Latest commentary

Commentary: A little government regulation goes a long way

I have a few questions for all you folks who screech about big government and over regulation.How would you like your eggs? Sunny side up? Worried about turning on the gas stove to heat those babies up? Planning a trip to the Gulf of Mexico any time soon? Don’t forget to bring the Borax to scrub away the oil and other grime — from your fish. | 10/20/10 12:09:00 By - Bob Cuddy

Commentary: Everyone has a part in ending bullying of gays

Yes, it's progress. But it's progress against an ailment that has hurt too many people for too long. And progress is slow. Tuesday a federal judge in California banned enforcement of a law that kicks openly gay soldiers out of military service. But this hopeful news came after a series of gay suicides and a horrific attack on a gay man in New York. | 10/15/10 13:11:04 By -

Commentary: Immigration is Perry's favorite election year emergency

Right on schedule, Texas Gov. Perry lashed out last week at sanctuary cities. He always talks about immigration before elections. Just not afterward. Perry has been governor of Texas since last century. As Democratic opponent Bill White has said, Perry has had years to do something about immigration. | 10/12/10 14:46:42 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Gay bashing's deadly side

It is hard to believe that in this century, and in this highly developed country, a rash of suicides has spread among adolescents who are relentlessly harassed for their sexual orientation or gender identity. Several young people have had to die to bring to the national spotlight the devastating emotional and social consequences of gay-bashing that goes on not only in schools but also in colleges, and now in the cyber world. It's as if the Taliban were in charge of our society's rules. | 10/11/10 12:34:35 By - Daniel Shoer-Roth

Commentary: Time for doctors to prescribe exercise

The prescription pad is a powerful tool. And doctors need to start using it for more than just ordering medications. They need to prescribe exercise. | 10/10/10 06:13:43 By - Joe Moore and Edward M. Philips

Commentary: GOP deserves a Nobel Prize for political alchemy

If there were a Nobel Prize for political alchemy, there would be no doubt about who this year's winner would be. According to all the prognosticators, the Republican Party is about to turn a very large lump of steer manure into electoral gold.

The lump has a name — "A Pledge to America" — and a history. This manifesto of Republican beliefs harkens back to the "Contract with America" that was issued in 1994 just before Republicans took control of both houses of Congress. The Pledge is focus group tested to duplicate the success of the Contract. | 10/08/10 09:29:48 By - Dennis Jett

Commentary: Is John Edwards' road to redemption in reality TV?

There's hope for John Edwards after all. If Rod Blagojevich can appear on a television reality show, Texas' Tom Delay can shake and shimmy on "Dancing With the Stars" and a philanderer such as New York's former Gov. Eliot Spitzer can get his own show, then surely Edwards can rebound from his monumental fall from grace after the revelation of his affair with a jezebel he met on a New York street corner. | 10/06/10 14:38:44 By - Barry Saunders

Commentary: Rick Sanchez's rollercoaster career

He's been publicly buried so many times and has always clawed his way back out of the graves: an FBI investigation, a drunk-driving conviction, even being whipped in the ratings by Japanese cartoons. But can Rick Sanchez survive his meandering rant about Jewish control of the media, an ethnic slur that has already claimed his job? | 10/06/10 08:45:10 By - Glenn Garvin

Commentary: Calling all bluffs in Middle East peace negotiations

An observer making a genuine effort to understand the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations might end up pulling out his hair in frustration.

On the surface, nothing makes sense. Just a few weeks after starting, the talks look like they might collapse. The ultimate goal is an agreement on the creation of a Palestinian state, something Palestinians insist they desperately want. And yet, it is the Palestinian side that threatens to walk out. Israelis beg them to stay, as if negotiations were a big favor to Israel. It is Israel, after all, that would have to give up land, remove its citizens and risk its security to achieve peace. Israeli behavior, however, also has something of a schizophrenic appearance. | 10/05/10 08:41:36 By - Frida Ghitis

Commentary: When fears that visiting ER will lead to financial collapse

The excruciating pain hit about midnight — an indescribable, side-wrenching feeling that pummeled me again and again. The attack arrived suddenly, and I was fraught with panic, not knowing why I was in such agony. I knew I needed to see a doctor — stat! Then just as suddenly as my pain arrived, so did my worries about how much a visit to the emergency room would cost. It seemed strange that I would be so preoccupied with money in a moment of intense distress. | 10/04/10 13:10:25 By - Bobby Caina Calvan

Commentary: Congress punts on Bush tax cuts, middle class

Members of Congress this week passed a bill to keep the government running through November, and then they packed their bags to leave town. Most will scurry home and start campaigning in earnest. But they're heading home without addressing the issue of the Bush-era tax cuts, which are due to expire at the end of the year. Nor will they address any other controversial issues until after the elections. They didn't even pass a federal budget. | 10/01/10 14:24:54 By - James Werrell

Commentary: Colbert's testimony proves Congress doesn't get it

It must have been a dream come true for Stephen Colbert, the Comedy Channel talk show host, who is not really a talk show host but a comedian playing an eccentric talk show host who's sort of a Fox News commentator with a few extra I.Q. points.

He was invited to Congress (a House subcommittee on labor) to testify about the plight of farm workers, having been one of the celebrities invited by farm workers' organizations to spend a day as a laborer. That was enough to get him the invite to Capitol Hill, where members of the House and Senate just love to rub elbows with celebrities. | 10/01/10 08:45:29 By - Jim Jenkins

Commentary: Senate should confirm Judge Diaz before recess

When President Barack Obama assumed office in Jan. 2009, the Fourth Circuit had openings in four of its 15 judgeships. Accordingly, it was urgent that the White House promptly fill these vacancies. The administration has instituted procedures to foster selection, but two seats remain open 20 months later. A helpful illustration of this issue is the Nov. 4, 2009, nomination of North Carolina Superior Court Judge Albert Diaz. The Senate must immediately confirm Judge Diaz whose nomination has languished since the Judiciary Committee unanimously approved him in Jan. 2010. | 09/28/10 11:22:55 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: Texas GOP targets its own

Texas Republicans have nearly finished off the Democrats. Now they're going after one another. First, a ministers group led in part by Texas pastors criticized U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, urging Texans to replace him with a "Tea Party candidate" because Cornyn spoke at a fundraiser for gay and lesbian Republicans. | 09/28/10 09:18:20 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Congress must end 'don't ask, don't tell'

A skilled Air Force flight nurse got the justice due her in a Tacoma courtroom Friday, but military order took a beating in the process. Maj. Margaret Witt of Spokane won her fight to be reinstated four years after the military discharged her for being gay. U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton ruled that her presence did not adversely affect unit morale or cohesion. It was the first judicial application of the so-called "Witt standard," established by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2008 as a caveat to the military's 17-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" policy. | 09/27/10 14:41:53 By -

Commentary: If the recession is over, is this a 'crapconomy'?

The recession has been over since June 2009? Really?

If it's not a recession, then what is this thing that feels like A) a depression to the poor and jobless, B) stagnation to those of us in the middle and C) another day in paradise to the CEOs and hedge fund managers raking in millions? | 09/27/10 10:56:18 By - Mike Hendricks

Commentary: When justice loses to mob mentality

It was once a staple plot of TV westerns: There's been a vicious killing. Everybody knows who did it — or thinks they know — and the posse wants to string the varmint up. No need for the bother of a trial. The crime was outrageous, people are furious. So get the rope, find a tree. Watching, you'd be glad we've moved beyond frontier justice, glad the howling of the mob can no longer stampede us into condemning an innocent man.

Anthony Graves would beg to differ. | 09/27/10 10:53:49 By - Leonard Pitts Jr.

Commentary: DREAM Act deserves a proper debate

Thousands of U.S. students have a dream. It's a dream they thought might move closer to reality this year through legislation giving them a path out of legal limbo. But the U.S. Senate this week used a procedural vote to stomp on that dream, with lots of huffing and finger pointing about "playing politics" weeks before Election Day. | 09/24/10 14:30:38 By -

Commentary: GOP's 'Pledge to America' is all platitudes, little substance

There are precious few new ideas in the GOP's 21-page "Pledge to America" campaign manifesto. There's a dismaying dearth of detail on how Republicans would actually balance the federal budget or tackle politically toxic challenges on Social Security and Medicare. And there's certainly no real road map for an economic recovery that would create the millions of jobs the country desperately needs. Instead, the legislative blueprint is full of platitudes about returning to America's founding principles, of attacks on President Barack Obama and of poll-tested, tired talking points designed to appeal to tea party activists and other disaffected Americans. | 09/24/10 11:54:30 By -

Commentary: Spending insane amounts on lobbyists

No other county in America fritters away money on Washington lobbyists like Miami-Dade. Forty-nine states spend less. This is not news. Miami-Dade has held this inexplicable distinction for seven years. But in 2010, with a $444 million budget shortfall and a property tax hike looming, the notion of Miami-Dade outspending all the counties and all the cities and all but one state seems beyond absurd. | 09/23/10 12:54:35 By - Fred Grimm

Commentary: The road to ending hunger

A young child recently asked my friend a simple question that left us feeling pain and impotence: "Why are people hungry?"

We know how to replenish soils, enhance crops and apply fertilizer, pesticide and water for maximum yield. We know how to properly harvest, protect, dry, and fumigate crops. We know how to package, store, ship and market food for maximum income to farmers and maximum benefit to consumers. But we have failed to bring the science and the wisdom of the 21st century to millions of farmers still trapped in ancient techniques. | 09/22/10 08:38:38 By - Ben Barber

A Q & A guide to McClatchyDC's new commenting service

We've changed to a new article commenting service called Disqus. Disqus offers many new options to watch, follow and share comments, and it allows you to sign on to McClatchyDC using your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus accounts, if you wish. | 09/21/10 14:53:02 By -

Commentary: We've been down this road before

We've been down this road too many times before. We've got to get a hold of ourselves and think through what some of us are saying. How can we Americans, a nation founded on the principle of freedom from and of religion, tar more than a billion-plus believers as subhuman zealots? We can't blame an entire belief system for the insane actions of a few. Which too many Americans are doing nowadays. | 09/20/10 12:49:01 By - Mike Tharp

Commentary: Offshore oil rig safety must be industry's focus

By Sunday, mud and cement will permanently seal the Macondo Well of BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig that blew up on April 20th, killing 11 people. But we can't bury what it uncovered.

