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    Huey Long and Alan Grayson—Separated at Birth

    Fiery populist Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida is in the news for reporting death threats and comparing the right wing to Nazis who burned the Reichstag. But another comparison from the 1930s may be more apt, at least visually.
  • Wyoming: The Sage Grouse Could Cripple the Economy

    President Obama wants to double production of renewable energy by 2012, but a chicken-sized ground bird is tripping up progress. In the last century, the sage grouse—known for its iconic spiked tail -feathers—has been decimated by mining, ranching, and, most recently, the development of the rural West for wind farming. The bird won't mate near turbines, say biologists, and it's trapped on particular parcels of land by something of a mental block on crossing roads and under power lines. But since the grouse is concentrated in parts of the country's windiest states, an unusual green-vs.-green face-off is occurring, with the alternative-power lobby clashing with bird lovers like the Audubon Society.Now the fight may be entering a new stage. The Department of the Interior has moved to protect the sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act, casting doubt on wind development across the West. While specific restrictions won't be announced for at least a year, states are making preemptive...
  • Military-Commission Trials Set for the Summer

    The Pentagon is poised to rescind last year's order halting military-commission cases, a final legal step as it gears up to try accused terrorists. But there's an awkward hitch: the new trials will be held in the $12 million, high-tech courtroom at Guantánamo Bay, which will refocus the world's attention on the very prison President Obama pledged to close. "As of right now, we don't have the money or the authority" to hold the trials elsewhere, says a senior Pentagon official who asked not to be identified talking about a politically sensitive subject....
  • The Politics of Terror In New York

    The terror strikes of 2001 led to a boom in national-security spending, much of which has helped prevent another domestic attack. But at the state level, Homeland Security funds are often spent with less obvious results--as a recent case in New York makes clear. Since 2007 the Big Apple has been experimenting with a program designed to detect "dirty bombs" and other radiological threats. In theory it would allow law enforcement to sniff-test every vehicle headed into Manhattan, using large-scale radiation sensors on tunnels and bridges and portable sensors on the belts of thousands of police officers. But after three years and $53 million, the equipment has yet to prove itself, say two congressional investigators who requested anonymity discussing a sensitive matter. The small sensors register false alarms for cat litter, bananas, and people undergoing radiation treatment, say the investigators, and the large-scale sensors are still in development because they require a...
  • New Justice Department Statistics Show Hundreds of Terrorist Cases Were Prosecuted in Civilian Courts Since 9/11

    New Justice Department statistics sent to Congress on Friday support Obama administration assertions that hundreds of terrorism suspects have been successfully prosecuted through the U.S. civilian court system since the 9/11 attacks. Earlier this year, Republicans, including senators and Dana Perino, a former White House spokesperson for George W. Bush, accused the Obama administration of exaggerating, or even fabricating, statistics showing that civilian courts had effectively dealt with hundreds of terror-related cases. But the new statistical compilation sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee bolsters the administration's claims and rebuts those of their critics....
  • Gitmo Prisoner Freed by Obama Administration Reported to Have Rejoined Taliban

    A Guantánamo detainee released last December has now returned to the battlefield to fight with Taliban insurgents, according to three U.S. counterterrorism officials who have reviewed intelligence reports on the matter. If the reports are accurate, the detainee, known as Abdul Hafiz, would be the first Guantánamo inmate released by the Obama administration to have returned to the front lines of terrorism....
  • How Oregon Ended Its Meth Epidemic

    Methamphetamine makers across the country have expanded operations in recent years as demand for the feel-good drug has risen with unemployment. In Oregon, however, the once booming industry has nearly disappeared. Between 2005 and 2009 the number of lab seizures—the best indicator of production—dropped an astounding 96 percent, from 192 to 10, according to a recent report by the Oregon Narcotics Enforcement Association. Even more astounding: to get these results the state simply restricted cold and allergy medicines with pseudoephedrine, making this key meth ingredient unavailable without a prescription.Were the rest of the U.S. to follow Oregon's lead, says Emory University professor Jean O'Connor, who studies meth policy, police could focus almost wholly on Mexican smugglers—America's top meth suppliers. The number of users would continue to fall as well. Last year in Oregon, meth arrests were half of what they had been in 2006, the year the law took effect.But don't expect the...
  • What Happens After Health-Care Reform?

    Health-care reform finally passed, allowing Washington to move on to other issues, of which it has plenty. We give you the rundown on where they are going.
  • 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. ...