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Poll: GOP has edge on immigration

The U.S. Border Patrol is pictured. | Getty

Poll: GOP has edge on immigration

By SEUNG MIN KIM

Nearly two-thirds of likely voters in battleground races this fall disapprove of President Barack Obama’s handling of immigration, according to a new POLITICO poll — a public rebuke that comes after the White House grappled with the border crisis and reversed on a pledge to take executive action on deportations by the end of the summer.

The poll found that 35 percent of voters in the most competitive House and Senate races this fall said they approved of how Obama has dealt with immigration, compared with 64 percent who said they disapproved of the president’s handling of the issue. And by a narrow margin, more voters said they trust the GOP over Democrats on immigration.

The politics of immigration have been upended by the surge of unaccompanied migrant children at the Texas border this summer — a crisis that attracted nationwide attention and focused the immigration debate on the issue of border security.

Republicans jumped on the border crisis to paint Obama and Democrats as too lenient on immigration, pointing to the president’s 2012 directive that stopped deporting hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children as the main cause for the influx.

 
Why Democrats and Republicans don’t understand each other

Why Democrats and Republicans don’t understand each other

By Ezra Klein

Political scientists Matthew Grossmann and David Hopkins think the Democratic and Republican parties really are different, and in a series of papers, they're trying to prove it.

In "Policymaking in Red and Blue," Grossmann and Hopkins state their conclusion plainly: "the Republican Party is dominated by ideologues who are committed to small-government principles, while Democrats represent a coalition of social groups seeking public policies that favor their particular interests."

Let's pause here. The word "ideologue" is a technical term within political science but an insult within American politics. There is nothing wrong with approaching politics ideologically — and that's particularly true when you compare it to the major alternatives, which are approaching it transactionally or as a pure partisan. Nevertheless, if I keep writing this piece using the word ideologue it will sound like I'm just insulting Republicans over and over again. From here on out I'm going to use the less precise, but also less loaded, "philosopher."

So let's restate: Democrats are more focused on making policy to appease their various interest groups and Republicans are more focused on proving their commitment to the small-government philosophy that unites base.

 
Is there a mutiny brewing around Obama?

FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2014, file photo U.S. President Barack Obama looks around during a flypast at the NATO summit in Newport, Wales. Obama will begin this week to lay out a strategy to defeat Islamic State militants in the Middle East, starting with a White House meeting with bipartisan congressional leaders on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014 and a speech on Wednesday, the eve of the 13th anniversary of the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil. (AP Photo/Jon Super, File)

Is there a mutiny brewing around Obama?

Is a mutiny happening around President Obama? It appears possible that the president may not have made two of his most recent decisions with complete free will. The announcement that he would delay his immigration initiative until after the election and his formal announcement that the United States would take military action against the Islamic State could have been coerced.

Maybe Democratic leaders in Congress and a few members of the Obama team have had it. Could it be that, after President Obama briefed Democrats in Congress on the immigration plan, they balked? Maybe the president was told that, if he waved in millions of new illegal immigrants before November, there would be an open revolt against him within the party.

Similarly, a few members of this administration who have independence, stature and an adult disposition may have told the president he must act on the Islamic State or else they were out. I’m thinking of at least Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Is it possible they could not stomach doing nothing any longer and told the president that they would quit in protest if he did not take action?

Stranger things have happened. And given this administration’s complete inability to admit mistakes, it isn’t crazy to think something else was behind these two unusual moves by the White House. It seems unlikely the president himself initiated the punt on immigration or the about-face on military action in Iraq, so you can bet there is a story as yet untold about both.

 
Rand Paul: A purist turning politician

The GOP senator from Kentucky could be eyeing a 2016 bid. (Getty)

Paul: A purist turning politician

David A. Fahrenthold

Rand Paul built his reputation as a libertarian, but as he seeks to broaden his appeal he may damage his image as an authentic
non-politician who is unafraid to stand up for his beliefs.

Sen. Rand Paul wanted to eliminate aid to Israel. Now he doesn’t. He wanted to scrap the Medicare system. Now he’s not sure. He didn’t like the idea of a border fence — it was expensive, and it reminded him of the Berlin Wall. Now he wants two fences, one behind the other.

 
Clinton dodges questions from DREAMers

Clinton dodges questions from DREAMers

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to a large gathering at the 37th Harkin Steak Fry, September 14, 2014 in Indianola, Iowa. | Getty

As Clinton walked slowly by signing autographs after speaking at the gathering in Indianola, which is named after outgoing Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, one of the activists told her that she’s an Iowa DREAMer, one of many young people who were brought to the U.S. illegally when they were children.

“Yay!” Clinton replied, holding a thumbs up.

The activist kept talking and asked her view of Obama’s executive action delay.

“Well, I think we just have to keep working,” Clinton said. “Can’t stop ever working.”

When another activist said Obama had “broken his promise to the Latino” community, Clinton said, “You know, I think we have to elect more Democrats.” She kept moving after that.

 
How the Tea Party Is Causing Big Business to Back Democrats

How the Tea Party Is Causing Big Business to Back Democrats

By Erika Eichelberger

The Chamber of Commerce typically backs Republicans, but this year it's throwing its weight behind business-friendly Dems.

These Dems vote with the Chamber more than most Democrats. "The Democrats the Chamber has backed are reliable votes on business issues. We can tell from their track records," explains Jennifer Lawless, a professor of political science at American University. But that's not the only reason the Chamber is backing them: Dems the big business lobby is supporting are running against exactly the sort of Republicans the Chamber doesn't like—tea party and libertarian GOPers. Tea party Republicans—who have spooked Big Business repeatedly in recent years by shutting down the government, threatening to throw the country into default, and slamming Wall Street excess—are less predictable "in terms of what they will ultimately do for business if they win and get to Congress," Lawless says, and the Chamber hates that.

 
Forget the bucket list: these are the things you should avoid before you die

Paris: overrated.

Forget the bucket list: these are the things you should avoid before you die

Jessica Reed

Jessica Reed

A list of things which should never belong to anyone's bucket list. You'll thank us later

You may learn the guitar to impress women ... but you'll never be Django Reinhardt.

