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The economy is improving, but not everyone is sharing in the better times

Amid other good news about the U.S. economy — a declining unemployment rate, lower child poverty — the Federal Reserve has just reported that the net worth of U.S. households rose $1.4 trillion, to $81.5 trillion, during the second quarter of 2014. This means that families’ assets, such as homes and stocks, have risen roughly $23 trillion in value since the depths of the “Great Recession” in 2009. Credit the market on Wall Street and recovering real estate prices, both partly attributable to the Fed’s easy-money policies.

Pay voters to get them to polls?

WASHINGTON — The pursuit of perfection is usually foredoomed, but the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, which has a latitudinarian understanding of ethical behavior, has a perfectly awful idea. It is urging the City Council to consider ways of paying — starchier ethicists might call it bribing — people to vote.

‘Worst’ tax code behind corporate flight

It’s not corporate greed or a lack of patriotism that is driving American corporations overseas, as President Barack Obama contends. It’s one of the worst corporate tax codes in the developed world. The cold, hard evidence of that is detailed in a new study ranking the tax competitiveness of 34 industrialized nations.

Obama needs Congress to OK war

WASHINGTON — The United States last declared war many wars ago, on June 5, 1942, when, to clarify legal ambiguities during a world conflagration, it declared war on Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. Today’s issue is not whether to declare war but only whether the president should even seek congressional authorization for the protracted use of force against the Islamic State.

Short on firepower

In launching two previous wars in Iraq, the United States assembled formidable coalitions of dozens of countries. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria and Oman were among the Arab states that deployed substantial ground forces during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Though derided by some as a “unilateral” U.S. action, the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq was supported by troops from 39 countries, nine of which deployed more than 1,000 soldiers.

Football has proven its moral vacancy. It’s time for fans to start quitting.

After decades of soaring popularity and profits, professional football is at a moral crossroads. For decades, the NFL’s entire business model has been predicated on presenting an athletic spectacle so thrilling that fans were willing to ignore the dark side of the game — its extreme and inherent violence, its antiquated gender roles and its nihilistic greed, which places profits above all else, even the health of its players.

The case of two wrongly imprisoned men exposes the flaws of the judicial system

The case of two North Carolina men who spent 30 years in prison — one on death row — for a crime they didn’t commit calls attention once again to the familiar failings in the U.S. justice system that lead to false convictions. As much as we would like to cheer the release of Henry McCollum and his half-brother Leon Brown, we can’t help but be sobered by how long they spent behind bars — and how many other innocent people may remain locked up or susceptible to false arrest and imprisonment.