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Commentary by Froma Harrop

Most Recent Releases

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June 2, 2015

Why Must Americans Clean Up a Foreign Sport? by Froma Harrop

The competent Loretta Lynch can no doubt handle the job of cleansing professional soccer of widespread corruption. But why is that the U.S. attorney general's job? One must ask.

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May 26, 2015

Why Do So Many Eggs Come From Iowa? by Froma Harrop

An outbreak of bird flu has forced American farmers to kill millions of egg-laying chickens, 32 million in Iowa alone -- hence the rise in egg prices.

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May 19, 2015

Death Penalty for Tsarnaev Hurts Boston By Froma Harrop

Why was 21-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sentenced to die in a state so generally opposed to capital punishment? A recent Boston Globe poll found that only 19 percent of Massachusetts residents wanted the Boston Marathon bomber put to death. The state hasn't seen an execution since 1947.

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May 14, 2015

The Left Is So Wrong on Trade By Froma Harrop

The left's success in denying President Obama fast-track authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership is ugly to behold. The case put forth by a showboating Sen. Elizabeth Warren -- that Obama cannot be trusted to make a deal in the interests of American workers -- is almost worse than wrong. It is irrelevant.

The Senate Democrats who turned on Obama are playing a 78 rpm record in the age of digital downloads.

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May 12, 2015

Online Dignity: Give It Up by Froma Harrop

Three female professors at Eastern Michigan University were shocked to learn that some young scholars in their lecture hall had been on their cellphones attacking them with lewd public posts, complete with imagery. It was all done anonymously, courtesy of an unusually obnoxious social media app called Yik Yak.

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May 7, 2015

Getting the Sports Moguls off Our Backs By Froma Harrop

It was not out of a sense of decency that the National Football League recently let go of its tax-exempt status. You see, as a tax-exempt organization, the NFL had to disclose Commissioner Roger Goodell's compensation -- $44.2 million in 2012. That seemed an excessive sum for the head of a "nonprofit" freed from having to pay any federal income tax. Now the NFL can keep it secret.   

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May 5, 2015

Let the States Make Drug Law By Froma Harrop

Howard Wooldridge, a Washington lobbyist, is a former detective and forever Texan on an important mission -- trying to persuade the 535 members of Congress to end the federal war on marijuana.

Liberals tend to be an easier sell than conservatives. With liberals, Wooldridge dwells on the grossly racist way the war on drugs has been prosecuted.

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April 30, 2015

Defeatism in Baltimore By Froma Harrop

Using the most bloodless terms, an economist explained the failure or inability of so many African-Americans to rise from their impoverished circumstances. They do not respond to the economic incentives that push others to study and strive, he said.   

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April 28, 2015

Gingrich Is Right: Double Medical Research Budget By Froma Harrop

Newt Gingrich recently recalled the bipartisan deal that doubled the budget for the National Institutes of Health -- with fondness. This was about 20 years ago, when Bill Clinton was president, and Republicans under Gingrich had just taken over Congress.

Never a member of the Gingrich fan club, I nonetheless join other liberal-minded observers in hailing the former House speaker not only for not disowning that investment in national greatness but for urging an encore. Gingrich, bless his black little heart, wants the budget doubled again.

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April 23, 2015

On the Internet, Nobody Knows You're a Fraud By Froma Harrop

There's been some tense back-and-forth over the Canadian mother who said she had stopped opposing vaccinations after all seven of her kids came down with whooping cough. Some say we should loudly thank Tara Hills for publicly disowning her anti-vax campaign. Others -- me, for instance -- are feeling less grateful.   

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April 21, 2015

Fighting Robots With Robots By Froma Harrop

So machines are now able to assess a human's mood. "Emotion detection software" has put robots one step closer to replacing the humans who work -- or used to work -- in what we in the olden days called "customer relations."

Assuming that you, dear reader, are a human and not a column-consuming robot, you may be asking the question: What happens to the jobs of humans who were laboring under the impression that they could still do things machines couldn't?

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April 16, 2015

Often There's No Sensible Middle By Froma Harrop

Some time ago, I heard a power company executive arguing that humans have played no role in global warming. Actually, he went further, "demonstrating" that global warming isn't even happening. (This is often done by cherry-picking dates to start with an unusually warm year.) He ended by spreading his arms and beseeching us in his common-sense voice, "Can't we meet in the sensible middle?"

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April 14, 2015

Farming Moves North With the Temperatures By Froma Harrop

Before there was a California, New England fed itself. Somehow. The soil was lousy, the climate cold and the diet limited (lots of cabbage, no avocados). At least there was plenty of water.   

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April 9, 2015

More Is Not Merrier in Our Congested Cities by Froma Harrop

New York and San Francisco are expensive places to live. That's a big problem for the nation because these cities are centers for the booming knowledge economy. High housing costs discourage this growth.

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April 7, 2015

Good People Sometimes Back Bad Laws By Froma Harrop

A law in Indiana and a bill in Arkansas making life harder for their gay neighbors have lost their wheels in a surprising smashup. Business interests, usually associated with the conservative cause, lowered the boom on "religious freedom" legislation supported by social conservatives.   

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April 2, 2015

Suing Over Soft Sexism Can Hold Women Back by Froma Harrop

Ellen Pao's gender discrimination suit against her employer contained the juicy elements that captivate us. The plaintiff was a Harvard-educated lawyer suing for a healthy $16 million. The defendant was Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the high-powered venture capital firm. The locale was Silicon Valley, where many complain that the big fortunes go overwhelmingly to men. And Pao's evidence resided largely in gray areas, where things said and things done could be interpreted in several ways.

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March 31, 2015

Privacy vs. Security: How the Debate Changes by Froma Harrop

The pilot who crashed the Germanwings plane, taking 150 lives, was too ill to work, according to doctors' notes found at his home. But Germany's strict medical privacy laws barred the doctors from conveying that judgment to the airline.

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March 26, 2015

Obamacare Should Be Less Complex by Froma Harrop

Let's start on an upbeat. Next to what we had before, Obamacare has been a spectacular success. The Affordable Care Act has brought medical security to millions of previously uninsured Americans and has helped slow the rise in health care spending.

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March 24, 2015

The Sun Is Rising on Solar Panels, and There's No Fighting It By Froma Harrop

On the average sunny day, Germany's huge energy grid gets 40 percent of its power from the sun. Guess what happened one recent morning when the sun went into eclipse. Nothing.   

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March 19, 2015

Half a Heart on Marijuana Better Than No Heart at All by Froma Harrop

Give thanks for the little things, they say. A bill that would stop the feds from going after medical marijuana users in states that permit such activity is something for which we should give thanks. But it is little.