Learn to play an instrument. Learning to play an instrument (usually the guitar) is a bucket list staple. It’s also a heinous act of self-deception, because really what we want is to “learn to look cool while playing a musical instrument”. Even if the bucket lister manages to exercise the discipline, patience and flair needed to truly master an instrument, it’s impossible to adult-educate yourself into the swagger of a Kurt Cobain or Janis Joplin. I discovered this the hard way by having the door closed on me repeatedly, both while practising and “performing”, as part of my ambition to jump the chasm from “guitarist whose music people can tolerate” to “guitarist whose music impresses women”. Save yourself the time and money and go to Stonehenge or something instead. - 

Going to Paris. I’m a city lover but after 48 hours in the City of Love I had my passport stolen, met a frotteur on a crowded train and was gobbed on in the street. If only I’d copped the latter before that métro ride – it might have put the sexual predator off. I shudder remembering the moment he met my eye and stared back and I realised what seemed to be happening really was happening. Of course, in my fury my French deserted me. (Frotteur is a French word, right?) Sure, Paris has some postcard views. The bits near the Seine are pretty and the lights are twinkly at night. But the people are beaten down and miserable. And they piss in the subway ... and worse. On a previous visit we were looking up at the Arc de Triomphe when we tripped over someone taking a dump on the Champs-Élysées. At 9am in the morning.

Going to Vegas. Unless you’re some high-roller whale type with a helicopter and Bradley Cooper in your entourage, I would give Las Vegas a miss. The thing you don’t get from the movies is that it’s not glittery and glamorous – it’s just quite sad, particularly by daylight. The “architecture” looks like a cheap movie set, the vibe is seedy, and everywhere you look there are thousands of people either stuffing money into slot machines or stuffing food into their mouths at all-you-can-eat buffets. Sure go there with loads of friends and have a drunken laugh. But really, why there?

Surfing. Fact: you won’t stand up the first time. Or the second. Or the third. But you will be shouted at by macho men who think they own the beach and can’t bear to share it with beginners. When you do finally catch waves, it will be wonderful. But not worth months of gulping freezing water and neverending tinsels of dark bruises on your legs

 
Gaza: At Leveled High-Rise, Lost Homes and Hope

After their home was destroyed, children lit candles in commemoration. The Israeli military said the tower was a Hamas “command and control center.”

Credit Wissam Nassar for The New York Times

At Leveled High-Rise, Lost Homes and Hope

By JODI RUDOREN and FARES AKRAM

Israel’s destruction of a high-rise, felled in a battle against Hamas, killed no one, but 500 people lost not only their homes, but also a sense of their future.

The men of Zafer Tower No. 4 sit in the shade across the street from the wreckage.

Somewhere in there is Dr. Mohammad Abu Rayya’s stethoscope. Buried, too, is a hard drive filled with 15 years of articles, photos and notes by Hisham Saqalla, a journalist and blogger. And a three-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower that Faraj Shorafa, a 72-year-old lawyer, brought from Paris in 1999.

Nobody was killed in Israel’s destruction of the tower, the first of three high-rises felled in the finale of this summer’s fighting with Hamas, the militant Palestinian movement that dominates the Gaza Strip. But about 500 people lost more than their homes. “They have destroyed our dreams,” said Dr. Abu Rayya, 38.

Zafer 4 was erased by two powerful explosions around 7 p.m. on Aug. 23, 17 years to the day after it opened with two penthouses and 40 three-bedroom apartments of 1,615 square feet that originally sold for $60,000. Filled by high-ranking government officials and private-sector professionals, the 11-story tower was an alternative to the Gaza way of extended families living in compounds. It was part of a construction empire whose founder quit school after ninth grade to pick tomatoes in Israel and now lives in a four-story villa with its own elevator and a mosaic-tiled pool in the basement, where Zafer 4’s evacuees waited out the attack.

The Israeli military said the building was “a command and control center” where “multiple floors” were “used regularly by Hamas for operational activities” throughout the seven-week battle. Military officials refused to say what types of activities, why the entire tower was targeted or what type of bombs were used.

In interviews, more than half the tower’s occupants said that Hamas had taken over one of the penthouse apartments in 2007 for what several said was a “media office” filled with computers and communications equipment. Residents said the unit was abandoned during the war, and that teenagers passed many nights on that floor using PlayStation as bombers buzzed overhead.

Atef Adwan, one of 28 Hamas lawmakers elected in 2006, bought a first-floor apartment five years ago for his second wife, and spent much of the summer there with her and their two young sons, fearing the Israelis would target his home in the border town of Beit Hanoun. (They did not.)

“There was concern and people are still concerned” about Hamas presence in the building, said Wael Abu Najja, 47, who lived on the ninth floor, “but they can’t talk about this publicly.”

Most of the tower was taken by leaders of Hamas’s rival, Fatah, men who continued to receive salaries but had not actually worked in the security services or the president’s office since 2007, when Hamas routed Fatah from power in Gaza.

So when residents received mobile-phone evacuation orders that Saturday from an Arabic-speaking Israeli soldier named Mousa, they never expected the entire tower to be destroyed. Many fled without the emergency bags that Gazans keep packed with cash, documents and mementos.

“Hamas is everywhere — in every building, they have an apartment,” said Mohammed Owda H. Abu Mathkour, the wealthy mogul who runs the Zafer contracting company and lives in the villa across Safed Street from the fallen tower. “Israel has no right to destroy the whole building because of one apartment.”

 
The Redskins’ dirty little secret

"I feel like we can win any game with Kirk," Jay Gruden said after the win. (Getty)

The Redskins’ dirty little secret

Mike Wise

Jay Gruden believed that Kirk Cousins was running offense better than RGIII. Now the coach will get to see if he’s right.

“I feel like we can win any game with Kirk Cousins . . . Kirk is a special guy. He started four games last year and didn’t have great success, but obviously has a skill set that I feel like is very much suited for what we do. He can handle it mentally, and obviously, physically. I feel that he can make every throw in the book and we are going to move forward with Kirk.”

 
“Stern Parenting” or Child Abuse by NFL Star?

