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National Commentary

The best democracies need a touch of nationalism

Nationalism is resurgent, says Gideon Rachman in a recent column for the Financial Times. This is surprising, he argues. Not long ago we were contemplating a new age of globalization: “In a borderless world of bits and bytes the traditional concerns of nations — territory, identity and sovereignty — looked as anachronistic as swords and shields.”

RedBlueAmerica: Will America ever take bold action on climate change? Should it?

Hundreds of thousands of Americans on Sunday marched in New York City, asking the country’s leaders to take bold action on climate change. President Barack Obama, California Gov. Jerry Brown, actor Leonardo DiCaprio and other notables this week addressed the United Nations about the climate challenges facing the world. But skeptics abound — notably within the Republican Party.

Runaway Obamacare costs will hurt Senate Democrats

As we start the final stretch before the midterm elections, many analysts are convinced that Obamacare isn’t the hot political issue it once was. While the flood of negative publicity about the law has subsided of late, a majority of people still oppose it, according to a Real Clear Politics average of polls taken from Sept. 2-15. And I’ve always believed the voters’ negative impressions of the law were “baked” into their assessments of Democratic incumbents.

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Apple, Google encryption helps crooks

Apple and Google, whose operating systems run a combined 96.4 percent of smartphones worldwide, announced last week that their new operating systems will prevent them from complying with U.S. judicial warrants ordering them to unlock users’ passcode-protected mobile devices.

Similarities between Democrats, Republicans make them so different

One idea gaining currency among psychologists and political scientists is that Democrats and Republicans are politically polarized because they are fundamentally different. As one science journalist concluded after reviewing the literature: “A large body of political scientists and political psychologists now concur that liberals and conservatives disagree about politics in part because they are different people at the level of personality, psychology and even traits like physiology and genetics.”

Another black eye for the Secret Service

If I didn’t know better, I’d swear the White House statement issued in response to Friday’s frightening security breach was a hostage note. “The president has full confidence in the Secret Service,” it read, “and is grateful to the men and women who day in and day out protect himself, his family and the White House.” Of course, President Obama said that. He has to say that publicly. His life and the lives of his family members are in their hands. Privately, I hope Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson are reading the Secret Service the riot act.

Spanking your child doesn’t make you a monster

When Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was indicted for injuring a child earlier this month, a lot of journalists explained that the lesson we should take away was not that it’s wrong to leave welts and bruises or use a switch on a child. It’s that the physical punishment of children is always wrong — and should perhaps be outlawed.

JAY AMBROSE: Keeping cool about warming

Addressing a United Nations summit on global warming, President Barack Obama said that here was “the one issue that will define the contours of this century.” And, yes, it could, especially if the politicians insist on remedies that aren’t remedies, ignore remedies that actually fix things, confuse speculation with certainty and show the climate a thing or two about ways to hurt people.

Enlisting fresh talent

If the United States were attacked again, the way it was at Pearl Harbor or on Sept. 11, would you step forward to serve in the military? If you’ve climbed any distance up the career ladder, the answer is probably no, because the military hires people almost exclusively at entry level, and signing up could severely diminish your pay and status.