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Gun Control and the Sydney Siege

Video grab shows armed police taking up position near Sydney's Lindt cafe, where hostages are being held

Advocates of strict gun control often point to nations like Australia as examples of enlightened policy toward firearms. But all of the regulation didn’t prevent a violent criminal with multiple charges against him—and with known sympathies to Islamic terrorists—from using a shotgun to hold a score of hostages in a café in Sydney. The gun control did succeed, however, in making sure the victims were unarmed and defenseless—a situation that might have been very different in, say, Texas or another state...

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The Right Answer on How We’re Different

Former National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Michael Hayden listens during a Reuters CyberSecurity Summit in Washington

Brian Williams, the anchorman of NBC news, confronted former CIA director Michael Hayden on the day the Senate released its report on enhanced interrogation techniques. “How are we better than our enemies, morally, in light of what we all read about today?” the TV journalist demanded. General Hayden gave a weak answer that minimized his personal connection to the controversial policies, and insisted that most other nations were worse than the United States. A better answer would have gone to the essence of...

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Correcting Mistakes About Hanukkah

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Despite extensive media coverage and rising levels of public partying, the holiday of Hanukkah still causes confusion among both Jewish and non-Jewish Americans. No, it’s not a festival of tolerance or a good-natured celebration of freedom of religion.  In fact, the authentic meaning of Hanukkah actually counts as far less politically correct than commonly assumed — and far more appropriate as a counterweight to the joyously seductive, warm-hearted and near universal embrace of Christmas. The two biggest...

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“GODS AND KINGS”: A MATTER OF CHOICE

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Religious believers, both Jewish and Christian, feel inevitably intrigued by the release of the spectacular new movie EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS, featuring Oscar-winner Christian Bale as Moses, and directed by Ridley Scott. The question of whether it’s worth seeing depends on your tolerance for liberties with the Biblical text. Scripture makes it clear, for instance, that Moses never sees God’s face but in the movie the Lord takes the form of an all-knowing, arrogant small boy. The film also leaves an open...

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If White Racism Causes Inequality, Why Do Whites Lag?

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If white racism counts as the primary cause for the painful problems of people of color then why do white people themselves lag behind some other racial groups in every measure of success and health? Census figures show that “non-Hispanic whites” still comprise a big majority of the American population – some 63% according to the latest numbers. But there’s no statistical indication that this numerical advantage has resulted in a corresponding edge in achievement or well-being. Take, for instance, the most...

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DON’T SHUN THE M-WORD

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To succeed with the most decisive group of swing voters Republicans should stop treating “moderate” as a dirty word. Since modern exit polling began in 1976, self-described moderates have comprised the biggest portion of the electorate every time; conservatives have never amounted to more than 35 percent. Republicans therefore can’t win without moderate support. It’s also worth noting that the adjective, “moderate” carries positive connotations. Dictionary synonyms include: reasonable, temperate,...

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MEDIA OBSESSION HIDES BLACK SUCCESS

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The media frenzy about a purported race “crisis” due to white cops killing young black males ignores basic facts. There is no evidence at all of a dramatic surge in police violence against blacks: Justice Department numbers show a steady average of less than 100 such deaths per year. Of course, every unnecessary loss is a tragedy, but the obsessive focus on deadly confrontations between African-Americans and police creates fear and hostility that only make other confrontations more likely. It also hides...

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ONE FORM OF INEQUALITY TO QUICKLY REDUCE

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Some measures of racial inequality will be difficult to change but others could improve more readily. For instance, new numbers from Nielsen show most Americans spending far too much time watching TV, but black families facing an especially acute problem. Overall, Americans devote 5 hours a day to television, but for African Americans the number soars to 7 hours a day—more than any other population group. Asian-Americans, by contrast, watch TV in ways physicians and psychologists consider responsible, limiting...

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Excusing—and Celebrating—Savagery

Masked Palestinians hold axes and a gun as they celebrate with others an attack on a Jerusalem synagogue, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip

In efforts to explain the savage, senseless butchery of the Jerusalem synagogue massacre, left-leaning commentators referred to “provocation” and a so-called “cycle of violence” involving both sides. Even the president of the United States strained to sound even-handed in the face of a shameless display of Islamist barbarity. “Too many Israelis have died; too many Palestinians have died,” he told the White House press pool. “At this difficult time I think it’s important for both Palestinians...

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BEWARE THE STATUS QUO

U.S. President Obama signs two Presidential Memoranda associated with his Executive Actions on immigration from his office on Air Force One upon his arrival in Las Vegas

The biggest danger for Republicans on the explosive issue of immigration would be identifying themselves as stubborn defenders of a status quo nobody likes. Yes, it’s essential to fight back against President Obama’s outrageous power grab in unilaterally declaring executive amnesty for millions. But even if the GOP somehow managed the unlikely feat of blocking and undoing every aspect of the new White House initiative, would this give us an effective and honorable immigration system? We’d still have a...

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