly had a chance to cover the most important material, and the exam freaks everyone out: you lose a whole week of the course just wrangling the panic. It can also feel bogus. No one studies enough, their answers are half-baked, and everyone knows the final exam counts a whole lot more.

A midterm election isn’t usually all that different. Turnout is low, the issues are mostly phony, and everyone knows that the Presidential election matters more. All that’s true of this week’s midterm election, too—but it was still a test, and the Democratic Party flunked.

All over the country, Democratic candidates lost races they thought they’d lose and, worse, a great many they thought they’d win—though quite why they thought they’d win those races is hard to say. A good political rule of thumb might be that when you won’t let your President campaign for you, you ought to worry about whether you could win any election, anywhere. In 2010, Democrats lost control of the House; in 2014, they lost control of the Senate. In 2016, they might well lose control of the White House. Or, this year’s election results might turn out to be a fluke; 2016 could go the other way. No one knows: political forecasting is less a realm of knowledge than a form of entertainment and, above all, a business. Still, the 2014 election looks more like part of a pattern than an aberration. Liberals’ grasp on American political culture and on the operation of American politics has been weakening for decades, not least because the rules of play have been set by conservatives. Practices and regulations regarding the raising and spending of money, the nature of political consulting and political advertising, and the press’s coverage of politics have generally been the product of the forces of conservatism. The Democrats’ chief contribution to the machinery of American politics, lately, has been the adoption of digital tools as campaign aids, the importance of which is nearly always wildly overstated. Sure, MoveOn.org helped get Obama elected in 2008. But in the history of American politics, the consequences of the Reagan-era F.C.C.’s abandonment of the Fairness Doctrine, in 1987, will be an entire chapter; MoveOn will be a Page Not Found.

 
US unemployment rate falls to lowest level since 2008

A worker unloads grocery goods in Washington DC. The unemployment rate is now 5.8%.

US unemployment rate falls to lowest level since 2008

Heidi Moore 

The US unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since 2008 on Friday, in a move hailed as a sign of progress by economists despite 9 million people remaining out of work.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said that the unemployment rate fell to 5.8%, as employers added 214,000 jobs in October. The average monthly gain in the past year was 222,000 . The industries that added the most jobs were “food services and drinking places, retail trade, and health care” the BLS said.

In its report, the BLS said that the number of unemployed has fallen by 1.2 million this year and the number of long-term unemployed has fallen by 1.1 million.

Long-term unemployment is a persistent problem in the US that has vexed even top economists. “There is debate about why long-term unemployment remains so high,” Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said in a speech in April.
 
Obama pal Eric Whitaker stonewalls feds on sex question in grant-fraud case

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Obama pal Eric Whitaker stonewalls feds on sex question in grant-fraud case

Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, one of President Barack Obama’s closest friends, has refused to answer federal prosecutors’ questions about whether he had a “sexual relationship” with a former aide who has pleaded guilty to stealing taxpayers’ money, court records show.

Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, one of President Barack Obama’s closest friends, has refused to answer federal prosecutors’ questions about whether he had a “sexual relationship” with a former aide who pleaded guilty to stealing $400,000 in taxpayers’ money in a scheme that began when Whitaker was her boss at the Illinois Department of Public Health, court records show.

Prosecutors announced the bribery and theft charges against Quinshaunta R. Golden, who’d been Whitaker's chief of staff at the state agency, on Aug. 7, 2013. The following day, Whitaker told reporters he was “fully cooperating” in the federal investigation.

In fact, prosecutors say, Whitaker already had stopped cooperating by then, has refused to speak with investigators ever since and now faces the prospect of being called as a “hostile witness” in a related case against two other defendants charged with defrauding taxpayers, according to a court transcript obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

The 49-year-old Chicago physician had an agreement “to provide complete and truthful information to the government,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy A. Bass told U.S. District Judge Richard Mills in Springfield last month.

But, “following the execution of that agreement,” Whitaker “refused to answer certain questions about his relationship with Ms. Golden,” Bass told the judge.

The prosecutor said Whitaker “then represented to the media that he was fully cooperating with the government” even though he “has refused to meet with the government pursuant to that agreement, and, just recently, through his counsel, advised the government that he was expressly refusing to meet with the government.”

