Latest commentary

Commentary: Steve Schmidt faces heat after 'Game Change'

Some conservatives speak volumes as they try to pillory Steve Schmidt, the strategist who helped run John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign and lately has been getting attention thanks to Woody Harrelson's portrayal of him in the movie, "Game Change." | 03/22/12 06:03:34 By - Dan Morain

Commentary: Time to cut our losses in Afghanistan

During his campaign, President Obama pledged a revitalized effort in Afghanistan. That was the war that mattered, he said; President George W. Bush took his eye off the ball when he invaded Iraq. | 03/22/12 06:08:44 By - E. Thomas McClanahan

Commentary: 'The Boss' delivers his state of our union

It begins with big drums, a guitar seesawing beneath like a deck rolling in high seas. It ends with a fuzz of static and feedback, a hiss of promises broken and a mortgage on the future. In the 13 songs that unfold in between, one of the elder statesmen of American popular music delivers what might fairly be called a State of the Union Address. | 03/21/12 07:01:17 By - Leonard Pitts Jr.

Commentary: Tuareg rebels seek Sahara state

The fabled Blue Men of the Sahara — the Tuaregs — have been trading in their traditional camels for jeeps in recent years. But this year they traded in their daggers and rifles for Kalashnikovs and rockets supplied by the late Libyan strongman Muamar Gadhaffi. | 03/21/12 06:02:56 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: We must not excuse Afghan killings in search for why it happened

At what point does our need to understand the horrific acts attributed to Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales deteriorate into a need to absolve? It is natural to look at the photo of the earnest soldier, to read his biography, to listen to his friends and family and wonder how it could be the same man now accused of war crimes. | 03/20/12 07:45:07 By - Peter Callaghan

Commentary: Santorum isn't the only one needing Puerto Rico history lessons

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum's brief island hop to Puerto Rico last week didn't turn out well for the former Pennsylvania senator. | 03/20/12 07:21:05 By - J.R. Labbe

Commentary: Two warlords, American policy hypocrisy and the power of social media

Two African warlords were in the news in the last week and they did more than remind the world of their barbarity. One demonstrated the power of the social media. The other demonstrated the hypocrisy of the United States. | 03/20/12 06:06:45 By - Dennis Jett

Commentary: This insane war on women

Women get a lot of lip service about being equal and fully valued members of society, although sometimes we have to wonder. | 03/19/12 12:07:28 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Memories of my brother

Eighteen years ago this week I lost the person closest to me in the world.

That was my year-younger brother James. He died at age 47 of a brain aneurism in Eugene, Ore., where he was working and going to school. | 03/13/12 16:27:07 By - Mike Tharp

Commentary: Rick Perry and Super Tuesday 'what ifs'

For now, Rick Santorum is living out Gov. Rick Perry's dream.

Six months ago, this looked to be Perry's week. | 03/05/12 12:28:21 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Santorum's distortion of JFK's church-state speech

An election for president of the United States shouldn't be decided on who can spout more Bible verses, make more promises to dictate policy according to his church's tenets or insist that he's holier than thou. | 03/02/12 06:10:10 By - Linda P. Campbell

Commentary: The Girl Scout couldn't ask for better publicity

With the Dow near 13,000 and home sales up, one Indiana Republican found a new election-year issue.

Instead of jobs or the economy, state Rep. Bob Morris zeroed in on the greatest threat to America as we know it:

The Girl Scouts. | 02/24/12 12:52:18 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Egypt loves and hates foreign aid

The criminal trial of 16 Americans and 27 others will start Feb. 26 on charges they ran unlicensed foreign aid programs aimed at overthrowing the Egyptian government or increasing U.S. influence in the country. | 02/24/12 06:07:01 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: Florida, this is insanity

Thank God for Texas. Else we’d rank as the most barbaric backwater in the nation. Even infamously unenlightened states like Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina spend more per capita on mental health than Florida. | 02/23/12 12:22:08 By - Fred Grimm

Commentary: Learning lessons from Jeremy Lin

What can a Chinese-American Harvard graduate who's suddenly exploded as a National Basketball Association star with the New York Knicks teach us Mercedians? A lot. | 02/20/12 11:42:58 By - Mike Tharp

Commentary: Another John Glenn needed for U.S. space program

Two old heroes remembered their fellow Project Mercury astronauts, the ones who are gone now. And something else, something crucial, something gone missing from the American space program. | 02/20/12 10:27:35 By - Fred Grimm

Commentary: A 'leftist agenda' on every street corner

Who'd have thought Fort Worth's efforts to spruce up inner-city neighborhoods were part of a U.N. plot to rob us hard-working Americans of all we hold dear?

That head-scratching conclusion is where the dots might lead if you connect them in the way U.S. Senate hopeful Ted Cruz wants you to. | 02/17/12 06:05:07 By - Linda P. Campbell

Commentary: We can't ignore China's human rights record

China's one-party government is undergoing a leadership change, and both the United States and China have an interest in building constructive relationships. | 02/16/12 14:00:38 By -

Commentary: N.C. dad shoots daughter's laptop to show he cares

Any hardworking, caring parent who has fought the urge to knock teeth down a rebellious teenage throat through which ungratefulness is spewing understands why Tommy Jordan shot his daughter's laptop computer.

That's right. Shot it. Nine times. With his .45. Not that the gun or the bullets are the subject here. They are just the exclamation point on the end of the sentence. | 02/15/12 13:46:37 By - Burgetta Wheeler

Commentary: Why didn't GOP question CPAC panelist's alleged white supremacist ties?

Memo to the GOP: White supremacists no longer announce themselves by marching hooded and torching crosses.

Last week, GOP officials were told that a former leader of a group preaching the genetic superiority of white people would appear on a panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference in D.C. | 02/13/12 13:07:00 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Egypt's democracy falters

I am not surprised that the Egyptians are scurrying around trying to crush U.S. democracy programs like an elephant trying to step on a mouse. | 02/10/12 13:13:01 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: Obama, Congress must fill lower federal court openings

Now that the 112th Senate has convened in the 2012 presidential election year for its second session, this is an ideal moment to analyze lower federal court judicial selection. | 02/09/12 15:23:55 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: Kansas has no excuses for food stamp debacle

Kansas is running out of excuses. Social and Rehabilitation Services officials are digging in their heels, defending a change in how food stamps are allotted.

Kansas used to handle the benefits in a morally responsible manner. Now, hundreds if not thousands of U.S.-born children have been severed from aid. | 02/06/12 12:22:43 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: So much for capping CEO salaries

Homeowners suffering the consequences of the crash should take a deep breath, and consider what the CEO of one of the biggest recipients of a taxpayer bailout considered a hardship. | 02/06/12 06:02:06 By - Dan Morain

Commentary: Foreign policy football

Foreign policy is the sensitive and sometimes explosive way we interact with the other 200 countries in the world. It should be a thoughtful, reasoned and passionate defense of American values while showing respect to our allies and firm logic to our enemies. | 02/03/12 14:14:14 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: Lou Dobbs' 'activist judges' rant becomes Daily Show shtick

I'm still perplexed about what Texas redistricting case Lou Dobbs was talking about.

On Monday night, Dobbs took a Jon Stewart metaphor about wealthy people "gerrymandering" themselves into continued prosperity and veered into spouting "facts" about Texas redistricting that were -- to put it politely -- totally fabricated. | 02/03/12 11:40:14 By - Linda P. Campbell

Commentary: Taiwan should get OK to buy F-16s

Vice President Joe Biden is in Fort Worth today for two private fundraising events for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign.

Given that Tarrant County ranks second only to Orange County, Calif., for its deep-red Republican hue, there probably wasn't a need to book the convention center. | 02/01/12 11:59:14 By - J.R. Labbe

Commentary: It's Mitt's assertion that he is not anti-immigrant that is repulsive

The squawking heads were all in such a rush to declare Mitt Romney the winner of the debate on Thursday night that they forgot to listen to what he actually said.

Romney, in parrying Newt Gingrich's charge that he is the most anti-immigrant candidate, forcefully declared: "I'm not anti-immigrant. My father was born in Mexico. My wife's father was born in Wales. They came to this country. The idea that I'm anti-immigrant is repulsive." | 01/31/12 07:05:52 By - Dennis Jett

Commentary: Newt may be the Democrats' dream candidate

If you're a Democrat, here's what you're thinking before the Florida's Republican primary:

Pinch me. | 01/31/12 06:02:03 By - Carl Hiaasen

Commentary: Is GOP wary of Newt going rogue?

Fellow Republicans are fretful indeed these days, with the race for the presidential nomination having turned into what a few commentators have called a "circular firing squad." The question, after Newt Gingrich's take-no-prisoners, brawling win in the South Carolina primary, is not just, "Who will win?" but "Will the nomination be worth having?" We will tell you now that it will be, as you shall see from our optimistic prognostication. | 01/28/12 06:00:18 By - Jim Jenkins

Commentary: The movie of Joe Paterno's life

I frequently contemplate death. It’s a hazard of my chosen profession and the result of being part of a family that has seen death come in too many ways to ignore. | 01/27/12 12:27:11 By - Issac J. Bailey

Commentary: The drug war next door shouldn't be ignored

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Barack Obama talked about the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, but didn't say a word about a war that is taking place next door, and that is killing more people than the others: the drug-related war in Mexico and Central America. | 01/27/12 11:18:04 By - Andres Oppenheimer

Commentary: 'Birthers' nonsense sets Georgia up for ridicule — again

We will risk the fairly safe assumption, as this is being written, that Air Force One did not make an appearance at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport sometime Thursday. | 01/27/12 09:09:35 By -

Commentary: Thanks to Gingrich, Washington state's caucuses might be relevant

Newt Gingrich has accomplished something I didn't think was possible.

I don't mean his return from the political graveyard to win the South Carolina Republican primary on Saturday, as significant as that is. | 01/25/12 06:16:28 By - Peter Callaghan

Commentary: Remembering Joe Paterno

The pain and suffering are over for Joe Paterno. | 01/23/12 13:59:53 By -

Commentary: Gingrich should learn that the poor already work hard

I wish Newt Gingrich had met Kendra Keel.

Gingrich, the Republican presidential candidate who has shot up in state polls before Saturday’s crucial S.C. primary, and Keel, a founding member of the Myrtle Beach group Mothers Against Violence, both attended Monday’s King Day breakfast and community awards banquet. | 01/20/12 14:42:43 By - Issac J.Bailey

Commentary: An off the record meeting for 500 journalists?

A day after the Democratic National Convention Committee reiterated that Charlotte's gathering would be "the most open and accessible in history," 500 media representatives were given a tour Wednesday of their September digs. | 01/20/12 13:34:18 By - Mark Washburn

Commentary: The stained-glass ceiling halted Perry's presidential run

When hillbilly bandleader W. Lee "Pass the Biscuits, Pappy" O'Daniel quit the U.S. Senate in 1948, he promised to go home.

"I might start a fiddle band," he said. | 01/20/12 07:36:18 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Could Libertarian Gary Johnson shake up the presidential race?

A candidate from the Southwest looks like a shoo-in for the fall ballot. But he won't be a Texan, or named Perry or Paul.

Three weeks after he declared himself "liberated" from Republicans, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson is proving that you can quit and still get ahead. | 01/19/12 08:52:18 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Will Colbert Nation make its point about super PACs in S.C. primary?