The unverified state of sub-sea safety-critical systems poses a looming threat to the men and women working on offshore drilling rigs and production platforms, to the environment, and to the financial security of the oil industry itself. | 09/17/10 14:20:45 By - Tony Hall

Commentary: Russo is brains behind Tea Party Express

Sal Russo rocked back in his chair, put his scuffed shoes up on his desk and prepared to watch Karl Rove analyze the latest political shocker — a win by insurgent Christine O'Donnell against the establishment Republican candidate in Delaware. Russo, a consultant whose roots in Sacramento stretch back to Gov. Ronald Reagan's days, took a direct hand in O'Donnell's victory Tuesday. He is the brains behind the Tea Party Express, one of several campaign operations that lays claim to representing the tea party movement. | 09/16/10 12:17:18 By - Dan Morain

Commentary: Time to fill lower federal court vacancies

The federal courts recently passed a significant milestone when United States Circuit Judge Stanley Birch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit retired after two decades of dedicated service. Judge Birch's action meant that the bench has 101 vacancies out of the 858 appellate and district court judgeships. These vacancies, which are eleven percent of the positions, undercut the delivery of justice. | 09/13/10 14:29:10 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: 9-11 — another day of infamy

Today, we mark the ninth anniversary of the attack that changed our world. Sept. 11, 2001, was a day as infamous as Dec. 7, 1941, and, in immediate consequences, even more deadly. Pearl Harbor plunged us into World War II; Sept. 11 forced us into a "war on terror," which led us to war in Afghanistan. Our goal was to end the Taliban rule there that harbored international terrorists and to seek out Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of global terrorism. | 09/11/10 06:49:36 By -

Commentary: Curb intolerance by building personal relationships

We met on a bus. Rosila Ishmael was a recent graduate of one of Malaysia's universities. She was angling for a job on a newspaper. I was taking a break from newspaper work to live in her country as a volunteer for a nonprofit group. I think about her these days, as commentators around the world discuss mosques and extremism and the differences among us. | 09/11/10 06:19:18 By - Barbara Shelly

Commentary: Time to rethink how we commemorate 9-11

Saturday, the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, should be a time for solemn remembrance. But perhaps it can be much more. People of all faiths (or none) were touched by the tragedy, directly or indirectly, and its commemoration is an appropriate time for countering the kind of religious intolerance that warped the terrorists' view of the world and allowed them to rationalize their unthinkable actions. | 09/10/10 14:28:01 By -

Commentary: Beyond Rep. Joe Wilson's expense reports

It might very well be that U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson has done nothing wrong during his numerous taxpayer-funded trips to war zones, but he has done plenty wrong in his ham-handed attempts to delegitimize an ongoing ethics investigation into the matter. | 09/10/10 13:51:42 By -

Commentary: Bush taking things seriously now -- except for himself

Two months before a book tour and his return to the national TV cameras, George W. Bush spun stories and joked Tuesday for a welcoming Fort Worth audience. No need to make snarky remarks about the former president and Texas Rangers owner, now a north Dallas resident. He's fully willing to tell jokes on himself. | 09/09/10 06:30:35 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: America is leaving the ruins behind in Iraq

The end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq was declared Tuesday by President Obama at Fort Bliss, Texas. That's where I did Army basic training from Jan. 13 to March 8, 1969. Bliss, a misnomer for anybody who did sit-ups, push-ups and leg-lifts on its gravel parking lots when it still trained recruits and draftees, has become a crucial base for the war in Iraq. | 09/05/10 13:51:06 By - Mike Tharp

Commentary: Oh my God, another 'mosque' issue

The issue of the "World Trade Center Mosque" has generated a great deal of controversy recently. Opponents of the project should be alerted to the fact that there is another religious center of a group with connections to terrorism even closer to a place that has been bathed in the blood of the victims of terrorism. | 09/03/10 13:07:53 By - Dennis Jett

Commentary: The pricetag on U.S. elections

As a visitor from Germany, I find it astonishing that elections in this country can be decided by who is able to buy the most advertising time out of his own pocket. Seeing is believing, though. Florida's gubernatorial and U.S. Senate primary races leave the impression that public offices come with a price tag. Experience? Brains? A good political idea? That is so yesterday. Today, it's all about money. In Germany, by contrast, campaign spending is strictly regulated and ad time is allocated. | 09/02/10 11:38:06 By - Henning Engelage

Commentary: Hard line on immigration will cost Republicans

You don't have to be a political wizard to figure that Democrats will put out ads in Hispanic media in coming weeks painting Republicans as the anti-Hispanic party that wants to enact Arizona-styled laws throughout the country and that is calling for denying U.S. citizenship to U.S.-born children of undocumented residents. And they will have plenty of primary-race TV footage to back up their claims. | 08/26/10 17:04:16 By - Andres Oppenheimer

Commentary: Avoiding a Middle East apocalypse

Predictions of doom for the Middle East have kept people awake since back when the Bible first made its way up the bestseller list. Thousands of years later the tradition lives on, this time centering on Iran's nuclear program and what Israel or the United States may or may not to do stop it. | 08/23/10 10:29:35 By - Frida Ghitis

Commentary: Lies and election season lunacy

The reason certain politicians and their enablers in the media start irrational arguments like the one over the "ground zero mosque" is to divert attention from things that really matter. Like the fact that millions of people are out of work and millions more worry that they may be out of a job soon. What our leaders need to be focusing on is how to get us out of this financial quagmire. Instead, they squabble over symbolism because that's easier than accomplishing something. | 08/21/10 06:23:33 By - Mike Hendricks

Commentary: Gingrich, others are fearmongering over Cordoba Center

Maybe the August news shortage is what has caused the airwaves to spill over with hysteria over a proposed Islamic center in Manhattan, two blocks from the site of the 9-11 attack. Maybe it's the hostile partisanship infecting our national discourse. Whatever it is, or why, when Newt Gingrich starts equating Muslims with Nazis, something ugly and ominous is afoot. | 08/18/10 14:39:03 By -

Commentary: We have no right to judge

He had no right to judge.

That, in a nutshell, is the gist of last week's uproar over a ruling by Vaughn Walker. Walker is the federal judge, originally appointed by Ronald Reagan and generally regarded, according to the Associated Press, as "a conservative with libertarian leanings," who struck down Proposition 8, California's ban on same sex marriage. | 08/16/10 09:52:47 By - Leonard Pitts Jr.

Commentary: Those ungrateful liberal Dems

In a recent interview with The Hill, the White House press secretary lashed out at what he labeled "the professional left." Gibbs was talking about liberals, especially those on cable TV, who complain that President Obama has caved to centrists and conservatives on too many issues. Pardon me if I join Gibbs in his bewilderment over the ingratitude of the left. While Obama's performance has been less than perfect, he certainly has delivered in a big way — notably on health care reform, new fair-pay legislation for women, financial regulations for Wall Street, student loan reform and a recovery act that kept the nation from sliding into a depression. | 08/16/10 04:59:11 By - James Werrell

Signs point to heaven with humor

Driving to Albemarle this week, I had to chuckle with admiration when I passed the sign in front of West Stanly Baptist Church. NEED A LIFEGUARD? OURS WALKS ON WATER. | 08/14/10 14:12:41 By - Tim Funk

Commentary: What to make of JetBlue's sliding Steven Slater?

Steven Slater is a hero. The JetBlue flight attendant acted out the fantasy of millions of working people. He told off the jerk who had cussed him out, then he quit his job in style — grabbed a beer, popped the emergency slide on the plane, and glided off to freedom. Take this job and shove it, I ain't working here no more. | 08/12/10 14:01:00 By - Tommy Tomlinson

Commentary: Gates makes right call on defense cuts

Defense Secretary Robert Gates looked at the future of budget politics and saw a major squeeze looming. To maintain the current force structure, the defense budget must rise by up to 3 percent a year, but current projections call for only a 1 percent increase. | 08/12/10 13:47:25 By -

Commentary: Despite Obama's pledge, our Iraq commitment hasn't ended

This should be a day of jubilation in America, but I can't rejoice over the latest news about Iraq. When I consider that more than 1 million Americans have served in this ill-advised and totally unnecessary war since 2003, I am reminded that more than 4,400 of them died and thousands more were severely damaged. | 08/09/10 11:38:48 By - Bob Ray Sanders

Commentary: Letter to McClatchy DC Editors

In his July 21 McClatchy article, "State Department Planning to Field a Small Army in Iraq," Warren Strobel repeated the old canard that "...this is no longer just the foreign service officer standing in the canape line, and the military out in the field." He added the line: "The State Department, better known for negotiating treaties and delivering diplomatic notes, will have to fend for itself in what remains an active danger zone." These are particularly egregious statements that fly in the face of heroic service in recent years by thousands of — often unarmed — Foreign Service personnel in danger posts around the world. Strobel's use of the term "army" is also wildly innacurate; State is planning for some hundreds of new security personnel, a far cry from the nearly 40,000 soldiers that comprise an "army" in the US military. | 08/04/10 11:53:36 By - Susan R. Johnson

Commentary: Torture memos — Accountability everywhere but here?

Eight years ago on Aug. 1, armed with two legal opinions that gutted the prohibition against torture, CIA agents and contractors began the month-long "enhanced interrogation" of Abu Zubaydah in a secret CIA dungeon in Thailand. Today, nobody argues that Abu Zubaydah wasn't tortured. Yet we have done practically nothing: no prosecutions or investigations of senior officials who oversaw the torture program, no meaningful acknowledgment or redress for the victims of our torture program. | 08/02/10 06:14:24 By - Jameel Jaffer and Larry Siems

Commentary: Delaware District Court vacancies need filling fast

This week, the federal courts marked an important milestone when United States District Judge Joseph Farnan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware retired after a quarter century of dedicated service. | 07/30/10 15:19:56 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: What happened to Obama's 'post-racial' America?

Weren't we supposed to enter a new age of tolerance with the election of President Barack Obama? His half-black, half-white ancestry and broad support across racial lines suggested that at last Americans judged each other on the content of our characters — not the color of our skin or our tribal affiliations. Instead, in just 18 months of the Obama administration, racial discord is growing and relations seem to have been set back a generation. | 07/29/10 11:30:40 By - Victor Davis Hanson

Commentary: Why WikiLeaks' 'War Logs' are no Pentagon Papers

The WikiLeaks documents on the Afghanistan war have brought suggestions such as this one [1] (from The New York Times, the newspaper that published both) that they represent "the Pentagon Papers of our time." Not quite. | 07/27/10 11:35:05 By - Richard Tofel

Commentary: For reporters, the rules at Guantanamo change daily

Guantanamo is a place the Pentagon likes to call the most transparent detention center on Earth. Hundreds of reporters have visited there, they say, since the first al Qaida suspects arrived eight years ago. They skip the part about how few go back more than once — stymied by the sheer frustration at the rules, the hoops, the time, and the costs of doing basic journalism. | 07/27/10 08:56:45 By - Carol Rosenberg

Commentary: Obama, Hitler and wingnuts — Oh my!