“Stern Parenting” or Child Abuse by NFL Star?

By Susan Newman, Ph.D.

Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson believes in punitively disciplining his children. And, some believe that is perfectly fine given Peterson’s reasoning.

n the case of Adrian Peterson, a Minnesota Vikings running back, his attorney would like us to accept that hitting a child with a switch is okay because Peterson himself was hit with a switch as a child. His lawyer, Rusty Hardin, has also explained that Peterson, whom he described as a “loving father” was only engaging in stern parenting. 

We know from unofficial police reports that Peterson used a small tree branch, often referred to as a switch, to “spank” his 4-year-old child back in May.  The “whupping” was punishment for the child’s pushing one of his siblings. The beating resulted in cuts and bruises on the child’s legs, back and ankles. Just imagine if most parents used a tree branch or cane or similar stick every time one of their children shoved or pushed a brother or sister.

 Various news reports, on-camera snippets, and opinions voiced by people across the nation show that there is still a divide between those who staunchly view any physical force put upon a child to be abuse, and those who support severe parenting tactics as acceptable parenting practice. Some come to Peterson’s defense saying that he is the parent and he can choose how to discipline his children. The same group, says what boils down to, “I was hit as a I child and I am fine.”

 
Why We’re Hard on Famous Abuse Survivors

 Why do we watch a celebrity beat up his girlfriend? More interesting is how we watch: critical, prejudiced, with an eye to acquitting abusers and re-victimizing survivors.

The worldwide statistics for intimate partner violence are one in four. That adds up to an unfathomable number of police reports, graphic images, and horrific surveillance videos—the kind that never find their way on to TMZ. And then there’s the silence of those who, for various reasons such as health and safety concerns, will never report their partner’s abusive behavior. These victims are your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers. The NFL is not the only organization that employs and protects abusers. Janay Rice is not the only woman to have stayed.

It’s not hard to explain why instances of celebrity abuse dominate the news cycle for weeks, while the underlying trends of domestic abuse are largely under-discussed and tacitly accepted as the norm. Stars belong to us. Their bodies are sites for conversation, dissection, and condemnation: she’s had plastic surgery, she hasn’t lost the baby weight, she looks like a prude, she looks like a slut.

As perverse as our societal urge to watch a video of Ray Rice beating up his girlfriend is, our celebrity-obsessed culture encourages this sort of un-examined voyeurism. More interesting than why we watch is how we watch: critical, prejudiced, with an eye towards acquitting abusers and re-victimizing survivors.

From Janay Rice to Christy Mack to Rihanna, our obsession with celebrity victims has reached an all-time high. In analyzing these women’s stories, eagerly sniffing for traces of dishonesty or guilt, we often end up concluding that the survivor was asking for it. A wealthy, powerful woman who was assaulted by her partner ultimately becomes suspect—how did she not know this was going to happen? What did she do to trigger the attack? Why didn’t she leave that man? Obviously, the majority of victims of intimate partner violence aren’t celebrities—but these cases still offer a powerful window into the criticism we level against survivors, as well as the shocking lack of blame we squarely place on their abusers.

 
How China Investors Are Gaining Access to Alibaba's IPO

How China Investors Are Gaining Access to Alibaba's IPO

Alibaba's roadshow is targeting U.S. Investors but that doesn't mean that investors in mainland China won't have access. The WSJ's Deborah Kan speaks with Dr. Teng Bing Sheng of Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business on how Chinese investors, many of whom don't have direct access to the U.S. market, are getting in on the IPO.

 
Obama can't destroy the Islamic State without Iran's help

Obama can't destroy the Islamic State without Iran's help

By JACK A. GOLDSTONE

Washington loves nothing more than to oversimplify the complex. But the fight against the radical jihadist movement that has taken over large parts of Syria and Iraq is not simply a war. In a conventional war, you are fighting a massed army seeking to gain or hold territory; such an army can be destroyed by superior force and skilled tactics. In a civil war, you are fighting guerrillas or militias seeking to free themselves from the central government, or to take it over. They can be defeated by giving the central government military and financial support to defend itself, building up secure zones to protect civilians and killing or capturing rebel leaders. ISIL, by contrast, is conducting a revolutionary war, in which civilians are recruited to support an ideological cause and rallied to overturn and replace regimes that are widely seen as unjust and illegitimate.

The distinction matters. To destroy the threat embodied in ISIL requires approaching the task as one of counter-revolution. ISIL, after all, is at its core only about 30,000 fighters, tops; what has made them the group force that could take over much of two countries with a total population of more than 50 million people is that they are supported by millions as the vanguard of a revolutionary movement for justice. That support ranges from military recruits from former supporters of other rebel groups who are joining ISIL to financial support from conservative co-religionists in Saudi Arabia and other Arab Gulf states to the quiet support of tens of millions of Syrian and Iraqi Sunnis.

How could such a barbarous and brutal group as ISIL, as Obama described it Wednesday, earn the support of those millions? By promising to protect and avenge them against the Assad regime in Syria, which has slaughtered their children and gassed their relatives and fellow townspeople and tribesmen; and against the Shiite regime in Iraq, which has stolen their jobs and destroyed their livelihoods, contemptuously dashing the hopes and careers of Sunni Arabs in that country.

The history of revolutions shows that such ideologically extremist groups typically emerge from periods of chaos in the wake of weak or disrupted regimes. ISIL is, within its Islamic framework, the heir of the Jacobins of the French Revolution, and the Bolsheviks of the Russian Revolution, who engaged in terror tactics and the killing of tens of thousands to reinforce their power in the wake of regime collapse and civil war. We know from this history that if the extremist vanguard is able to win the support of the masses, and turn them against the elites and moderate leaders left over from the old regime, they will carry the day and create an expansionist revolutionary state. Only if the radicals can be separated from the broader population, and the latter brought within the framework of other institutions that can provide order, security and start to respond to the population’s legitimate goals, can the radicals be effectively hunted down and destroyed.

Now we start to grasp the size of the task.