Whitaker’s actions surfaced during an Oct. 1 pretrial hearing in the case of Chicago businessman Leon Dingle Jr., who’s now on trial in Springfield for conspiracy, mail fraud and money-laundering. Dingle is accused of using his relationships with Golden; another former Whitaker aide at the Department of Public Health, Roxanne B. Jackson; and others to siphon off more than $3 million in taxpayers’ money for his own use, spending it on things including luxury cars and vacation homes.

Whitaker and his family have continued to vacation with the president and his family amid the federal probe. Whitaker is a frequent companion of Obama on the basketball court and golf course.

Asked about the case, Marj Halperin, a spokeswoman for Whitaker, said Thursday: “Dr. Whitaker is not a party to the case, but he has been cooperative, and he’s been told he could potentially be called as a witness. Because of this potential of serving as a witness, it would be inappropriate to share any further details through the media.”

The White House declined to comment.

 
Colleges Push to Keep Financial Advisers Away From Athletes

Steve Octavien is shown playing for the Dallas Cowboys in a 2009 loss against the Denver Broncos. After graduating from Nebraska, he invested $80,000 with financial adviser Mary Wong. He hasn’t been able to get back any of the money and believes she used it to pay her own credit-card bills and make other clients whole.

Colleges Push to Keep Financial Advisers Away From Athletes

By Julie Steinberg

Momentum is growing to narrow a gap between laws that oversee sports agents and financial advisers who approach college athletes.

Former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Steve Octavien recently landed a marketing job, got married, brought his newborn daughter home from the hospital and is saving up for the down payment on a house.

But as he gets on with life after six years of professional football, the 29-year-old Mr. Octavien regrets handing over $80,000, including his signing bonus, to a stockbroker named Mary Wong in 2008. They met while he was playing at the University of Nebraska, where he says she sometimes paid his rent, cellphone bills, car insurance and other expenses, a likely violation of National Collegiate Athletic Association rules.

The $80,000 soon disappeared, he says, and Ms. Wong pleaded guilty in 2010 to securities fraud related to an alleged Ponzi scheme that victimized other clients. She is serving a 63-month sentence in federal prison.

“Now I have a family,” says Mr. Octavien, who earned roughly $600,000 in his NFL career with four teams. “That would have been money that I would have loved to give them.” Prison officials say Ms. Wong told them she declined to comment for this article.

It is illegal in most states for sports agents to provide gifts or other items of value to amateur athletes—and agents are supposed to register with state regulators before approaching an athlete. Violators can be prosecuted.

Those laws rarely apply to financial advisers like Ms. Wong. While NCAA rules prohibit athletes from accepting money or gifts from anyone trying to woo them, there is little to discourage financial advisers from trying.

As a result, brokers, insurance agents, bankers and other types of financial advisers often contact athletes who are promising pro prospects, according to college athletic officials.

At Baylor University, some football and basketball players have gotten messages through their Facebook pages from financial advisers, says Josh Lens, assistant athletic director of compliance at the Waco, Texas, college. Last season, he confronted one adviser trying to talk to players outside the locker room after a victory against Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

 
A League Grins as a Star Grimaces

A League Grins as a Star Grimaces

By

Given the N.F.L.'s Culture of Manliness, an Injured Tony Romo Likely Will Play in London

The Circus Maximus known as the National Football League alighted in London for a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The league’s many fascinations will be on display: its wonderful athleticism, its stupendous television ratings, and its blithe disregard for the safety of its most valuable commodities, the players.

Nearly two weeks ago, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound Redskins linebacker sprinted, spun and drove his knee into the back of Tony Romo, the Cowboys’ quarterback.

That hit caused Romo’s back muscles to yank apart so hard that pieces of two vertebrae chipped and fractured in his lower back. That injury, most typically seen in auto or airplane accidents, did not threaten the stability of Romo’s spine.

It did result in intense pain. And it takes six to eight weeks to begin to heal.

“I’ve had patients on the floor with this,” said the orthopedist John Bendo, a clinical professor at the New York University Langone Hospital for Joint Disease. “Two weeks later? Romo’s still in a lot of pain. A lot. It’s acute.”

..............................

Playing is the expectation laid down by Jerry Jones, the Cowboys’ owner. He is a self-consciously swaggering billionaire oil and gas fellow with a documented affection for young strippers.