What's more likely to call attention to the outrage that is the super PAC: a bunch of Occupiers showing up at federal courthouses Friday — or Colbert Nation upending Saturday's South Carolina Republican primary by voting for Herman Cain? | 01/19/12 07:35:34 By - Linda P. Campbell

Commentary: Colbert's super PAC shows political spending is so sad it's funny

Stephen Colbert is making a mockery of political spending in the 2012 election. This seems to be the only sensible response. Mocking is what's called for. | 01/17/12 06:11:36 By - Tommy Tomlinson

Commentary: South Carolina as a GOP model for the nation?

The broad concepts the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination will tout on the stage at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center Monday night have been preached for almost a quarter of a century in South Carolina.

Taxes are low. Labor unions have been defanged. | 01/16/12 14:53:39 By - Issac J.Bailey

Commentary: Iran gives the West a gift

The most recent threat by Iran to block the Strait of Hormuz and choke off the flow of the world's oil supply, while frightening to some, really represents a golden opportunity. | 01/16/12 13:56:27 By - Paul V. Kane

Commentary: The spirit of MLK lives in Occupy movement

If Martin Luther King Jr. were somehow able to attend Lexington's annual celebration of his birth Monday, where would he spend his time? | 01/16/12 13:06:25 By - Tom Eblen

Commentary: Is MLK a safe icon or radical organizer?

It’s a case of mistaken identity.

At last count, 893 streets in the United States (and another two in Puerto Rico) have been renamed for Martin Luther King Jr. | 01/16/12 07:13:34 By - Fred Grimm

Commentary: Hispanic voters will be Romney's biggest problem

Republican hopeful Mitt Romney will have two big problems if, as expected, he clinches the Republican nomination for the November election: his business background and Hispanic voters.

While most of the media focus on the first, Romney’s biggest problem will be the second. | 01/12/12 14:11:19 By - Andres Oppenheimer

Commentary: Federal court keeps Oklahoma from discriminating against Muslims

Thank goodness for Oklahoma.

Every time Texas begins to feel like some remote backwater -- say, during a presidential campaign -- Oklahoma is right there to make Texans feel downright civilized. | 01/12/12 06:01:53 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: In breast cancer battle, exercise can save lives and dollars

In the battle against breast cancer, there's one self-defense tool that every woman should be wielding. Exercise. And with the direct national cost for breast cancer care in the United States at $16.5 billion yearly, we need to be instituting public policies and community strategies that help ensure that she can. | 01/11/12 06:02:26 By - Helen Durkin

Commentary: Occupy Washington fights the cold

Early in the pre-dawn hours of Jan 5, Park Police went from tent to tent in the freezing night to wake up sleeping Occupy Washington protestors at Freedom Plaza, a block away from the White House. But they were not about to evict the 100 people camping there for three months hoping to "get big money out of politics" as they say. | 01/10/12 12:48:56 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: Paul is picking up evangelical voters from Perry

Once, he led a prayer rally called The Response.

Now, Gov. Rick Perry is The Reject. | 01/10/12 11:43:41 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Even I coulda been a contenda in GOP field

If nothing else, the presidential candidates who dominated the news in 2011 brought an old guy a new revelation. Made me feel like Brando. Made me feel like shouting from the waterfront, “I coulda been somebody.” (“Instead of a bum, which is what I am.”) | 01/03/12 12:06:51 By - Fred Grimm

Commentary: A Christmas box full of youthful memories

This Christmas, I am doing something different for gifts. Some gifts, anyway. I have a suitcase of letters from my college years and the years immediately after, the mid and late '60s. I am sending them back to the people who wrote them -- when I can. | 12/24/11 06:48:42 By - Michael Carey

Commentary: Wounded Warrior Project helps veterans to keep on winning

A war is over, but not the pain. "When you lose both legs, you think you can't do anything," said Dan Nevins, an Iraq war veteran with a story to tell.

"The wounds last a lifetime." | 12/22/11 14:17:51 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Our debate over Iraq has been quieted by 9 years of war

After this past weekend’s rather quiet end to the war in Iraq, it is kind of hard to remember how loud we were at the start.

The last detachment of American troops left early Sunday under a cover of darkness. Reporters on the ride into Kuwait described the troops as proud but also relieved, marking the significant moment modestly. | 12/21/11 06:12:18 By - Peter Callaghan

Commentary: Kim Jong Il's North Korea was absurd, cruel, tragic and dangerous

As if the world did not face enough uncertainty at the end of 2011, we received the news on Sunday night that North Korea’s Kim Jong Il died. As is common for the sadly surreal nation, the information came wrapped up in confusing and absurd nondetails, with reports indicating the 69-year-old died of exhaustion on a train. | 12/20/11 12:10:54 By - Frida Ghitis

Commentary: Ike wouldn't like today's GOP

Republicans like Nelson Rockefeller and Dwight Eisenhower must be spinning in their graves. They have to be wondering just how their party has degenerated into the midget of the month club. | 12/19/11 06:05:43 By - Dennis Jett

Commentary: Marine Corp brass did a disservice to Dakota Meyer

The Marine Corps has done a disservice to its most recent recipient of the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for bravery in combat. | 12/19/11 06:24:27 By -

Commentary: Remembering Iraq's mass graves

As U.S. forces leave Iraq, let us not forget that one reason troops were sent there to kill and to die was to end 20 years of mass slaughter by Saddam Hussein’s forces, a mission that has been accomplished. | 12/18/11 06:29:04 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: Dakota Meyer's heroism didn't need embellishing

You might hope, after the tragic Pat Tillman fiasco, that government and military leaders had learned some painful but lasting lessons about bogus accounts of combat operations, and the heroism that brave Americans often display under the most terrifying of circumstances. Apparently not. | 12/16/11 13:29:10 By -

Commentary: Fun in Iowa with the GOP

or Newt Gingrich, it was his first night as prime-time headliner instead of crusty sitcom sidekick.

For Mitt Romney, it was his first round on the ropes in a prizefight that might last till August.

But for voter Mary Morter, 74, of Des Moines, it was another chance to torment visiting politicians. | 12/12/11 14:15:22 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: 'He is our president'

It had been a good Thanksgiving, and the day after, I was sitting in a small coffee shop way out west getting ready to resume the drive back to Raleigh. The television was turned to a news station, and President Obama was commenting on something to do with foreign policy (the volume was too low to discern what exactly). | 12/12/11 11:42:25 By - Jim Jenkins

Commentary: Sorry GOP but Jesus would side with 'Occupy' folks

'Tis the season to mix politics and religion.

GOP candidates are working fervently to stake out their free market credentials in advance of the inconveniently scheduled Iowa caucuses. “Occupy” protesters are refusing to go in from the cold. You knew it was only a matter of time before somebody brought Jesus into the argument. | 12/12/11 06:06:27 By - Barbara Shelly

Commentary: Deliver us from the overly devout

Count me among those pulling for Tim Tebow. Frankly, I don’t think the former University of Florida star now playing for the Denver Broncos has much of a chance at long-term stardom in the NFL, at least not as a quarterback. But right now he’s winning, and he’s exciting, and I like the kid.

Here’s what he isn’t: He isn’t a doctrinal obligation on anybody’s part to root for his team or his success because he’s a Christian. | 12/07/11 12:54:11 By - Dusty Nix

Commentary: Obama builds on Bush's AIDS project

World AIDS Day, on Dec. 1, was truly remarkable this year for several reasons -- mostly good, but at least one bad thing.

It was the day George W. Bush returned to Africa, a continent that benefited greatly from his unprecedented HIV/AIDS initiative; President Barack Obama committed to a major increase in funding for treatment of HIV here at home; and Magic Johnson included Tarrant County's AIDS Outreach Center as a partner in opening a new AIDS health clinic in Fort Worth. | 12/06/11 06:07:36 By - Bob Ray Sanders

Commentary: The life of an embedded reporter

The nature of war and warriors seldom changes. The ways wars are fought do change. And the way they're covered by the news media has shape-shifted a lot since the Vietnam War.

I've been lucky to have witnessed the generational changes up close and personal -- sometimes too close and too personal. | 12/05/11 14:17:26 By - Mike Tharp

Commentary: World forum in Korea aims to improve aid

Three thousand leaders from 160 countries went to Busan, Korea, last week to hammer out a new way to improve the delivery of foreign aid to billions of people around the world trapped in poverty, hunger, disease, ignorance and the other cancers of underdevelopment. | 12/05/11 11:10:14 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: Burma wakes up

The Arab Spring may be foundering in the Middle East as democracy struggles to take root from Tunisia to Syria to Iraq, but in Southeast Asia, a new democratic Spring has just been born. | 11/21/11 14:23:56 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: Only in Congress would pizza become a vegetable

See if you can score higher on this pop quiz than members of the U.S. Congress.

How much tomato paste must one slather onto a slice of pizza for it to qualify as a nutritionally adequate serving of vegetables for low-income schoolchildren? | 11/18/11 12:38:15 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Kamal Saleem's tales of terrorism don't jibe

Forrest Gump of the Middle East is the questionable keynote speaker at the Independence mayor’s prayer breakfast. Wherever Islamic terrorism reigned, the now-Christian Kamal Saleem claims to have been there, waging jihad on Israel, the Soviets, and later, America. | 11/18/11 06:11:04 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Penn State's Gilded Age

This story from Penn State is a blood diamond. So many facets, so many different angles, all of them uncomfortable to think about.

There's the hold that big-time sports has on our culture. I say this as a fan: The games matter far too much to far too many. Coaches and stars are our secular gods. Nobody in the state of Pennsylvania was as loved or as powerful as Joe Paterno. | 11/15/11 13:57:57 By - Tommy Tomlinson

Commentary: It's time to act on Iran's nuclear threat

Since the Nov. 8, 2011, release of the International Atomic Energy Agency's latest report about Iran's nuclear program, Tehran has waged an all-out campaign to dismiss the IAEA's findings, while implicitly threatening the world with a terrorist response. "Iran will respond with full force to any aggression or even threats in a way that will demolish the aggressors from within," Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said. | 11/15/11 11:56:14 By - Alireza Jafarzadeh

Commentary: What the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street really have in common

A number of commentators have struggled to link the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street protestors. Both groups seem to be grassroots, spontaneous expressions of popular discontent. They appear to occupy opposite ends of the political spectrum, however, and have different takes on the cause of, and the solution for, their unhappiness. | 11/15/11 06:13:51 By - Dennis Jett

Commentary: Putting religious group's campaign against contraception into context

First marketed in 1960, the birth control pill soon became the most popular form of contraception in the United States. However, the pill was still not available to every woman who wanted it. Religious groups lobbied in favor of laws that banned all contraception, and it was not until 1965 that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in Griswold v. Connecticut, that the right to contraception was protected by the Constitution. | 11/13/11 06:00:56 By - Sarah Lipton-Lubet

Commentary: Paterno's stubborn loyalty led to his downfall

Joe Paterno stayed too long. His ethical ideals had become rusty and the paint was peeling on his uncompromising principles. He placed a pail under the leak in the ceiling and looked the other way. | 11/12/11 06:49:50 By - Linda Robertson

Commentary: Penn State scandal reveals methods of predators

This column usually is devoted to the weekend’s big game or news in college sports. Coaches, players or administrators typically have voice here as a football Saturday approaches. But this isn’t a typical football eve. Because we continue to grasp what feels like the biggest scandal in college sports history, a story so vile it’s almost beyond belief, only voices like Jeanetta Issa’s should matter. | 11/11/11 14:25:29 By - Blair Kerkhoff

Commentary: I won't forgive Joe Paterno

Joe Paterno is an American icon, winner of more games than any other coach in the history of college football.

