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With negotiations ongoing between the federal government and freight railroads over what the rules will be as states plan to implement high speed rail on their tracks, it worth looking comprehensively at the state of passenger service in the nation today and its operator, Amtrak. There is, after all, $8 billion in play. Fortunately, author James McCommons has tackled this task by spending a year riding Amtrak routes all across the country and interviewing the regulators, advocates, and businessmen who impact that service along the way. His book, Waiting on a Train, paints a bleak picture.

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A few years ago, I wrote an article on Ralph Nader, and I recall coming across this story from 1980 in the Christian Science Monitor, in which the reporter feels compelled to define "hummus": Mark Green, who's just taken a leave of absence as head of Congress Watch to run for the New York legislature, has watched Nader, too, for years as a friend and disciple. He says, "Ralph reminds me of a camel -- he has the discipline to go for 10 or more hours without eating, but when he does it's in such volume that he seems to be storing it away for the future.

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Nationwide, the economic recovery looks more fragile than it did just a few months ago. GDP is growing at a moderate pace but not nearly as rapidly as at the end of last year. Almost no private sector jobs were created in May. The unemployment rate dipped from 9.9 percent in April to 9.7 percent in May, but mostly because fewer people were looking for work. Nearly half the unemployed in May were out of work for more than six months.

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Daniel Gross writes the most sympathetic testimony I've seen from an American soccer fan. The usual American soccer manifesto consists of bluster about soccer as the sport of the future because lots of American children play it (the same logic would suggest apple juice is the drink of the future) or optimistic predictions about "huge" T.V.

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Practically all the U.S. stars—Landon Donovan, Jozy Altidore, "Oguchi" Onyewu, and Tim Howard—are the children of immigrants or immigrants themselves. But—despite an ever growing tide of immigration from soccer-frenzied Latin America, Hispanic representation on the national side has not kept pace. In fact, many have noted that at times it seems like things have been going in reverse, with the number of Hispanic players actually shrinking—from five when the cup was played on U.S.

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I waited in vain for Orly. We’d spoken twice that day over the phone, and Orly Taitz, leader of the birther movement and candidate for secretary of state in California’s Republican primary, had told me she’d be attending the Republican shindig at the Anaheim Hilton that evening. But that was when the Republican establishment was still in a mild panic over the possibility she would win. I suspect that losing by a disappointing margin—her opponent took about 75 percent of the vote—scotched her initial plans to show up.

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Off to the Races!

Political junkies rejoice! There are twelve states holding elections today, including ten primaries, one runoff, and one special-election runoff. Among these, the contests that have drawn most national attention are in California, South Carolina, Nevada, Iowa, and Arkansas. The following is an overview of why these primaries matter and what you should look for in the results. California: Mega-Money Chases Micro–Voter Interest The Governor's Race As I recently explained for TNR, citizens of the Golden State are in a very bad mood, even by the jaundiced national standards of Election 2010.

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Off to the Races!

Political junkies rejoice! There are twelve states holding elections today, including ten primaries, one runoff, and one special-election runoff. Among these, the contests that have drawn most national attention are in California, South Carolina, Nevada, Iowa, and Arkansas. The following is an overview of why these primaries matter and what you should look for in the results. California: Mega-Money Chases Micro–Voter Interest The Governor's Race As I recently explained for TNR, citizens of the Golden State are in a very bad mood, even by the jaundiced national standards of Election 2010.

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No one who loves his hometown should ever feel the need to explain that it is in fact not a place where souls go to die—but I do, incessantly. It’s a reflex now, developed over a decade of having lived on the east coast, of having a simple statement—“I grew up in LA”—regularly followed by a grimace, or, at best, a sympathetic pursing of the lips. Most New Yorkers and Washingtonians, you see, don’t have a whole lot of respect for Los Angeles.

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Greg Veis on the traditional side of L.A.: No one who loves his hometown should ever feel the need to explain that it is in fact not a place where souls go to die—but I do, incessantly. It’s a reflex now, developed over a decade of having lived on the east coast, of having a simple statement—“I grew up in LA”—regularly followed by a grimace, or, at best, a sympathetic pursing of the lips. Most New Yorkers and Washingtonians, you see, don’t have a whole lot of respect for Los Angeles.

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