“He’s going on the trip to London,” Jones told the NFL Network as he strolled through the hallways of his preposterous spaceship of a stadium near Dallas, “and logic tells you that we wouldn’t have him make that trip to London and back if we didn’t think he was going to play.”

Jones has kept up his tough Texan routine all week. A year ago, Jones gave Romo a $108 million contract — typically of the N.F.L., little more than half of that money is guaranteed — and he expects his player to run hard for the green.

Jones speaks with the sublime assurance of a man who just might have no idea what he is saying. Last December, Romo took a frightful hit and limped through the game. The next week, the Cowboys faced a top rival.

“Pain won’t stop him,” Jones told reporters, who dutifully printed his forecast.

Three days later, Romo underwent surgery for a herniated disk.

 
Why Your Personality May Not Matter

Why Your Personality May Not Matter

By Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D.

How much of our behavior is caused by our personalities, and how much is caused by other factors? You might be surprised by when, how, and why personality doesn't matter.

 
Seize the day, control the agenda

Seize the day, control the agenda

Memo to the GOP. You had a great night on Tuesday. But remember: You didn’t win it. The Democrats lost it.

This is not to say that you didn’t show discipline in making the election a referendum on six years of Barack Obama. You exercised adult supervision over the choice of candidates. You didn’t allow yourself to go down the byways of gender and other identity politics.

It showed: a gain of probably nine Senate seats, the largest Republican House majority in more than 80 years, and astonishing gubernatorial victories, including Massachusetts, Maryland and Illinois, the bluest of the blue, giving lie to the Democrats’ excuse that they lost because the game was played on Republican turf.

The defeat — “a massacre,” the Economist called it — marks the final collapse of Obamaism, a species of left liberalism so intrusive, so incompetently executed and ultimately so unpopular that it will be seen as a parenthesis in American political history. Notwithstanding Obama’s awkward denials at his next-day news conference, he himself defined the election when he insisted just last month that “these [i.e. his] policies are on the ballot — every single one of them.”

They were, and America spoke. But it was a negative judgment, not an endorsement of the GOP. The prize for winning is nothing but the opportunity for Republicans to show that they can govern — the opportunity to seize the national agenda.

 
GOP to Democrats: It Wasn't Luck, We're Just Better Than You

GOP to Democrats: It Wasn't Luck, We're Just Better Than You

By Alex Roarty

The party says its electoral machine has caught up—and even passed—its rival across the aisle.

 Few noticed when the National Republican Senatorial Committee started going only by its initials at the end of TV and radio ads. It saved seconds of airtime at most, but to the committee's leaders, the NRSC tag was a clear message of how this election cycle had been different than ones in the recent past: This time, they were doing it better.

"When you spend tens of millions on TV, those two seconds matter," Rob Collins, the NRSC's executive director, told reporters Thursday during a pen-and-pad session.

The election will be remembered for a historic GOP wave and as the deep repudiation of Democrats and President Obama. But Republicans are adamant their victory was more than a product of circumstances: The GOP says 2014 was the election in which their pollsters, strategists, and behind-the-scenes operatives rediscovered their cutting edge—and bested the once-vaunted Democratic political machine.

The boasting has become vocal since Republicans retook the Senate and posted big victories in House, gubernatorial, and even state legislative races. The Republican National Committee has touted its revamped ground game and analytics operation. Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers' flagship political operation, has said its early, Obamacare-themed barrage of TV ads was one of the election's defining decisions.

And a troika of groups—the GOP super PAC American Crossroads, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the NRSC—have made clear that they think their aggressive intervention in Republican primaries saved the party from another litany of gaffe-prone nominees.

Republicans have good reason to brag: It has been a long time since most of them have had results that back it up. In 2008 and 2012, the innovative Obama campaigns set the standard of excellence against Republican campaigns marred by bad polling and ineffective ground games. Even in 2010, when the party ran up huge wins, Republicans questioned why the GOP also squandered chances in the Delaware and Colorado Senate races and fell short of the majority.

That's not the case now, and the operatives who ran the campaigns—many of whom were there in 2010 and 2012—say that's no accident. The bitter losses of two years ago convinced many of them that deep changes needed to be made to the GOP's political operation by 2014, the fruit of which they're seeing now.