And now I can’t look at him without wanting to clench a fist. | 11/11/11 01:41:50 By - John McGrath

Commentary: Morality took a back seat to sporting glory at Penn State

Five years before scandal overwhelmed Penn State, we saw devotion to school sports trump morality right here Miami-Dade County. A sexual crime against a child was shrugged off. Laws were ignored. Cops weren’t notified. | 11/11/11 06:09:21 By - Fred Grimm

Commentary: Why didn't Joe Paterno do more?

As the flames rise with the noise, all of it threatening to engulf a legend, the old coach remains forever stubborn. Quit? That’s not what Penn State football coach Joe Paterno teaches, not what he knows, not who he is, so he’ll fight until the very end, and here’s what will happen: The winningest coach in the history of college football is about to lose, and he’s about to lose big. His job, his reputation, his desire to finish on his terms, his decades of work, the way he defines himself, his entire legacy — all of it is about to go up in a smoldering bonfire of flames unlike we’ve ever seen in college sports. | 11/09/11 13:06:09 By - Dan LeBatard

Commentary: Cain doesn't get that journalists' code of ethics is about asking questions

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, engulfed in a growing sexual harassment controversy, tried to put the issue to rest Saturday following a one-on-one debate in Houston with rival Newt Gingrich. Reporters tried to ask Cain about the allegations brought by three women that he had engaged in unwanted sexual behavior toward them while he headed the National Restaurant Association. | 11/09/11 12:42:23 By - Bob Ray Sanders

Commentary: It's time to ignore Herman Cain

There are plenty of reasons not to take Herman Cain seriously as a presidential candidate. There is one, however, that is rarely mentioned. And it is more important than the ones the media are talking about. | 11/09/11 11:49:33 By - Dennis Jett

Commentary: Scandal offers a view into Herman Cain's character

I see the makings of another best-seller in the recent travails of presidential candidate Herman Cain.

This one might be titled, “Owning Up To The Past: How My Failed Bid for the White House Taught Lessons in Humility and Self-Awareness.” When the dust settles, Cain will have to take responsibility for how poorly he has handled the allegations that he sexually harassed women while head of the National Restaurant Association. It will be interesting to see how Cain — a propagator of the slogan “CEO of Self” — files this episode. | 11/08/11 12:48:55 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: In Perry's viral video, the crowd loved the 'animated' Texan

Every Texan I know was loopy last Friday.

It just happened that one of us had to give a speech. On the night after we all stayed up late for a cataclysmic event hereafter known only as Game 6, Gov. Rick Perry had to give a keynote speech that has since turned into a sour note. | 11/04/11 12:19:18 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Markets became false gods

When the Cold War ended in 1989 and Central Europe and Russia abandoned Socialism, some in America saw that as a vindication for free markets and capitalism as the only legitimate way of economic life. | 11/02/11 06:07:14 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: Perry's Texas tax overhaul isn't right for U.S.

If Gov. Rick Perry's flat-tax plan is anything like his tax policy in Texas, don't get your hopes up. It will be too simple to solve the problem and too good to be true.

Perry hopes that a bold idea will revive his struggling presidential campaign. But even some conservatives slammed the flat-tax proposal that he made last week, saying it wouldn't raise enough revenue to pay down the deficit. | 11/01/11 06:09:26 By - Mitchell Schnurman

Commentary: The Wall Street Journal - News Corp.'s other scandal

The really interesting question about the waning days of Rupert Murdoch’s reign over News Corp., his global media empire, is just how much irreparable harm his regime will do to the marquee institutions it controls that preceded him and deserve to survive. | 10/31/11 06:02:13 By - Edward Wasserman

Commentary: Perry's preacher Jeffress drives his point home

Southern Baptists and Mormons are really different. Was anybody not clear on that?

Just in case, the Rev. Robert Jeffress of Dallas has been on every TV network lately except Animal Planet, explaining that Southern Baptist doctrine calls several faiths a "cult" and claiming that he wasn't just trash-talking Mitt Romney to help Rick Perry win the Republican presidential nomination. | 10/28/11 12:06:32 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Putting our political squabbles into perspective

If you were born in the United States in 1969, you've lived under eight presidents - Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II and Obama. But if you had been born in Libya in 1969, you would've lived your entire life, until last week, under one ruler - Moammar Gadhafi. | 10/27/11 06:09:17 By - Tommy Tomlinson

Commentary: Nicaragua is heading for disaster

As the word spread across the world last week that Libya’s weird and homicidal Moammar Gadhafi had breathed his last, the reactions ranged from somber relief to rapturous glee — except in Nicaragua, where President Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista party were plunged into grief by the demise of a longtime pal. | 10/26/11 12:58:35 By - Glenn Garvin

Commentary: The Patriot Act, cyber-edition

Cybersecurity is the new buzzword in Washington, capturing a wide range of potential responses to internet-related threats both real and imagined. Congress is starting to play a role, considering legislation that purports to make cyberspace more secure. But many of the solutions being offered echo those of the deeply flawed Patriot Act, enacted ten years ago this month. | 10/24/11 09:37:57 By - Zachary Katznelson

Commentary: Shalit deal was about Israel's soul

An editor looking over one of the articles I wrote about the release of Gilad Shalit asked me if I thought Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu made a deal with Hamas seeking to boost his popularity. The question is fair, I suppose. After all, Netanyahu, like most politicians, makes many decisions with an eye to political consequences. But the Shalit decision was not about politics. It was about Israel’s soul as a nation. | 10/21/11 12:19:31 By - Frida Ghitis

Commentary: Rick Perry gets his swagger back

Gov. Rick Perry is back in the saddle.

Zeroing in on Mitt Romney like a prairie varmint and telling Herman Cain that they'll be "bumpin' tax plans" soon, Perry rode back into the middle of the Republican presidential race Tuesday night with some of his old swagger and his saddlebags still full of cash. | 10/19/11 13:40:13 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Ladies in White founder Laura Pollán's legacy of courage

In Miami, Havana and cities around the world where she touched hearts and changed views on Cuba, Laura Pollán is being remembered as a woman of exceptional courage. | 10/19/11 12:17:14 By - Fabiola Santiago

Commentary: Wheldon's death is IndyCar's 'Earnhardt moment'

The horrifying death of IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon in a 15-car crash Sunday in Las Vegas needs to serve as a wakeup call to that racing series - its own sad version of an "Earnhardt moment." | 10/18/11 12:50:56 By - Scott Fowler

Commentary: Wall Street occupiers aren't from outer space

After three weeks of occupation protests spreading from Wall Street to Seattle and now to Washington, I felt I had to visit — if only for old time’s sake — to see if it was a revival of the protests I saw during the Vietnam War and the Nixon’s administration. | 10/14/11 14:19:36 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: When Second Amendment and states' rights clash

Rep. Dan Lungren has a decision to make.

Lungren must weigh his background as a former California attorney general and his belief in states' rights against the hard reality that he will anger the National Rifle Association if he votes against the NRA's top priority, a bill that would dramatically weaken California's strict gun laws. | 10/14/11 10:54:06 By - Dan Morain

Commentary: Rick Perry is no Ronald Reagan on the debate stage

Rick Perry rode into this presidential race eight weeks ago looking like Ronald Reagan. Instead, he's turned into Cosmo Kramer. Awkward and often confused, he has become less of a participant in the Republican debates than a comic sidekick doing walk-ons, shouting about how we're "sittin' on a treasure-trove of energy!" and then grinning for applause. | 10/12/11 07:35:23 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Death of Samir Khan was also a U.S. family's loss of a son

What should we say to the Khan family?

They live in northeast Charlotte, in a middle class community, and in the five years before my family moved last year, they were my neighbors. They lived down the road and around the bend, and they had a son who played basketball in the street. I probably drove by him, and I’m sure I’ve waved at his parents driving by my home, but I don’t remember. | 10/11/11 06:15:51 By - Peter St. Onge

Commentary: Hitler comparison is always out of bounds

Are you ready for some fallout?

This week’s poster boy for political incivility is country singer Hank Williams Jr. During a frequently awkward “Fox and Friends” interview Monday, Williams said President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner’s “golf summit” last summer was analogous to a pairing of Adolf Hitler and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. | 10/10/11 15:05:32 By - Michael Smerconish

Commentary: At least Bank of America's $5 debit card fee is easy to understand

OK, if everyone else is going to zag, let me zig. We shouldn't be pounding Bank of America for this new $5 monthly debit card fee. We should be applauding them. And here's why:

Finally, BofA is trying to make money in a way we can understand. | 10/10/11 14:22:31 By - Tommy Tomlinson

Commentary: There's some anger behind 'Occupy Wall Street'

You wonder why there's an Occupy Wall Street? "Rachel" can tell you. Rachel is not her real name. She doesn't want it used because she's holding down two jobs -- and wants to keep both.

Like Howard Beale in the 1976 movie "Network," she's mad as hell and is not going to take this anymore. | 10/10/11 14:01:26 By - Mike Tharp

Commentary: Sen. Rand Paul's credibility gap

Sen. Rand Paul was in the news last week for single-handedly blocking a pipeline safety bill that had bipartisan and industry support. He's in the news again this week for single-handedly blocking benefits to refugees who are in this country legally but are too disabled or old to work. | 10/07/11 13:07:09 By -

Commentary: Steve Jobs' remarkable vision and legacy

Steve Jobs was that rarest and most extraordinary of Californians, a man who in his 56 years helped transform an industry and left his imprint on us all. | 10/06/11 12:04:36 By -

Commentary: Mocking 'Occupy Wall Street' protests is easy now, but later?

An autumn chill sets on Liberty Memorial as the “occupation” prepares to bed down for the night on the grass adjacent to the Federal Reserve Bank. | 10/06/11 07:16:37 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: 9/11 conspiracy theories and the 'alleged' Boston Massacre

I was flying to Boston last week and found an article in a news magazine on a recent conference at Toronto’s Ryerson University.

“The International Hearings on the Events of September 11, 2001,” was the pretty impressive title. I guess it’s “international” because some of the participants were from the United States and the conference was in Canada. | 09/30/11 13:42:50 By - Peter Callaghan

Commentary: Fighting noncommunicable diseases in our own backyard

Call it an epidemic or call it a challenge of epidemic proportions. But when nearly two-thirds of all deaths around the globe are due to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), there’s no dancing around the fact that we’ve got a manifest problem. | 09/29/11 11:09:33 By - Joe Moore

Commentary: There is no threat from gay marriage

I went to the gay parade Saturday, and guess what? I still like women. So what is it, exactly, that y'all are so afraid of?

And why? Hmmm? | 09/27/11 13:12:45 By - Barry Saunders

Letter to the editor: UNRWA response to 'Eternal Palestinian Refugees' commentary

It is unfortunate that rather than share factual insights based on even the most elementary research and fact-checking, Mr. Ben Barber chooses to rehash old and repeatedly discredited charges against UNRWA — the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. | 09/27/11 09:21:36 By - Matthew A. Reynolds

Commentary: Rick Perry is a little late to the GOP debate

Rick Perry has gone from the piñata to the punch line.

Three debates into the Perry for president campaign, the governor vanished for much of the night Thursday, except when Mitt Romney was delivering a critical reading of Perry's book. | 09/23/11 14:07:22 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Keep your government hands off my french fries

I am bravely stepping forward to defend the besieged french fry.