 
Peterson 'switch' case puts corporal punishment back in spotlight

Former NBA player Charles Barkley in 2011. (Getty)

Former NBA player Charles Barkley in 2011. (Getty)

Peterson 'switch' case puts corporal punishment back in spotlight

Soraya Nadia McDonald

Though Charles Barkley defends it, hitting children can cause permanent damage.

There are familiar refrains when it comes to defending the practice of hitting or beating children to discipline them: that it’s cultural, that there’s a difference between discipline and abuse, that this is something that takes place all over the American South, and that people simply don’t understand.

That’s precisely what Charles Barkley argued during a roundtable discussion Sunday on “The NFL Today” in which he defended the practice.

“Whipping — we do that all the time,” Barkley said. “Every black parent in the South is going to be in jail under those circumstances.”

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

A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 2012 suggested spanking can lower IQ and reduce the amount of gray matter in the brain. As Psychology Today explained, gray matter is the “connective tissue between brain cells … an integral part of the central nervous system and influences intelligence testing and learning abilities. It includes areas of the brain involved in sensory perception, speech, muscular control, emotions and memory.”

A 2013 study by the University of Wisconsin’s Waisman Center found hormones released when girls are abused could trigger early puberty. Rather than triggering the fight-or-flight hormone cortisol — which is what happened when boys were abused — researchers found that, after regular abuse, girls released oxytocin, a hormone we associate with post-coital and post-natal bonding. But too much cortisol can be just as damaging. Eventually, a body learns to become inured to the stressful situations that trigger its release.

 
China’s ‘creeping invasion’

China’s ‘creeping invasion’

China’s ‘creeping invasion’

Jackson Diehl

The ambitious nation takes its time targeting its neighbors and the global order.

Japanese officials and analysts I spoke to here over a week believe China has not moderated its ambition to replace the United States as the dominant power in Asia. But it aims to avoid the sort of crisis — and Western pushback — Russia has provoked by moving in small increments, interspersed with tactical retreats when necessary. The result, over time, could be as momentous as a war. “Some people call it the creeping invasion,” said Akio Takahara, a China expert at Tokyo University.

Japanese officials believe the recent easing of Beijing’s pressure on the Senkakus is the result of several factors besides Obama’s defense commitment, including a steep drop in Japanese business investment in China that Beijing wants to reverse, and some quiet outreach. Unofficial envoys have assured Xi that Abe will not repeat his visit to a Tokyo war memorial where World War II leaders are enshrined — the trigger for passionate Chinese protests earlier this year.

No one here, however, believes that Japan, the United States and their other Asian allies have formulated a workable strategy for responding to China’s ambitions. In nearly two years in office, Abe — the strongest Japanese leader in a decade — has modestly increased defense spending, tried to build closer security ties with states ranging from India to the Philippines and Australia, and announced a reinterpretation of Japan’s postwar constitution to allow its armed forces to engage in “collective self-defense” with allies.

Japanese defense spending, however, is less than a third of China’s, and is growing less than half as fast. Other Asian nations remain wary of security cooperation, and Japan’s relations with South Korea are at a low point. Though viewed with alarm by some neighbors, the constitutional change amounts to a small tweak. It will allow Japanese forces to protect a U.S. ship that is defending Japan, something not currently legal, but not to join multilateral military operations, much less launch offensive attacks.

 
Douglas Tompkins: The Entrepreneur Who Wants to Save Paradise

The Entrepreneur Who Wants to Save Paradise

The North Face's founder is building massive national parks in Chile and Argentina. But local ranchers see the conservation efforts as meddling. Douglas Tompkins—the founder of Esprit and The North Face—is using his fortune to build massive national parks in Chile and Argentina. But local ranchers want to push him out of the region.

By Diana Saverin

Artilio Sanchez is a rancher in a remote region of Patagonia, the alluring land in the south of Chile and Argentina. To reach the end of the nearest dirt road, he has to row a small boat across a glacial river then ride his horse for two hours. One recent morning, he sipped maté, a South American tea, and leaned against the wood-stove of his cabin. Conversation turned to what everyone in Patagonia is talking about: Conservación Patagonica, the latest addition to the world’s largest private conservation project. When I mentioned the man behind all these parks, American billionaire Douglas Tompkins, Sanchez scoffed, asking whether Tompkins was “the guy who’s breeding lions.”

Just a little to the north, Guido Vargas stared out his kitchen window. “He wants the water,” Vargas told me. “There’s more freshwater here than anywhere else in the world. They’re going to ship it to China.”

Later, in a town right on the border of one of Tompkins’s parks, Raquel Sepuilveda stood outside the post office. “I knew the valley when it was productive, and now it’s dead,” she said. “Now it’s the future refuge for the Jews. It’s the promised land for them.”

Fifteen years ago, in the June 1999 issue of The Atlantic, William Langewiesche wrote about Tompkins’s first major venture into conservation in Chile, describing both Tompkins’s idealistic vision and the infamy that had already shrouded him. The hostility only grew as his conservation empire expanded. Rumors now range from the conspiratorial to the phantasmagorical: Tompkins is creating a second Israel in South America; he is siphoning off the world’s last freshwater resources for other American millionaires; he is building bunkers for a pending nuclear war.

No one seems to believe what Doug Tompkins and his wife, Kris, are actually doing: They have purchased enough land in Chile and Argentina to equal an area the size of nearly two Rhode Islands, and they plan to donate these ice-coated peaks, red rock canyons, and coastal volcanoes to the respective governments in the form of national parks. They have protected more land than any other private individuals in history.

In the United States, Tompkins’s name is rarely recognized until it is linked to one of the two apparel companies he founded: Esprit and The North Face. In Chile, however, mentioning his name can bring rage to the faces of even the most apolitical people. Kris’s name is less recognized and less reviled in the region, even though she is her husband’s partner in his conservation work. Before she became a full-time philanthropist, she made her own fortune as CEO of the outdoor apparel company Patagonia. Since leaving their industry jobs, the Tompkinses have started a host of organizations aimed to protect the wild: The Foundation for Deep Ecology, Conservación Patagonica, Fundación Pumalín, Fundación Yendegaia, The Conservation Land Trust, and Tompkins Conservation.

