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Jim Hightower: Denton Tells Big Oil to Frack Off

The University of North Texas, best known for its top-notch jazz program and sometimes for its “Mean Green” football team, might soon become known as Frack U.

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Raul A. Reyes: One of the biggest things wrong with Kansas is Kris Kobach.

What’s the matter with Kansas? A decade ago, a best-selling book of that title examined how Kansas veered rightward after a long history as a left-wing hotbed. It looks like Kansas may be shifting course again.

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Pablo Alvarado: President Must Use Senate Bill as Guide in Upcoming Executive Action on Deportation Policies

While there is clearly a battle under way to manage expectations for the scope of the forthcoming administrative action, we will continue to push for the maximum exercise of legal discretion under the law. That includes a bare minimum, an extension of work authorization to everyone who would qualify under the Senate bill and an end to the Secure Communities program and policies that criminalize immigrants. The President has the legal authority, the moral obligation, and the political capital required to take these important steps.

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Jason Stanford: GOP Freaking Out Over Ebola and Gay Backrubs

I wasn't in favor of shutting of travel to Ebola countries until Rwanda and Tanzania started screening travelers from Texas. You never know what kind of crazy viruses could spread. The last thing developing nations need is an epidemic of Yee Haw conservatism from the likes of Texas congressman Louie Gohmert.

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Will Durst: The Orange and Black

Here it comes. Creeping down dark alleys. Overturning garbage cans and spooking black cats. The scariest day of the year. With the exception of your next birthday, that is. Halloween. All Hallow's Eve. The night preceding All Saint's Day. Time to carve a gourd.

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Jim Hightower: Wal-Mart Scrooges Us All

Gosh, time flies when it’s pushed along by a jet stream of greed.

It seems like only yesterday that Wal-Mart announced, with much self-congratulatory fanfare, that the super-rich retailing colossus wasn’t a scrooge after all.

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Jill Richardson: The amount of sugar Americans eat is scarier than the slim chance they'll get Ebola

As airlines, cruise ships, and hospitals cope with waves of Ebola jitters, I’m wondering whether the panic the deadly virus is inducing will distort Halloween traditions this year.

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Peter Dykstra: If only we listened when politicians were listening to scientists

Twenty-five years ago today, New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean issued an executive order – one of those easily-forgotten proclamations destined to fade before the ink is dry on the signature line – warning of the Garden State's increasing vulnerability to climate-driven storms.

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Guillermo Cantor: Immigration Restrictionists Exploit Ebola Tragedy

As the Ebola outbreak continues to take lives in West Africa, restrictionists have predictably started their “crusade” to ban travel from West African countries. Specifically, over the past few weeks, nativist groups such as the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) as well as some lawmakers started criticizing the U.S. government for not adopting tough travel restrictions. While the solutions proposed are indeed simplistic and not adequately justified, the motivation behind them is clearly opportunistic. Specifically, these groups are using a dramatic international health crisis as an opportunity to demonize foreigners.

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Robert Reich: Get a Grip on Ebola

We have to get a grip. Ebola is not a crisis in the United States. One person has died and two people are infected with his body fluids.

The real crisis is the hysteria over Ebola that’s being fed by media outlets seeking sensationalism and politicians posturing for the midterm elections.

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Andy Borowitz: New Texas Law Would Require Candidates for Governor to Show Proof of I.Q.
Full story: New Yorker

Michael Brune: Unfriending ALEC

Exactly 54 days after Lisa B. Nelson started her job as the CEO of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), she got some bad news from a major supporter: The tech giant Google wanted out of its relationship with ALEC.

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Jill Richardson: 'Leave' Them Alone

This time of year, your trees are sending you a message.

Although I grew up in the Midwest, I’m experiencing it anew. After spending eight blissful years in California, I’ve returned to a state where people wear hats shaped like cheese and where leaves turn colors and drop off the trees.

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Emily Schwartz Greco: Here Come the Rain and Drought

What is it about natural disasters and irony?

Just as local authorities in Detroit were denying thousands of people access to running water, the bankrupt city experienced an epic downpour. More than 4.5 inches of rain pounded Motown in mid-August, causing $1.2 billion in damage. Three people died, including a 100-year-old woman who apparently drowned in her flooded basement.

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Jill Lawrence: Voter ID Laws Make The Poll Tax Look Good
Full story: National Memo

Sam Pizzigati: America's Grand Fortunes Go Overboard

Imagine yourself part of the typical American family. Your household would have, the Federal Reserve reported in September, a net worth of $81,200.