This delectable morsel of fried tuber is under attack from all quarters these days. Even the president's wife is badgering restaurants to, if not delete entirely, at least offer substitutes for french fries. | 09/23/11 12:38:40 By - Wally Spiers

Commentary: Eternal Palestinian refugees

As Palestinians seek recognition as a state from the UN this week, many wonder what impact such a move might have on the 4.6 million Palestinians who are refugees from the 1948 Israel War of Independence or their descendants. | 09/22/11 14:46:44 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: Time to fill 92 lower court openings

Now that the Senate has returned from its summer break, this is an ideal moment to analyze the state of lower federal court judicial selection. The federal judiciary currently experiences 92 openings in the 858 appellate and district court judgeships. The vacancies first reached 90 two years ago and have since remained above or near that number. | 09/21/11 14:37:09 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: No heckuva jobs for anyone in Middle East peace crisis

No matter what side of the conflict you favor, the drama surrounding a Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations is a saddening spectacle. Even the most passionate supporters of the idea recognize that the U.N. vote will not bring about a Palestinian state, nor will it bring an end to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. | 09/21/11 13:07:58 By - Frida Ghitis

Commentary: Texas has more jobs but also more poverty

When the country loses jobs, it's not surprising that more people fall into poverty. But when Texas adds jobs, more people fall into poverty, too.

Last week, new census data showed that the poverty rate climbed 6 percent nationwide in 2010. In Texas, it rose almost 9 percent, even though the state has consistently led the nation in job growth. | 09/20/11 06:11:53 By - Mitchell Schnurman

Commentary: Guess Pat Robertson forgot that 'in sickness and health' vow

You know that "slippery slope" everyone's always talking about going down? This is it. TV preacher Pat Robertson told a viewer of his show that it's OK to divorce his wife and remarry if she has Alzheimer's disease.

If it's cool to split when your spouse is stricken with Alzheimer's, what's next? The flu? Restless Leg Syndrome? An ingrown toenail? "Sorry, your honor, but that is not the foot I married." | 09/19/11 13:31:01 By - Barry Saunders

Commentary: Don't play politics with electricity

If ozone gets a delay, why not coal? And if waiting a few years is good for the U.S. economy, doesn't Texas deserve the same break? | 09/17/11 06:50:48 By - Mitchell Schnurman

Commentary: GOP debate shows some folks cheer executions, letting uninsured die

Here's what we learned in the last two Republican presidential debates: Evolution isn't science. Global warming is a shaky theory just waiting for another Galileo to refute. Vaccines are really scary. And some folks cheer for executions and for letting the uninsured die. | 09/15/11 13:23:16 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Dakota Meyer's plea to respect military service members should be heeded

Today, President Barack Obama will give Dakota Meyer an award the former Marine would rather not have. | 09/15/11 12:33:35 By -

Commentary: Blaming Israel is the scoundrel's refuge

As the Arab revolutions stumble on the bayonets of real power in the Middle East, in Cairo, Syria and Bahrain, the street mobs and their would-be leaders blame Israel. | 09/13/11 14:20:06 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: Remembering a united nation after 9/11

On Sept. 10, 2001, as I boarded an American Airlines flight headed to Pittsburgh, tucked away in my carry-on luggage were tweezers, a nail clipper, a dual-bladed shaving razor, collapsible scissors and cross-stitch needles, a corkscrew bottle opener, a Swiss Army knife -- the one with all the tools -- and a Delica model Spyderco knife with a 3-inch blade. | 09/13/11 12:33:10 By - J.R. Labbe

Commentary: It's time for hope, renewal ten years after 9/11

I didn't lose any family or friends on 9/11, so I suppose it's easy for me to hope that we move beyond the tragedy after today's memorials. | 09/12/11 12:52:32 By - Marcos Breton

Commentary: U.S. must do better for war veterans

As we commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9-11, we should bear in mind the Americans who have done the most for the nation since that date in infamy.

Those are the 2.3 million women and men who have served in the U.S. armed forces over the past decade and gone to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. | 09/12/11 12:43:18 By - Mike Tharp

Commentary: Before 9/11, the terrorists bumbled around in Florida

Osama bin Laden knew what he was doing when he implanted several of the key 9/11 hijackers in Florida. There was no better place for his suicide crews to be overlooked, as they not-so-invisibly prepared for the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. | 09/12/11 11:42:41 By - Carl Hiaasen

Commentary: Could Clarence Thomas be an icon after all?

Clarence Thomas' greatest sin was that he wasn't the second coming of civil rights icon Thurgood Marshall and had no interest in pretending to be.

Because of that, he had no room to acknowledge the faintest human weakness without assisting in the destruction of his Supreme Court nomination. | 09/09/11 11:18:42 By - Linda P. Campbell

Commentary: No winners in Al Jazeera vs. Booker, Texas

A Texas Panhandle high school football game is making world news, and not because it was between Booker and Hooker.

On Friday, a foreign television crew dropped in at Booker's stadium to interview Fighting Kiowas fans about the anniversary of 9-11 and wound up getting a lesson in American freedom. | 09/07/11 14:22:39 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: These Texans back Sarah Palin, not Rick Perry

Somewhere deep inside the Days Inn in Clive, Iowa, a sleeper cell of Texans gathered this weekend to overthrow the Republican presidential front-runner. | 09/06/11 13:26:48 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Huntsman differs from GOP candidates

On the surface, Jon Huntsman’s prescription for righting the nation’s fiscal woes is standard Republican fare: cut spending, rein in entitlements, reform the tax code and pass a balanced-budget amendment. But dig in a little deeper — ask whether he insists on the balanced-budget amendment that the House passed this summer, the one that goes far beyond what he and nearly all of the nation’s other governors have lived with, undermining majority-rule by turning tax policy over to a minority in either house of the Congress — and you hear one of the essential differences between the former Utah governor and U.S. ambassador to China and the rest of the GOP presidential field. | 09/06/11 13:17:06 By - Cindi Ross Scoppe

Commentary: Idyllic Chitral defaced in the name of God

On August 28, the pristine Himalayan region of Chitral became the latest of my favorite places in the world to be desecrated by murderous thugs who kill in the name of their intolerant and violent concept of God. | 08/31/11 13:59:05 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: NRA always gets what it wants

You might not have figured sleepy little Groveland, Fla., to be a hotbed of pointy-headed-liberal anti-gun predilections, with local laws restricting patriotic Americans’ God-given right to pack heat anywhere and anyhow they the damn well see fit. | 08/31/11 12:14:54 By - Fred Grimm

Commentary: Even presidents need a vacation

President Barack Obama is scheduled to end his vacation on Saturday and return to Washington, and most of us know how he feels. Well, sort of. Most of us don't spend a significant part of our vacations being briefed by our national security team on the progress of rebels in Libya or answering questions from the press about a rare East Coast earthquake. But most of us know how the end of a vacation feels. | 08/26/11 12:42:59 By - James Werrell

Commentary: Should college athletes be held to higher standards than politicians?

They should have known better than to allow themselves to be lured to the waterfront mansion of an ingratiating, puffed up, money-flashing Ponzi schemer or to the wild nights he orchestrated on his yacht or on South Beach. | 08/24/11 12:05:40 By - Fred Grimm

Commentary: 'Jersey Shore,' Super committees and other conundrums

In the American spirit of problem-dodging and finger-pointing, today I offer 21 questions (but absolutely no answers). | 08/23/11 06:09:37 By - Peter Callaghan

Commentary: Sarah Palin sneaks into Kansas City and nobody knows why

News flash: Sarah Palin was in town Monday.

You didn’t know that? I didn’t know it until the next day. Turns out, nobody knew it.

Not the police. Not GOP insiders. Not the high-dollar money folks. Not the Vitae Foundation that brought her to Kansas City last September. Nobody. | 08/22/11 11:59:02 By - Steve Kraske

Commentary: Congress must balance the budget and burden

Something has gone terribly wrong in Washington, DC. Over the last two decades, both Republicans and Democrats have put our country in a financial dilemma largely caused by one simple fact: The government borrows nearly 45 cents for every dollar it spends. The debt-ceiling fiasco almost brought the nation to the edge of a fiscal precipice. | 08/21/11 07:01:15 By - Henry Bloch

Commentary: Warren Buffett sparks much-needed debate on tax fairness

Conservatives talk a lot about "personal responsibility" in any discussion about the poor and entitlements. But when someone such as Warren Buffett urges Congress to stop coddling the super-rich and calls on fellow billionaires to share in the sacrifice needed to solve the nation's financial crisis, he gets blasted as a hypocritical elitist. | 08/19/11 12:30:50 By -

Commentary: Bachmann may be a 'submissive wife' but she definitely isn't weak

One must tread carefully when asking a woman if she’s a submissive wife. I did so by asking my wife through email in the guise of doing field research for work. | 08/18/11 13:26:46 By - Issac Bailey

Commentary: Did Molly Ivins say that about Rick Perry?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced last Saturday that he is running for the Republican presidential nomination. Here are excerpts of columns from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram by the late, great Molly Ivins. Ivins covered the Statehouse in Texas for decades and spread her barbs widely. One frequent target was Perry, whom she called "The Coiffure" and "Gov. Goodhair." | 08/18/11 12:10:34 By - Molly Ivins

Commentary: Fear of a black Spider-Man

OK, people: chill out. Breathe. Relax.

Spider-Man is still white. He’ll always be white. He’s been white since that day in 1962 when Peter Parker, a high school science nerd, was bitten by that radioactive bug. | 08/15/11 06:38:04 By - Leonard Pitts Jr.

Commentary: Burgess should know impeachment isn't a political tool

U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess should have said, "No." Speaking to about 100 people at a NE Tarrant Tea Party meeting Monday night in Keller, the Lewisville Republican heard a suggestion from one attendee that the House push impeachment proceedings against President Barack Obama to impede his political agenda. | 08/12/11 11:20:37 By -

Commentary: Debt ceiling fiasco doesn't solve U.S. debt problems

If your home caught fire, would you put out the flames, or ignore them and focus on fixing a leaky pipe that could eventually flood your basement?

You would call firefighters, of course, and deal with the pipe after the emergency had passed. Unless, that is, you were a member of Congress. | 08/09/11 06:02:48 By - Tom Eblen

Commentary: It's time to get out of Iraq

The Christian Science Monitor, which shares a Baghdad bureau with McClatchy, reported earlier this week that, under intense U.S. pressure, Iraqi leaders have agreed to start negotiations on keeping some American soldiers in Iraq after Dec. 31, the current deadline when all U.S. forces are supposed to leave. | 08/08/11 12:12:41 By -

Commentary: Even in Texas, government keeps growing

By one measure, government has been shrinking. Since the economic recovery began two years ago, more than half a million government jobs have been eliminated nationwide. Then there's Texas, where 39,000 government workers were added during the same period. | 08/04/11 06:08:51 By - Mitchell Schnurman

Commentary: Appointing appellate judges in the 112th Senate

When President Barack Obama secured election, the United States Courts of Appeals experienced openings in fourteen of the 179 judgeships. Accordingly, it was essential that the White House expeditiously fill those vacancies. The administration has instituted many measures to facilitate appointments. | 08/02/11 13:02:19 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: Is calling Anders Behring-Breivik a Christian terrorist wrong?

Bill O'Reilly is furious with the media for describing Anders Behring-Breivik as a Christian. O'Reilly no doubt is right that Breivik, an admitted mass murderer, doesn't fit most people's idea of a committed Christian, but I think O'Reilly is missing the bigger point. Namely, this atrocity should sound a note of caution about blaming a particular religion as the instigator of terrorist acts. | 07/29/11 12:48:35 By - James Werrell

Commentary: On immigration, President Obama: Yes, you can!

