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  • Has Health-Care Bickering Blocked Afghan Police-Training Inquiry?

    Today at 2:30 p.m., Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) was supposed to hold a hearing on the U.S. effort to train Afghanistan's police force. This is no small thing. Not only has the Obama administration made training Afghan cops a key foreign-policy goal for getting American soldiers out of the country, but the U.S. has already spent $6 billion on the training. ...
  • Tea-Party Protests: Loud, Mad, and Dangerous (For Republicans)

    I've just returned from the lawn outside the U.S. Capitol where so-called tea partiers are protesting health-care reform with chants such as "Kill the bill" and "We'll remember in November." It's hard to describe the gathering as anything other than a prototypical angry mob. The group is overwhelmingly white and skews older. And they're mad, some cruelly so. If you listen to Republicans, you'll hear that the health-reform bill outrages the overwhelming majority of Americans. But if this group of just a few hundred people who are angry at the government is the best the GOP could muster, then that claim looks pretty weak.There's a small group of pro-reform protesters standing a few yards behind the tea partiers. I saw one brave young man—he couldn’t have been more than 16, braces and all—venture into the tea-party mob with a pro-health-reform sign. It didn't take long for this skinny kid to be accosted by half a dozen protesters...
  • Holder Taps Fitzgerald for Gitmo Photo Probe

    Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. has tapped the Justice Department's most feared prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, to lead a sensitive investigation into whether defense lawyers at Guantánamo Bay compromised the identities of covert CIA officers. The probe was triggered by the discovery last year of about 20 color photographs of CIA officials in the cell of Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi, an alleged financier of the 9/11 attacks, say three current and former government officials who asked not to be identified talking about an ongoing case....
  • Claims of Resegregation in North Carolina

    As education secretary Arne Duncan begins his review of equality in the nation's schools—he recently called it the "civil-rights issue of our generation"—he may want to take a close look at North Carolina. Previously a model of desegregation, the state's classrooms have begun to divide again along racial lines. In Charlotte, federally mandated busing ensured balance until 1999, when a court ruled that integration had been accomplished. Since then the number of 90 percent–minority schools has jumped almost fivefold. In Wayne County, one high school is now 99 percent African-American, which prompted the NAACP to file a federal complaint alleging "apartheid education." And last month in Wake County, a newly elected school board voted to end an income-based diversity program that has been copied across the country. "I think it's intentional race discrimination," says Mark Dorosin, a senior attorney at the University of North Carolina's Center for Civil Rights. (A spokesperson for Gov....
  • Texas: An Alternative-Energy Breakthrough

    As President Obama champions alternative energy, a vexing problem remains: there's no way to share wind and solar surpluses nationally—whisking, say, a percentage of the Midwest's abundant turbine power to cities on the Eastern Seaboard. That's because the country's electricity grid is divided into three independent sections: east, west, and, since the mid-1930s, the querulous state of Texas. A proposed superstation in New Mexico would sync the three systems, a measure that renewable-energy experts see as a tipping point for investment in the industry. But only if Texas, the country's biggest producer of wind power, participates. Because the project threatens to bring the Longhorn State at least partially under federal jurisdiction, Texas has fought it since it was announced in 2007. Texas wants things both ways: a chance to connect to the national market, but also set its own wholesale prices in state.Now, after a hearing last week, the standoff could be coming to a close. Jon...
  • Nebraska Opens a Debate on 'Fetal Pain'

    Nebraska has long played a pivotal role in the national abortion battle, mounting the first defense of the "partial birth" ban before the Supreme Court in 2000. Now the legislature is pushing another first-of-its-kind restriction—this time on procedures that cause "fetal pain." Currently the only abortion bans that have been deemed constitutional are based on viability, the point at which the fetus can live outside the womb (about 24 weeks). This bill, introduced last month, would set a new standard—blocking abortions after 20 weeks out of concern that the fetus may feel the procedure. (A 2005 review in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that fetal pain was "unlikely" before 28 weeks.) If it passes—a distinct possibility in a state that got an F grade from one national pro-choice group—the new law could set up another high-court challenge. LeRoy Carhart, the late-term-abortion specialist who brought the challenge in 2000, continues to operate out of an Omaha...
  • U.S. Drone Attack Kills Suspected Organizer of Attack on Secret CIA Base

    Obama administration officials say they believe an Al Qaeda operative who played a key role in organizing the Dec. 30 suicide bombing of a secret CIA base in Khost, Afghanistan, was killed in a drone-fired missile attack last week. The officials, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information, identified the target of the missile strike as Hussein al-Yemeni—a Yemeni native, described by one official as an “important Al Qaeda planner and facilitator based in the tribal areas of Pakistan.”U.S. officials declined to specify precisely when they believe Yemeni was killed. But they did say that the attack was a pinpoint strike in the town of Miram Shah; news reports last week said that on March 8 two or three drone-fired missiles had struck a house, killing five people and wounding at least four. One U.S. counterterrorism official said that Yemeni was in his late 20s or early 30s and that “he had established contacts with groups ranging from Al Qaeda in the Arabian...
  • Liberals' Five Favorite Republicans

    Democrats have broken up with the Olympia Snowes and Christie Whitmans of old. But even in this polarized political moment, there are five Republicans they have learned to love.