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Peter Certo: Obama's Dumb War

If Barack Obama owes his presidency to one thing, it was the good sense he had back in 2002 to call the Iraq War what it was: “dumb.”

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Robert Reich: Why Government Spends More Per Pupil at Elite Private Universities than at Public Universities

Imagine a system of college education supported by high and growing government spending on elite private universities that mainly educate children of the wealthy and upper-middle class, and low and declining government spending on public universities that educate large numbers of children from the working class and the poor.

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William Loren Katz: This Is What We Are Celebrating on Columbus Day. It's Ghastly.

Columbus’s Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria were driven across the Atlantic by the same ill winds that from 1095 to 1272 launched nine European Crusades to capture Muslim Jerusalem. Defeated and humiliated the invaders suffered staggering human losses, left royal treasuries depleted, and convinced Christian leaders to only pay lip service to another try.

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Sandra Steingraber: Pinkwashing: Fracking Company Teams Up With Susan G. Komen to 'End Breast Cancer Forever'

What do you get when you cross a breast cancer charity with a frack job?

The answer is the image below, which, as I am writing, is going epidemically viral.

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Emily Schwartz Greco: The Obama administration is making it harder for Central Americans to get refugee status

Did you notice that all that fuss over those Central American kids who were crossing the U.S. border alone suddenly died down?

As recently as June, more than 10,000 children fleeing unchecked gang violence in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala made it here over the course of a month. Then, a major security crackdown in Mexico slowed the pace of their arrivals down to about 3,000 in August — the lowest rate since January and about the same as the pace of arrivals last year. It’s what passes for “normal” in this sad situation.

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Peter Hart: The Media's New Climate Denial

What planet does Big Media think it’s living on?

Over 300,000 people filled the streets of New York City in September as part of the worldwide People’s Climate March, a stirring call for action on global warming.

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Dahlia Lithwick: The Right Outcome for the Wrong Reasons: SCOTUS is missing its moment to lead on gay marriage
Full story: Slate.com

Wendell Potter: Obamacare helps millions, but falls short in many ways

Although there is no shortage of critics of the Affordable Care Act — on the far left as well as the right — it’s hard to dispute that the law has benefited millions of Americans. And not just those who have become newly insured over the past year.

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Nan Aron: By declining marriage equality case, SCOTUS misses chance to further bend the arc of history toward justice

It is disappointing that the Supreme Court declined to take any of the marriage equality cases decided by federal appeals courts. In 2013, in its decisions on the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and on Proposition 8, the Supreme Court began to bend the arc of history toward justice on this issue. By declining to take these cases, the Court passed up an opportunity to finish the job.

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Chad Griffin: Human Rights Campaign Calls on Federal Courts to Expedite All Pending Marriage Cases

Thanks to the Supreme Court, there is now sweeping guidance in three federal appellate circuits that declares marriage discrimination flatly unconstitutional. There is no reason under the sun for federal courts not to fast-track all pending marriage cases in light of today’s news. Every argument has been made, every legal dispute has been heard, time and time again—the only thing left is the continued suffering of committed and loving gay and lesbian couples from Mississippi to Montana who are still waiting for justice. They cannot wait anymore, and they shouldn’t have to.

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Robert Reich: Why We Allow Big Pharma to Rip Us Off

According to a new federal database put online last week, pharmaceutical companies and device makers paid doctors some $380 million in speaking and consulting fees over a five-month period in 2013.

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Emily Schwartz Greco and William A. Collins: Congress still dragging its feet on fixes more than a year after Edward Snowden's alarming revelations

In a more innocent time not so long ago, perhaps only a million or so people in this country fell under the government’s suspecting glare. Achieving that distinctively fat FBI file might have required marching against a war or traveling to leftist lands.

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Ryan Alexander: When $1.5 Trillion Could Be Too Low, the Price Tag Is Too High

It’s not yet clear exactly how much the Pentagon’s fancy new F-35 combat jet will cost or when any of these stealth fighters will become operational. But the F-35 already shows great promise in the tough competition to become the most expensive weapons program ever undertaken.

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Jim Hightower: Let Them Eat Tips

Just when you thought the plutocratic profiteers running America’s exploitative, low-wage economy couldn’t get any more clueless, self-serving, pious, and mingy — along comes Lady Maria of Marriott, magnanimously saying: “Let them eat tips.”

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