When President Barack Obama spoke to a major U.S. Hispanic group earlier this week about his unsuccessful efforts to change this country’s outdated immigration rules, many in the crowd broke out in a spontaneous chant: “Yes you can!” | 07/29/11 06:17:28 By - Andres Oppenheimer

Commentary: Texas is vulnerable to D.C. spending cuts

The battle between Republicans and Democrats over the debt ceiling overshadows one consensus that has emerged in Washington: Most leaders want to cut federal spending deeply, shaky recovery or not. Absorbing those hits down the road may prove even more painful than watching the bickering federal government. | 07/27/11 15:03:09 By - Mitchell Schnurman

Commentary: Basketball and life-long friends

We didn't ever want to come out of those showers. We knew when we did our high school basketball careers would be over. March 1963. Wichita, Kan. Class AA state basketball tournament. Our team, the Hayden Wildcats, had just lost to Salina, which went on to win the trophy. The three seniors on our team -- Greg Bien, Ed Tucker and I -- didn't want to leave the locker room. We didn't want to face the fact that four years of playing ball together were history. | 07/25/11 13:31:14 By - Mike Tharp

Commentary: When standards of justice clash with compassion for mentally ill

However mesmerized we may be by television's neatly packaged but predictable crime dramas, the ones that play out in real life are so much more intriguing. Few crimes have stirred so much debate on a number of social and legal questions as the murderous rampage of Jared Lee Loughner. His gun attack at a political gathering in Tucson, Ariz., in January left six dead and 14 others wounded, including the amazingly resilient Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. | 07/18/11 13:10:40 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Time for 'War on Drugs' to end

On Friday it will be 40 years since President Richard Nixon asked Congress for $155 million to combat a problem he said had “assumed the dimensions of a national emergency.” Thus was born the War on Drugs.

Seven presidents later, the war grinds on. And if it has made even a dent in drug use, you could not prove it by me — nor, I would wager, by most observers. | 06/18/11 06:30:17 By - Leonard Pitts Jr.

Commentary: A love letter to newspapering

I didn't go into newspapers because I wanted to crusade for anything - not sunshine laws, or streetcars or sidewalks - or because I wanted to spend years interviewing politicians and police. I just wanted to become a famous novelist someday. | 06/18/11 06:32:50 By - Mary Newsom

Commentary: Is GOP's 2012 game plan to cause a recession?

Pity the poor political pundits. They have to make a living regardless of whether or not there is anything worth opining about. With a 24/7 news cycle to fill that requires some creative writing. And that is why there is often so much ado about so little.

Take the recent debate between some of those who aspire to be the Republican nominee for president in 2012. It was meaningless and not because there seemed to be no real winner nor any substance to the chatter. It was meaningless for two other reasons — who the nominee is won't affect the outcome of the election and who that nominee is won't be determined by a debate. | 06/18/11 06:29:48 By - Dennis Jett

Commentary: Texas job growth story isn't simple

The number is so big that it sounds like a tall tale: 48 percent of the net jobs created in the U.S. since the recovery have been in the Lone Star State. That fact comes from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, using non-farm payroll data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and its own analysis. From June 2009 through April 2011, the country added 496,000 jobs, and the Dallas Fed says that 237,000 of them were in Texas. Texas may be big, but only 8 percent of the workforce lives here, so its outsize job growth is giant indeed. | 06/15/11 13:31:26 By - Mitchell Schnurman

Commentary: U.S. history 101 with Sarah Palin

Fellow Republican tea partyers, we all remember when our great Sarah Palin, formerly Alaska's governor-in-brief and running mate to closet liberal John McCain, was raked over the coals by the leftist news media for asserting that she could see Russia from Alaska, thus qualifying her for president based on foreign policy experience. (She was technically right, there being a couple of islands, the Diomedes, one Russian and one American, within sight of each other. But we don't want to linger on this to throw around our education or experience with Wikipedia.) | 06/10/11 06:09:40 By - Jim Jenkins

Commentary: Afghans show limits of U.S. power

We are not Supercountry. Various American leaders boast we are "the indispensible country." Hard to believe there are dozens of countries around the globe able to resolve their own problems for better or for worse without U.S. tutelage. | 06/09/11 06:24:52 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: Sex scandal rule No. 1 — don't make things worse

Thank you, gentlemen, for attending this seminar titled "Ethical Fulcrums of Political Integrity for Lecherous Pigs." Because this is a remedial course, we'll skip over Lesson One, "What Were You Thinking?" and get right to Lesson Two, "You Were Thinking You'd Get Away With It? Seriously?" | 06/08/11 12:34:29 By - Mark Washburn

Commentary: Giuliani is now fighting 'War of Terror' in Peru

While George W. Bush called it the "War on Terror" during his time in office, the "War of Terror" would have been a more accurate name. That’s because it was used to scare voters into reelecting Bush despite an accomplishment-free first term. That strategy is now being used in Peru for the same purpose with one of the same combatants — Rudy Giuliani. | 05/24/11 06:18:07 By - Dennis Jett

Commentary: Economic freedom key to improving society

My brother David and I have long supported the principles that help societies prosper. I have actively done so for nearly 50 years, as has my brother for more than 40. In recent years, we have stepped up our efforts to deal with the enormous threats to the future well-being of the people of this country. This has prompted some extreme criticism. From the White House to fringe bloggers, we are now being vilified, mischaracterized and threatened. | 05/23/11 06:14:17 By - Charles G. Koch

Commentary: Perry Looks More Like the Chosen One

In the 2001 Texas version of the rapture, the best and brightest Republicans in the state Capitol were called up to join George W. Bush in Washington. We all see which Republican was left behind. | 05/22/11 08:27:53 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Some perks of being left behind after the Rapture

One good thing if the Rapture comes Saturday: Getting a table at the IHOP ought to be easier Sunday mornings from here on, don’t you think? The job market, too, should loosen up once the chosen few are called home. Though if Howard Camping and his followers are right, your own personal recovery would be short-lived should you be left behind and get that long-sought-after job. | 05/20/11 11:52:12 By - Mike Hendricks

Commentary: With Rapture at hand, why bother flossing?

Many people — more than a dozen, at least — think the world will end Saturday. They've found the evidence in the Bible, so you'd be wise to quit making fun of them. These people are not crackpots. I know this because I attract crackpots. Recent emails I've gotten: "I just wrote a book. Could you do an article on it? It's about ghosts." | 05/20/11 06:20:14 By - Mark Washburn

Commentary: When Obama speaks to the Arabs

When President Barack Obama speaks this week to the Arab and Muslim world, addressing the uprisings of the Arab Spring and trying to reach out and end the wave of hostility between the Muslims and the West, he needs to know to whom he speaks. | 05/19/11 06:12:22 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: Arnold Schwarzenegger's 'True Lies'

You have to wonder how many lies Arnold Schwarzenegger has told and whether he can keep them all straight. | 05/18/11 12:30:53 By - Dan Morain

Commentary: Time for Israel to reach out

It's time for Israel to join the Middle East revolutionary spirit. For five months Israel has followed the wisest path available to it — silence — while millions of Arabs stormed the bastions of power from Morocco to Yemen to Syria — shaking the floors underneath the despots of the Middle East. | 05/18/11 06:11:28 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: Some pols played dirty after bin Laden raid

If you were watching the last few ugly minutes of the last ugly game of the Dallas Mavericks’ sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA playoffs, you saw a vicious blind-side forearm by Andrew Bynum to the exposed ribcage of the Mavs’ Jose Barea. | 05/17/11 12:22:16 By - Dusty Nix

Commentary: It's time for Congress to act on border security

Earlier this week I joined President Obama and others in El Paso, Texas, as he reported on the tremendous progress we have made in securing the Southwest border and transforming our immigration enforcement efforts over the last two years even while we wait for Congress to address immigration reform. | 05/15/11 06:21:14 By - Janet Napolitano

Commentary: Sizing up the GOP 2012 potential nominees

News item: Likely Republican candidates for president are having a difficult time, or at least more difficult than they anticipated, raising early and big money for their campaigns for the GOP nomination. This is of some surprise to them, and doubtless to a few Democrats, who have always portrayed the Republicans as able to open their arms when the mood strikes and just wait for the money to falleth from the sky. | 05/15/11 06:26:25 By - Jim Jenkins

Commentary: A busload of kids that changed America

Fifty years ago. A group of college students boarded two buses here, bound for New Orleans. They were joined by members of the African-American press, and officials of the Congress of Racial Equality, including its national director, James Farmer, who had organized the journey. Six of the riders were white, 12, black. The fact of their traveling together would prove incendiary. | 05/10/11 06:16:37 By - Leonard Pitts Jr.

Commentary: 'Presidenting while black' is birthers' biggest issue with Obama

One thinks of rats scurrying off a sinking ship. Meaning the new exodus of birthers from birtherism. Fox News now says in a blog post that it hardly pushed the birther issue at all. Wonder how folks got the idea Fox did that? Oh yeah: by watching Fox. | 05/05/11 12:53:31 By - Leonard Pitts Jr.

Commentary: Seeing photos of bin Laden's body isn't necessary

Face it: there are some things we just don't need to see — the first ex-wife in Spandex; the John Edwards-Rielle Hunter sex tape, and post-mortem pictures of Osama bin Laden. Even before the smoke cleared from the M16 assault rifle, or whatever weapon sent bin Laden to his just rewards, news outlets, cynics and the morbidly curious were demanding pictures. | 05/05/11 07:27:38 By - Barry Saunders

Commentary: Stunning to find Bin Laden in Abbottabad

When I heard the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed in Abbottabad on Sunday night, my immediate reaction was to turn to my brother-in-law in disbelief at where the leader of al Qaida was found. My brother-in-law, an engineer who now lives in the San Francisco area, is originally from Abbottabad - his family is Hazarewal, or people from the Hazara region in Pakistan that includes Abbottabad. | 05/04/11 11:25:39 By - Ameera Butt

Commentary: Bin Laden's death brings some sense of closure

Although most Americans and Muslims welcomed news of the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, many don't think his death signals an end to terrorism. Probably the most we can hope for is that his death will be a salve for those grieving the loss of loved ones on 9/11, and a dampening of the discrimination many Muslims have experienced since then. | 05/04/11 06:12:38 By - Merlene Davis

Commentary: Waiting for Osama bin Laden to be himself

Late last night, as we stayed up late soaking up the details of the death of Osama bin Laden, I started thinking about the value of waiting.

One thing I've learned in my job is that the key to understanding someone isn't fancy writing or clever questions. It's watching and waiting. Most people aren't real when they first talk to a reporter -- they want to please, or they want to put up a front of some kind. But if you hang around long enough, eventually the mask drops. At some point people go back to being themselves. | 05/03/11 06:29:34 By - Tommy Tomlinson

Commentary: Osama bin Laden finally brought to justice

The people of the United States and other nations have waited almost 10 years to hear these words: "I can report to the American people and to the world that the U.S. has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden," President Barack Obama told the nation. | 05/02/11 06:45:31 By -

Commentary: The changing dangers of nuclear radiation

In some of my fondest childhood memories, my heavily bundled siblings and I followed our mom into the back yard after each new snowfall. Mom would brush away the top layer on the ground and collect a mound of snow in her mixing bowl. We’d run behind to the kitchen, where she’d add just the right amount of cream and sugar to make a treat of snow ice cream. | 04/16/11 06:13:03 By - Lewis W. Diuguid

Commentary: My hero Snooki and the American dream

In his remarks about the deficit the other day, President Obama reminded us that America is still the land of opportunity. That thanks to the free enterprise system, “the engine of America’s wealth and prosperity,” any of us can become successful. And as I listened to the speech, it occurred to me that he was talking in a way about my newest personal hero: Snooki. | 04/15/11 12:15:22 By - Mike Hendricks

Commentary: What defines a 'true American?'