 
What a Real ISIS Strategy Looks Like

 A U.S. Army officer with plenty of on-the-ground experience suggests the talking heads think through the consequences of their calls to action.

As a soldier who’s spent a fair amount of time on the ground in conflict zones, I find this popular focus on the power of Hellfire missiles and precision bombing a little disconcerting. What many of the talking heads who’ve filled the airwaves since the savage murders of American journalist James Foley (then Steven Sotloff, and this weekend, British aid worker David Haines) apparently fail to understand is that tactics are not strategy. Without first establishing the latter, they advocate a tactic in the dark that, even if successfully attained, could worsen the situation with perverse consequences.

One especially memorable commentator to encourage bombing ISIS was the editor of the Weekly Standard, William Kristol. Appearing on the Laura Ingraham radio show on August 26, the conservative critic gave his expert opinion on how to deal with ISIS. “You know, why don't we just [bomb them]?” he advised.  “We know where ISIS is. What’s the harm of bombing them at least for a few weeks and seeing what happens? I don’t think there’s much in the way of unanticipated side effects that are going to be bad there.”  

Regrettably, the application of “airstrikes” and other instruments of lethal military power in the United States has become a favorite tool of statecraft: just shoot ’em and see what happens. Maybe if more of these advocates had spent a little more time in combat zones to see the terminal end of these strikes, they might have a better understanding of what is and isn’t possible.  I have seen the on-the-ground results of many airstrikes, as well as the impact it had (or didn’t have) on the enemy. TV personalities often give very little consideration to what happens after the dust settles from the strike.

For example, what would happen if the President took Mr. Kristol’s advice and bombed targets “for a few weeks” and then waited just to “see what happens”?  The first few iterations of air sorties would have a good chance of taking out numerous ISIS vehicles and personnel.  But in short order ISIS would adjust its methods of operation to disguise vehicle movements, reposition troops and embed command and control centers more deeply into civilian areas, becoming indistinguishable from the civil population. 

 
Where (in the Human Body) Venture Capital Is Going

[image]

Where (in the Human Body) Venture Capital Is Going

By Brian Gormley

A look at the organs and maladies that are attracting the most interest of startups and venture-capital investors. Hint: Think aging baby boomers.

What body parts are seeing the most striking rise in venture-capital funding?

The answer in recent years has been the eyes and ears, as investors have poured money into treatments for diseases causing blindness, hearing loss and other diseases affecting an aging population. At the same time, venture capital is pulling back from two historical leaders, heart and orthopedic conditions, in part because of difficulties in bringing medical devices for those ailments to market.

 
The Coronation That Wants to Be a Movement

top-box

The Coronation That Wants to Be a Movement

 

Scenes From Hillary’s Iowa Steak Fry

The half-joking play about whether she is running is starting to get a little old, but the reasons young attendees at Tom Harkin’s annual confab offered for supporting her were worse.

Any question whether Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual steak fry Sunday was really just a Hillary Clinton campaign event in disguise could be dismissed by a look at its logistical priorities: The event had a surfeit of “Ready for Hillary” buttons, T-shirts, and bumper stickers, and there were not enough toilets. (The Des Moines Register reported, in a delightfully polite deadpan, “Everybody appeared to be patient with the lines, but waits of 30 minutes or more were required.”)

But, technically, there were not enough candidates for it to be a Hillary Clinton campaign event.

It’s also not clear that she gave a campaign speech. She did her usual half-joking play at obvious disingenuousness, saying the impending birth of her grandchild was foremost in her mind and, “Then, of course, there’s that other thing. It is true I am thinking about it.” That joking tone can only be sustained for so long. (One volunteer gave an exaggerated eye roll when I asked about it.) And it’s very difficult to play the reluctant warrior when the guy standing next to you exudes gleeful eagerness.

Harkin himself did Hillary no favors when his introduction of Bill included an anecdote about an earlier steak fry, when the heavens parted the moment Clinton took the stage: “The clouds disappeared, the sun came out.” There’s being in someone’s shadow and then there’s being compared with a demigod. Perhaps Hillary deserves more credit for taking up as much room on the stage as she does. That Bill gave his decidedly more deft speech after Hillary’s can’t be anything but a tacit admission of how difficult an act he is to follow.

Bill Clinton’s gift for flattery is what helps audiences believe his promises and his description of the present. When he told them, “We are less racist, less sexist, and less homophobic than we’ve ever been,” he drew a picture of the country that isn’t menaced by the Tea Party but has rather advanced beyond it. His argument is more positive and more appealing than the Koch brothers-as-bogeymen trope that haunted the speeches that came before. It may even be true. Certainly, it’s the image that the millennials have of themselves. If today’s youth have a civil rights slogan, it could well be, “Hatred is for squares.”

And that notion—prematurely self-congratulatory though it may be—may be the reason why Hillary can’t necessarily count on the weight of history to give her momentum. The young people I talked to, today’s counterpart to the Obama army of 2008, seemed to think history had already been made.

 
Second Adulthood after age 55

Lithe Limbs

By Judith Coche, Ph.D., ABPP

Mary Catherine Bateson coined “Second Adulthood” to capture life between 55 and 80 in recent decades of human life. Anna begins Pilates training at 68 and demonstrates the physical and spiritual exuberance that can occur when we follow life dreams when we get the chance during later years of adulthood.

 
The League That Runs Everything

The League That Runs Everything

What If the NFL Ever Stopped Being the NFL?

By Kevin Clark

On the walls of 345 Park Avenue, the NFL's headquarters in New York, top executives have a framed copy of a headline that ran in this newspaper in 2011. It says "The League That Runs Television." This was after the league collected $27.9 billion in new TV money. And that was only part of their TV money.

The fact is, the league runs the television industry, the advertising industry, and nearly anything else that requires lots of eyeballs. The league claimed last year that 205 million unique people watched an NFL game. Advertising rates are through the roof. Companies pay hundreds of millions of dollars to have a middle-aged coach wear their hat or hoodie on the sidelines.

In the darkest week in the league's history, one full of embarrassment and ugly turns, a nervous corporate executive or two probably pondered: What if the NFL ever stopped being the NFL?

