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Dim prospects for drone accountability

Last week, John O. Brennan, President Obama’s nominee for director of the CIA, faced some tough questions from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Arguably one of the most interesting was posed by Committee Chairwoman Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), who suggested during her opening comments that it might be time for the drones program to [...]

Questions for John Brennan

As John Brennan’s confirmation hearing to be the next director of the CIA approaches on Thursday, it is an ideal time to examine his record. While he is the man perhaps best positioned to reform the agency and to handle the complex challenges facing the country, there are some questions he should answer during his [...]

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Families and the debate on mental health

It’s rare that an entire nation debates mental health care. I’m a mental health nurse, researcher, and professor.  Through years as a nurse for inpatient psychiatric units, through my research about mental health and illness, and teaching about the research and policy mental health, I’ve long tried to bring awareness and concern about individuals and families with mental [...]

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An evolved inauguration

“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. For if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well,” President Obama said yesterday in his second inaugural address. This week, the LGBT community witnessed a [...]

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Why Roe v. Wade is not like a typewriter

Forty years ago, The Supreme Court issued its decision in Roe v. Wade, with a 7-2 vote in favor of the plaintiff, Norma L. McCorvey, whose alias was Jane Roe. It was a complicated ruling, with a companion decision in Doe v. Bolton, but ultimately the Court ruled that a right to privacy under the [...]

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A “Day On” for what?

We water King’s activism down to simply “service,” diluting his legacy and forgetting the best part of his dream—justice.

How to know if Lance is lying tonight

The day has come. After a four month silence, Lance Armstrong finally speaks to none other than Oprah Winfrey in a two part interview airing this evening and Friday night at 9PM EST.  The International Olympic Committee has just called on the disgraced cyclist to return the bronze medal he won at the 2000 Olympic Games. Media outlets are [...]

Naming a child policy czar

Since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s term, 14 successive U.S. presidents have appointed so-called policy “czars” as high-level officials who oversee particular policy arenas. Generally these czars’ appointments do not require Senate approval. The number of these mission-specific officials has increased under recent presidents:  Bill Clinton appointed eight, George W. Bush appointed 33, and the Obama administration [...]

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Five things to know about the intervention in Mali

Over the weekend France launched an assault on northern Mali, part of an operation to unseat the extremists who have occupied half the country since last year’s coup. Immediately afterward, al Qaeda-linked rebels launched a counteroffensive, raising the specter of a drawn-out war. While the conflict is in its early stages, the Mali intervention is [...]

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The choices John Brennan will face

President Obama’s nomination of John O. Brennan, his Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security and Terrorism, to head up the CIA has drawn criticism from many. What critics miss, however, is the most important angle to Brennan’s nomination; it offers the best chance at reforming the Agency. Over the last decade, the CIA has [...]

Gun rights vs women’s rights

It is particularly perverse to see some legislators allow interest groups, such as pro gun and anti-abortion rights lobbies, to dictate their understanding of how best to protect the public’s health. Take, for example, the Florida legislators who passed the Firearms Owners Privacy Act. This Act prohibits physicians from inquiring about patients’ gun use and / [...]

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The false fear of autonomous weapons

Last month, Human Rights Watch raised eyebrows with a provocatively titled report about autonomous weaponry that can select targets and fire at them without human input. “Losing Humanity: The Case Against Killer Robots,” blasts the headline, and argues that autonomous weapons will increase the danger to civilians in conflict. In this report, HRW urges the [...]

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Immediate action needed on guns

The time to act is not tomorrow. Today is already too late. There will be another mass shooting, even before we can get the legislation in place to stop it.

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Stay in your heart, no matter how painful

You have heard by now: a man shot and killed 27 people, including 20 children and himself, at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Author Elizabeth Stone famously wrote that, “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart walking around outside your body.” Hearts are [...]

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Gay marriage in front of the big bench

It all began in 2004, when Mayor Gavin Newsom famously opened San Francisco’s City Hall to gay couples wanting to marry. That action paved the way for Proposition 8 and all of the litigation that’s followed.

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The human cost of securing the border

The U.S. Mexico border region is unlike any other place in the United States.  The dividing line between the two countries stretches for nearly two thousand miles from San Diego, California to Brownsville, Texas.  Although much of the geography is unique, it is not the physical terrain that makes the area so distinct.  The border [...]