"Defeat can be a great teacher because it forced us, and the committees especially, to look at everything we had done and not done and figure out how we could do it better," said Steven Law, president and CEO of American Crossroads.

For Law, that meant months of in-depth discussions and seminars with Silicon Valley strategists and former committee leaders to determine how it could improve the quality of its TV ads and data analytics. AFP removed much of its senior national staff after its effort at grassroots mobilizing in the 2012 presidential election failed to materialize much influence on voters. The changes were biggest at the NRSC, which invested time and money in recruiting candidates and then training them to handle the high-pressure scrutiny of a Senate race.

 
Immigrants eager for presidential action on citizenship

Moises Herrera said he was nearly deported and was kept in jail for weeks, missing the birth of his son.

Immigrants eager for presidential action on citizenship

By Maria Sacchetti

Few were as excited about Election Day as Moises Herrera. He did not run for office. He cannot even vote. But reaching Tuesday’s election, he hopes, will set in motion actions that will allow him to stay in the country.

The minivan-driving father from El Salvador has no criminal record, but for years he has cycled in and out of detention for civil immigration violations, including last month, when he was in Suffolk County jail instead of the delivery room where his son was born.

Now Herrera is among millions of immigrants nationwide waiting for President Obama to keep his promise to issue an executive order sparing them from deportation, an order that the president and his aides had put off until after the election.

“It’s the great hope,” Herrera, a 36-year-old father of four, said in an interview on Election Day, days after immigration officials released him. “There are many, many people in that jail, and they are waiting for that day.”

................................

On Wednesday, Obama said he would not wait for Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration bill to deal with the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants and declared that he would take action by the end of the year.

The Republican-led House had refused to consider a bipartisan Senate immigration bill passed last year that created a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. After the GOP won control of the Senate on Tuesday, advocates for immigrants feared the measure’s chances dimmed even more — putting greater pressure on Obama to act unilaterally.

House Speaker John Boehner warned Obama on Thursday that Congress, where Republicans now have a majority, would fight Obama’s efforts to act on immigration. Boehner echoed similar comments made the day before by Senator Mitch McConnell, who is expected to become the majority leader.

Opponents to relaxed immigration restrictions said bypassing Congress effectively excludes the American people from the debate at a time when millions of Americans are unemployed.

“If he gives out work permits and gives out legal documents that actually say you can be legalized, that is pretending he’s Congress,” said Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, the largest grass-roots organization favoring limits on immigration, adding, “It’s not his alone to decide.”

But backers of a change in immigration policy counter that the president has ample precedent to act on his own. Obama and past presidents have granted special legal status to immigrants fleeing violence, repression, or natural disasters, including Cubans, Central Americans, and in 2012, the foreign-born children of illegal immigrants, who call themselves Dreamers.

Advocates said the Republicans’ resounding victory proved that it was senseless to wait until after the elections for the president to take action.

“What do we have to lose?” said Eva Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, which favors a path to citizenship for those here illegally. “It’s time to stop the political theater and get serious about what’s needed for the country.”
 
Haven’t heard of billionaire Jerry Perenchio? That’s just fine with him.

Jerry Perenchio. (Reuters)

This man just gave a museum half-a-billion dollars worth of art

Soraya Nadia McDonald

Haven’t heard of billionaire Jerry Perenchio? That’s just fine with him.

He’s been described as reclusive, enigmatic, and very, very private. After Jerry Perenchio revealed Thursday that he’s bequeathing a 47-piece art collection, valued at $500 million to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA,) he’ll also be known as very, very generous.

The collection, which Perenchio spent 50 years amassing, includes works by the greatest painters of the 19th and 20th centuries,  Eduard Degas, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Edouard Manet, Rene Magritte, and Paul Cezanne.

“In sum, this collection comprises the greatest gift of art to LACMA in its history,” LACMA director and chief executive Michael Govan told the Associated Press. It’s conceivably one of the greatest art gifts ever, to any museum.

