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Mar 07,2008
China, a repressive country that spies on its citizens and locks them away for relatively minor offenses, has about 1.5 million people in its prisons and jails. The United States has 2.3 million, and our population is only about one-fourth that of China. America imprisons a far higher percentage of its citizens than any other country in the world. About one of every 100 American adults is now in prison or jail. That's five times ... [full story]
1160 times read - No comment posted

Mar 07,2008
For years, the Green Bay Packers faithful figured the worst thing Brett Favre could do was break a leg. But Favre, always unpredictable, did something even more dramatic Tuesday and with far more impact for the franchise and the game. Broken bones, after all, heal. But when someone who breaks the mold - as Favre did in his memorable 17-year career - calls it quits, that's a different story. Packers fans, who can be found ... [full story]
981 times read - No comment posted

Mar 07,2008
The Democratic presidential hopefuls have been promising to reopen the North American Free Trade Agreement, painting it as a source of America's economic woes. Since no treaty is perfect, it may be possible to modify the agreement. But reopening the pact would be difficult and dangerous because every business and labor union would seek to gain an advantage and the political pressure on negotiators would be enormous. The treaty with two of America's biggest trading ... [full story]
1124 times read - No comment posted

Mar 07,2008
American farmers are enjoying an all-time high in profitability, thanks both to a big, sustained global surge in demand for their crops and extremely generous federal subsidies that are a leftover of the Great Depression, when farming was besieged. So how should Congress and President Bush adjust federal agricultural policy to deal with farming's unusual combination of vast profits and huge subsidies? Whether you're a liberal who thinks the federal government is already too accommodating ... [full story]
852 times read - No comment posted

Mar 07,2008
There will be much bleating in Congress about the Pentagon's decision to buy Airbus refueling tankers instead of those made by Boeing. But the fact of the matter is this: Boeing blew it. Boeing lost the Air Force's $40 billion refueling-tanker contract because it wasn't listening closely to its most important customer and let itself be outbid by its archrivals. Boeing offered a tanker based on the 767 airliner. That model has been flying since ... [full story]
1233 times read - No comment posted

Mar 07,2008
The welcome reduction in cigarette smoking in recent decades - a 50 percent decline since U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry first warned of the cancer-causing dangers of tobacco in 1964 - is credited with saving millions from smoking-related deaths. It is, in fact, one of the top public health achievements of the last century. But in recent years that remarkable progress has stalled. The nation's overall smoking rate has flattened and the teenage smoking rate ... [full story]
1178 times read - No comment posted

Mar 07,2008
FDA approval is a ticket to market medical devices and drugs. It could soon also become a kind of "get-out-of-jail free" card for their makers, freeing them from liability for producing defective or unsafe products. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that consumers cannot sue the makers of faulty medical devices if those products have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. In another case argued last week, the court seems poised to ... [full story]
1439 times read - No comment posted

Mar 07,2008
We don't take lightly the public's right to know. Yet, given recent developments, we have to ask: Did the public really need to know that Britain's Prince Harry was fighting on the front lines in Afghanistan? The answer is no - not if publicizing the location of such a high- value target endangers lives, including that of Prince Harry. The 23-year-old is in the British army, where he holds a rank equivalent to that of ... [full story]
1192 times read - No comment posted

Mar 07,2008
The U.S. mortgage crisis will be with us for some time. With 7 million subprime mortgages on the books - some held by homeowners who will be unable to come up with their monthly payments when initial "teaser" interest rates ratchet upward - hundreds of thousands of foreclosures appear inevitable this year alone. Now Congress appears to have decided an unprecedented intervention by the federal government is necessary to deal with this mess. The Senate ... [full story]
1333 times read - No comment posted

Mar 07,2008
Along with disco music, bushy sideburns, angry ayatollahs and other things we'd just as soon forget, the 1970s brought us a new word: stagflation. Stagflation describes a miserable combination of economic stagnation and inflation. Now, thanks to some scary headlines in the financial press, the word is making a comeback. Consumer prices jumped 4.1 percent last year, the biggest jump in 16 years. The economy began wheezing and sputtering. Gross domestic product grew at a ... [full story]
1275 times read - No comment posted

Mar 07,2008
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has some explaining to do after four deaths and hundreds of adverse reactions to the popular blood thinner heparin. The FDA has acknowledged that it failed to inspect a Chinese facility that produced the drug after confusing it with another firm. The Chinese government did not inspect the plant, either. The facility that should have been inspected is part of a joint venture operated by Scientific Protein Laboratories of ... [full story]
1200 times read - No comment posted

Feb 29,2008
There was a telling moment during the recent Democratic presidential debate in Austin. Hillary Clinton made a sarcastic remark about the pseudo-scandal involving whether Barack Obama had borrowed a few lines of rhetoric from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, and in response the audience booed her. They didn't think the crack was fair, and they let Clinton know it. The moral is that, in politics, even if you believe an attack on an opponent is justified, ... [full story]
1071 times read - No comment posted

Feb 29,2008
Boeing's glitchy "virtual fence" may go the way of the Spruce Goose, the Stanley Steamer and Sony's Betamax: All were technological innovations that worked well on paper and less well in the real world. After much hemming and hawing, the Department of Homeland Security this week finally approved Boeing's $20 million assemblage of towers, cameras, radar and computers strung out over 28 miles of Arizona's border with Mexico. But the department said it has no ... [full story]
1066 times read - No comment posted

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