President Obama, Adolf Hitler and Chairman Mao. Three peas in a pod, right? Mao ordered millions of his own people murdered. Hitler committed genocide and started a world war that left tens of millions of corpses. Whereas Obama pushed through national health care, bailed out the auto industry and slapped new rules on Wall Street.

Lots of similarities. | 07/26/10 10:45:20 By - Mike Hendricks

Commentary: Sherrod saga offers a lesson in overcoming hate

If it's possible to make lemonade from the sour lemons of the Shirley Sherrod affair, it might be this: Sherrod's insightful words about struggling with and overcoming racial animus, about not living with hate, and about looking beyond race to an understanding that "there's no difference between us" — that we must work together to help each other — are now accessible to a lot more people. It's a message many need to hear. | 07/23/10 13:20:22 By - Fannie Flono

Commentary: Time to confirm Jane Branstetter Stranch for Sixth Circuit

The U.S. Senate must confirm Sixth Circuit judicial nominee Jane Branstetter Stranch before its August recess. The Judiciary Committee approved her eight months ago this week, and she has waited longer than any nominee for a floor vote. | 07/23/10 08:20:12 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: Graham puts country before party with Kagan vote

Throughout the first two centuries or so of our nation's history, what Sen. Lindsay Graham did on Wednesday when he voted to confirm President Obama's appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court would have been thoroughly unremarkable. What would have been remarkable would have been for a senator to do otherwise — to vote against confirming a nominee who did not have serious ethical, legal, mental or intellectual problems. | 07/22/10 14:44:51 By -

Commentary: 'Refudiate' and the birth of ShakesPalin

Just when I thought no joke about our former governor would ever make me laugh, because, like most of you, I'm so tired of you-know-who I can't even bring myself to type her name and all related humor seems more played out than a Miley Cyrus song, there appeared, sometime on Monday, a phenomenon on Twitter known as ShakesPalin. ShakesPalin's roots were planted during a Fox News appearance, something to do with the Tea Party and racism, where she allegedly used a made-up word — the linguistic love child of refute and repudiate — "refudiate." | 07/21/10 10:21:57 By - Julia O'Malley

Commentary: U.S. will follow Europe's lead on solar energy

America was the world's leader in alternative energy research in the 1970s, but that came to a sudden halt when incentives, subsidies and research funding were slashed after President Ronald Reagan's election in 1980. Since then, most solar innovation has come from Europe, with huge advances being made in Germany, Austria and Scandinavia. | 07/21/10 08:28:15 By - Tom Eblen

Commentary: Glenn Beck's truth

A scene from the near future as a businessman meets a graduate of Beck University — the online university that TV host Glenn Beck founded in 2010 so people could learn the real truth they don't get in your so-called 'universities.' | 07/14/10 09:08:25 By - Leonard Pitts Jr.

Commentary: Securing the wild, wild Web (and networks, and e-mail )

It's a wild cyber world out there, and it's getting wilder every day. The good news is that the government has recognized the threat, and a year ago a new cybersecurity coordinator position was created in the White House. The challenge is that the job is enormous in scope and responsibility. | 06/25/10 19:20:08 By - Lt. Gen. Harry Raduege, USAF (Ret) and the Honorable Tom Davis

Commentary: Protect cell phone location data from government abuse

Today the House is holding hearings on cell phone location tracking. We urge the House Judiciary Committee to work to modernize electronic privacy law to ensure that location information is safeguarded from government abuse. The framers of our Constitution foresaw the danger of widespread surveillance and adopted the Fourth Amendment to protect against it. | 06/24/10 11:53:46 By - Catherine Crump

Commentary: Breaking the lower federal court vacancy logjam

Because 100 of the 858 appellate and district judgeships remain vacant, eroding the prompt, inexpensive and fair resolution of cases, the Senate should swiftly confirm President Obama's 26 remaining lower court nominees by reestablishing its longstanding tradition of confirming well-qualified, non-controversial nominees soon after the Judiciary Committee approves them. | 06/22/10 07:58:55 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: President Obama, BP and the law

At a White House meeting Wednesday President Barack Obama and BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg reached a tentative agreement under which the company would create an independent $20 billion fund to pay claims for the spill, which would be administered by Kenneth Feinberg, the administration's "pay czar". The tentative agreement raises myriad questions of authority and practical implementation, however, that must be answered. | 06/16/10 17:06:48 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: Snatching defeat from victory in AIDS crisis

There is a new and growing danger that advances in the global war on AIDS might not be sustained. Part of the problem is the sheer weight of numbers. Meanwhile, money for treatment is drying up. Because of the global recession, some international donors are threatening to cap their financial support. | 06/15/10 09:53:24 By - Ban Ki-moon

Commentary: It's time to move toward a cleaner energy future

Here's the lesson of this moment: fossil fuels come with a price far beyond what we pay for gasoline at the pump or what we pay on our utility bills. The U.S. can lead the world in clean technologies, just as we led the first industrial revolution. But we must move quickly. The next industrial revolution is already underway. | 06/15/10 09:38:17 By - Fred Krupp

Commentary: Surest path home for our troops is success

These are troubling times in Afghanistan, though there are signs of hope. Securing Taliban-controlled areas and then staying focused on transitioning security from NATO to Afghan forces is a difficult but necessary task. | 06/15/10 09:24:15 By -

Commentary: Political lunacy makes S.C. tough to love

Could South Carolina politics be any nuttier than it is now? Two S.C. political operatives have announced that they've had affairs with Republican front-runner Nikki Haley, who is married with two kids. One operative, Larry Marchant, happened to be a consultant for the campaign of Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, who's running against Haley. Haley is also the daughter of immigrants from India, which is where another Bauer supporter — state Sen. Jake Knotts — comes in. Knotts, speaking on an Internet talk show, called her a "raghead." (He called President Barack Obama the same thing, completing an Idiot's Daily Double.) | 06/08/10 13:31:13 By - Tommy Tomlinson

Commentary: We're only outraged about oil spill that we can see

It's Day 47 of what we regard as an utterly unacceptable environmental disaster. We watch in horror as the first tar balls wash onto the Florida Panhandle's sugar-sand beaches. It's Day 32 in Akwa Ibom. Not that anyone in the Niger River Delta has bothered to count the days since an offshore spill added another million gallons of crude to an already devastated estuary. But the word "unacceptable" has no meaning in Nigeria's bleak oil fields. | 06/07/10 14:13:16 By - Fred Grimm

Commentary: MMS still hasn't gotten the Gulf spill's message

Lest there be any remaining doubt, the ever-growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a seminal catastrophe. It is transforming the way Americans view offshore oil exploration, particularly drilling for oil at depths thousands of feet below the sea. Unfortunately, this sea change hasn't yet extended to the U.S. Department of Interior and its Minerals Management Service. As Shashank Bengali of McClatchy's Washington Bureau reported last Thursday, the MMS this week was prepared to let oil firms go ahead with 31 deep-water drilling plans for the Gulf of Mexico, nearly half of which the agency had approved since the April 20 explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig. | 06/07/10 11:31:19 By -

Commentary: Billions for defense, but only red tape for abused children

We doctors are a cynical bunch. Very few things shock us, but cruelty to children is one of them. If the most prosperous country in the world can afford to fight two wars, battle terrorism in far-off lands and bail out Wall Street by the billions, why can't it offer its most vulnerable and voiceless citizens anything but bureaucratic red tape? | 06/01/10 07:47:19 By - Seema Jilani

Commentary: Honoring soldiers by opposing Fred Phelps

By the end of Thursday, nearly all 50 states are expected to be in legal alignment against Fred Phelps.

This is no small feat. Despite the rather bland feeling an amicus brief signed by a bunch of attorney generals may elicit, the importance should be understood. Somehow, a short court document doesn't feel like much of a reply to the decades-long fury of Phelps, his crude signs about gays, the demeaning nature of his disruptive protests at the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. | 06/01/10 06:05:00 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Rand Paul tells a tired, old story

If you notice, they have never been on our side. "They" meaning social conservatives. "Our" meaning African-American people. They have never been on our side and always, they have claimed "principle" to justify it. So remarks like the one above that got Kentucky senatorial candidate Rand Paul in trouble last week are surprising only in the sense that one is surprised to hear an oldie on the radio one hasn't heard in awhile. | 05/28/10 06:14:53 By - Leonard Pitts Jr.

Commentary: Some advice for grads on multitasking and oil drilling

It is my pleasure to address the graduating class of 2010. There are a few points to keep in mind as you tumble toward adulthood: Three aspirin and a cigarette no longer qualifies as breakfast. Your average turn signal conveys more useful information than your standard tweet. It's still a free country. Speak your mind, but mind your speak. Multitask all you want, but when it comes to nuclear power or drilling for oil, take it one thing at a time. | 05/26/10 12:49:20 By - Mark Washburn

Commentary: Rand Paul's missteps come quickly

Wow! That didn't take long. Just about 24 hours into his victory lap, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul went on national TV and one "Oops!" later got tagged as a guy who really does have some strange ideas. Then, Paul went on national TV again Friday and voiced the strange notion that it is "un-American" of President Barack Obama to criticize BP for a little old oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Never mind all the jobs, aquatic life and beaches that will get slimed by the little old oil spill. | 05/25/10 14:05:27 By - Larry Dale Keeling

Commentary: Oh Texas, we chose this school board

So who chose the Texas state school board? We did. Our state board was on display for the nation's entertainment again last week, rewriting social studies lessons that will affect the nation's textbooks. Once again, board members made the Texas Legislature look smart. Bryan Republican Don McLeroy, the lame-duck former board chairman, wanted history books to contrast the critical "tone" of reform leaders such as Susan B. Anthony with the sunnier "optimism" of immigrants such as Jean Pierre Godet. The only problem with that was that Godet is a character in a historical novel. | 05/24/10 14:53:05 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Rand Paul lacks real world experience

It hurt a bit — listening to Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul say he sees nothing wrong with private business owners deciding who can enter their establishments even if those decisions are based on race, physical disabilities, sexual orientation, or any characteristic that marks a person as a minority. For a moment Wednesday evening while watching the Rachel Maddow Show, I was transported to a time decades ago when similar words were rolling from the lips of noted segregationists Lester Maddox in Georgia and George Wallace in Alabama. | 05/24/10 13:29:53 By - Merlene Davis

Commentary: Bobbing and weaving with Rand Paul

Not since Muhammad Ali was in his prime have Kentuckians seen a fellow resident of the commonwealth bob and weave as much as Rand Paul has done the past couple of days. But while it speaks to the worth of the relatively unknown candidate Republicans chose to pin their U.S. Senate hopes on, Paul's difficulty in giving straight answers to simple questions is the lesser issue here. | 05/21/10 15:39:47 By -

Commentary: Gulf oil spill as 'serial killer'

A flotilla of shrimp boats skimmed the waters of Brenton Bay at the mouth of the Mississippi Thursday in a desperate attempt to limit the damage to coastal marshes from the long tendrils of oil snaking in from the giant spill. Despite the operation, the escalating destruction caused by the encroaching oil was obvious. Just one day after the first waves of oil washed into the coastal marshes, stands of Roseau cane had turned black at the base and brown farther up the stalks. Just one day and these grasses were dying. | 05/21/10 11:27:18 By - Fred Grimm

Commentary: GOP is making immigrants political exiles

It aches to see what's happening in Arizona and throughout much of the nation, including Florida where GOP politicians will say anything to earn "whitey" points with Tea Party voters. It's sad to see Sen. John McCain, once a true statesman who pushed for immigration reform, virtually join the Minute Men in a desperate attempt to get reelected. Never mind that more people are being caught on the border and that fewer are coming in. | 05/20/10 12:58:31 By - Myriam Marquez

Commentary: A low-tech method for Gulf oil spill cleanup

Lionel Stevenson spent most of Tuesday humping bundled lengths of bright yellow tubular floats, connected like strings of giant sausages.