 This photo provided by courtesy of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art shows the artwork, "Au Cafe Concert: La Chanson du Chien," 1875, essence, gouache, pastel and monotype on joined paper, by French artist, Edgar Degas. Jerry Perenchio, 83, the former chairman and CEO of Univision Communications, Inc., pledged a collection of paintings by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Degas, Cezanne, and other major artists to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014, a donation the institution called the largest in its history. (AP Photo/Courtesy Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

While you may not have heard of Perenchio, you’ve surely heard of the people with whom he’s been associated and his enterprises. They include, to name a few, fabled the Ali-Frasier fight of 1971; the 1973 tennis Battle of the Sexes; Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, Norman Lear, Loews Cineplex and more recently, Karl Rove’s American Crossroads.

Perenchio is also the former chairman and single largest shareholder of Univision, the Spanish-language television network. He’s known for his unyielding privacy when it comes to the media. “I really don’t want my name in the goddamn paper,” he once told the Los Angeles Times.  The spotlight, he once said, “fades your suit.”

But he agreed to lift the veil on his identity as a donor because his bequest came with strings: the museum will get the art after Perenchio’s death if it completes the construction of a new modern building, designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor.

“For over 35 years I’ve been making charitable donations anonymously,” Perenchio said in a speech via The Wrap. “I decided to go public because I believe it’s important for Los Angeles County and LACMA to help make this new building possible.”

Perenchio continued: “I hope my donation to LACMA will encourage others to do the same. A big part of the heart and soul of any city is the dedication and commitment to the arts.”

 
Reince Priebus: President Obama ‘lying’ to Hispanics

Reince Priebus is pictured. | AP Photo

Reince Priebus: President Obama ‘lying’ to Hispanics

By JONATHAN TOPAZ

Reince Priebus is striking a combative tone on immigration, accusing President Barack Obama of “lying” to Hispanic voters on potential executive action.

“I don’t believe a thing he says” on immigration, the Republican National Committee chairman said on CNN on Wednesday evening.

Following the Republican takeover of the Senate and major GOP gains in the House on Election Day, Republican leaders have largely taken a conciliatory tone, vowing to work with the White House and congressional Democrats to break through Washington gridlock. But Priebus escalated the rhetoric and had strong words for the president on immigration, citing his thus far unfulfilled pledges to pass both legislation and executive orders.

On the 2008 campaign trail, Obama pledged to take action on immigration reform in his first year in office. Priebus on Wednesday noted that with a Democratic supermajority in the Senate and a majority in the House in his first two years, the president still failed to deliver.

“He didn’t do a darn thing” with his legislative majorities, Priebus said. “And all he’s been doing for the last year is lying to Hispanic voters across the country.”

The RNC chairman also called the president’s recent delay on immigration executive action “ridiculous.” Earlier this year, Obama delayed executive action until after the midterms in an effort to help insulate red-state Democrats from political pressure on the issue, a move that earned him significant criticism from reform advocates.

“He’s not trustworthy on this issue,” Priebus added on Wednesday. “The only thing he has done is he’s unified the country against his immigration policies.”

 
Obama: Lamest Duck Ever?

Obama: Lamest Duck Ever?

Almost every two-term president gets a pasting in the midterms, but Obama now faces lame-duck issues on an historic scale.

All post-war two-term presidents—Eisenhower, Reagan, Clinton, George W. Bush, and now Obama—have spent their last two years facing congresses where not one but both houses were controlled by the other party.

Yes, 2014 was a big Republican win, but this idea that Obama showed exceptional weakness in the midterms is simply inaccurate. The surprising Democratic loss of governorships related—as those races typically do—to local circumstances. In the Senate contests, the states where the president was shunned by Democrats who didn’t want him campaigning for them were mostly the same states where Obama didn’t even campaign for himself in 2008 and 2012. Iowa and Colorado were the only states Obama carried in 2012 that Democrats lost in 2014. The rest of the losses came in Romney red states, plus purple North Carolina (where Sen. Kay Hagan lost by only 1.7 percent). In 1986, by contrast, all eight seats lost by Republican incumbents came in states Reagan had handily carried just two years earlier.

But if Obama is merely a garden-variety lame duck in historical terms, he’s swimming in unusually treacherous waters. His challenge is to move beyond his understandable resentment of the Republican leadership for sabotaging him during a crisis (when he was trying to prevent another Great Depression in 2009). He needs to recognize that his interests and the Republicans’ are in perverse alignment right now and make up for lost time by forging compromise across the aisle, as Reagan did when he shared beers with Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill.

