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Good news for the New Year: According to new research by Washington University in St. Louis and Cornell University, there’s a 1-in-9 chance that a typical American will hit the jackpot and join the wealthiest 1 percent for at least one year in her or his working life. The bad news: That same research says only an elite few get to stay in that economic stratosphere – and nonwhite workers remain among those who face far longer odds.

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Given past voter backlashes against natural disaster responses that were considered to be inept, it's no surprise that New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio and other politicians took aggressive measures to prepare for the megastorm now lashing the East Coast, suggests Andrew Reeves, PhD, an expert on the politics of disaster relief at Washington University in St. Louis.

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President Barack Obama signed a memorandum Jan. 15 directing agencies to allow federal workers to take six weeks of paid sick leave to help with a new child or a sick relative. The president also asked Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act, which would grant Americans seven days a year of paid sick time. Augmenting the Family and Medical Leave Act is one place Congress might start if it wants to combat sex-role stereotypes and advance women’s equal employment opportunity, as well as supporting families in times of illness, say experts at Washington University in St. Louis.

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A commitment to free speech doesn’t justify us in lashing out at innocent people, says Greg Magarian, JD, professor of law and a First Amendment expert at Washington University in St. Louis, in the wake of the terrorist attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in France.MORE

Does the recent decision by President Barack Obama to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba truly represent fresh opportunity? Or is it merely the latest chapter in a long, tortuous narrative of manipulation and misunderstanding? At 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 20, Cuban novelist Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo will discuss “U.S.-Cuba: A New Era or a New Ire?” in the Danforth University Center.

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Falling oil and gasoline prices have prompted some in Congress to debate about increasing the federal fuel tax, which helps fund highway and bridge construction, among other projects. Increasing the tax, which hasn’t been raised since 1993 and isn’t tied to inflation, to help offset revenue lost through lower prices at the pump may seem like a good idea in theory, but it’s much more difficult in practice, says tax law expert Adam Rosenzweig, JD, of Washington University in St. Louis.

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American presidents spend their time in office trying to carve out a prominent place in the nation’s collective memory, but most are destined to be forgotten within 50-to-100 years of their serving as president, suggests a study on presidential name recall released Nov. 27 by the journal Science.MORE
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