My byline is an irritant. Mary Sanchez is simply my given name. But it seems to rile some people. They believe that anyone with such a surname couldn’t possibly have a strong lineage in this country. The charge is usually made when someone disagrees with my opinion-writing, launched to infer that I have no claim to being a “true American,” whatever that subjective term might mean. | 04/15/11 06:13:22 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Mystery of the stowaway boy who fell from the sky

He loved martial-arts movies. He wanted his first car to be a Mustang. He had just turned 16. He was afraid of heights. His name was Delvonte Tisdale. At 7:15 p.m. on Nov. 15, US Airways Flight 1176 took off from Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, bound for Boston. Delvonte was inside the left wheel well. | 04/14/11 13:35:05 By - Tommy Tomlinson

Commentary: Why no Libya policy is the best policy

The whining noises of bombs being dropped have been heard loudly on the news of late. They are not caused by the missiles fired at Moammar Gadhafi’s forces. They are the sounds being made by the many critics of President Obama’s actions in Libya. For some of those armchair field marshals, his efforts have been too slow, for others too fast. | 04/05/11 06:10:41 By - Dennis Jett

Commentary: Elizabeth Taylor's AIDS activism is worth emulating

True enough, the late Elizabeth Taylor was a woman who was so beautiful some women would try to mimic her with violet-colored contact lenses and dark brown hair dye. | 03/24/11 12:45:01 By - Merlene Davis

Commentary: Lessons for Japan from Indonesia's tsunami

When I arrived on the scene of the tsunami, I was greeted by an entire horizon filled with splintered bits of human life — huge boats washed up on top of houses three miles from the shore. But it was not the tsunami that struck March 11 in Japan. It was the Great Tsunami of Dec. 26, 2004 that struck the city of Banda Aceh in Indonesia where perhaps 200,000 people were erased from the earth in a matter of minutes. | 03/22/11 08:50:21 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: GOP's NPR defunding is more about ideology than money

I long ago decided I like the sound of droning voices on the radio better than music while I'm driving. That's why my car radio stays set most of the time on National Public Radio. But I might have to make adjustments. Republicans in Congress would like to take the "public" out of NPR and make it sink or swim on its own. | 03/18/11 12:34:43 By - James Werrell

Commentary: In Japan's crisis, old-fashioned values emerge

Noticed anything about how the Japanese are dealing with their worst catastrophe since the end and aftermath of World War II? Actually, it's conspicuous by its absence. No looting. No riots. No violence. | 03/17/11 10:02:54 By - Mike Tharp

Commentary: We taxpayers have let NFL owners, players down

I blame myself. And I blame you, the taxpayers and you, the fans. If only we all had provided more tax dollars for stadiums, if only we’d paid more for tickets and stadium grub and beer and league-sanctioned apparel, this wouldn’t be happening. By “this” I mean, of course, the pending work stoppage that threatens that most-holy aspect of American life, the National Football League. | 03/16/11 13:27:07 By - Peter Callaghan

Commentary: Wary of the new Middle East

Events in the Middle East are taking place so fast and furiously, uprooting decades of established rules within the Arab world, that I find myself gaping in wonder at the changes. Frankly, many of us are torn by these unforeseen events. We greatly admire the young people in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia who have stood up for freedom and democracy. But we also worry that once the old order is thrown out of power, the new one may not be a whole lot better. | 03/10/11 06:16:07 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: China's atheist rulers plot endgame for Tibet

March is typically a tense month for Tibetans under the yoke of their Chinese rulers. It marks the anniversary of the Dalai Lama's 1959 flight into exile. Protests, like ones in 2008, typically erupt this month. If any unrest occurs this year, few foreigners will be present. As in past years, China has shut the door to foreign tourism to Tibet this month, keeping the world's eyes away. It wants no witnesses. | 03/09/11 06:04:57 By - Tim Johnson

Commentary: A frank discussion about terrorism is missed in Berenson article

This week’s New York Times Sunday magazine features a story about Lori Berenson, an American citizen who was arrested in Peru in 1995 on terrorism charges. It rambles on for some 8300 words describing in detail what she is wearing and how she is living since she was released from prison last year. While evoking sympathy for Berenson, the article completely misses an opportunity for some much needed national introspection. Instead of a puff piece, the country would have been better served by a serious discussion of terrorism. | 03/06/11 06:11:18 By - Dennis Jett

Commentary: Stop putting Phelps, Westboro church in spotlight

We’re suckers, all of us who are provoked to speak out or take action against Fred Phelps and his hateful message. Phelps family spokeswoman Shirley Phelps-Roper said as much on a talk radio show before Wednesday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming her family’s constitutional right to act like jerks at military funerals. | 03/04/11 07:16:13 By - Mike Hendricks

Commentary: Perry can't blame unions for Texas' budget woes

Last week, Gov. Rick Perry was quick to blame Wisconsin's problems on its unions and their pensions, saying they were "strangling the state's budget." But if unions are ruining Wisconsin, what's the explanation for Texas? The budget hole here is a lot deeper, unemployment is higher, and poverty and health care are much worse. | 03/04/11 06:14:36 By - Mitchell Schnurman

Commentary: Koch brothers and the union-busting Kansas House

The Republican union-busting campaign spread to Kansas this week like a disease, with state lawmakers approving a bill that would gut the free-speech rights of union members. There’s no shortage of analysis on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s frank admissions over the phone to a blogger pretending to be billionaire David Koch, let’s focus, instead, on what political allies of the real Koch brothers have been up to in their home state. | 02/25/11 12:32:36 By - Mike Hendricks

Commentary: Giving the gift of illegal immigrants to Congress

Just in time for Texas Independence Day, state Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, has a gift in mind for Washington lawmakers. If Kolkhorst's bill passes, every member of Congress from Texas will get a special delivery from law officers: A van-load of illegal immigrants arrested on other charges, unloaded daily at the lawmakers' local office doors. | 02/25/11 11:49:58 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Death knell for high-speed rail in California?

Grab a shovel and get ready to place the flowers. California's first attempt to build a high-speed train system is nearing death on arrival. When the bold idea expires, the autopsy will show that high-speed rail was done in by poor ridership research, unrealistic cost projections, artificial deadlines and political agendas. But anything worth doing is worth doing right. And there's little evidence that getting it right is the goal of the state High Speed Rail Authority or federal transportation officials. | 02/22/11 11:22:09 By - Bill McEwen

Commentary: The Internet 'kill switch' and other myths

Speaking of Internet hoaxes and urban myths that trouble the sleep of people who keep copious amounts of weapons, Vienna sausages and saltines in their basements, here's another: This myth is particularly fitting for Presidents Day because it involves President Barack Obama's alleged quest to - get this - acquire a "kill switch" that would allow him to shut down everyone's Internet access. | 02/22/11 08:47:58 By - Barry Saunders

Commentary: There are reasons to worry about Egypt's future

Now that the euphoria has started to die down, it’s time for a cold look at Egypt after its people’s victory over dictatorship. President Hosni Mubarak has left power, and the ruling military council promises elections in about six months. That is not a lot of time to change many minds. As a result, there is a good chance that the new Egypt will not resemble what advocates of democracy – in Egypt and abroad – had envisioned for the country’s future. | 02/21/11 11:57:19 By - Frida Ghitis

Commentary: Phill Kline, Planned Parenthood and the anti-abortion movement

Phill Kline’s supporters this week took to the Internet to celebrate their hero’s accomplishments and drum up donations. The donations will pay for Kline’s defense against ethical complaints that could cost him his law license. His hearing will start Monday. And as always, Kline’s martyrdom on behalf of the right-to-life movement was the hook. | 02/18/11 12:51:47 By - Mike Hendricks

Commentary: Mr. President, Visit the San Joaquin Valley

Dear President Obama:

We invite you to visit the San Joaquin Valley on your trip to the San Francisco Bay Area on Thursday. In fact, we think your visit here should take priority over your stay in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. That’s because our Valley represents the worst of the problems facing America — few jobs, underwater homeowners, scary school dropout rates, drugs and gangs … you know the litany from your days as an organizer in Chicago. | 02/16/11 11:35:13 By -

Commentary: Regarding Arabic studies, we're not speaking the same language

On Sunday night, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joined former President George W. Bush at the Super Bowl. One night later, only a few miles away, some south Arlington and Mansfield parents delivered a sharp drop-kick to one of Bush's and Rice's dreams. After 9-11, a federal commission concluded that America's security is at risk in part because so few of us read or understand Arabic. Rice even said that unless more children learn Arabic, we can't spread our message of freedom. | 02/09/11 12:23:00 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: The time has come to make a deal

One of the best NFL seasons in history is now over. We salute NFL players for their extraordinary talent and we deeply appreciate the tremendous support of the fans. The hard work to secure the next NFL season must now accelerate in earnest. We are just weeks from the expiration of our collective bargaining agreement. There has been enough rhetoric, litigation and other efforts beyond the negotiating table. | 02/08/11 08:15:12 By - Roger Goodell

Commentary: Lower federal court vacancies need filling

Last week, the federal courts marked an important milestone when United States District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Ricardo Urbina assumes senior status after seventeen years of dedicated service. Judge Urbina’s action means that the judiciary has 101 openings out of the 858 appeals and district court judgeships. | 02/07/11 14:32:29 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: Reagan's myth doesn't match reality of his record

In this tsunami of adoration leading up to the centennial of his birthday on Sunday, Ronald Reagan is touted as the model of Republican, and even tea party, virtue. But Reagan’s acolytes may be misunderstanding the master’s record.

As president, he paid lip service to ending abortion but never did anything about it. And he worked with congressional Democrats on a massive tax hike in 1982, thereby averting the worst effects of the supply-side deficit spending he had endorsed when he entered office the year before. Moreover, Reagan, the putative foe of big government, had accumulated hundreds of billions of dollars in debt by the end of his second term. | 02/06/11 09:29:38 By - Jacon Heilbrunn

Commentary: GOP needs more leadership, less posturing on health care law

A lot of heat has been generated this week in South Carolina about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but little light. Our two U.S. senators, Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint, are pushing bills that would repeal the law altogether or allow states to opt out without any requirements. What's most fascinating about this past week's development is the utter silence on the replace part of the repeal-and-replace mantra. | 02/06/11 06:38:10 By - Issac Bailey

Commentary: Democracy in the Arab world

When I lived in the Arab quarters of Tangiers and Marrakesh, and when I visited the back streets of Cairo and Algiers, I learned that the one thing people feared more than the police was their own neighbors.

The events we’ve seen so far in Tunis and Cairo have changed a lot on the surface and somehow not changed anything. | 02/02/11 06:04:09 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: Unemployed can tell politicians about the 'real world'

After President Barack Obama said Tuesday night that the state of the union was strong and looking up, surely the rest of us could look up, too. After hearing the Republican response say we could do anything with free enterprise and small government - that we are America - everybody had to be singing Wednesday, right?. | 01/28/11 06:12:51 By - Andrew Dys

Commentary: What's behind Keith Olbermann's MSNBC departure?