"Pretty low-tech," said Stevenson, stunned that the primary defense along Plaquemines Parish's vulnerable coast from an oily catastrophe would be these plastic booms he was loading onto shrimp boats for $10 an hour. "Stone age," he said. | 05/19/10 13:25:25 By - Fred Grimm

Commentary: California's political parties and the fat cats they serve

The only difference between Democrats and Republicans in California is that they answer to a different set of special interests. Regardless of their talking points, neither party cares about the people they feature in photo opportunities. Republicans don't answer to small business. Democrats don't stick up for foster kids and college students. Both parties exist for the big guys, whether it's corporate America, public employee unions or Indian gaming casinos raking in Las Vegas-sized profits. | 05/17/10 11:45:39 By - Bill McEwen

Commentary: Kagan's sexual orientation is nobody's business

An article on the Christian News Wire went so far as to demand that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan fess up about her sexual orientation "because the public has a right to know." Fact is, the public doesn't have a right to know everything about public figures, even appointees to the highest court in the land. | 05/14/10 13:20:00 By - Mike Hendricks

Commentary: Does DeMint want McConnell's GOP leadership role?

After endorsing Rand Paul in Kentucky's Republican Senate primary last Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina issued a statement saying, "Senator (Mitch) McConnell and I are on different sides in this race, but I support him as our leader." McConnell, the Senate minority leader, had endorsed Secretary of State Trey Grayson a day earlier. | 05/13/10 13:22:48 By - Larry Dale Keeling

Commentary: Arizona's degrading immigration law

An African-American teenager was driving home when a police cruiser pulled up from behind, stopping him in front of a home in a predominantly white St. Louis suburb. After he produced his license showing that he lived at the spot where the traffic stop occurred, his car was searched, the contents strewn on the neatly manicured lawn as the neighbors watched. The officer even went a step further, asking him if he was a drug dealer or gang member. That young man, a high school honor student 20 years ago, is now my husband. | 05/13/10 11:53:58 By - Julie Lynem

Commentary: In appreciation of Lena Horne

Lena Horne was one of the last links to an era fading slowly from living memory. A singer and actress of cafe au lait skin, lively eyes and an irrepressible smile, she came to fame in the 1940s and, wittingly or not, became a de facto symbol, a stand in representing millions of other African Americans shut out of the mainstream by custom and by law. She bore all their hopes and aspirations. It was unfair; it was ridiculous. It was the way things were. Lena Horne, who died Sunday at 92, had to represent. And she did — spectacularly. | 05/11/10 13:09:13 By - Leonard Pitts Jr.

Commentary: Professor George Rekers explains it all

If Professor George gets away with this, I'm going straight to Rentgirl. It's my bad back. Not that I'm suggesting George Rekers went straight to Rentboy, the explicit website where his fellow traveler advertises a willingness "to do anything you say as long as you ask." | 05/10/10 13:31:56 By - Fred Grimm

Letter to the Editor: Bosnia is not 'Lurching to Disaster'

In his recent article, "As U.S. shrugs, Bosnia lurches toward disaster again," Roy Gutman tells a one-sided story. He portrays legitimate political debate about the right structure for Bosnia-Herzegovina as a threat to stability. Gutman mis-characterizes the goals and intentions of the Republika Srpska to bolster claims that Bosnia- Herzegovina is on the brink of conflict. It does not appear that Gutman met with any Republika Srpska officials as he prepared his article. | 05/04/10 13:00:15 By - Ralph R. Johnson

Commentary: What if we had won in Vietnam?

A father's reflection helped his Vietnamese son put the war behind.

April 30, 2010 — Thirty-five years ago today, North Vietnamese soldiers riding atop Russian-made tanks clanked through the streets of Saigon unopposed and brought an end to a long and bitter war. A week before, my mother, my three sisters, and I fled Vietnam. Our country was falling apart; our hopes for freedom in our own nation were dashed. | 05/04/10 09:18:19 By - Quang Pham

Commentary: Time to confirm N.C. Fourth Circuit nominees

When President Barack Obama was inaugurated, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit experienced vacancies in four of the court's 15 judgeships. Accordingly, it was imperative that the administration expeditiously fill these openings. The chief executive has implemented practices to facilitate selection, but three of the positions remain unoccupied fifteen months later. | 05/03/10 12:26:36 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: GOP needs to listen to these voters

On a day of marches in Dallas, the future of the Republican Party in Texas might have been taking shape at a smaller rally in a downtown Waco square. Car salesman Duke Machado, 38, of Woodway is an Air Force veteran and a disgusted Republican. Machado and fellow Republican Bert Hernandez, manager of a Waco dealership, are examples of voters the GOP needs. They're business professionals interested in limited government and restricted borders -- but not interested in deporting every illegal immigrant or dividing families. | 05/03/10 11:59:26 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Gulf of Mexico rig disaster strikes hard in Alaska

To Alaskans who were here in 1989, the scene in the Gulf of Mexico looks familiar — the scrambling spill response, the booms, the fishermen, the relentless spread of the oil. The circumstances are not entirely the same, of course. The Exxon Valdez oil spill, North America's worst, was caused by a tanker run aground, not a rig explosion as happened with BP's Deepwater Horizon. | 05/03/10 10:52:16 By -

Commentary: Finally, Archie comic book has gay character

Something has been missing in Riverdale: reality. So Archie Comics is introducing a character in a story titled "Isn't it Bromantic?" for Veronica issue No. 202. Kevin Keller is everything one might expect of the newest transfer student: blond and hunky, with a square jaw reminiscent of Ben Affleck's. This dreamboat, however, is impervious to Veronica's lust. | 05/01/10 14:55:33 By - Ana Veciana Suarez

Commentary: A call to arms in Idaho over health care overhaul?

Idaho governor candidate Rex Rammell doesn't advocate civil war. But if need be, Rammell says he would mobilize Idahoans to take up arms against the federal government. Rammell's comments center on Idaho's lawsuit against federal health care reform. Rammell sides with incumbent GOP Gov, Butch Otter about filing the lawsuit — but he disagrees with Otter's intention to comply, should the lawsuit fail. | 04/30/10 08:50:52 By - Kevin Richert

Commentary: We don't allow easy, legal immigration for Latinos

There would be nothing wrong with demanding that immigrants come to the United States legally if we allowed them to do so. But we don't -- they are coming through the back door to take jobs we offer them, because we don't allow them in through the front door. Legal immigration quotas were set more than 20 years ago, when the U.S. demand for unskilled and highly skilled workers was much smaller than today's. | 04/29/10 12:25:03 By - Andres Oppenheimer

Commentary: Palin, Beck take a page out of Sharpton's playbook

We're Trading Places. From his Fox News pulpit, Rev. Right (Glenn Beck) begs God to damn America for empowering Barack Hussein Obama. Gal Sharpton (Sarah Palin) travels the country stoking the fears of white Americans telling them their country has been stolen by a mixed-race president. | 04/28/10 07:12:40 By - Jason Whitlock

Commentary: Blackwater 'just doing a job for the government'

In the secretive world of Blackwater Worldwide, nothing is what it seems. The security company's heavily armed employees, for example, were only doing their job — protecting U.S. diplomats — when in 2007 they shot up a Baghdad square, killing 17 civilians. No matter that Iraqi officials called it murder. Now, "just doing a job for the government" is shaping up as a key component in the defense offered by five former Blackwater executives to federal firearms charges. | 04/23/10 14:30:25 By -

Commentary: Here's a reason why tenure is a bad idea

When Charlie Crist vetoed the educational reform bill last week, I thought immediately of George Adamski, who in 1947 became the first American to announce he'd met with space aliens. A friendly bunch — they even gave him some tummy-ache medicine to pass along to the pope — the aliens took Adamski on several tours of the solar system in their spaceship over the next few years. In several books he wrote on the subject, Adamski said he liked the dark side of the moon best, for its thriving cities and snowy peaks. | 04/23/10 12:25:24 By - Glenn Garvin

Commentary: Pension reform starts from the top

With his time in office running out, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger once again is calling on the Legislature to fix California's costly public pension system. On Wednesday, the Republican governor urged lawmakers to end pension spiking, in which elected officials and high-end government employees switch to higher-paying jobs at the ends of their careers to boost their pensions. | 04/22/10 12:13:52 By - Dan Morain

Commentary: Confirming Christopher Schroeder for DOJ OLP

In the coming days, Senate Democrats will seek a floor vote, possibly after invoking cloture, on Christopher Schroeder to be the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy (OLP) in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). | 04/21/10 10:25:20 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: When Tea Party rhetoric goes too far

Nothing seems to come close to her, but then again, when it comes to inflammatory, ridiculous exaggeration, few can top Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann. Speaking to a Washington tea party rally, Bachmann said the Obama administration was "the gangster government." Former President Bill Clinton calmly responded when he heard of those comments. "They are not gangsters," he said. "They were elected. They are not doing anything they were not elected to do." | 04/19/10 14:13:34 By -

Commentary: Does Iraq war resonate with U.S. citizens?

