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Gara LaMarche
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Gara LaMarche is a Senior Fellow at New York University's Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service and at the Tides Foundation. From 2007 to 2011, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of The Atlantic Phlanthropies. LaMarche has also served as vice president and director of U.S. Programs for the Open Society Foundations (1996-2007). Before joining OSF, LaMarche served as associate director of Human Rights Watch and was director of its Free Expression Project (1990-1996) and the Freedom-To-Write Program of the PEN American Center (1988-1990). From 1976 to 1988, he served in a variety of positions with the American Civil Liberties Union, including associate director of its New York branch (1979-1984) and executive director of the Texas Civil Liberties Union (1984-1988). In 1988-1989, he was a Charles H. Revson Fellow on the Future of the City of New York.

LaMarche is the author of over 100 articles on civil liberties and human rights topics and has been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, the Nation, and the Texas Observer. He is the editor of Speech and Equality: Do We Really Have to Choose? (New York University Press, 1996).

LaMarche chairs the board of StoryCorps and serves on the board of directors of Pro Publica, The Roosevelt Institute and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.

Entries by Gara LaMarche

Christine Quinn Will Be a Great Mayor

(21) Comments | Posted August 12, 2013 | 12:14 PM

A beneficial side-effect of the Anthony Weiner sideshow has been to refocus New York voters on the critical question in the Mayoral race: who is best suited to lead this country's largest, most dynamic, complex, diverse, and global city. After 20 years of Giuliani and Bloomberg, to have a truly...

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Some Thoughts on Men, Women, Children and Work

(0) Comments | Posted July 2, 2012 | 8:23 AM

So far as I can see, men have mostly stayed out of the debate over Anne-Marie Slaughter's Atlantic article, "Why Women Still Can't Have it All." But it seems to me one of the reasons women have this debate -- and too often, in my view, judge one...

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Making the Moral Case for Change

(75) Comments | Posted April 18, 2011 | 5:43 PM

In 1965, Bill Moyers, then a young White House aide, talked with President Lyndon Johnson about a pending bill to provide retroactive Social Security payments to older adults. According to the White House tapes, Moyers argued for the retroactivity clause on the basis that it would boost the economy. But...

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The Time Is Right to End "Zero Tolerance" in Schools

(67) Comments | Posted April 11, 2011 | 2:38 PM

It is too early to know whether the current wave of school reforms will lead to lasting improvements in student achievement. But it is not too early to note that many of these reforms have a troubling consequence: a doubling-down on harsh, ineffective zero-tolerance discipline policies. All too often, the...

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It's Time to Protect and Strengthen Social Security, Not Undermine It

(157) Comments | Posted December 9, 2010 | 11:40 AM

The release of the Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson's draft proposal last month was, for many, the first public announcement that the fate of their Social Security benefits was even up for debate.

Although Congress may not move all of...

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The Road Ahead for Progressives: Back to Basics

(103) Comments | Posted October 13, 2010 | 11:37 AM

Twenty-one months after Barack Obama was inaugurated on a wave of hope for change in America's politics and policies, at least two important and seemingly contradictory things can be said.

First, there has been a series of significant progressive reforms: an economic stimulus bill that contained far-reaching antipoverty, infrastructure, green...

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What We Learned From Health Care

(134) Comments | Posted June 7, 2010 | 7:47 PM

In March, I was honored to watch President Obama's bill signing for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act with a group of labor leaders and reform activists. Around me were advocates who had worked for months -- in some cases decades -- to bring about health care reform. At...

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Obama, Progressives and Health Care Reform

(479) Comments | Posted August 21, 2009 | 7:58 PM

In the last few weeks, a variety of groups have been more forthright in expressing criticisms of the Obama administration now that it is more than half a year old, and disquiet in particular about the direction of the health care reform debate and legislation. The right has risen up...

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Obama and the Left

(356) Comments | Posted May 24, 2009 | 1:46 PM

As the Obama Administration has in recent days taken a couple of steps in the civil liberties/national security area -- opposing release of torture photos and declaring an intent to retain some form of military commissions for terror suspects (while considering a system of preventive detention), the media has had...

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Growling and Kicking for Social Change

(23) Comments | Posted December 8, 2008 | 5:53 PM

I delivered a "call to action" at The Encore Careers Summit at Stanford University on Sunday, December 7th. I called on Americans of all ages and across all economic, racial and ethnic lines to serve the country and to growl and kick when necessary. The Summit brought together people in...

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Keeping Obama's Campaign "Army" Mobilized as a Force for Change in Peacetime

(38) Comments | Posted November 7, 2008 | 6:32 AM

Speaking to tens of thousands of his supporters in Chicago's Grant Park, President-elect Barack Obama said his smashing victory was not about him but about "you." In his effort to unify, he meant all of America, but he also was crediting a very special group of people -- his "peacetime...

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The ACLU Wars Drag On: But Enough is Enough

(4) Comments | Posted October 28, 2006 | 11:03 AM

A few weeks ago I posted some thoughts about the controversy over the American Civil Liberties Union, sparked by the launch of a website, Save the ACLU, in which the former executive director, Ira Glasser, and several former board members call for the resignation of the organization's two...

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Why I Don't Join - or, Why the ACLU Doesn't Need Any Saving

(33) Comments | Posted October 6, 2006 | 11:05 PM

Some weeks ago I posted a brief comment in response to Wendy Kaminer's July 12 post, "How the ACLU Lost its Bearings." I vowed to return to the subject of what is going on in the organization, since I have a vantage point of almost thirty-five years on it -...

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O'Connor and the Polarized U.S.

(1) Comments | Posted July 2, 2005 | 10:07 AM

The unexpected retirement of Justice O'Connor fills many of us with dread. Who would have thought, when this conservative Arizona jurist was appointed by Reagan nearly a quarter-century ago, that she would come to be one of the last lines of defense against extremist government?

As has been endlessly...

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Eastward, NO! A letter from London

(0) Comments | Posted June 24, 2005 | 6:58 AM

For some reason bad public policies seem to travel east. Draconian tax and social services cuts, xenophobic immigration policies, three-strikes-and-you're out laws, curbs on affirmative action -- all these started with benighted California initiatives and spread out across the country. Here in England this week, the export version of bad...

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