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- How the U.S. Can Stop the Surge of Deadly Rocket Attacks in IraqIn the early hours of Friday, U.S. and British aircraft conducted multiple airstrikes on the missile storage sites of the Iraqi militia group Kataib Hezbollah, a pro-Iranian group that was also hit by un-claimed airstrikes in Syria the day before.Until Wednesday, when a rocket attack killed two Americans and one British service member on a sprawling base north of Baghdad, there hadn’t been much noise from Tehran since its reprisal in early January after the U.S. killed Qasem Soleimani. This week’s attack, which was meticulously planned and clearly not the work of the ramshackle remnants of the Islamic State, changed that. A truck with two rows of rocket-launching tubes discreetly installed in the flatbed, approached the base undetected and fired the rockets in one sudden salvo. As someone who has gotten lost while walking around the maze of concrete barriers that make up the 15-square-mile Camp Taji base, I can… ..... Read More.3 weeks ago
- What Happens When Coronavirus Hits Congress?As congressional leaders sniped their way through the coronavirus crisis this week—wrestling with how to act and help avert a massive economic shock amid a quickly evolving tsunami of national closures, collapsing stock prices and a worsening pandemic—an even more ominous thought hung in the background of Capitol Hill: A pandemic, particularly one whose primary victims are over 60, presents the long-feared, worst-case scenario for Congress’ existence itself.Since the end of World War II, efforts to force the House and Senate to confront how it would function in an emergency have stalled, and even the lackluster efforts after 9/11 to improve congressional continuity planning fell short of addressing the potential impact of a pandemic: While the outright death of senators and representatives poses its own unique set of problems for the body and democracy, an illness like COVID-19 that threatens to sicken a wide swath of members threatens to paralyze… ..... Read More.3 weeks ago
- ‘This Town’ Faces a LockdownBook parties and air kisses, furrowed brows and panel discussions: Many of the rhythms of daily life in the nation’s capital are about creating, if not the reality, then at least the illusion of social intimacy.How is Washington dealing with a moment—perhaps a very long time—when the new catchphrase is social distancing?So far, the city’s biggest patterns haven’t been disrupted: Congress is still in session. The federal government has not, as of yet, told most of its employees to stop coming to the office. The White House is still conducting business as usual, despite Trump’s dramatic decision Wednesday night to block travelers from Europe.But the anxiety gripping the rest of the country is percolating through the city—touching its workers, its children, its parents. And, one VIP reception at a time, it‘s even hitting the circles of political and media elites who’ve spent their careers assuming the word “nonessential” doesn’t apply to them.… ..... Read More.3 weeks ago
- Andrew Cuomo, a Man AloneALBANY, N.Y.—The Dunkin‘ Donuts on Madison Avenue and Lark Street here is a neighborhood hub for hungover college students, grizzled upstaters and those with nowhere else to escape bitter Albany winters. So when a man walked in on Christmas Eve wearing a sweatshirt and introduced himself as the governor of New York, the shift leader working that day didn’t believe him. “I’m thinking, ‘Yeah, he’s cuckoo,’” she told me. “We get people all the time who say, ‘I’m the president of the United States.’”Her co-worker whispered to her that it was, in fact, New York’s three-term governor, Andrew Cuomo. By the time she ran out to snap a photo, he was gone.It wasn’t an anomaly. A few months before that, Cuomo had been photographed in the parking lot of the same Dunkin’ Donuts, driving his vintage Pontiac GTO—license plate number “1”—and flashing a thumbs-up alone behind the wheel, in just… ..... Read More.3 weeks ago
- Mr. President, Shut Up About CoronavirusAs a self-designated, one-man task force assigned to smother the shifting coronavirus wildfire, allow me to direct my first edict to the president of the United States: Mr. Trump, please stop talking about the virus.Don’t comment on the number of cases or deaths. Stop congratulating yourself about what a good job you’re doing and never, ever again claim that you’ve got things “well under control.” Never again compare this virus to the flu. Never again promise that a vaccine is arriving “pretty soon“ or that the virus “will go away,” as you repeatedly have, or that “it’s going to disappear.” Don’t blame the Democrats or the Obama administration or the press for your bungling of the crisis. Don’t say “anybody that wants a test can get a test,” because it isn’t true.Most everything you’ve said about the virus has been wrong, inflammatory and dangerous. You think you’re making things better,… ..... Read More.3 weeks ago
- How Democrats Can Repair Their Generational DivideFor Democrats, intergenerational tensions are high right now. Compared to Republicans, young voters are a much bigger share of the Democratic electorate, and young and old Democrats disagree about the candidates more than young and old Republicans disagree. According to exit polls from Super Tuesday, voters 65 and older preferred Joe Biden to Bernie Sanders 3-to-1, and voters under 30 preferred Sanders to Biden by an even higher margin. In Michigan Tuesday, a two-way race between Biden and Sanders, 77 percent of under-30 voters chose Sanders and 73 percent of over-65 voters chose Biden.If Democrats want to win in November, activists who are young and old will need to get out the vote among their peer groups. They’ll also need to buy into some shared vision, which will be hard considering the gulf in their preferences. Sanders’ voters want an assertive policy agenda. Biden’s voters mainly just want to beat… ..... Read More.3 weeks ago