Six years ago, the conventional wisdom was that Ayad Allawi, then prime minister of the appointed Iraqi Interim Government, was a puppet of the United States. Last month, though, the Allawi-led Iraqiya alliance won, by a narrow margin, more parliamentary seats than any other coalition in national elections — and he may become the country's next prime minister. Indeed, as we look back at our years in Iraq, almost all of what once passed for conventional wisdom has been proven wrong. | 04/19/10 11:31:07 By - Victor Davis Hanson

Commentary: Quit whining about taxes

It's the day after April 15 — Tax Day! — and we're all destitute, our pockets picked clean by Uncle Sam. Right? Naw! Quit your whining. It's almost certain you got a tax cut this year. Why? Because the federal stimulus bill that the Tea Partiers hate so much reduced federal income taxes for 98 percent of all working families and individuals, according the Citizens for Tax Justice, a nonpartisan think tank. | 04/16/10 14:32:42 By - James Werrell

Commentary: Cuba is on top of Estefans' agenda with Obama

They have visited with six American presidents. Traveled from China to England to speak to ambassadors and heads of state. Seen the pope. Now Emilio and Gloria Estefan want to share the story of Cuba's 51-year dictatorship with President Barack Obama, put human rights at the top, give the island's 11 million people hope. | 04/15/10 12:18:29 By - Myriam Marquez

Commentary: Gloria, Emilio Estefan strike sour note with Cuban-Americans

If Gloria Estefan decides to sing a tune while hosting President Barack Obama at her home Thursday, she may want to consider her 1989 hit Cuts Both Ways. The Estefans may have broken more than a rule when they decided to host a cocktail reception for the president during his visit to South Florida on Thursday. Estefan, along with husband Emilio, also broke a bond that had united them with Miami's Cuban community, whose members largely oppose the president's agenda. | 04/15/10 11:12:07 By - Jackie Bueno Sousa

Commentary: High court nominees deserve a quick hearing and vote

Justice John Paul Stevens hasn't even retired yet and already there's talk about Senate Republicans filibustering President Barack Obama's next Supreme Court nominee. On Fox News Sunday, Senate Judiciary Committee member Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who became a Democrat last year after 43 years in the GOP, said Stevens should wait because gridlock could cause a Republican filibuster in this election year. Could we back up for just a minute and take a breath? | 04/09/10 15:00:02 By -

Commentary: Augusta National chairman gives a lesson in hypocrisy with Woods remarks

Who knew God made a high horse low enough for Billy Payne to saddle? On the eve of Tiger Woods' return to tournament golf, Payne, the chairman of Augusta National Golf Course, used his annual Masters news conference to add his voice to the throng of self-righteous hypocrites blasting Woods for the golfer's sexual promiscuity. | 04/08/10 15:15:01 By - Jason Whitlock

Commentary: Whitman, Poizner bring fearmongering over immigrants to gubernatorial race

A definition of demagoguery is when a politician knows something isn't really true or fair, but continues to exploit it anyway. So will Republican gubernatorial candidates Steve Poizner and Meg Whitman step up and admit they're misleading California's voters about college students who are also illegal immigrants? | 04/06/10 12:08:59 By -

Commentary: In pursuing terrorists, did Bush administration go too far?

The Bush administration's secret program of wiretapping U.S. citizens in the name of nabbing terrorists offended a lot of people because it bypassed a court system Congress set up for the purpose of overseeing such wiretaps. Even though the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court acts in secret, the administration claimed constitutional authority to spy without going to the court first. | 04/02/10 15:04:43 By -

Commentary: Whitman's millions might be boost California's economy needs

If for nothing else, Meg Whitman deserves a hip-hip-hooray for single-handedly trying to turn around California's failing economy. State election records indicate that she has spent $47 million in her effort to become our next governor — or about $2.70 for each of California's 17 million registered voters. Not to endorse deception, but voters might want to rethink what they're telling pollsters. | 03/30/10 12:29:20 By - Bill McEwen

Commentary: Legal precedents mean health care bill opponents unlikely to win

It's a highly admirable thing, really: Opponents of Obamacare say they are rising to defend liberty. In this case, it's economic liberty. There's no way, they say, that Congress has the power to make people buy something they don't want to buy, like health insurance. Thirteen states, including Texas, have raised that claim as part of a federal lawsuit meant to block implementation of the new health care law so strongly backed by President Barack Obama. | 03/26/10 14:10:49 By - Mike Norman

Commentary: Threats are not free speech

Sunday's passage of health care reform was preceded by many weeks of venomous attacks and wild exaggerations, yet it all seems so tame now in comparison. Since the vote, at least 10 House members have reported death threats, harassment or vandalism at district offices. Such violence and threats of violence are not free speech and political protest. It is intimidation, it is criminal, and it has no place in a democracy like ours. | 03/26/10 11:11:42 By -

Commentary: ACORN had issues before that infamous video

ACORN leaders are blaming orchestrated right-wing attacks for bringing down the 40-year-old liberal activist group. In truth, the organization's self-inflicted injuries had weakened it to the point that a conservative coup de grace — in the form of a surreptitious video featuring the world's unlikeliest pimp and prostitute — was all it took to kill it. | 03/25/10 11:32:37 By -

Commentary: Whitman's campaign is flying first class

A billionaire's wallet is something to behold when it opens wide. Republican billionaire Meg Whitman has attained front-runner status in the race to replace Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger by spending nine times more than her nearest rival on broadcast ads in the first two and half months of this year. | 03/24/10 12:31:41 By - Dan Morain

Commentary: Replacing No Child Left Behind

The federal No Child Left Behind education act is dead. President Barack Obama drove a stake through its heart this week. Many people won't miss NCLB, even though it was widely acclaimed when it was passed in 2001 and may have been the shining achievement of President George W. Bush's White House career. It certainly was the greatest show of bipartisanship between Bush and Congress. | 03/19/10 14:16:23 By - Mike Norman

Commentary: Ending Arab-Israeli conflict requires a carrot and stick approach

There are basically four ways that wars end — when one side wins a military victory, when both sides negotiate a peace in good faith and it lasts, when they negotiate in bad faith and it does not, and finally when peace is imposed by outside parties. It seems clear that the first three are unworkable when it comes to bringing about an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is time to try a variation of the last. | 03/18/10 13:18:50 By - Dennis Jett

Commentary: Paranoia over census is over-the-top

Wingnut Nation is always having night sweats about something or other. The latest phony outrage is this nation's decennial head count. Even before the forms appeared in mailboxes this week, some critics called this census overly "intrusive." | 03/17/10 13:57:49 By - Mike Hendricks

Commentary: Another 'reset' to Obama's foreign policy?

Almost every element of Barack Obama's once-heralded new "reset" foreign policy of a year ago has either been reset or likely soon will be. Consider Obama's approach to the 8-year-old war on terror. Plans made more than a year ago to shut down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay by January 2010 have stalled. Despite loud proclamations about trying Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the architect of 9/11, in a civilian court in New York, such an absurd pledge will probably never be kept. | 03/16/10 11:11:35 By - Victor Davis Hanson

Commentary: Why Marc Thiessen's wrong about 'al Qaeda 7'

Washington Post op-ed columnist and Republican speech writer Marc Thiessen continues to try to whip up public outrage over the "al Qaeda Seven," his preferred term for Justice Department attorneys who once represented Guantanamo Bay detainees. In his latest Washington Post blog, the former Jesse Helms wordsmith contends the Sixth Amendment rights to the legal protections necessary for a fair trial don't apply to the Gitmo detainees. But Thiessen is arguing perversely and backwards, from a premise rejected by the Supreme Court. | 03/12/10 15:16:08 By - Michael Doyle

Commentary: When a Texas candidate's ethnicity and voter ignorance collide

Hurst, Texas, Republican Lenny Lopez figured he'd get an earful from voters when he ran against a popular Tarrant County justice of the peace. But there was one word he never expected to hear: "Mexican!" Born in Brooklyn to parents from the U.S. commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Lopez is as American as Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor or — no relation — Jennifer Lopez. | 03/12/10 14:04:12 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Graham vs. Clyburn race would be a tea party tester

What I wouldn't give for a James Clyburn-Lindsey Graham gubernatorial race. They are the two most influential politicians in the state of South Carolina. Their clout would bring excitement to a race so bland most South Carolinians haven't bothered to look up the names of the candidates. The match-up would also provide a major test for the tea party. | 03/12/10 13:48:57 By - Isaac Bailey

Commentary: How much of a politician's private life is our business?

The gentleman frequents gay bars in Sacramento.

The assertion probably wouldn't make news — except that in this case, the gentleman is a conservative state senator whose voting record on gay rights issues has consistently been "no." | 03/09/10 07:16:23 By - Marcos Breton

Commentary: GOP fools me with fake census

When it arrived I knew Id arrived. For years I had dreamed of being considered important enough to be asked to fill out the long form from the Census Bureau. It began when I finally owned a house with more than one bathroom and I wanted to tell someone. | 03/08/10 13:09:40 By - Peter Callaghan

Commentary: California bucks national trend on teen birth rates

California can rightly be proud to be bucking a national trend. Teenage girls here are giving birth in record low numbers. The opposite is true nationally. Governors dating back to Pete Wilson, along with the California Department of Public Health, deserve praise for funding a wide array of programs aimed at combating teen births. California has taken an enlightened approach with programs including abstinence, counseling, contraceptives, and state-funded abortions for unwanted pregnancies. | 03/05/10 12:30:08 By -

Commentary: Rangel should have stepped down sooner

Rep. Charles Rangel of New York finally quit as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee this week, but his resignation was neither honorable nor graceful. | 03/04/10 12:49:45 By -

Commentary: An apology to Canada

My intention in Monday morning's wrap-up column wasn't to offend Canada, the land of my ancestors, and my hosts of the past three weeks. On the contrary, I was trying to express my disappointment and surprise that, in my opinion, Canadians had failed to grasp the global mandate that being an Olympic host entails. In doing so, I reached for a comparison — and picked one in the 1936 Olympics that unintentionally may have offended the very people whose company I have enjoyed for these past days.

