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What I Have to Say in the Wake of the TAL Episode Airing

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I’d like to answer some of the responses I’ve gotten since my story aired on This American Life last week. First off, to the AAers who have accused me of “violating the traditions”: Calm down. AA is not a secret society. It’s not the Masons. That cited tradition, a custom really, pertains to AA advertising. […]

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Column: Think Over ‘Under God’

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Did you hear atheists are suing god? According to Fox News’ for-profit preacher Mike Huckabee they do it all the time! “Dear Lord!” he tweeted this week, “Atheists are suing God AGAIN!” Never mind the spurious premise of a group of people suing the very thing they don’t believe in. That’d be like Republicans suing […]

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Column: The Governors Who Cried Quarantine

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In 2005, Hurricane Ivan was a Category 5 storm headed for New Orleans. “Mayor Ray Nagin declared a state of emergency and strongly recommended that residents evacuate immediately,” reported at the time. Roughly half—600,000—residents left; the majority stayed. The storm passed. New Orleans was unscathed. Elected officials had sounded the alarm, like they were […]

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Column: Decriminalize Poverty, End the War on Drugs

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Conspiracy theories are easy to make up. They all follow the same formula: An omnipotent force wills it, everybody is in on it, it takes place perfectly and no one else will tell you this. Throw in some cherry-picked numerical clues based on arbitrary weights and measurements, and there it is: fodder for the conspiracy […]

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Column: Please Politicize Ebola

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“Politicize” is a jab meaning the other side is trying to capitalize on a news topic. “The Republicans have tried to politicize the border crisis,” says Nancy Pelosi. Reince Priebus says Democrats are trying to politicize Benghazi. Jay Carney says Republicans are trying to politicize Benghazi. Steny Hoyer says Republicans are trying to politicize the […]

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Column: Where’s the Storm We Were Promised?

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Remember? “There’s a storm gathering. The clouds are dark and the winds are strong and I am afraid.” This was the widely mocked anti-gay marriage commercial for the National Organization for Marriage put out in 2009. “But some who advocate same sex marriage have not been content with same sex couples living as they wish,” […]

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Column: Just Agree to Agree

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In February 2007, in a Democrat-controlled Congress, 10 senators—half Republican and half Democrat—sent the then-President Bush a letter on the urgent issue of health care. It read in part: “We would like to work with you and your Administration to pass legislation in this Congress that would: 1) Ensure that all Americans would have affordable, […]

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Column: The Dumb Debate: Big vs. Small

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One of the dumbest points of contention in modern politics is the Big Government vs. Small Government one. It’s a fake debate, only meaningful to the privileged: investors, business executives and their cronies. To everyday Americans it’s a lofty, largely academic concept. Yet we’ve been duped into caring about it. Do the Iraqi people note […]

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Column: How CVS Can Really Be a Leader in Health

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Photo by Mike Mozart The second-largest drug store chain in the country has announced it will no longer sell cigarettes. Changing its corporate name to CVS health, the company had previously vowed it was going to discontinue tobacco products in all of its 7,600 stores by October 1but like ripping off a Band-Aid, they instead […]

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Column: Punishing Africa for Buying Our Exports

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In the 1600s, self-exiled English established the first two European settlements in the New World: Jamestown and Plymouth. One thrived on growing tobacco from ill-gotten Spanish seeds. The other thrived on the freedom to practice their religion. These two seemingly contradicting ideas—religious fervor and capitalism—are foundational to America. Pre-dating, well, our founding. These two currents […]

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Column: Children Seeking Asylum and Finding Antipathy

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I might be the only syndicated columnist in the country who was raised by the state. So when lawmakers and public pontificators discuss the welfare of unaccompanied minors who’ve been dropped on our proverbial doorstep, I should probably speak up. I was a ward of the court starting at 13 until I aged out after […]

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Column: Two Minutes of Hate: The Bergdahl Edition

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In George Orwell’s 1984, the daily devotion for Oceania’s party members is to view a film illustrating the various crimes of their enemy. In the dystopian novel the target is Emmanuel Goldstein, a party turncoat. The film whips up comrades into an antipathetic froth—hence the Two Minutes of Hate. Bill Ayers, the villain in Sarah […]

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Column: Immigrants and the Cootie Offense

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In September of 2011, a franchise of the Occupy Wall Street movement, set up camp on the steps of Los Angeles’ iconic City Hall. The encampment was lauded by celebrities like Bill Maher and Tom Morello and embraced by politicians like Congresswoman Maxine Waters and then City Council President, Eric Garcetti. Garcetti, who’d later become […]