To recap, in the last week, video emerged of Baltimore running back Ray Rice hitting his then-fiance, Janay. The league denied having seen the video and Rice was suspended indefinitely and released by the Ravens. An Associated Press report emerged that the league had seen the video, which the league swiftly denied. Then star Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson was indicted by a Texas grand jury for child injury charges. Separately, the league said in federal paperwork that it expects about a third of its players to develop cognitive problems.

Let's be clear. The NFL isn't blowing this off. Its executives have been huddled inside league headquarters, with top brass canceling at least two trips to try to manage the dramas. There's no evidence the walls are closing in. Thursday Night Football's ratings were higher than anything CBS has shown on a Thursday in the last eight years. No sponsors said they are reconsidering their relationship with the league. Owners privately and publicly expressed support for commissioner Roger Goodell.

The mere suggestion that the league's booming popularity could ever be vulnerable to a slowdown would be scarier outside of league headquarters. The companies who do the most business with the NFL operate in industries that have been disrupted by competitors and new technology. Those companies are clinging to the NFL and their massive fanbase as they were a lifeboat.

The NFL, as it stands, props up TV networks, who have been broadsided by Netflix, among others. If viewership dipped, they would no longer be able to hike up affiliate fees to local stations, which give them a dual revenue stream, along with advertising, and are almost directly tied to football. Those inside the industry say this sort of chain reaction could—no exaggeration—cause the downfall of the entire television industry. Television networks would have to find something that could possibly deliver 17 million viewers on on a consistent basis. Spoiler alert: They can't. The power the league has over broadcasters was clear when CBS took their popular Thursday Night comedy lineup and pushed it aside as if they were cable access shows. "The Big Bang Theory" is now on Mondays. The NFL anchors Thursday nights. And Sundays.

 
The Overdiagnosis of Cancer in America

The Overdiagnosis of Cancer in America

The surge of cancer screening in the U.S. has increased the detection of precancerous lesions that are often low-risk but treated with the same methods as invasive cancers. A group of experts now argue that cancer is being overdiagnosed and overtreated. WSJ’s Monika Auger reports.

 
Tech entrepreneurs in visa struggle

berenguer

Tech entrepreneurs in visa struggle

 Nina Roberts

Spanish-born worker warns: 'In five, 10 years, the US will not be leader anymore.

“Do you want to have the next Google in the US? Or in São Paulo or Hong Kong?” asks Iñaki Berenguer.

Berenguer, a Spanish-born tech entrepreneur who sold his last company for $26.5m is, as US immigration laws put it, a man of “extraordinary ability”. He has to be – it is the best way that he and other skilled foreigners can earn a green card to work in the US.

One obstacle that dogs nearly all foreign-born entrepreneurs is obtaining and renewing work visas – never mind full green cards. The high bar, long wait times and confusing rules are discouraging to those who want to come to America to participate in the booming startup scene.

Berenguer, now at work on his second startup, believes talented entrepreneurs will eventually move elsewhere if the current US visa system is not overhauled. Many others agree; the idea was the linchpin of entrepreneur Vivek Wadhwa’s book, The Immigrant Exodus.

“If the US continues to do what it’s doing, five, 10 years from now, it’s not going to be the leader any more,” says Seattle-based immigration lawyer Tahmina Watson, who has many foreign-born tech clients.

“Is that what the US wants?” asks Watson. “The prosperity is not going to remain here, jobs are going to go somewhere else.” Countries like Chile, Singapore and Canada are currently creating startup hubs to attract foreign entrepreneurs.

 
What USC Doesn't Understand...

Boston College 37, USC 31: Eagles Ride Right Emotions To Win

By Dan Rubin

Before the game, we all got a glimpse into the attitude surrounding the then-aura of Southern California.  After the game, we got a glimpse into the steel resolve of motivating emotion that exists in a city like Boston.

The scenes before and after the game showed us the contrasting emotions and attitudes that exist on the different coasts of the United States.  As they prepared to run out of the miniscule road team tunnel embedded in the Boston College student section, the USC Trojans stood arm-in-arm, swaying back and forth.  Their fans in attendance worked into a froth as they came running out, right across the field, to wear the Boston College cheerleaders were readying to welcome the Eagles to the field.

As Lil Jon's "Turn Down For What" played over the loudspeaker, the Trojans stood by the torch towers, dancing and taunting the large, gold BC banner behind which the Eagles stood.  Referees and officials attempted to push back the Trojans, and BC waited.  They waited behind that banner as the Trojans stood there, taunting.  I turned to my father and remarked about how I didn't find that classy.  He just turned to me and said, "That's swagger.  When you're good, you have swagger.  They know they're going to beat a team before the game starts."

USC eventually pushed back, and Boston College rose as one as the Eagles came running out.  BC broke the banner and ran across the sideline, but there were no theatrics.  They went through their motions, a couple of players imploring crowd cheers, and stood, waiting to take the field.  It was a stark contrast to the theatrics employed by the visiting team.

The moment crystallized what would happen over the next four hours or so.  Boston College used a "steel resolve" and determination to upset one of the nation's best football programs.  They used a determination to get their crowd going, and they used the right motivation and emotion to score one of the biggest victories anyone will ever experience.

Emotion in college football is a really funny thing because it has to be harnessed and controlled.  USC played most of their game on completely raw emotion, a desire to get their money's worth on every single hit.  It was like watching Clubber Lang in Rocky III.  The raw emotional display is designed to get the opponent out of their element, to get them into this emotional firefight.  It's designed to devolve the game into chaos and make the opponent do something stupid.  If you try to hit them as hard as they hit you, you're going to lose 100% of the time.

Boston College played with a completely different kind of emotion.  They used the memory of Welles Crowther as a driving force, but they didn't play out of their bodies.  Steve Addazio used the Crowther family and the red bandana as something to key around and play for, but he also leveled the team off and harnessed that energy.  He built up the energy, then focused it into a single goal.  He put a resolve in the players' hearts that said, "We can win this game, but we have to do what we have to do in order to do it."