I apologize for offending them. | 03/03/10 12:17:09 By - Gil LeBreton

Commentary: Yucca Mountain nuclear waste decision needs broader action

Hats off to the trio of Tri-Citians challenging President Obama's decision to abandon plans for a nuclear waste repository in Nevada. But it's a curious turn of events that has individuals leading the charge against this sudden shift in the nation's nuclear waste policy away from Yucca Mountain. | 03/02/10 11:44:09 By -

A perfect ending for Canada's Games

It was perfect. No one wanted the Warmest Games to end. Warmest weather. Warmest hosts. So it was only fitting that Canada's 2010 Winter Olympics reached a crescendo with the hockey showdown between neighbors and rivals, between inventor of the game and emulator, between Canada and the U.S. It was only fitting that Canada won, 3-2, at home, in the finale, on a shot by its favorite son, causing coast-to-coast mayhem. | 03/01/10 11:51:18 By - Linda Robertson

Commentary: Checking in on Fourth Circuit vacancies

When President Barack Obama was inaugurated, four of fifteen judgeships were open on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Thus, it was critical that the new administration and the 111th Senate promptly fill these vacancies because openings in a quarter of the judicial contingent impede appeals' swift, economical and fair disposition. Thirteen months later, it is fair to ask: How are the chief executive and the Senate doing? The answer is better than they were last autumn but not sufficiently well. | 03/01/10 13:20:05 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: Paid parental leave should be a priority

When it comes to family leave policies, few rich countries are more backward than the United States. A recent study by Harvard and McGill University researchers found that this country placed dead last in providing parental leave and other supportive work conditions when compared to the world's most economically successful countries. | 03/01/10 11:49:43 By - Casey Woods

Commentary: An independent Kosova after two years

Kosova's independence — declared two years ago — is the realization of a nation's yearning and a triumph over brutal repression. We resisted through non-violent means for decades, including from 1989-1998 when I led a government-in-exile as Prime Minister. In only two years since declaring independence, Kosova has demonstrated resolute commitments to democratic processes, the rule of law, and inter-ethnic equality. Kosova's independence is a stabilizing factor for the Western Balkans, and will neither be compromised nor reversed. | 02/24/10 12:56:42 By - Dr. Bujar Bukoshi

Commentary: Against the hijacking of a Cuban martyr

Orlando Zapata Tamayo, a young poor black Cuban worker, died on Tuesday after an 86-day hunger strike to protest the brutality he had endured in prison. Since 2003 he had been a political prisoner in a detention facility deep in Cuba's interior. Zapata was the first black Cuban dissident during Fidel Castro's 50-year regime to surrender his life to protest racial oppression, the denial of civil and human rights, and political disenfranchisement. | 02/24/10 13:59:39 By - Carlos Moore

Commentary: Austin pilot Joe Stack gives the right a headache

Last week, a man flew an airplane into a government building killing and injuring more than a dozen people right here on American soil. So, was it an act of terrorism? One might think that murdering and maiming innocent people just to make a political point is enough to be considered a terrorist, but there is no rush by the left or the right to declare him that. | 02/24/10 12:14:48 By - Dennis Jett

Commentary: Female WWII pilots finally honored for service

On March 10, a Sacramento grandmother of four will share in a Congressional Gold Medal honoring women for flying warplanes a lifetime ago, when women weren't supposed to fly. At 87, Barbara Kennedy is coming to terms with a ceremony scheduled for the majestic rotunda of the U.S Capitol. How can she be a pioneer when she never considered herself one? | 02/24/10 12:22:03 By - Marcos Breton

Commentary: Amazon, big oil want to avoid California's taxes

The oil industry is so last century, with its pumps, spills and exhaust. couldn't be more 21st century, with its cool technology that instantly delivers electronic books on sleek devices, at a discount. Images aside, there is not a dime's worth of difference between the two when it comes to taxation. They aggressively fend off any effort to impose taxes on them, and they win. | 02/22/10 12:34:29 By - Dan Morain

Commentary: Boxer's Senate career looks like 'Perils of Pauline' lately

Barbara Boxer's 18-year career as a U.S. senator has resembled a "Perils of Pauline" movie serial, for those old enough to remember. Boxer always seems to be on the verge of losing her senatorial seat but, so far at least, has always managed to win another six-year term, thanks either to her pluck (her version), massive rescue efforts by the Democratic Party, and/or the ineptitude of her Republican foes. | 02/17/10 11:58:15 By - Dan Walters

Commentary: U.S. courts have been tough on terror

The political attacks over the Obama administration's handling of terrorism cases owe their persistence to the enduring power of myth over reality. The record clearly shows that civilian courts have been the most effective venue for dealing with these criminals. Almost 200 terrorists have been convicted in federal courts since 9/11, as opposed to only three under military commissions. | 02/16/10 11:59:27 By -

Commentary: Tea Party attracts profit-seekers and politicians

No matter the cause, politics is a mix of believers, opportunists and entrepreneurs. The tea party is no different. Exactly what the partiers stand for depends on your view. Here are the basics: They oppose big government and taxes, and fret about the economy. The movement also attracts birthers and people who advocate sealing America's borders. | 02/15/10 11:20:27 By - Dan Morain

Commentary: Assembly, Schwarzenegger battle over Maldonado is pointless

Californians are disgusted with the petty antics of the governor and the Legislature, polls tell us, and want them to balance the deficit-ridden state budget and otherwise do the public's business. However, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic leaders of the state Assembly are locked in a political, semantic and ultimately legal duel over something that should have taken about five minutes — confirming Republican Sen. Abel Maldonado to serve 10 months in the completely meaningless office of lieutenant governor. | 02/12/10 11:43:07 By - Dan Walters

Commentary: Arpaio's shameful example of law enforcement

At the risk of receiving a stinky pizza, we have to explore Kansas City's connection to the doings of the self-billed "America's toughest sheriff" down in Arizona. | 02/11/10 14:43:14 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Dave Barry loves Miami and the Everglades' petite snakes

I want to start with a retraction and an apology. My previous Super Bowl column, which offered tips for visitors to Miami, deeply offended some readers, who informed me that: (a) I am hurting Miami's image; (b) I am an idiot racist piece of lowlife no-talent scum; and (c) they did not mean this in a good way. | 02/05/10 12:44:08 By - Dave Barry

Commentary: More hypocrisy from California politicians

Those outside the trade occasionally ask political journalists whether spending one's working life listening to the self-serving speeches of politicians and watching their antics becomes tiresome. Watching politics, like watching sausage-making, does tend to make one somewhat leery of the final product, to paraphrase an old saying. There is, however, another side to professional political voyeurism — being entertained as politicians preen and puff and then face the consequences when reality intrudes. That's why hypocrisy is a mainstay of political reporting, and why the public responds so readily to do-as-we-say-not-as-we-do stories. | 02/05/10 11:39:56 By - Dan Walters

Commentary: 'Don't ask, don't tell' is a byproduct of a different time

The federal policy that allows gays and lesbians to serve in the military until someone outs them is nearly 17 years old. It's high time that it grew up. America is a different place than it was in 1993 when Congress passed the law as a rebuke of President Bill Clinton. | 02/04/10 11:33:01 By -

Commentary: Obama, GOP need to face off more often

Friday's face-to-face confrontation between President Obama and Republican lawmakers gave viewers a taste of what it might be like if the United States had the equivalent of the British question-and-answer sessions between the prime minister and the House of Commons. | 02/03/10 13:43:03 By -

Commentary: What do Haiti, the Super Bowl and Iwo Jima have in common?

On Iwo Jima 65 years ago, the battle for that Japanese-held island began with Marines landing and U.S. Navy ships supporting them with a lifeline of supplies from the sea. There is a link between those events in February 1945 and the suffering, loss and relief efforts that are under way in the island nation of Haiti today. | 02/03/10 04:23:47 By - Colonel Bryan Salas

Commentary: Florida's archaic gay adoptions ban

If you read my column regularly, you probably know my values. I am someone who tries to put into practice the most important tenet of the sacred scriptures: loving one's fellow man. To give meaning to my life, I help others. I have never had a run-in with the law. I pay my taxes. I have never even gotten a traffic ticket for a moving violation. Taking all this into account, you could make the argument that I would be a good father. In any state, except Florida, this would be possible. But here I am forbidden by law only because I am a gay man. | 02/02/10 12:01:35 By - Daniel Shoer-Roth

Commentary: Tebow's Super Bowl ad illustrates silly importance we place on athletes

It's not that I want to dismiss Tim Tebow altogether in his off-the-field pursuits. I'm actually quite envious. It takes more gumption to put your personal views on display for the world to analyze than it does to, say, scramble for 5 yards and take a big hit. While I admire Tebow's gusto for his beliefs, the venue for his views just feels misplaced. It doesn't feel like an issue and a moment that so transcends sports. It reaffirms a stand that cannot be disputed: We give athletes way too much credit. | 01/28/10 12:05:35 By - Matt James

Commentary: Fun with filibusters

With the election of Scott Brown as the new senator from Massachusetts, bringing GOP ranks to 41, Republicans are acting as if they have retaken control of the Senate. And, in a practical sense, they have.

Thank the filibuster, the tactic that is either hailed or reviled depending on which legislation it is blocking. And, unless one party decides to change the Senate rules, the filibuster is here to stay. | 01/28/10 09:05:19 By - James Werrell

Commentary: No time to throw in the towel, Mr. President

Dear President Obama,

I will be watching your State of the Union address tonight with an increased intensity. You were elected for times such as these, when the upheaval is real and the rhetoric ripe. You proved you were up to the task by signing a $787 billion stimulus plan that has already produced between 1 million and 2 million jobs. It was the reason the economy began growing earlier than most thought possible and why we avoided another Depression. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have acknowledged as much. | 01/27/10 14:37:38 By - Isaac Bailey

Commentary: A wave of secret campaign donations is on its way

As high-powered consultants plot strategy in the race for U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer's seat, they should factor in Sandy Greiner, a 64-year-old grandmother six times over from Keota, Iowa. Greiner and people like her suddenly became more important to American politics last week because of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling and the stunning vote in Massachusetts. Sandra H. Greiner is president of American Future Fund, a nonprofit corporation that espouses limited taxes and opposes President Barack Obama's economic policies and health care proposals. Entities like Greiner's operate in the shadows. Their donors are anonymous. The power behind them is rarely apparent. It's impossible to track the exact amounts they spend on campaigns in any timely fashion. | 01/27/10 12:50:59 By - Dan Morain

Commentary: Plenty of red ink in Gov. Schwarzenegger's legacy

Arnold Schwarzenegger, with 11 months remaining in his star-crossed governorship, says it's "a little bit too early to reflect" on his legacy — but California voters appear to be rendering their verdict already, and it's not a positive one. | 01/26/10 12:08:59 By - Dan Walters

Commentary: Legalizing marijuana has California dazed and confused

When California voters were asked to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, I believed that Proposition 215 was about relieving the suffering of sick people. I thought voting for that initiative — the Compassionate Use Act — was about exercising the "will of the people." We were conned. | 01/25/10 12:55:46 By - Marcos Breton

Commentary: Will Florida follow Massachusetts in Senate upsets?

