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RFL Blog

Focusing on national and regional politics with a healthy dose of sports and entertainment, the RFL Blog offers readers a chance to further explore today'’s headline news through the writings of industry insiders, commentators and special guests.

 

"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."

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Posted by David Laska on March 21, 2013
U.S. President Barack Obama's meeting with President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, Israel

Barack Obama is in Israel this week, doing his best to convince a skeptical public and a more skeptical government that he has their best interests in mind as he crafts America’s policy in the Middle East.

He’s got a lot of work to do. One recent Jerusalem Post/Smith Poll found that only 12% of Israelis consider Obama to be pro-Israel.

Posted by David Laska on March 7, 2013

We’ve all acknowledged that we’re living in the era of the permanent campaign, but the general public is just catching onto the fact that, for Barack Obama, campaigning is the default setting.

Over the past several weeks, Obama has devoted his energy less to negotiating with House Republicans than to casting them as stubborn trolls bent on destroying the Nation via the sequester, a measure that Obama proposed in the first place.

Posted by Anthony Figliola on February 28, 2013
Photo by: Paulo Barcellos Jr.

New York City is quickly becoming the destination of choice for emerging tech companies, and countless young tech entrepreneurs are moving here every year. And while the economic growth in the tech sector has been significant, it’s important to recognize that other, smaller towns are trying to take some of that business away from us.

Posted by Tania Fuentez on February 22, 2013
2013 Tania Fuentez Media

Students performing in Purelements’ Rhythm Stories say experience with the urban dance company prepares them for the real world as young artists, helping them tap into their talent and inner strength while balancing homework, social life and other after-school activities. Hard work pays off as the cast illuminates on stage while sharing a strong bond and dedication to the creative process.

Posted by David Laska on February 21, 2013

During his State of the Union address, the President proposed raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00 an hour.

Like so many of his economic proposals – stimulus spending, healthcare for all, tax the rich! – a minimum wage increase is great politics for Obama, but terrible policy for Americans.

It’s simple math: a higher minimum wage means a higher hiring cost for businesses, and a higher hiring cost means fewer jobs. The unintended consequence of employment reductions is very real, and felt most by those with the least amount of education and experience.

Posted by Andrew Whitman on February 19, 2013
Shirley Li/Medill

Dear Sen. McCain:

Once again, your nation looks to you in our moment of need.

You have made service to our nation the calling of your lifetime, demonstrating time and again that during our most difficult moments, you have been willing to sacrifice so much of yourself, and to do so for the benefit of the nation you love. Whether it was your service in Vietnam, your resilience and grit during five-plus years in the Hanoi Hilton, or your more than 30 years of service as a Congressman and Senator, you have always acted (or appeared to) in a way that put the needs of our nation above your own.

Sadly, today, that same selfless approach is needed – perhaps more than ever. And once again, that need arises with you squarely in the center of the fight.

Posted by Tania Fuentez on February 11, 2013
Nathan's banner on display at Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY

President Barack Obama signed a $50.5 billion emergency relief bill last month for Hurricane Sandy victims affected by the Oct. 29 storm blamed for more than 130 deaths in the U.S. and widespread property damage. Three months later, communities hardest hit, especially in New York and New Jersey, are gradually rebuilding their homes, businesses and livelihoods with the help of state and local government. But, it can't stop there with many still left to cope with massive loss and bureaucratic red tape.

Posted by Tania Fuentez on February 8, 2013
Grand Central Terminal

Grand Central Terminal speaks volumes without saying a word to thousands of travelers passing through its majestic halls every day. This year, the architectural wonder in the heart of Midtown Manhattan celebrates 100 years of public service, with official centennial festivities held on Feb. 1, which marks date the iconic landmark opened in 1913. Poignancy of an all-day re-dedication ceremony was felt as news quickly spread about the death of former New York City Mayor Ed Koch last week.

Posted by Rich Coutinho on February 5, 2013

So, Alex Rodriquez thinks the Yankees and Major League Baseball are conspiring against to get his contract voided. Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry was being coached by George on how to beat a lie detector test. George said, "Remember it is not a lie if you believe it."

Posted by Dominic Carter on February 1, 2013

I will always remember my friend Ed Koch. He made all of us proud to be a New Yorker.

The fact of the matter is they don’t make politicians like Koch anymore. Koch was not a phony. You knew exactly where you stood with him. Over my 30-year relationship with the mayor, he was the same person in private as he was in public.

Every week for many, many years I interviewed Koch on Television. I saw him at his best, and when his health started failing over the years, but Koch would always bounce back.

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