The best part about this is the way it slowly develops and is organic.  It stays on a straight, solid line as the game hits peaks and valley.  When USC was up 17-6, they believed they could come back.  When they were up 20-17, they believed they could hold off USC.  As for the Trojans, the raw emotion approach to the game came back to bite them.  They fell deeper and deeper into the belief they would always be able to land a knockout punch, except BC ducked it each time and came back and outboxed them.  USC abandoned the run, went for home run throws up the sideline, and never got into a gameplan.  BC, meanwhile, would get the ball back and seem content to run the gameplan to perfection using the same motivation that had been used for the entire game.

By the time USC started hitting some punches, the Eagles were in supreme control of the game flow, and the nerves weren't there.  They knew they were going to win.  USC hit BC every single time, and the Eagles just responded with a simple, "You ain't so bad.  Come on!  Hit me harder!" like Rocky did to Lang.  They psychologically dominated the game, and it ended up with the BC offense looking like one of the best-coached and best-executed in the nation.

It's that type of determined emotion that drove Welles Crowther on that fateful day 13 years ago.  Steve Addazio showed his team the documentary from ESPN, and it drove them.  Welles didn't let anything stop him from helping the person next to him, and he used his last moments on this Earth to turn his emotions of fear, anger, and determination into a driving force to do something we all could never fathom or understand.  Playing a football game is hardly running up stairs to go help save people on 9/11, but that's the type of resolve that can make people do ANYTHING.  Addazio made sure his team understood it, understood what the red bandana meant, what it symbolized.  The team got it, and the red bandana became the symbol of this team's resolve.  It's like the lightning bolt in The Natural.  When you believe, anything is possible.

Don't get me wrong - USC is an ultra-talented team with more depth of talent in one recruiting class than any for BC.  But the Eagles had one thing USC didn't.  They had an ability to steer their emotions into a collective effort, and they had the symbol of what that meant.  And now?  The Eagles have the win.

 
The privileged few are tightening their grip on the arts

Sam Claflin, Max Irons and Natalie Dormer in The Riot Club.

The privileged few are tightening their grip on the arts

Nick Cohen

Politics, journalism, the arts – they are all increasingly controlled by nice people from wealthy backgrounds. And their niceness is strangling us

Dame Judi tells the Observer today aspiring actors beg her for money to help fund their training. She worries that acting may become an elite occupation for the children of the rich, because no one else will be able to meet the costs and take the risks. Ben Stephenson, the BBC's head of drama, said much the same at the Edinburgh festival but did not add that television is a racket, too. You cannot get a job in broadcasting unless you are prepared to work as an intern. In most cases, you cannot work as an intern unless you have family money to feed and house you.

But then who am I to criticise Stephenson when journalism is as much of a rich kids' game? Lindsey Macmillan of the Institute of Education found that journalists used to come from families 6% better off than average, whereas now they come from homes that are 42% richer. Indeed, British journalists, the supposed tribunes of the people, now hail from wealthier backgrounds than, er, bankers, an awkward fact that ought to cause embarrassment all round. I look at my younger self today and wonder if he could become a journalist on a serious newspaper. My parents were teachers. They were comfortably off by the standards of 1980s Manchester, but they could never have afforded to rent me rooms in London and cover my expenses while I went from internship to internship. They had to look after my sisters as much as anything else.

The hypocrisies of British culture are enough to drive the sane paranoid, but it is not quite the class conspiracy it seems. To be sure, it is suffocating, narrow and on the edge of a descent into a mediocre mush. But not a conspiracy for all that. Working-class actors or musicians cannot live on the dole now while they struggle to break through. The sanctions from the jobcentres whip them into line. If you want to know why British pop has lost its rough energy, you should blame the Department for Work and Pensions, not a plot by the record label executives. In any case, tens of thousands of young people want to work in the arts, television, music and journalism. Why shouldn't their potential employers, often short of money themselves, take advantage of the laws of supply and demand?

 
Inside the TV Trailer at the FedEx Cup

Inside the TV Trailer at the FedEx Cup

How Golf Channel/NBC Manages Controlled Chaos

As the FedExCup Playoffs culminate this weekend at the Tour Championship in Atlanta, a media truth stands out. Like most sports with a big television footprint, golf is a fundamentally simple game, but awash in statistics. TV sports loves numbers. They can help tell the story through insights into why a team or a player is failing ("Tiger has missed his last four fairways to the left") or succeeding ("That was Chris Kirk's 14th consecutive sand save, the most on Tour this year").

It is always a challenge, however, for broadcasters to get the balance right between narrative and information. "Too many numbers on the screen make the eyes glaze over," said Tommy Roy, NBC's lead producer for golf as well as many other sports. "We don't read television, we watch television. The statistics are there to enhance the action."

 
Jerry's World at Jerry's World...

Jerry Neuheisel

This truly was Jerry's World.

This may have been the stadium Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones built, another Jerry had a spotlight moment Saturday.

UCLA quarterback Jerry Neuheisel casually strolled in for the postgame news conference and said, "Usually, holders don't get to talk."

Reveling in the moment? This was Nirvana for a sophomore whose last name stirs a lot of UCLA memories.

Neuheisel may have salvaged the Bruins' season, pulling out a 20-17 victory over Texas with a late touchdown pass.

Neuheisel stirred memories of his father, former UCLA quarterback and coach Rick Neuheisel. He tossed a 33-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Payton with three minutes left lift the No.21 Bruins to victory.

"It took me until I got into the locker room and did the fight song before it kind of sank in," Jerry Neuheisel said. "I felt like I was in a haze."

"Today it was Jerry Neuheisel's chance to act like he'd been there before, and I'm thrilled for him, I'm thrilled for him, I can't be happier for him," Rick Neuheisel said. "Pinch me, pinch me . . . we need a shower in this studio."

 
Obama's great dilemma: to be or not to be the world's policeman

Obama, Michael Cohen

Obama's great dilemma: to be or not to be the world's policeman

Michael Cohen

  The president's willingness to lead the fight against Isis doesn't tally with his talk of curbing America's role on the world stage

Iraq… America just can't quit you. For 23 years and across four presidencies, American planes have been waging war either against or on behalf of Iraqis. And if President Obama's prediction of a long-term struggle against Isis is correct, it might soon be five presidents and a quarter of a century.