As goes Massachusetts, so goes Florida? Former House Speaker Marco Rubio is salivating at Scott Brown's U.S. Senate victory in Massachusetts, as he should. Rubio is young and attractive and a powerful speaker, even if you disagree with him as he stumps to be the next GOP senator from Florida. Rubio hasn't posed in the buff for Cosmopolitan, which didn't seem to hurt Brown the hottie. | 01/25/10 12:14:25 By - Myriam Marquez

Commentary: Handshakes to success

As two Marine Expeditionary Units sortie to the calamity in Haiti, another unit departs Iraq without great fanfare. The Marines are leaving Iraq with neither parade nor pageant; this is what victory looks like in a counterinsurgency. | 01/22/10 14:46:14 By - Colonel Bryan Salas

Commentary: John Edwards finally confesses; big deal

After more than two years of spin, half-truths and outright lies, John Edwards came clean. He admitted to fathering a child out of wedlock, the result of a campaign-trail affair with Rielle Hunter, a videographer, while Elizabeth Edwards was back home battling cancer. Edwards has been in a free fall so long that it's hard to remember that just three years ago many people believed he had a decent chance of sitting in the White House today. | 01/22/10 11:35:36 By - Rob Christensen

Commentary: MLK's dream

Editor's note: Martin Luther King Jr. made hundreds of speeches, but the one he made Aug. 28, 1963, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd of nearly 300,000 civil rights demonstrators is his best known. The "I Have a Dream'' address — partially reprinted here in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day — became a rallying cry for black Americans and a classic of world oratory. | 01/18/10 10:40:48 By -

Commentary: Are China's demands for Internet 'self-discipline' spreading to the West?

In the Western democratic world, the idea of strengthening intermediary liability — making a company liable or legally responsible for everything its users do — is becoming increasingly popular in government agencies and parliaments. From France to Italy to the United Kingdom, the idea of holding online carriers and services liable for what their customers do is seen as the cheapest and easiest solution to the law enforcement and social problems that have gotten tougher in the digital age — from child porn to copyright protection to cyber-bullying and libel. | 01/18/10 06:16:32 By - Rebecca MacKinnon

Commentary: Limbaugh, Robertson offer scorn to suffering Haiti

If Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh had just kept their mouths shut, Harry Reid's comments in 2008 might still be scaling this week's meter for eyebrow-raising, racially tinged comments from public figures. But it only took a devastating tragedy of epic proportions for Rush and the Rev. Pat to knock him off.

Who knew that untold thousands of deaths from a massive 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Haiti, a poor country already wracked with misery, would spawn scorn and outlandish claims of God's retribution instead of compassion and concern? But in Limbaugh's and Robertson's worlds that's apparently what it should do. | 01/16/10 07:10:31 By - Fannie Flono

Commentary: Perfection is the new, unrealistic standard on terrorism

By the standard that is emerging, every president since I was born has failed the country in the fight against terrorism. The new standard seems to be perfection — every terrorist attack foiled and zero American lives lost — and by that President Obama is deemed soft on terrorism and incapable of keeping America safe. The new standard is coming from political opponents of Obama, which is somewhat expected though disheartening, given the seriousness of this issue. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is leading the chorus. | 01/15/10 14:14:16 By - Isaac Bailey

Commentary: Nature can be cruel but we still keep going

Sometimes, the earth is cruel.

That is ultimately the fundamental lesson here, as children wail, families sleep out of doors, and the dead lie unclaimed in the rubble that once was Port-au-Prince. | 01/15/10 13:40:08 By - Leonard Pitts Jr.

Commentary: MLK day is a time for service to others

Monday, the official observance of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, is an unusual holiday. If you're among the Americans lucky enough to get the day off, you are asked to make it a day "on," by volunteering to do some good work in your community. This call to service, officially endorsed by Congress in 1994, is a great way to honor the values and vision that The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. offered the nation. | 01/15/10 12:04:27 By -

Commentary: Let's not become our own worst enemy

Everyone should take a deep breath and stop flapping about the "failure" to identify Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as a likely terrorist. What went wrong and what's gone right? Intelligence analysis is more than putting the pieces together in one puzzle. It's more like working on many puzzles simultaneously, and then deciding which puzzle and which piece of that puzzle should take precedence. | 01/14/10 02:36:48 By - Mark M. Lowenthal

Commentary: Roeder trial judge is being commendably cautious

Over the weekend I was tempted to pop off about what seemed like a bone-headed decision in the Scott Roeder murder case. How could Sedgwick County District Judge Warren Wilbert even consider allowing a jury to find George Tiller's confessed killer guilty of voluntary manslaughter instead of first-degree murder? | 01/13/10 14:12:42 By - Mike Hendricks

Commentary: Behind John, Elizabeth Edwards' public personas

In the case of John and Elizabeth Edwards, a new book's details on the 2008 presidential race reinforce the truism about the corrupting influence of power. Excerpts from the book, "Game Change," highlight the unflattering devolution of North Carolina's once rising star senator who came uncomfortably close to occupying the White House. | 01/13/10 12:50:13 By -

Commentary: Mark McGwire's convenient confession

Confession is good. It is good for the soul. It is good for future book sales. It is good for any number of things. It is good for helping alleviate the distraction if, just to use a totally random example, you are about to start your new job as, say, hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals. | 01/12/10 11:29:07 By - Greg Cote

Commentary: The crippling ideology of Jim DeMint

Hell for Jim DeMint would be being stuck in an almost-empty bar during a 12-foot snowstorm, with a gay bartender on duty, the heating system giving out and the keys to the locked door in the pocket of a union leader. At a lone table, an Islamic man begins reading aloud from the Quran. | 01/11/10 14:30:32 By - Isaac Bailey

Commentary: Nature's lessons for adapting to the terrorist threat

As we breathe a collective sigh of relief that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's recent alleged attempt to blow up an airliner failed, we also must come to grips with the critical fact that our enemies have been adapting to our security measures faster than we're able to change them. | 01/08/10 06:16:32 By - Rafe Sagarin

Commentary: A 'when pigs fly' feel to Schwarzenegger's reform plans

Arnold Schwarzenegger began his last State of the State address Wednesday by describing how two pets, a pony and a pig, jointly filch dog food from a sealed container. Schwarzenegger quickly followed that upbeat metaphor, however, with a litany of California's ills, ranging from a recession-wracked economy to continuing budget deficits, and laid out an agenda of reforms whose enactment is about as likely as his pet porker's taking wing. | 01/07/10 12:17:16 By - Dan Walters

Commentary: Blackwater, Nisoor Square and the U.S. justice system

As 2010 opens, ricochets from the shooting deaths of 17 Iraqis in 2007 are again bouncing between Baghdad and Washington, following the abrupt halt to the U.S. criminal case against five Blackwater USA security guards accused of manslaughter in the shootings. In Iraq, calls for punishment of the Americans are coming from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and from ordinary citizens. Most of all, they come from relatives of the 17 dead and the many wounded — none of whom, it appears, posed an armed threat on that tense September day in Baghdad's Nisoor Square. | 01/05/10 12:32:23 By -

Commentary: The success of AmericCorp

When the national service program AmeriCorps was established in 1993, it had its share of harsh critics. There were those who felt it was simply a feel-good move by the Clinton administration. Sixteen years later, AmeriCorps is regarded as a huge success and is heralded by many nonprofit, city and state agencies as a crucial supplement to their usually underfunded and understaffed programs. | 01/05/10 11:30:16 By -

Commentary: Some old memories add spice to new year

As the city slid into its darkest days over the last few weeks, I got a craving for something I haven't had since the holidays of my childhood: biscotti. Buttery, thin and warmed with anise, they always appeared around this time of year, carrying a flavor brought from Italy, the mysterious country my Nonna left behind when she came to America, the bride of a G.I. after the war. These biscotti were a New Year's party food, and my grandparents were New Year's party people. | 12/31/09 11:55:22 By - Julia O'Malley

Commentary: Solving the federal judicial selection problem

Writers have steadily criticized President Barack Obama's lower court nomination process for two months. These reports are strikingly similar. They express chagrin that the White House has nominated too slowly, draw facile comparisons with how many nominees President George W. Bush had submitted by this juncture, quote a source who laments Obama's lost opportunity to pack the courts with the kind of judges whom the source favors or simply claim that this has occurred without attribution and conclude by criticizing Obama. Based on the spate of recent, analogous stories, authors must believe that these accounts make good copy. One problem attends this reporting: It lacks substantiation. | 12/31/09 11:02:03 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: A visit from St. Furlough

Twas the week after Christmas, And all through the town, A city or county official, Could hardly be found. The "closed" sign was hung, On Tenth Street with care, In hopes the next budget, Would be easier to bear. The employees were furloughed, To help with expenses, But visions of more layoffs, Wreaked havoc with their senses. | 12/30/09 16:03:40 By -

Commentary: Alaska's war on science embarrassing

Alaska's escalating war on science should be a grave concern to us all. On climate change, endangered species, predator control, and environmental impacts of industrial development, Alaska now has arguably the most anti-science government anywhere in the nation. | 12/30/09 16:14:21 By - Rick Steiner

Commentary: Kansas sexual predator law came with price

Kansas lawmakers have shown no enthusiasm for building a proposed $42.5 million, 90-bed expansion of the state's Sexual Predator Treatment Program at Larned State Hospital. And no wonder — with a $300 million-plus hole in the next state budget, spending even a dollar more on sex offenders seems like a really bad idea. In an election year, it also would be politically awkward to slash state funding for public schools, social services and prisons yet build nice new digs for sexual predators. | 12/30/09 16:32:06 By -

Commentary: Texting drivers more deadly than drunks

These days, our legal system takes drunken driving seriously. Get busted driving under the influence and you can expect a stiff fine, a suspended license and even some jail time. If driving while texting is twice as dangerous as driving under the influence, shouldn't our legal system start taking that risky habit seriously, too? | 12/29/09 17:19:36 By -

Commentary: Hold the claptrap on Tiger Woods and President Obama

If any voter truly believed Obama could banish racism, end two wars, pull the economy from recession, find every under- and unemployed person a job, solve global warming, calm Iran and arrange a romantic date with the wife every Friday night — will that Pollyanna voter please stand up? Science might develop a vaccine for your unstable condition. | 12/29/09 16:56:43 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Airline security still has too many holes

Thanks to the courage and quick thinking of a few passengers, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's attempt to bring down a U.S.-bound jetliner on Christmas Day failed. So did the security system that is supposed to protect the flying public. | 12/29/09 16:43:57 By -

Commentary: 'Defense' of Christmas isn't necessary

Politicians can do some pretty useless things, sometimes because they are clueless, sometimes because they are sincere but misguided, sometimes because the reality is that they have to play the game of politics or risk becoming irrelevant. I can't tell you in which of the categories above Rep. Henry Brown's House Resolution 951 to "recognize the importance of Christmas" falls. It has 72 Republican co-sponsors and one Democrat. I'll be generous and say Brown's move is a sincere but misguided attempt to ... to fix something that's not broken. | 12/21/09 14:41:13 By - Isaac Bailey

