Friday, September 17, 2021

In 1983, Tom Cruise starred in the film “Risky Business.” It’s about wealthy parents in Chicago who go on vacation and leave the house under the stewardship of their high school-age son.

Thursday, September 16, 2021
Wednesday, September 15, 2021

It has been 18 months since the first COVID-19 lockdowns in March 2020. Have we flattened the damn curve yet? Recall that it was supposed to be just a few weeks of sacrifice before our lives could go back to normal.

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Does Texas Gov. Greg Abbott have special powers? Is the ultraconservative Republican a superhero sans cape? Having signed the nation’s most restrictive abortion law — abortions are banned after six weeks with no exceptions for rape or incest — Abbott says he will simply work to “eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas.”

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Do the ends justify the means? This familiar question produces strong feelings precisely because its answer is necessarily complicated. Just about all of us admit to a scenario, such as the proverbial ticking time-bomb, in which we would countenance unsavory means if required to save lives. In general, however, most religious and ethical traditions teach that we are not permitted to use injurious or unethical means to accomplish even noble ends.

A leaked syllabus of a class called “Global Whiteness” at the University of North Carolina reads like a parody of today’s campus race obsession and radicalism. Campus Reform published a copy that includes topics like “White Trash,” “Enlightenment or Enwhitenment?” and “How is Trump racist?” Perhaps most laughable is the course appears to blame America and the West in the Pacific Theater during World War II instead of on Japan’s racist imperialism and aggression.

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Biden administration officials are proud of their effort to airlift about 118,000 Afghans, plus somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000 U.S. citizens, from the Kabul airport in the final days of the president’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan. But still unanswered are two key questions: One, who did we leave behind? And two, who did we bring out?

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Confession: I have always felt warmly toward Texas, but I can’t square the big-hearted, boisterous, self-confident place I’ve known with the petty, mean-spirited, downright vindictive anti-abortion law the state’s Republican legislature and governor have endorsed.

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When North Carolinians are free to trade with whomever they choose, be it South Carolinians or South Koreans, some local businesses may lose sales. The case for markets isn’t based on promises of cost-free benefits or perfect outcomes. No such promises could ever be honored in the real world.

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About this time in the legislative session — when the session runs interminably long and little is happening — the press corps, lobbyists, legislative staffers and even some lawmakers start a pool to predict how long the session might last before adjournment. Currently, Halloween seems a pretty safe bet. I think it was 2016 when folks were decorating Christmas trees; it didn’t look like they would ever adjourn. But all this hemming and hawing comes at a price. You and I, the taxpayers, are spending about $850,000 per month to keep this circus in Raleigh and it’s fair to ask whether we are getting our money’s worth.

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Rudolph Giuliani was always somewhat off-center, even in his glory days as New York City mayor. But people who recall him then were stunned by his decline into a conspiracy-mongering swamp creature of Trump world. The 20th anniversary of Sept. 11 lets us remember that on that day of horror, Giuliani was on the chaotic scene, passing out courage and hope.

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The former president’s attempted coup is not stopping. He still refuses to concede and continues to rile up supporters with his bogus claim that the 2020 election was stolen. Tens of millions of Americans believe him.

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Even as Hurricane Ida was dissipating, it dumped torrential rainfall and unleashed devastating tornadoes on the Northeastern United States, leading to several deaths there. This is what climate change looks like: Furious hurricanes and hundred-year floods are an annual event in Louisiana and Texas, but the Colorado River, which provides water to millions of Western residents, is drying up. Global warming is no longer a distant threat; it now presents continual perils no matter where you live.

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On Sept. 20, Canadian voters will head to the polls to decide their next federal government. The Canadian media seems overly focused on a debate over gun control, which is like fussing with the wallpaper while the bulldozer is revving up outside the house. This election comes down to one thing and one thing only: Will Canadians vote to transform their democracy into a sanitary authoritarian regime by reelecting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau?

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