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Yes, Police Are the Good Guys

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If an American institution inspires public confidence through conspicuous, consistent progress over the course of many years, why seek to change or challenge its direction? That’s the question for politicians and activists who denounce alleged “militarization” of local police departments despite their recent achievements in slashing rates of violent crime. Numbers from the authoritative Bureau of Justice Statistics give some indication of the scope of the improvement. The incidence of violent...

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Rand Paul’s Losing Bet

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On “Police Militarization”: Bad Policy, Worse Politics     Rand Paul’s criticism of the “militarization” of local police departments may represent a sincere initiative by one of the Senate’s more thoughtful members but it also amounts to bad policy and worse politics. As with his calls for defense cuts and a pullback from America’s global leadership, the potential presidential contender hopes to woo youthful, liberal-leaning voters normally uninterested in Republican candidates. The more...

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Robin Williams, A Sense Of Purpose, And Media’s Religious Blind Spot

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The media blind spot toward religion’s role in American life distorted coverage of the Robin Williams suicide even while it slanted reporting on an important new study about health advantages of a personal sense of purpose. That research, conducted at Carleton University in Ottawa, relied on data from the National Institute on Aging in the United States. More than 6,000 respondents indicated their agreement or disagreement with statements such as, “Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of...

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POLICE AREN’T THE PROBLEM; THEY’RE THE SOLUTION

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“It’s easy for a black male to keep himself from being shot by a white cop,” the Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley said on my radio show. “It’s much harder to keep from getting shot by other black men.” Riley’s point is that if you defer and don’t try to challenge a police officer he may insult you but he won’t kill you. In fact, an African-American is 60 times more likely to be killed by a fellow African American than he is by a white cop, and more whites than blacks are victims of deadly...

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RAND PAUL PICKS WRONG TARGETS

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Senator Rand Paul passionately decries the “militarization” of American police departments, but this initiative won’t work in terms of either policy or politics. Changes in policing since 2001, including more sophisticated equipment and better body armor, have occurred at the same time that crime rates continue to plummet: violent incidents went down more than 25% in the last 12 years, producing the lowest violent crime rate since 1970. Moreover, police continue to enjoy huge public support. A new Gallup...

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NPR’S BLINDNESS TO RELIGION’S ROLE

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A new study from a Canadian university shows a sense of purpose producing better health and longer lives. But what does it mean to have a “sense of purpose”? Researchers from Carlton University concluded that even in old age those with “purpose and direction” reduced their risk of death in any given year by at least 15 percent.   In reporting this study, National Public Radio listed specific examples of what “purpose” means to people, including “contributing to social change,” “making sure...

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MARTINEZ CANDIDACY CAN ONLY HELP THE GOP

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Conservative Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico seems to be cruising to victory in her race for a second term, and if she wins the expected landslide she should consider a race for the presidency. As a veteran prosecutor with an admirable tough-on-crime record, and as the wife and daughter of law enforcement professionals, she would provide a refreshing alternative to the scandal-plagued, morally-compromised Obama administration. During her four years in office, polls showed her approval ratings consistently...

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Are Conservatives Always “Comfortable”? Liberals Always “Afflicted”?

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The “Doonesbury” comic strip by Garry Trudeau has rarely delivered laughs in recent years, but it often provides important perspective on the peculiar worldview of wealthy, Ivy League, establishment liberals. In last Sunday’s installment, veteran character Mark Slackmeyer, a gay radio broadcaster for NPR, provides commentary regarding the purported failure of conservative comedians. One such up-tight right-winger is trying to do stand-up to amuse the faithful at some conservative convention (identified only...

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THE BIBLE: WORSE THAN “MEIN KAMPF”?

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Dan Barker, co-president of The Freedom from Religion Foundation, believes the Bible is a worse guide for human behavior than Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.” He took that position on my radio show, when asked about a new effort by a conservative Congressman to give  Bibles to all his colleagues as a source for inspiration. By insisting the Bible’s worse than “Mein Kampf “by an order of magnitude,” he ignores compassionate passages – like “love your neighbor as yourself” or “honor your father and...

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Should Americans Feel Guilt For “Disproportionate” Casualties in WWII?

Israeli soldiers stand near the border with Gaza

Of all the stupid and malicious arguments against Israel’s self-defense war in Gaza the most ridiculous of them all involves the purportedly “disproportionate” nature of the conflict. According to this charge, the indisputable fact that more than 1,000 Palestinians have died in the fighting while Hamas has succeeded in killing “only” 60 Israelis somehow disgraces the Jewish State for brutal, bloodthirsty policies. Why does Israel’s success at protecting its citizens count as an indictment of their...

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