Unfortunately, the president is not off to a good start. His post-election press conference was too long, too provocative, and too stingy in his phoned-in praise for the winners. Obama managed the extraordinary feat of making McConnell look gracious by comparison.

Just before the president took the stage, McConnell held an uncharacteristically amiable press conference in which he ruled out more government shutdowns and showed respect for the president’s veto pen, but also said that the president would “poison the well” by signing an executive order legalizing millions of immigrants. It would be “like waving a red flag in front of a bull.”

Obama then came out and practically waved it, saying he expected to sign the executive order “before the end of the year,” adding “What I’m not going to do is wait.”

Why not? A skillful legislative operator would have seen the outlines of a deal: No executive order in exchange for lifting the so-called Hastert Rule (named for former House Speaker Denny Hastert), which by recent tradition requires that House speakers only bring bills to the floor that can pass with a majority of the majority (Republicans in this case). It was this rule, not Boehner’s personal opposition, that prevented the House from voting on the comprehensive immigration bill that the Senate passed in July 2013. Had the Hastert Rule not existed, a combination of Democrats and a minority of Republicans would have approved the landmark legislation in the House and it would have been signed into law.

It’s possible that Obama is trying to tee up such a deal in the lame-duck session by striking a theatrically tough posture as a negotiating position, but don’t bet on it. “He understands there are [theatrical] demands in campaigns,” David Axelrod, his former chief political adviser, told me Wednesday. “But he believes, like Mario Cuomo, that you ‘campaign in poetry and govern in prose.’ So he doesn’t embrace the theatrical elements in office. The problem is, you can’t divorce politics and governing. They’re of one piece.”

Obama’s disdain for the grubby necessities of politics led Jonathan Karl of ABC News to ask at the press conference why he has only held a couple of one-on-one meetings with McConnell in nearly six years—a dereliction of political duty that in my mind constitutes one of Obama’s biggest mistakes. Karl also made note of what may be the single dumbest presidential one-liner of all time, when Obama asked the audience sarcastically at the 2013 White House Correspondents Dinner, “Why don’t you get a drink with Mitch McConnell?”

Obama responded to Karl’s question with an audible sigh. Was it a sigh of irritation at the inevitable question, reminiscent of the weary sighing that (according to overheated press accounts) helped sink Al Gore in his first debate with George W. Bush in 2000? Or was it the sigh of a president who understood at last that he was paying a price for not investing in the personal relationships that—for better or worse—are the currency of political life in Washington?

 
Obama’s harmful ‘gifts’ to the nation and the Democrats

Obama’s harmful ‘gifts’ to the nation and the Democrats

Barack Obama is a gifted politician. But a president is judged by the gifts he leaves behind. Following his fourth national election as party leader, Democrats are taking stock of what they have received.

For Obama, there have been two convincing presidential victories; for the Democratic Party, electoral ruin at every other level. On Tuesday (assuming the most likely final outcome), the largest Democratic Senate losses since 1980. The ranks of moderate Democrats — including Mark Pryor, Mark Begich, Kay Hagan and (probably) Mary Landrieu — decimated. During Obama’s presidency, the loss of nearly 70 House seats, producing the largest Republican majority since 1931. The near-extinction of the Democratic Party in the South, including in Arkansas and Tennessee, which provided the party’s national ticket in 1992 and 1996. Full Republican control of 29 state legislatures, the highest total since the 1920s, and Republican governors in 32 states, including Massachusetts, Illinois and Maryland .

Obama’s particular form of political magic has worked only for Obama himself.

His post-election news conference displayed a series of character traits that have become hardened and exaggerated under the pressure of defeat. His self-confidence has slipped into denial — imagining the election as a generalized anti-incumbent tantrum rather than a reaction to the performance of his administration. His moral certitude has turned into the graceless dismissal of opposition, who cannot be conceded anything more than a “good night.” His pride of accomplishment has become a conviction that Americans are just insufficiently grateful for the “real progress” of the past six years.

There is apparently no possible electoral outcome that could shake these beliefs. And they seem rooted in a certain view of the electorate. Obama clearly regards the “two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday” as a more favorable audience than the discontented third who turned out. It is a view of politics that comes by way of William Butler Yeats: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst/ Are full of passionate intensity.”

