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One of Brian’s Favorite Quotes

I am daily ever more convinced that theoretical work accomplishes more in the world than practical work.  Once the realm of ideas is revolutionized, actuality will not hold out.”
— Georg W. Hegel (1770–1831)

Real Clear Politics

Contempt for a Community

WASHINGTON -- The name Ferguson should become shorthand for dehumanization. No one should have been surprised that police officer Darren Wilson was not charged in the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. I've written before, and likely will have to write again, about the tragically low value our society places on the lives of young black men. Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch led the grand jury in a manner that seemed designed to indict the unarmed Brown

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In Ferguson, as Elsewhere, Voting Is What Matters

In covering the violence engulfing Ferguson, Missouri, media routinely cite the following numbers to explain the frustration of the minority community there: Ferguson's population is two-thirds African-American, yet the mayor, five of the six City Council members and nearly the entire police force are white. But there are other numbers. In the municipal election held last year, 52 percent of the voters were white -- in a city, to repeat, that is 67 percent black.

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Ferguson Obscures Much Bigger Problems in the ‘Black Community’

From the very beginning, this was much ado about an aberration, a tragic aberration to be sure, but an aberration nonetheless. Michael Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014. Immediately, according to St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch, witnesses began to give different versions of what happened. The apparent would-be star witness, Dorian Johnson, was with Brown when the shooting occurred. He gave a dramatic account

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What Racially Biased Policing Looks Like

Black anger that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson was not charged for killing Michael Brown stems partly from the fact that blacks in America often face much worse treatment from cops than whites do. Only rarely do whites get an unpleasant taste of what minorities have to swallow. A few years ago, when my middle child was in college, he had a summer job in New Mexico. Returning home to Illinois, he drove into Oklahoma,

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Thank a Politician Today

WASHINGTON -- It's a mistake to be nostalgic for some golden age in politics when everyone was nice to each other. Such a time never existed. Still, this is a particularly rotten moment to be an elected official, and especially a member of Congress, a body whose ratings are even lower than those of journalists. If you run for office these days, all your mistakes (and some you never made) are broadcast widely in some

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Obama’s Month: He "Heard" America; Is It Listening to Him?

America chanted past the president this month, fed up with listening and ready for its own interventions. Whether President Obama remains an influence, or has become a bystander in conversations about “who we are” -- a favorite phrase he repeated in a speech Tuesday -- became a more urgent question in November, one that could shape the balance of his presidency. “Stop deportations, not one more!” screamed a young woman seated four rows behind Obama’s

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Sorry, But the Grand Jury Got It Right

For many in the media, the St. Louis County grand jury's decision was going to confirm the existence of deep American injustice one way or another. If it found there was insufficient evidence for an indictment against Darren Wilson -- the white police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, a black teenager, in August in Ferguson, Missouri -- it would mean that the American justice system is corrupt, unjust and rife with racism. If

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This Legal Immigrant Agrees: Let Illegals Come Out of the Shadows

Amidst predictably partisan reactions to President Obama’s recent executive order offering five million illegal immigrants a reprieve from deportation, some critics have denounced it as a special affront to immigrants who played by the rules to come to this country. So, as one of those legal immigrants—my family came to America from the Soviet Union in 1980—let me say that illegal immigrants do not offend me. Like some two-thirds of Americans, I believe that

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