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Brian Palmer

Entries by Brian Palmer

Here's Why Tipping Should Be Banned: Slate

(987) Comments | Posted July 9, 2013 | 5:45 PM


When wealthy Americans brought home the practice of tipping from their European vacations in the late 19th century, their countrymen considered it bribery. State legislatures quickly banned the practice. But restaurateurs, giddy at the prospect of passing labor costs...

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Rebel Yelp

(7) Comments | Posted February 15, 2013 | 4:22 PM

I knew it was counterintuitive for an African-American (me) to visit Richmond's Museum of the Confederacy two days before Martin Luther King Day and the second inauguration of our first black president. But I went anyway, because I'm on a journey into a past I didn't know I...

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Toure's 'Ni--erization' Charge Against Romney Campaign

(18) Comments | Posted August 20, 2012 | 7:30 PM

Remember this?

"By 1968 you can't say 'nigger' -- that hurts you. Backfires," Republican strategist Lee Atwater remarked in a 1981 interview, quoted years later by Bob Herbert in his New York Times column. "So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff."

With the...

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U.S. Navy PSYOPs -- Now at a Theater Near You!

(17) Comments | Posted March 19, 2012 | 5:46 PM

Psychological operations are planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals. The purpose of psychological operations is to induce or reinforce foreign attitudes and behavior favorable to the originator's...

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O'Keefe vs. NPR: Round One Goes to the Kid

(24) Comments | Posted March 14, 2011 | 3:42 PM

A few of days ago I fired up iTunes on my computer while paying bills. I clicked on the NPR stream to distract me from the acute pain this task causes me.

I wound up at the top of the Diane Rehm Show, which was doing a segment...

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Happy Birthday, AFRICOM!

(0) Comments | Posted October 5, 2009 | 4:44 PM

Last October 1 at a Pentagon ceremony, General William E. "Kip" Ward unfurled a shimmering baby blue flag with a large green Africa-shaped emblem at its center. Smiling dignitaries -- Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen, and others -- looked on....

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Politics, in Ebony and Ivory

(3) Comments | Posted September 28, 2009 | 1:41 PM

A couple of weeks ago I sat in a library at New York University's Tisch School audibly gnashing my teeth. It's a small space, so the sound filled the room. Two colleagues eyed me curiously as I babbled to myself. I was struggling to write about the He-said/He-said that exploded...

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On AP's "Death of a Marine"

(32) Comments | Posted September 14, 2009 | 12:03 PM

The basic facts beneath the controversy are clear:

On August 14, 2009, U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Joshua "Bernie" Bernard was fatally wounded in an ambush in Afghanistan's Helmand province. In the failing evening light, an Associated Press photographer embedded with his unit, Second Battalion/Third Marine Regiment (2/3), shot a photograph...

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Presidential Campaigning on the Down-Low?

(17) Comments | Posted June 27, 2008 | 1:35 PM

As predicted by Obama supporters and detractors alike, the junior senator from Illinois is now catching flak from all sides for each position he takes -- on ethanol; on Israel and AIPAC; on a strategy for ending the US occupation of Iraq; and most recently, his campaign's apparent shunning of...

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We Can Help Burma

(1) Comments | Posted October 8, 2007 | 6:25 PM

The word "issue" -- the Darfur issue, the Iraq issue, the homelessness issue -- is kind of irksome, but it hints at a vital fact: As Americans of a certain economic status and social class, our "issues" are other people's lives. As a journalist and as an American, I struggle...

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Counterinsurgency for Dummies -- and Chickenhawks

(127) Comments | Posted August 18, 2007 | 1:05 PM

"We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms," Kenneth Pollack and Michael O'Hanlon wrote in their now famous July 30, 2007, New York Times opinion piece.

"Today, morale is high," they continued. They spent all of eight days in country.

The writers, former...

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Training Marines How Not to Kill

(27) Comments | Posted July 7, 2006 | 2:41 PM

The young captain herded the Marines of Fox Company into a semicircle in the sand facing a plywood easel from which hung a sheaf of long laminated pages. The first one read: "Cordon and Search Operations." The men were already sweaty and hot from the desert sun, and it wasn't...

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Facts, Fudge & FOIA

(9) Comments | Posted March 25, 2006 | 6:13 PM

President Bush is smack in the middle of another Iraq public-relations blitz, citing the city of Tal Afar as a success story. In the April issue of The Atlantic, journalist Robert Kaplan touts one US Army unit's work in Mosul as a qualified triumph. I have not traveled to Tal...

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Last Thoughts of an Iraq "Embed"

(20) Comments | Posted February 24, 2006 | 5:42 AM

Al Asad Air Base
Anbar Province, Iraq

This is my Iraq swansong, Inshallah. I depart soon with the 230+ US Marines and sailors of C Company - Charlie Co. - an infantry element in the 2300-strong 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit. They are moving on to other military...

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Observations from al Asad, Iraq

(10) Comments | Posted February 22, 2006 | 1:38 PM

Al Asad Air Base
Anbar Province, Iraq

It took me a few moments to realize that the nice men from al Asad Air Base's private security force, SOC SMG, were taking me into custody. The slight but well-armed Ugandan guards who inspected my press ID at the...

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