Any hint that a network fired or pushed out its signature host (Olbermann's show had the best ratings, by far, of anything on MSNBC) is bound to raise searching questions. And the odd timing of the announcement will only multiply them. But let's remember that Olbermann was a human relations time bomb. | 01/24/11 08:22:23 By - Glenn Garvin

Commentary: Facebook's show-and-tell culture

Except for our abhorrence of full-body scanners, we are an exhibitionist nation. What won’t we let the world in on these days?

College students post photos of themselves in states of intoxication on social network sites. Those cute-but-embarrassing babies-in-the-bathtub pictures that used to be kept within the family are now disseminated on the Internet. And if only they stopped with the babies. | 01/19/11 12:32:05 By - Barbara Shelly

Commentary: King worked for economic justice too

One of the most remarkable people I got to know as a young reporter in the 1980s was Myles Horton, whom Rosa Parks called “the first white man I ever trusted.” Horton helped start the Highlander Center in Tennessee, which became a cradle of the civil rights movement. He was a confidant of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.. In focusing on King’s work for racial justice, Horton said, many people ignore the fact that he was equally passionate about economic justice. | 01/17/11 13:19:28 By - Tom Eblen

Commentary: South America should stay away from Mideast quagmire

Following the recent decisions by Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Ecuador to officially recognize a state of Palestine, supporters of the Palestinian cause are preparing for their next big step: a South America-wide declaration recognizing a Palestinian state in a territory that would include East Jerusalem and other territories currently held by Israel. | 01/17/11 11:05:53 By - Andres Oppenheimer

Commentary: Bridging the trust deficit with China

China’s President Hu Jintao will make a historic trip to Washington next week, appearing alongside President Obama on a stage likely to be dominated by two issues: righting the vast U.S.-China trade deficit and avoiding a catastrophic war on the Korean Peninsula. Both subjects matter. Both are manageable, if we work together. But lurking in the wings is an issue of even greater long-term importance: reducing the growing trust deficit with China. | 01/16/11 06:16:23 By - Sen. John Kerry

Commentary: After Arizona crisis fades, respect for others must remain

Last week, my oldest brother was turned down again for parole. He has been in prison for almost 29 years since pleading guilty to first-degree murder. His son will be in prison for the next quarter of a century. Many years ago, a young man I mentored shot and killed a police officer. The wisest thing I can say about what ultimately motivated each of them is this: I don't know. | 01/15/11 06:30:04 By - Issac Bailey

Commentary: We must mend safety net for mentally ill

Talk radio windbags didn't buy Jared Lee Loughner his Glock, or the horrifically oversized 30-round magazines. Arizona's governor and legislators didn't drive him to the Safeway in Tucson where he left six people dead and 13 injured. Crass politicians didn't order him to squeeze that gun's trigger in an attempt to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. But from this crime that makes no sense, we need to talk rationally about a mental health system that is profoundly and criminally insane. | 01/14/11 06:05:38 By - Dan Morain

Commentary: Woodhouses are brothers in everything except politics

Christmas in the Woodhouse home can be a combustible affair. On the far left end of the sofa you have Brad Woodhouse, who as communications director for the Democratic National Committee is one of the country's leading voices backing Democrats and attacking Republicans. On the far right you have his brother, Dallas, who as director of the N.C. chapter of Americans for Prosperity is dedicating his career to fighting "Obamacare," "union thugs" and other Democratic darlings. | 01/14/11 08:41:51 By - Taylor Batten

Commentary: Can we end the political trash talk please?

The echoes of bullets still could be heard in Tucson, Ariz., when the political spinning began. It's an indictment of the times that political schemers of all stripes believe it's a sin to waste a tragedy -- especially when there's an insatiable media to feed. So, the elected sheriff of Pima County told us to cool down the overheated political rhetoric. | 01/11/11 12:02:06 By - Bill McEwen

Commentary: CIA needs sunlight and Tinners' case might shine some on it

By its nature, an intelligence service is antithetical to the transparency and accountability that are hallmarks of a democracy. When the Central Intelligence Agency was created in 1947, the diplomat Dean Acheson wrote, "I had the gravest forebodings about this organization and warned the President that as set up neither he, the National Security Council, nor anyone else would be in a position to know what it was doing or to control it." | 01/10/11 12:29:06 By - Catherine Collins and Douglas Frantz

Commentary: S.C. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer doesn't deserve his road sign

The main problem with the Legislature’s habit of naming roads, bridges and other infrastructure after living people (usually legislators or their supporters) is that this self-aggrandizing/patronage system opens the state up to all sorts of embarrassment should those honorees get into trouble later in life. They rarely succeed in naming public property after people who already have embarrassed our state. Yet, South Carolina has done it with the "Lt. Governor-Senator Andre Bauer Interchange." | 01/07/11 13:25:44 By - Cindi Ross Scoppe

Commentary: Unified approach could fix criminal justice system

America's criminal justice system provides neither justice nor security. People are right to ask: Why continue to perpetuate a disastrously expensive and largely ineffective approach to public safety? Isn't there a better way? There is. But we have to be willing to dismantle our current piecemeal system and replace it with an integrated model. | 12/30/10 17:08:55 By - Sunil Dutta, Christian Science Monitor

Commentary: American Civil War holds lessons for all democracies

It's virtually the only civil war in human history which didn't end in dictatorship or monarchy. As we approach the 150th anniversary of the last "gentleman's war," this fact is often forgotten. Consequently, the Civil War in the United States holds valuable lessons for democracies in times of war. | 12/30/10 17:08:07 By - Franz-Stefan Gady, Christian Science Monitor

Commentary: Baby boomers delaying retirement isn't good for economy

Demographers say that every day, for the next 19 years, some 10,000 boomers will turn 65. Yet thanks to a perfect storm of bad financial planning and an even worse economy, it'll be a long while before the American workplace sheds that powerful generation born between 1946 and 1964. | 12/29/10 16:35:04 By - Ron Stodghill

Commentary: Lee Harvey Oswald's first coffin should rest in peace

Bill Dear remembers the day they dug up Lee Harvey Oswald. First, they had to dig up a moldy pine box. "It was pretty rank," said Dear, 73, the storied Dallas private investigator who was in charge of security at the 1981 Fort Worth exhumation of the accused presidential assassin. | 12/26/10 06:59:01 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: My old man and the Christmas tree

It was 1955 -- a cold, snowy day in West Virginia -- when my lifelong incompatibility with this peculiar, possibly pagan icon called the Christmas tree took root. The year would become notable in history for a riotous reaction by concertgoers in Jacksonville after Elvis Presley uttered, "Girls, I'll see you backstage.'' (I've tried the same line over the years, but the effect seems to have been limited to '55.) | 12/24/10 06:13:20 By - Fred Grimm

Commentary: Here's to holiday craziness

Forget the Three French Hens. This is the Week of Roosting Chickens, when forgotten details and unfilled promises come home to give me the beady, baleful stare. Forget anticipation. These last few days before Christmas are all about the deadline. And I hate deadlines. | 12/23/10 06:16:45 By - Kathleen Merryman

Commentary: Why must we keep fighting the Civil War?

The next battle of the Civil War commenced on Monday in Charleston when the NAACP protests a $100-per-ticket "secession ball" being co-sponsored by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The protest and ball are the warm up acts for next year's events, which likely will continue a century-long tradition of Southern apologists rewriting the reasons why the South took up arms, pretending as though slavery was a minor reason (if one at all) even though the 170 men who made the decision in Charleston 150 years wrote in the state's official secession document that it was primarily about preserving slavery. | 12/21/10 14:43:38 By - Issac Bailey

Commentary: Celebrating South Carolina's secession is just wrong

I just don't get it. And I never will. What’s so joyous about a state that thrived off the enslavement and degradation of human beings deciding to withdraw from a contract to live under a common union just to continue those mean-spirited, malicious and evil acts? What’s there to dance about? What’s there to celebrate? What, pray tell, is there to get dressed up and prance around about? What’s there to be proud of? | 12/20/10 06:09:10 By - Warren Bolton

Commentary: Black veteran's views on Confederacy celebration will surprise you

There will be gowns and tuxedos and cocktails in Charleston on Monday night. A gala — as it is called by the organizers — to commemorate what these people think is worthy of a ball with cut glass decanters and soft music. Treason. The Sons of Confederate Veterans Secession Ball is to celebrate South Carolina's seceding from the United States of America 150 years ago. | 12/17/10 09:40:40 By - Andrew Dys

Commentary: There's no need for assault weapons in civilian hands

Like accountants working a cold night in hell, crime scene technicians recorded the number of gunshot holes in Ciara Lee's Liberty City home, scrawling a black numeral where each bullet had penetrated the concrete block wall or blasted through a window. It's the gruesome new numerology of Liberty City and other neighborhoods where teenage gangbangers wield the same weaponry carried by soldiers and insurgents in war-afflicted places like Iraq and Afghanistan. | 12/16/10 12:04:22 By - Fred Grimm

Commentary: Judge Diaz deserves confirmation before Senate adjourns

Several months ago on this website, I published a commentary urging President Barack Obama and the U.S. Senate to swiftly fill vacancies in two of the 15 Fourth Circuit judgeships because the openings can erode the prompt, inexpensive and fair disposition of appeals. I specifically called for expeditious Senate approval of North Carolina Superior Court Judge Albert Diaz because the well-qualified, uncontroversial jurist was nominated in November 2009. | 12/16/10 08:58:02 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: Congress must approve DREAM Act

As a young person, whenever I was asked about my heritage, I'd flatly declare that I was Mexican. Until I was 18, our family plan was to move from our home in San Jose to Mexico, where my parents were raised. I was Mexican first for many years, until one day I wasn't. This transformation didn't happen overnight, but only after I grew invested in the nation where I was born and raised. | 12/15/10 11:58:33 By - Marcos Breton

Commentary: Our troops can handle gays serving openly

I have more faith in members of the Marine Corps, Army and Air Force than in the men and women who lead them. I believe the men and women in those three branches of the U.S. military are such professionals that if top generals gave orders to treat fellow soldiers with respect, even if they are gay, they would follow those orders without much fuss or fanfare. | 12/15/10 06:11:41 By - Issac Bailey

Commentary: Palin, Beck suffer from 'Obama Dementia'

In 2003, Charles Krauthammer, a columnist and psychiatrist, coined a new term. Noting what he said was "the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency -- nay -- the very existence of George W. Bush," Krauthammer identified a previously unknown malady he called Bush Derangement Syndrome.

No shrink am I, but it seems obvious to this untrained eye that B.D.S. has lately been supplanted by a new disorder. Call it Obama Dementia. | 12/13/10 06:28:20 By - Leonard Pitts Jr.