How does that keep happening? How did a candidate who won the nation's highest office on a platform of ending the war in Iraq find himself six years later announcing yet another military engagement in Iraq? How has a president who has seemingly made it his priority to pivot to Asia, rely less on the military and put forward a more restrained foreign policy been thwarted once again?

A good part of the reason is that while Americans might talk about imposing limits on American power and defining our global interests more narrowly, we rarely follow through – and here Obama, who has sought to step back from using American power to solve every international problem, must shoulder some of the blame.

The fact is, the same president who has tried to offer something of a more modest and realistic vision for American foreign policy can't seem to keep himself out of the swampy environs of American exceptionalism. Don't take my word for it – look at his speech on Wednesday announcing America's strategy for "degrading and defeating" Isis.

On the one hand, Obama played down the threat from Isis by noting "we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland" (even though he warned that Isis could attack in the future). His strategy was eminently reasonable and relatively restrained. America would be one of many acting in Iraq; would rely on air power and no boots on the ground; would work with regional allies and utilise a few tools in the national security toolbox other than aerial bombardment.

This looks a lot different from the wars in Iraq or the ill-fated 2009 surge in Afghanistan. It's outsourced counter-terrorism, reliance on proxy militaries in Syria and Iraq and American air power. So far so good, right?

It's the rest of Obama's speech that is more problematic, because to sell his strategy for destroying Isis he laid it on pretty thick. According to Obama, the reason for America to act in Iraq is not just because Isis might one day be a threat or because it challenges key US interests in the region or because the group is a deeply nihilistic and malignant force that merits a militarised response to its hateful actions, but rather, well, because we're America.

"American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world," said Obama. "It is America that has the capacity and the will to mobilise the world against terrorists."

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

In 2008, when Obama was running for president he said his goal wasn't simply to end the Iraq war but to end the mind-set that got America involved in that terrible conflict in the first place. Six years later, there's a lot more work to do and it begins with Obama's bully pulpit.

 
Judi Dench laments that young actors are held back by wealth divide.

Judi Dench

Judi Dench laments that young actors are held back by wealth divide.

Dalya Alberge

Oscar-winning star fears working-class talents being lost by the cost of drama school training and demise of repertory theatre.

Eddie Redmayne, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, Laurence Fox … the ever-growing list of public school-educated actors dominating British film and television is often offered as proof that posh actors are squeezing out working-class talent. Acting, some fear, is increasingly the preserve of those with cut-glass accents whose parents can afford to bankroll them when starting out.

Further evidence of the struggles that those from more modest backgrounds face comes from Dame Judi Dench, who has told the Observer that she receives countless begging letters from aspiring young actors asking her to help fund their training.

The Oscar-winning actress said: "Anyone who's in the theatre gets letters countless times a week asking for help to get through drama school. You can do so much, but you can't do an endless thing. It is very expensive."

Dench, considered one of the greatest thespians of her generation, added that since the demise of repertory theatre – "where you went to learn and make your mistakes and watch people who knew how to do it" – financial barriers to training have made the profession more elitist.

The actress, who won an Academy award for her performance as Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love, believes it is vital for young actors to watch professionals on stage. "I always say to young students, 'Go and see as much as you possibly can', which is what we used to do. But then we paid a pittance for sitting in the gods," she said.

Ideally, she said, she would reinstate reps all over the country, but knows this is impractical, though she does not believe that government has to choose between hospitals and theatre: "In a civilised country, there's money for both."

 
Americans Won't Relax

Americans Won't Relax

On a typical weeknight, a quarter of U.S. employees did some kind of work between 10 at night and six in the morning.

By Bourree Lam

A new paper by economists Dan Hamermesh and Elena Stancanelli found that Americans not only work longer hours, but they are more likely to work late at night and on weekends as well.

They found that on a typical weeknight, a quarter of American workers did some kind of work between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. That’s a lot, compared with about seven percent in France and the Netherlands. The U.K. is closest to the U.S. on this measure, where 19 percent work during night hours. On the weekends, one in three workers in the U.S. were on the job, compared to one in five in France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

 
Paths to Middle East War, Then and Now, Haunt Obama

Paths to Middle East War, Then and Now, Haunt Obama

By PETER BAKER

Before recently announcing an escalated campaign against Islamic extremists, President Obama privately reflected on another time when a president weighed military action in the Middle East.

Just hours before announcing an escalated campaign against Islamic extremists last week, President Obama privately reflected on another time when a president weighed military action in the Middle East — the frenzied weeks leading up to the American invasion of Iraq a decade ago.

“I was not here in the run-up to Iraq in 2003,” he told a group of visitors who met with him in the White House before his televised speech to the nation, according to several people who were in the meeting. “It would have been fascinating to see the momentum and how it builds.”

In his own way, Mr. Obama said, he had seen something similar, a virtual fever rising in Washington, pressuring him to send the armed forces after the Sunni radicals who had swept through Iraq and beheaded American journalists. He had told his staff, he said, not to evaluate their own policy based on external momentum. He would not rush to war. He would be deliberate.

“But I’m aware I pay a political price for that,” he said.

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

He was acutely aware that the operation he was about to embark on would not solve the larger issues in that region by the time he left office. “This will be a problem for the next president,” Mr. Obama said ruefully, “and probably the one after that.” But he alternated between resolve as he vowed to retaliate against President Bashar al-Assad if Syrian forces shot at American planes, and prickliness as he mocked critics of his more reticent approach to the exercise of American power.

“Oh, it’s a shame when you have a wan, diffident, professorial president with no foreign policy other than ‘don’t do stupid things,’ ” guests recalled him saying, sarcastically imitating his adversaries. “I do not make apologies for being careful in these areas, even if it doesn’t make for good theater.”

Mr. Obama went on to reveal his thoughts on challenges he faces in combating the threat from ISIS. He expressed his frustration with the French for paying ransoms to terrorists, asserted that Americans are kidnapped at lower rates because the United States does not, resisted the idea of Kurdistan’s breaking away from Iraq and even speculated on what he would have advised ISIS to do to keep America out of the war in the region.

 
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