VA has a culture of retaliation

You know those four Department of Veterans Affairs whistleblowers who testified that they’d been harassed, humiliated, reassigned, investigated and painted as unstable? They don’t even have stories that are out of the ordinary, according to Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Religious freedom in peril

A Sudanese court in May sentences a Christian woman married to an American to be hanged, after first being lashed 100 times, after she refuses to renounce her Christian faith.

When government is too open, it can’t work well

Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and John Cornyn of Texas, leaders of the Judiciary Committee, have long shown an admirable commitment to open government, and their recent bill to amend the Freedom of Information Act is winning a ton of praise. Some of its reforms make sense, but, unfortunately, its key provision is a horrible idea. By reducing the protection now given to deliberations within the executive branch, it would have a chilling effect on those discussions.

The man the Israeli-Palestinian crisis needs most? Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi.

Less than two years ago, the situation between Israel and the Palestinian territories seemed to be on the brink of disaster. In November 2012, Israeli airstrikes pummeled the Gaza Strip while militants fired rockets back at Israeli towns. As scores of Palestinians died and Israeli families cowered, the international community seemed split and unsure about how to deal with it. Experienced international mediators looked impotent.

Why Obama may gamble midterms on immigration

President Obama has said that he will act administratively on immigration before the midterm election. Pro-immigration activists are pleading with him to “go big and bold,” as Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA de Maryland, told Buzzfeed. If Obama is in a gambling mood, he might do just that.

Five reasons why China has no friends

In 2010, then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told a gathering of Asian countries that the United States “has a national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asia’s maritime commons and respect for international law in the South China Sea.”

Earn more, be happy by coming of age in boom times

It’s bad luck to be born 20 years before a time of high unemployment. It affects your income when you enter the workforce, naturally, but that’s not all. It can keep your earnings relatively low — and chip away at your health and happiness, as well — for a lifetime.

VA nominee will find out that government isn’t Procter & Gamble

For 33 years, Robert McDonald rose through the ranks of brand managers and junior executives at Procter & Gamble, overseeing international operations in Canada and Asia for the consumer goods giant before taking charge as CEO in 2009. President Obama has named the West Point graduate to head the scandal-plagued Department of Veterans Affairs, which is reeling from revelations that officials had falsified records and concealed extraordinary waiting times for patients seeking treatment. If the problems at the VA stemmed from failures of branding and salesmanship, McDonald would be a fine choice. Unfortunately, they do not.

Are we scared of our own shadow?

America’s infatuation with the World Cup came at the perfect moment, illuminating the principle that you can lose and still advance.

Ohio leads the way on breaking through the rape-kit backlog

It’s often said that justice delayed is justice denied. This is especially true for victims in sexual-assault cases that were never prosecuted or even fully investigated.

About those presidential polls

Perhaps you’ve heard that President Obama was named the worst resident since World War II in a recent poll. It isn’t all that surprising. Given the current mood of the country, it’s likely that if St. Francis of Assisi were in the White House, he would be getting terrible ratings, too.

What about workers who don’t live near Ikea?

Congratulations, Ikea workers — you’re getting a raise.

TV series ‘Tyrant’ full of vicious Arab stereotypes

The FX channel’s much-hyped series, Tyrant, displays some of the most racist anti-Arab images I have ever seen on American television. And I’ve spent 40-plus years documenting TV’s images of Arabs.

The IRS isn’t the only agency with an email problem

Washington sure does love a political scandal, and no one more than House oversight committee Chairman Darrell Issa. The story of the missing IRS email provides all the necessary ingredients: an agency accused of abusing its authority, outstanding congressional document requests and email messages from a key IRS employee gone missing. That was all Issa needed to launch a vicious attack on the credibility and integrity of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who appeared before the committee Monday night to explain what happened to the missing email and why. But between Issa’s outrage and Koskinen’s effort to avoid responsibility, not much was revealed.

A grope and a shrug

It was fully a decade ago that Dov Charney, the founder and (at that point) chief executive of American Apparel, decided that the right way to behave in front of a female journalist doing a profile of him was to masturbate. Not once, mind you. “Eight or so times,” according to the story, in Jane magazine, which is no longer around.

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