Commentary: Congress turns a deaf ear to the poor

Last year, U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat, caused a stir when he said on the House floor that the Republican alternative to the Democrats' health care plan had two elements: 1. Don't get sick; and 2. If you get sick, die quickly. Some S.C. Republicans apparently don't care how long it takes people without health insurance to die; they just don't want to hear about it. | 12/12/10 06:42:21 By - Terry Plumb

Commentary: Take that Chia Obama off your Christmas list

I wasn’t so much worried about being accused of racism when I approached the register at the Pearl Street Rite Aid. Instead I was worried they wouldn’t sell me the “Chia Obama Special Edition.” They were leaving “Chia Lincoln,” “Chia Washington” and “Chia Statue of Liberty.” But they said they’d gotten orders from headquarters to remove not just “Determined” Chia Obama, but “Happy” Chia Obama as well. Both versions had, it seems, been recalled. | 12/11/10 06:57:52 By - Peter Callaghan

Commentary: Fight for health care to honor Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards is being lauded for the courage and grace she displayed in her battle against cancer and her fight to retain dignity in the public eye. How to honor her legacy? A defense of health care reform seems like a fitting gesture. Edwards, who died Tuesday at age 61, believed that every American should have access to affordable health care. | 12/11/10 06:31:43 By - Barbara Shelly

Commentary: Charles Rangel didn't learn from mistakes

Even when he's just sitting around his Chapel Hill apartment, watching TV and reading The New Yorker magazine, Chuck Stone is classy. He's resplendent this day in a green plaid sport coat, orange shirt, bowtie and saddle shoes. Stone, a retired UNC-Chapel Hill journalism professor and renowned columnist, is so classy that you know he isn't going to bad-mouth Charles Rangel, the Harlem congressman who cost Stone his job 40 years ago. | 12/09/10 09:06:27 By - Barry Saunders

Commentary: Gay marriage's best-case scenario involves Supreme Court

Monday's federal appellate court hearing on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the California ballot measure that bars same-sex marriages, was divided into two one-hour segments. During the first hour, lawyers argued over who, if anyone, has legal "standing" to appeal District Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. | 12/08/10 12:53:52 By - Dan Walters

Commentary: How Pearl Harbor unifed America

"December 7th, 1941, a date that will live in infamy," as President Franklin D. Roosevelt characterized it, was a complete shock to metro-east residents and to the young men from Southern Illinois who were serving at Pearl Harbor, some of whom were injured in the attack. But the Sunday morning surprise attack on the U.S. naval base in Hawaii also galvanized a nation, which already had been slowly gathering itself for war. | 12/07/10 12:48:55 By - Wally Spiers

Commentary: War on Christmas? No. War on common sense? Yes.

Tarrant County, Texas, is the newest battlefront in the War on Christmas. Or is it? Just when the fervor was dwindling over atheists' petty publicity-stunt ads on the T, a new O'Reilly-ready Christmas clatter broke out in Southlake. | 12/06/10 14:48:08 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: One Muslim woman's pilgrimage to Mecca

The questions no longer need answers. Mahnaz Shabbir has experienced the pilgrimage to Mecca. So the queries she never made to her husband before he died have faded. Muslims are expected to complete Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, once in their lifetime if they are able. | 12/06/10 13:51:47 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Murdered soldier's parents know 'don't ask, don't tell' is wrong

An adequate adjective doesn’t exist to describe this husband and wife’s Tuesday. The word would have to capture too much: The unrelenting trauma of their son’s murder. Nearly a dozen years of pleading unsuccessfully with military leaders and Congress to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.” And their plain-spoken yet consistent drive to push back ignorance about gays and lesbians. | 12/03/10 10:15:38 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: President Obama should join the Mine Ban Treaty

Along with 14 of our brother and sister Nobel Peace laureates - including democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma - we have written to fellow laureate President Obama to urge him to bring the United States into the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. Many of the Nobel Peace laureates have long expressed concern at the humanitarian impact of antipersonnel mines and have worked for their eradication. | 12/02/10 12:59:40 By - Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Jody Williams

Commentary: 'Earmark' isn't a dirty word in high-poverty states

Republicans in the incoming Congress, under pressure from the tea party movement and voters of many political persuasions, have vowed to ban earmarks. That sounds great. But what if it’s phrased this way: They’re pledging to halt spending on state and local projects that keep thousands of Mississippians employed, and to ban spending such as the federal Katrina relief Mississippians received after the storm’s devastation. Elected GOP leaders want to turn over control of this $16 billion in discretionary money to the federal bureaucracy and a Democratic administration whose policies they despise. | 11/29/10 12:55:18 By - Geoff Pender

Commentary: Lend an ear on National Listening Day

One way to make a newspaperman wince is to request publicity for a day of observance. Hardly a day goes by when someone isn't promoting a day or week dedicated to, say, the fight against cancer or the importance of eating more blueberries. So when my younger daughter requested a column in support of National Listening Day, my initial reaction was lukewarm. When I learned that the third annual event would take place Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, I was even more dubious. Every real American knows that's the day we rush, lemming-like, to the nearest mall. What was she thinking? | 11/26/10 12:24:48 By - Terry Plumb

Commentary: 'Opt-out' protesters could turn me into a shoe-thrower

If I were at the airport today and forced to wait in a long line because someone ahead of me was making a political statement against the new airport security screening system, I’d be tempted to make a statement of my own. By taking my shoes off — even before the guards instructed me to — and flinging them at the silly fool inconveniencing the rest of us. | 11/24/10 12:50:09 By - Mike Hendricks

Commentary: Gary Condit deserves an apology

It turns out a Salvadoran immigrant murdered Chandra Levy, or so a District of Columbia jury ruled on Monday with little fanfare. How soon we forget. Nine years ago, Levy's case was an American obsession. It was the featured story in the 24-hour news cycle because the prime suspect in the disappearance of the young Modesto woman was then-Rep. Gary Condit, a ranking Democrat. | 11/24/10 11:22:26 By - Marcos Breton

Commentary: Air travel safety trumps dignity in my book

Dignity and the prospect of bombs aren't compatible. Yet we're faced with protesters -- indignant over full-body airport scanners -- planning to overwhelm the nation's already overwhelmed airport security system on Wednesday. The day before Thanksgiving, even without crazies clogging the works, makes for the busiest, most chaotic flying day of the year -- a perfect time for self-important prudes to sabotage everyone else's travel plans. | 11/23/10 12:47:48 By - Fred Grimm

Commentary: Not all madrassas teach hate

When I first entered the large Kuddamuddin Madrassa in Lahore some years ago, it seemed to be full of light-hearted boys kicking around soccer balls or hanging out in clusters between classes. The four story brick and stucco building in the old city, with its ornate window frames and doors, could have been built a hundred years ago – long before the Islamic revival that has led to conflict around the world. | 11/22/10 06:15:53 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: Olbermann, Beck, O'Reilly and Hannity aren't journalists

Too many people think Keith Olbermann’s prose — and that of Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly of the Fox three-ring circus — is real news. At best, these poseurs are carrion feeders who feast off tidbits from the carcass of the news, then belch out batches of baloney most remarkable for their adherents’ willingness to swallow its perceived “truthiness.” | 11/20/10 06:26:23 By - Ken Robertson

Commentary: ABC, Breitbart, Olbermann and media credibility

It is seldom a good thing when the news becomes the news. We've seen that twice in recent weeks. First there was ABC News' ill-fated flirtation with blogger Andrew Breitbart.

In the face of heavy criticism, ABC backed off its decision to make Breitbart part of its election-night coverage. How prominent a role he was to have played is a point of contention between the two parties; ABC has said it cancelled the plan because Breitbart kept exaggerating the role he'd been asked to play. | 11/15/10 11:19:07 By - Leonard Pitts Jr.

Commentary: Is pardoning The Doors' Morrison really going to be Crist's legacy?

The Lizard King's pardon would be the emblematic achievement of an insipid career. No one still cares whether a drunken Jim Morrison dropped his pants on stage at Dinner Key Auditorium on March 1, 1969. The subsequent fit of civic outrage, long faded from popular memory, has aged into the perfect non-issue issue for Lame Duck Charlie. An old, quaint controversy over the deportment of The Doors' long-dead front man has become politically safe for the likes of Charlie Crist. | 11/12/10 06:17:46 By - Fred Grimm

Commentary: How does Vice President Perry sound?

Rick Perry on the 2012 ticket? Heck, he might have made it in 2008. Months before John McCain won the Republican presidential nomination, early favorite Rudy Giuliani said Perry was "on the top of everybody's list" of running mates. | 11/08/10 06:17:15 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Midterm elections and the terrible toos

Call Election 2010 the year of the Terrible Toos. As in too many polls, too many attack ads and hit-mail pieces, too much anonymous and underreported money and too many ballots still uncounted. None of this is new. And maybe we are too close to the just-completed election (except for those uncounted ballots, of course) to make comparisons. But it does seem that all four trends are advancing from bad to worse. | 11/06/10 06:41:01 By - Peter Callaghan

Commentary: Hey Mitch McConnell, 1994 is a 'mistake' worth repeating

Even before Republicans' Election Day triumph, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell was cautioning members of his party in Congress not to repeat the mistakes they made after their historic midterm landslide in 1994. The "single most important thing we want to achieve," McConnell has said, "is for President Obama to be a one-term president." | 11/04/10 13:17:28 By -

Commentary: TV remote's mute button came in handy this election season

As the days tick down drearily toward the mid-term elections, the mute button is our friend. Every time a political commercial comes on television, millions of Americans are lunging for their remote controls to turn off the volume. This is a perfectly reasonable response to a nauseating blizzard of snarky lies, breathless exaggerations and ludicrous promises that will never, ever be kept. | 11/02/10 12:45:44 By - Carl Hiaasen

Commentary: What I learned from Gov. Mark Sanford

I was so excited when Mark Sanford was elected governor. Finally, it seemed, we had a governor who looked systematically at the state’s problems and proposed solutions he thought would work, even if they weren’t popular, rather than poking his finger into the wind to identify the configuration of the populist mantle he would wrap himself in. A governor who understood that our state’s fundamental challenges were interconnected and required structural changes rather than sound-bite solutions. | 11/01/10 06:11:20 By - Cindi Ross Scoppe

Commentary: 'Don't ask, don't tell' from a WWII vet's point of view

Calvin Fritz, of Belleville, has an interesting viewpoint on the controversy over the military's policy of "don't ask, don't tell." Fritz, 84, served aboard the USS St. George, a seaplane tender, in the Pacific Ocean near the end of World War II, and he said he knew guys who were homosexual and proudly served their country. | 10/26/10 13:27:13 By - Wally Spiers

Commentary: Medicare is something we should all worry about

Several years ago grandparents Dawnia and Ray Clements got a letter from their family doctor. It said the clinic to which they had gone for years would no longer take their Medicare. So they called another doctor they had seen before. That doctor, who wasn't taking new Medicare patients, agreed to take them on. But then a letter came from that clinic too. And the Clementses found themselves without a doctor. Want to make the political hot air about health care real? Try being over 65 and doctor-less in Alaska. | 10/25/10 11:50:08 By - Julia O'Malley

Commentary: Diversity isn't easy, but it's necessary

Multiculturalism has completely failed.

That's the assessment of Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany, in a recent speech before the youth wing of her conservative political party, the Christian Democratic Union. The idea that disparate peoples can ``simply live side by side and live happily with each other'' has failed, she said. ``Utterly failed.'' | 10/25/10 11:27:03 By - Leonard Pitts Jr.

Commentary: Our election ads are scaring the Martians

Pity the poor Martians orbiting our planet who get all their civics lessons from campaign ads. They must think we're one savage species. Two weeks from Election Day, TV is crackling with political attacks. Their purpose is to introduce you to the candidates and inform you of the issues. They go like this: A devious moron is running against me whose imbecility is thicker than livermush. A single vote cast that way will lead to chaos, pestilence and warts. | 10/22/10 08:50:03 By - Mark Washburn

Commentary: Literature in the age of e-books

When I interviewed Mario Vargas Llosa a few days ago on the occasion of his well-deserved and long overdue Nobel Prize in literature, one of the things that most caught my attention was his opinion about electronic books. He made no secret about his anxiety over the future of literature in the age of the e-book. | 10/21/10 12:30:13 By - Andres Oppenheimer

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