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One glaring question about the police killing of Elijah McClain

One glaring question about the police killing of Elijah McClain

The in Aurora, Colorado, did not attract much national attention when it happened this past August. But McClain's death has drawn wide outrage in recent weeks; a petition for a new investigation of the officers responsible more than 2 million signatures, and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) has to review the case.Here is one question the Polis administration should give particular scrutiny: Why was McClain given ketamine, a strong tranquilizer often described as a date rape drug, during his deadly encounter with the cops? And why has ketamine become a policing tool in the first place?Much of...

June 26, 2020
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It's almost time for pandemic apologies

It's almost time for pandemic apologies

The safest take on the coronavirus pandemic has always been uncertainty. There is so much about this virus , and, , so little we can pronounce with justified confidence. The information we have is more often than not; models frequent revision; and it seems to every plausible rule.Unfortunately, uncertainty doesn't play well in politics, and long-formed habits of confident statements by officials, experts, and pundits were not broken by the appearance of COVID-19. The result is many things many people have said with at least an affect of strong certainty have been proven wrong. Many more of...

May 16, 2020
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It's almost time for pandemic apologies

It's almost time for pandemic apologies

The safest take on the coronavirus pandemic has always been uncertainty. There is so much about this virus , and, , so little we can pronounce with justified confidence. The information we have is more often than not; models frequent revision; and it seems to every plausible rule.Unfortunately, uncertainty doesn't play well in politics, and long-formed habits of confident statements by officials, experts, and pundits were not broken by the appearance of COVID-19. The result is many things many people have said with at least an affect of strong certainty have been proven wrong. Many more of...

May 16, 2020
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Why the children of Boomers feel betrayed

Why the children of Boomers feel betrayed

Finding out your parents are flawed people who don't always know what they're doing is part of growing up. Some of us learn this younger than others, but we all learn it eventually, and usually, by the time the realization fully clicks, it doesn't come as much of a shock.But there's something different about having your loved ones' flaws exposed via national politics. There's something different — worse — about learning courtesy of a politician or political crisis that your parents not only don't live up to the principles they taught you, but perhaps they don't really believe in those...

August 18, 2020
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America's rethinking of history is getting ahistorical

America's rethinking of history is getting ahistorical

The state commonly known as Rhode Island is still officially named "Rhode Island and Providence Plantations," but the last three words of the phrase won't appear on state documents going forward. The reasoning, as Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) explained at a news conference Monday, is that "plantation" is suggestive of slavery. "We can't ignore the image conjured," .It's true "plantation" conjures an image of slavery in the Old South. That is certainly what comes to my mind. But that is demonstrably not what the word means in the name of Rhode Island.And shouldn't that matter? When we're...

June 25, 2020
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The Matt Gaetz allegations show how QAnon corrupts its followers

The Matt Gaetz allegations show how QAnon corrupts its followers

You'd think adherents of the would feel vindicated by leaked allegations of sexual misconduct toward a minor by a sitting member of Congress.After all, abuse of children by powerful people, especially federal officials, is one of the movement's biggest purported concerns. But Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) is the subject of just such a leak, and the QAnon response is not crows of vindication.Gaetz in a Justice Department investigation — a months-long inquiry that began during the administration of former President Donald Trump, of whom Gaetz is a vocal supporter — in connection to allegations...

April 1, 2021
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Is our 2-party system getting dangerous?

Is our 2-party system getting dangerous?

American partisan identification has hit a new low, Gallup published this week reveal. Fully 50 percent of U.S. adults now consider themselves political independents, while the Republican and Democratic Parties each get an even 25 percent of the remainder. Gallup also a record high of 62 percent of Americans agree both parties "do such a poor job representing the American people that a third party is needed."Conventional wisdom these shifts are "dangerous to democracy." But what if they're literally dangerous? What if our two-party system is radicalizing people? What if it's left some...

March 3, 2021
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Are pandemic relief checks making UBI inevitable?

Are pandemic relief checks making UBI inevitable?

Major crises can effect rapid changes in public opinion that otherwise would have required years or even decades to develop. Among the permanent opinion shifts of the COVID-19 pandemic, I expect to see a new — and perhaps even bipartisan — move toward universal basic income (UBI) or something like it, an evolution influenced by Americans' experience with pandemic relief checks, both the fact of them and the drawn-out political fights surrounding their passage.UBI is exactly what it sounds like: a government income program which is not tied to recipients' employment (like unemployment...

December 31, 2020
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What would actually happen if Trump tried the 'martial law' idea?

What would actually happen if Trump tried the 'martial law' idea?

President Trump could "basically rerun an election" by sending the military into swing states, said Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, in a Newsmax . Martial law isn't a big deal, Flynn continued. "It's not unprecedented," he said. "I mean, these people out there talking about martial law like it's something we've never done — martial law has been instituted 64 times."Flynn isn't alone in his open enthusiasm for precisely the military junta scenario the president's supporters have spent four years dismissing as a fever dream of Trump Derangement Syndrome. Lin Wood, an...

December 23, 2020
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