Janet Napolitano

A Kerry appointment would put a Senate seat up for grabs. Can Democrats retain it?

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Today, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano had one of the least-fun jobs in Washington: She had to testify at the House Judiciary Committee’s DHS oversight hearing.  The Republican members of this particular committee—especially the chairman, immigration hardliner Lamar Smith—have found very little to like about the White House’s immigration policy, and, sure enough, the back-and-forth I watched today was less than cordial. But in one important respect, it was revealing. Consider Napolitano’s exchange with Republican Trey Gowdy of South Carolina.

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Last week, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced big news: Effective immediately, eligible undocumented youth are granted deferred action from deportation (a form of administrative relief). This important and sensible step by the Obama administration provides immigrants under the age of 30 who have been in the United States for at least five years and are currently enrolled or have graduated from high school or have been honorably discharged from the U.S.

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This morning brought the biggest immigration news of Barack Obama’s presidency: Effective immediately, hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children will be granted relief from the threat of deportation and will be able to obtain work authorization. To quote Joe Biden, this is a big f-ing deal. Immigration reform advocates, whose mounting discontent over the administration’s policy dysfunction has become a serious political dilemma for the White House, are ecstatic.

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Two indicators I use to confirm whether a brewing government scandal is a trivial media circus are a.) Whether Mitt Romney feels inspired to utter the phrase "clean house"; and b.) Whether Sen.

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Welcome to TNR’s 2011 List Issue. In putting the issue together, we had one major priority: to avoid creating a power list featuring anyone who regularly dominates headlines. Instead, we had a different idea: What if we revealed something about D.C. by documenting who quietly wields power? From there, we began to hatch other ideas for lists, and we realized that—while they can certainly be cheap gimmicks—lists can also convey a lot about a city. Below is the first list from the issue: Washington’s most powerful, least famous people.

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with Courtney Pitman The Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement division just can’t catch a break lately. Amid an extremely partisan national debate, this unit has deported more unauthorized immigrants than any other administration, a fact that immigrant advocates decry as too harsh, and anti-immigration groups seem to overlook during their criticism of Obama’s inaction on immigration enforcement. Further, the administration’s signature effort in immigration enforcement, Secure Communities, is facing increasing opposition on a seemingly daily basis.

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A few years ago, four of the current Republican presidential candidates—Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, and Jon Huntsman—all supported a cap-and-trade approach to cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. In the years since, however, conservatives have made “cap-and-trade” a dirty word, and climate denialism is now de rigueur on the right.

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Requiem for the DLC

After a good quarter-century run, the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) has announced it will close its doors this month. Its original mission has long been accomplished: This small but famous—or, depending on your orientation, infamous—organization was founded in the wake of the 1984 Walter Mondale debacle by two House Democratic Caucus staffers named Al From and Will Marshall, who enlisted an assortment of elected officials with names like Clinton, Gore, Gephardt, Nunn, Babbitt, and Robb.

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Nude Breach

Eight years ago, officials at Orlando International Airport first began testing the millimeter-wave body scanners that are currently at the center of a national uproar. The designers of the scanners at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory offered U.S. officials a choice: naked machines or blob machines? The same researchers had developed both technologies, and both were equally effective at identifying contraband.

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