 
NYTIMES EDITORIAL BOARD: Decision Time on Immigration

Decision Time on Immigration

President Obama said on Wednesday that he would act on his own by the end of the year to “improve” the immigration system, presumably by giving many — perhaps millions — of the country’s unauthorized immigrants temporary protection from deportation and permission to work. He has said this before, only to back off in deference to election-year politics.

Now the election is over, and the only thing to say to the president is: Do it. Take executive action. Make it big.

He must not give in to calls to wait. Six fruitless years is time enough for anyone to realize that waiting for Congress to help fix immigration is delusional. Senator Mitch McConnell and Representative John Boehner have warned Mr. Obama that executive action would destroy any chance of future legislation.

But Republicans have had many, many opportunities to move on immigration, and never have. They killed bipartisan reform in 2006 and 2007, and again this year. The party, whose hard-core members tried to stoke national panic at the border this summer, shrieking about migrant children, Ebola and the Islamic State, is not ready to be reasoned with.

The arguments for protecting a broad swath of immigrants through executive action, meanwhile, are firmly on Mr. Obama’s side.

IT HONORS THE LAW Mr. Obama should direct the Department of Homeland Security to focus its limited enforcement resources on removing violent criminals, terrorists and other public-safety threats — and not people who have deep roots in this country and pose no threat. This use of discretion is customary and entirely legal.

IT HELPS THE COUNTRY Having such a large immigrant population living here outside the law also undermines the law. Ever more stringent crackdowns waste resources by chasing down people who pose no threat. Allowing unauthorized immigrants to live and work without fear, and keeping families together, will boost the economy, undercut labor exploitation and ease the strain on law enforcement. This has been the goal of a comprehensive immigration overhaul. A deportation reprieve would not be permanent, but it would have many of the same benefits as legislative reform.

IT CUTS TO THE HEART OF THE DEBATE For years the immigration discussion focused obsessively on border security and avoided the question of what do with 11 million immigrants already living here. If Mr. Obama acts, he will be declaring that this population has a stake in our country’s future. That is starkly opposed to the view espoused by Republican hard-liners like Senators Ted Cruz and Jeff Sessions, Representatives Lamar Smith and Steve King, who take their cues from anti-immigration pressure groups that embody the country’s old strains of nativism. Millions of Americans-in-waiting need an answer. It should be a welcoming one.

There is reason to worry that Mr. Obama’s as-yet-unannounced plan for executive action will be too cautious, small and narrow. He has not said how big a group might qualify for protection. He should start with those who would have qualified for legalization under the bill that passed in the Senate in 2013 but died in the House.

That bill, a serious attempt at a once-in-a-generation overhaul, would have given millions with clean records a shot at legalization if they paid fines and back taxes and went to the back of the citizenship line, among other things. Mr. Obama strongly endorsed the bill. His executive action should be just as broad.

There will surely be intense debate when Mr. Obama draws the lines that decide who might qualify for protection. Some simple questions should be his guide: Do the people he could help have strong bonds to the United States? Does deporting them serve the national interest? If it doesn’t, they should have a chance to stay.

 
Bin Laden’s Shooter Goes Public, But Fellow SEALs Dispute His Story

Bin Laden’s Shooter Goes Public, But Fellow SEALs Dispute His Story

By Margaret Hartmann

It's pretty obvious why Navy SEALs aren't supposed to talk about their work, but now we know one secondary reason that does not involve being targeted by evildoers out for revenge. For the past three years, the man who killed Osama bin Laden has been known only as an anonymous member of the Navy's SEAL Team Six. This week Fox News announced they would identify the shooter, and the Daily Mail beat them to it, naming retired SEAL Robert O'Neill. On Thursday night O'Neill confirmed the report in an interview with the Washington Post, but the mystery is far from over. Within hours several SEALs were publicly squabbling about who actually fired the shot that killed the world's most notorious terrorist.

O'Neill told the Post that despite concerns about his privacy, he was thinking about going public because his name had spread throughout the military community and Capitol Hill, and he believed he would eventually be outed. What made up his mind was a meeting over the summer with relatives of the victims of September 11. O'Neill, who works as a motivational speaker, was invited to speak t0 9/11 families at the National September 11 Memorial Museum and wound up telling them about how bin Laden died. "The families told me it helped bring them some closure," O’Neill said.

 
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