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Jeffrey Abelson
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Entries by Jeffrey Abelson

Journalist Herd Mentality

(7) Comments | Posted April 8, 2013 | 1:42 PM

Political Pet Peeves: Chapter One.

How is it that in the last few days I've seen ten articles from all the major newspapers about Obama's proposed budget for the new fiscal year, all of which scream in their headline that he's calling for cuts in Social Security and Medicare --...

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Reflections on Elections

(0) Comments | Posted November 12, 2012 | 9:12 AM

OK, that was fun, in a perverted way. But for all the billions raised and spent -- for all the supercilious TV spots spinning their little hearts out -- where did we end up?

Right back where we started.

And divided we stand, still.

Well, at least we...

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Echos of Leadership

(6) Comments | Posted September 16, 2012 | 5:25 PM

Anniversaries of milestone political events help us reflect on the pivotal moments in our history. And when deserved, they're cause for celebration. But when our nation-birthing, world-changing Constitution turns 225 on Monday, our celebrations and reflections will be muted, at best.

We -- The People -- have other things on...

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Does the Invisible Hand Really Know Best?

(14) Comments | Posted April 24, 2012 | 5:56 PM

Is the free market really free? Or does it come at the expense of civic values we neglect at our peril?

That's one of many questions I found myself pondering after reading What Money Can't Buy: The Moral Limits Of Markets -- the masterful new book by Harvard...

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Chain Reaction

(2) Comments | Posted March 30, 2012 | 1:07 PM

What's the role of art in political consciousness-raising? And when's the last time you really worried about nuclear war?

Views are mixed about the former. But virtually no one shivers about nuclear winter the way we did back in the Cold War era. Which is rather shortsighted, as the Mideast...

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What Would We Do?

(3) Comments | Posted December 12, 2011 | 5:23 PM

At the root of the polarization poisoning American politics is a fierce disagreement over the proper role of government. But do most citizens have a fully reasoned view of what we want government to actually do? Is that part of the problem?

Perhaps a little thought experiment would help.


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Getting Real About the Presidential Reality Show

(0) Comments | Posted December 6, 2011 | 9:33 AM

More people than ever have been tuning in to the Republican presidential debates. Critics claim it's all show biz, that the debates are playing as little more than a new form of Reality Show -- a contest, a drama -- who's up this week? -- who's...

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Debate Reforms With Teeth

(4) Comments | Posted November 14, 2011 | 1:54 PM

While there continued to be much for comedians to ridicule in Saturday night's Republican debate on foreign policy, it must also be said that there were differences -- of a substantive and positive kind -- compared to previous GOP debates. Hosted by CBS and National Journal, and moderated...

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The 2-Party System Is Dead -- What's Next?

(1) Comments | Posted July 25, 2011 | 6:43 PM

Well, it's on. The latest political gold rush to form a viable 3rd party. At the top of the food chain, backed by hedge fund guys, is Amercans Elect, with Thom Friedman as cheerleader-in-chief. At the other end is the lone but sympathetic voice...

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Crowdsourcing for the Common Good

(0) Comments | Posted July 19, 2011 | 8:29 PM

Have you ever dreamed of aliens from outer space invading and forcing us to grow up as a democracy? Sometimes it seems like that's the only way we ever will.

In the midst of extreme economic crisis and a withering of the American Dream, the symptoms of our national...

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Bezos Scholars Program -- Incubating Big Ideas and Model Citizens -- One High School at a Time

(0) Comments | Posted April 11, 2011 | 5:01 PM

"Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple, learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen." -- John Steinbeck --
Most Americans are deeply concerned by the performance of our educational system. Everyone from the president on down worries that students aren't learning the...
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Thinking Outside The Wallet

(1) Comments | Posted November 22, 2010 | 1:23 PM

Words matter.

During the holiday season, as you think about donating to your favorite charities, consider "thinking outside the wallet" as well. That's the message and motivating idea behind -- a wonderful web platform that makes it easy for people to write and read reviews about great...

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The UnConvention

(81) Comments | Posted October 2, 2010 | 11:46 AM

They came, they talked, they listened -- to each other. They were attentive and respectful, with nary a voice raised in anger. A most unconventional political gathering. No, this wasn't a preview of Jon Stewart's Rally To Restore Sanity. It was the first national convention for the Coffee...

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223 Years On (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted September 17, 2010 | 1:09 PM

Today is Constitution Day, aka Citizenship Day -- a federal holiday celebrating the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787. It's also a day to reflect on our extraordinary form of government, and reconnect with what it means to be an active citizen, and why it matters

For, in the...

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A Canary in Democracy's Coal Mine

(12) Comments | Posted September 8, 2010 | 4:20 PM


Since the founding of the republic, editorial cartoons have played a meaningful role in shaping political discourse. But they depended on a flourishing newspaper industry, and comfort with controversy. It should come as no surpise then that political cartooning is a dying...

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Apathy Is Still The Enemy

(0) Comments | Posted August 27, 2010 | 7:36 PM

Well, the Lincoln Memorial Beckanalia has come and gone, and all the handwringing and ridiculing that led up to it has subsided. But there's one critical thing that still needs to be said. Regardless of what you think about Glenn Beck, or his crowd's political views, you at least have...

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What's The Big Idea: Aspen Ideas Fest, Day 1

(1) Comments | Posted July 6, 2010 | 2:32 PM

On the way into idyllic Aspen, I started thinking about these annual gatherings of brilliant, innovative, cutting edge minds, and the Big Ideas they share, and the collegial interaction among the attendees as well as speakers. And I wondered, how can this immense intellectual and inspirational resource, this vital natural...

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Whose Voice Matters Most?

(1) Comments | Posted July 2, 2010 | 4:37 PM

All serious citizens claim to revere Thomas Jefferson. It might be worth noting how deeply rooted were his convictions and faith in the people's ability to govern themselves. A faith justified by what he saw in the common sense of the common man, and a faith in the power of...

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Make Your Voice Heard Without Screaming

(2) Comments | Posted June 22, 2010 | 2:47 PM

From the angry Tea Party crowd on the right -- to disappointed Obama fans on the left -- most concerned citizens are frustrated that they can't seem to make their voices heard by elected officials. Some wave their fists and fume, but the vast majority of Americans grow cynical and...

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The Ties That Bind Soldiers and Citizens

(0) Comments | Posted May 31, 2010 | 2:19 PM

Exactly 2,500 years ago this year, a war was fought that made the world safe for democracy. It's a fitting tale for Memorial Day, for it not only reminds us of the eternal debt we owe our warriors, but is also a much needed object lesson in what it really...

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