Commentary: Alaska is no place for Pacific chorus frogs

We don't care if they can do "Carol of the Bells." They don't belong here. Alaska's Department of Fish and Game has issued a severe order against the Pacific chorus frog, a little amphibian that apparently was tucked away in the branches of Christmas trees imported from Washington state. | 12/21/09 11:21:36 By -

Commentary: Time to pull the plug on health care 'reform'

Health care reform is on life support now, and it's time to consider pulling the plug and letting it die peacefully. It was a great idea, and there was and will remain a great need for the kind of radical reform that will pry the cold hands of Wall Street and the corporate boards from around the neck of medical care in our country. | 12/18/09 08:24:06 By - Joseph L. Galloway

Commentary: Diaz and Wynn should be confirmed for Fourth Circuit

When President Barack Obama assumed office, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit experienced openings in four of the tribunal's 15 judgeships. Thus, it was crucial that the administration promptly fill these vacancies. It is now vital that nominees for two of these vacancies — Judge Albert Diaz and Judge James Wynn — are approved promptly. | 12/17/09 14:07:44 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: The war of xmas

This was going to be the year I officially declared myself a noncombatant in the Christmas war. Season of joy, goodwill toward men and all that. It's almost scary how many Christmases I've enjoyed in happy and naive complacency, blissfully unaware that familiar salutations like "Season's Greetings" and "Happy Holidays" — which, contrary to lamentations of recent years, have actually been around for a couple of centuries — were an insidious assault on my belief system. I suppose I am now morally obligated to make sure such phrases offend me profoundly. | 12/17/09 13:51:21 By - Dusty Nix

Commentary: Alberto Gonzales and those U.S. Attorney firings

A new interview in Esquire magazine with former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales makes a reader want to know what else he said. Titled "What I"ve Learned," the piece is presented strictly as quotes from Gonzales on controversies during his 31-month tenure as the nation's top lawyer, from the Geneva Conventions and Abu Ghraib photos to Washington politics and the removal of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006. | 12/15/09 14:49:50 By -

Commentary: In modern warfare, some old rules still apply

Has war been reinvented in Iraq and Afghanistan? Sometimes it seems so, with the confusion that has come with the instant communication offered by the Internet, YouTube and satellite television — along with the new arts of precision destruction via high-tech weapons like drones and GPS-guided weapons. | 12/15/09 12:48:25 By - Victor Davis Hanson

Commentary: 'Climategate' is a lesson in the politics of science

This just in — scientists are human too. Hacked e-mail correspondence among a small group of climate researchers demonstrates all the foibles and petty failings of the rest of us. The e-mails reflect poorly on those who wrote them. The scientists showed contempt for and antipathy toward global warming skeptics. Their zeal for their own research and belief in their own conclusions prompted them to discuss hiding data. However, an exhaustive review of the 1,073 e-mails by The Associated Press found no evidence of falsified data. | 12/15/09 11:28:25 By -

Commentary: in Nobel speech, Obama displays idealism with a hard edge

When President Obama rose to the podium to accept the Nobel Peace Prize, he took a decisive step away from pacifism and traveled a considerable distance to convince skeptics that he is not a naive idealist. Obama's speech, which is known as the Nobel Lecture, showed the evolution of a man tasked with leading the most powerful nation on Earth. | 12/13/09 06:09:33 By - Frida Ghitis

Commentary: Obama in Oslo

Just when it looks like Barack Obama is getting dragged under for the third time by angry domestic politics, he bounces back up — in Norway, of all places — and reminds us why Americans elected him in the first place. The president's remarks while accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Thursday strengthened the case for giving it to him, though maybe not in ways expected by those who most applauded the decision. | 12/11/09 12:42:40 By -

Commentary: Elevating Judge Beverly Martin to the Eleventh Circuit

When President Barack Obama took the oath of office in January, the United States Courts of Appeals experienced vacancies in fourteen of their 179 judgeships. Therefore, it was critical that the new administration expeditiously fill these openings. One instructive example of these problems is the June 19 nomination of Georgia U.S. District Judge Beverly Martin to the Eleventh Circuit. It would be fitting for the Senate to approve Judge Martin this month because it marks the 6-month anniversary of her nomination. | 12/11/09 11:11:12 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: More war, more marble markers at West Point

Last week a new President, Number 44, came here to West Point and with the 4,000 cadets of this institution as his backdrop announced he was escalating the war in Afghanistan, adding another 30,000 American troops to the nearly 70,000 already there. Then he jetted off to collect the Nobel Peace Prize. | 12/10/09 17:18:49 By - Joseph L, Galloway

Commentary: The GOP's family feud and purity tests

Much of what Ronald Reagan said remains gospel in GOP-rich Kansas. But the scramble over the states four openings in Congress next year already has laid waste to Reagan's 11th Commandment: "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican." | 12/07/09 13:04:09 By -

Commentary: A small few are making big wartime sacrifices

President Obama has made his decision: He will send another 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. That will bring the total to roughly 100,000. Once again, this tiny minority of Americans — the professional military and their families and friends — will be asked to make huge sacrifices on behalf of the entire nation. For the rest of us, life will go on as normal. We will attend our loved ones' birthday parties, school plays and sporting events. We will have holidays together. We'll go to sleep at night without wondering whether we have talked to a husband or a wife, a father or a sister, for the last time. We'll be free to blissfully ignore the hardships our military and their families endure in our name. | 12/07/09 11:39:00 By -

Commentary: Lindsey Graham needs to stop flirting with bipartisanship

We archconservatives thought he was "one of ours." Yessir, ol' Lindsey Graham, who succeeded ol' Strom Thurmond in the United States Senate, seemed to have all the credentials: high ratings from the American Conservative Union (90 out of 100, a solid "A" most places) and to boot, he was one of the lead guys, when he was a House member, in trying to run Bill Clinton out of the White House with all that impeachment stuff. Big backer of John McCain for president. | 12/07/09 12:11:10 By - Jim Jenkins

Commentary: U.S., Brazil and OAS get failing grades for Honduras test

Brazil, the United States and the Organization of American States deserve a gold medal each for their awful handling of last Sunday's presidential elections in Honduras. | 12/07/09 12:10:50 By - Andres Oppenheimer

Commentary: 'Climategate' emails don't prove Earth isn't warming

Sorry to burst the balloons of global warming skeptics out there: Climategate is a dud. Sure, it's a catchy title, implying that a huge conspiracy surrounds the hundreds upon hundreds of e-mails that were reportedly hacked and recently released from the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in England. But in reacting to the e-mails, some people have leaped to absurd conclusions. The first is that this incident "proves" climate change is not occurring. | 12/04/09 10:20:32 By -

Commentary: Palin just wants to be a star

Every one of us knows someone like this: They always find someone else to blame for their own mistakes or shortcomings and never take responsibility for their own actions. Sarah Palin's new book is a classic study in this form of self-delusion. It is never attractive when we see it in co-workers, for instance. It is even more distasteful when we see it in public figures. | 12/04/09 12:01:58 By - Paul Fuhs

Commentary: Obama's ambitious goals for Afghanistan

Saying that fighting extremism in Afghanistan is vital to American national security, President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced the rapid deployment of 30,000 additional U.S. troops. But what mattered most in the president's nationally televised speech from West Point was that he clearly defined the mission and the exit strategy for a conflict that he rightly described as having drifted for the past several years. | 12/02/09 14:13:54 By -

Commentary: Is black America's honeymoon with the Castros over?

In a landmark "Statement of Conscience by African Americans," 60 prominent black American scholars, artists and professionals have condemned the Cuban regime's apparent crackdown on the country's budding civil rights movement. Traditionally, African-Americans have sided with the Castro regime and unilaterally condemned the U.S. which, in the past, explicitly sought to topple the Cuban government. But this first public rebuke of Castro's racial policies may very well indicate a tide change and a more balanced attitude. | 12/02/09 01:24:12 By - Carlos Moore

Commentary: Playing politics with terrorism makes us all losers

Dana Perino, who served as White House press secretary for President George W. Bush and has been nominated by President Obama to serve on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, said something on Fox News recently that perked up the ears of those on the left. "We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush's term," she said while asking why the Obama administration won't call the Fort Hood massacre terrorism. Perino said she wasn't playing politics, which is good, because it would be easy for Bush critics to do the same thing. | 12/01/09 06:12:46 By - Isaac Bailey

Commentary: Filling lower federal court openings

On Monday, when United States District Judge Dale Kimball of Utah assumes senior status, a form of semi-retirement, the federal judiciary will pass a critical milestone. Judge Kimball's assumption of senior status will mean that the federal courts presently experience 98 vacancies out of the 858 appellate and district court judgeships. President Barack Obama must swiftly nominate, and the Senate must promptly confirm, appeals and district court judges, so that the federal judiciary will be at full capacity. | 11/30/09 06:01:42 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: Its hard to get into the holiday spirit

It's traditional to count our blessings at this time of year, but given the general state of affairs and Washington's whole lot of talk and no action, it's hard to get into the holiday spirit. | 11/25/09 18:17:33 By - Joseph L. Galloway

Commentary: Media climate made Sparkman's hoax easy

In a media environment where the public seems to prefer ideology, opinion, speculation and outrage over fact and reason, Bill Sparkman seemed to think he could find plenty of suckers. He was right. Authorities said Tuesday that their investigations had determined the part-time Clay County census worker committed suicide in an elaborate ruse to cash in two life insurance policies worth $600,000. | 11/25/09 13:10:36 By - Tom Eblen

Commentary: Thought police aren't needed in climate change efforts

A formidable majority of atmospheric scientists believe that planet Earth is slowly heating up and that human industry bears much of the blame. That's good reason to worry about global warming and do something to stop it. | 11/25/09 11:26:14 By -

Commentary: America deserves a better debate about overhauling health care

Some Republicans in Congress have characterized health care reform proposals put forward by Democrats as everything from socialized medicine to a budget back-breaker to the end of the Republic. Go back 40-plus years, and one can read these same arguments. There was under President Lyndon Johnson a proposal to provide a health-insurance safety net for older Americans, so they would not die from lack of care or an inability to pay for what they needed to keep them alive. | 11/24/09 13:39:42 By -

Commentary: So much for drug companies' promises

Is the support of the pharmaceutical industry needed for Congress to pass health care reform? Or is the price of that support too high for the people the reform package is trying to help? Those questions took on new urgency with the release of an AARP study finding that drug makers had raised the wholesale price of brand-name drugs by 9%, or $10 billion, in the past year. That's the biggest price increase in 17 years. | 11/24/09 11:25:25 By -

Commentary: Bush library aims to be 'a vital hub of critical thought'

The country's 13th presidential library operated by the National Archives and Records Administration is expected to be completed in 2013, and it will be in Texas — home to more such libraries than any other state. Plans for the George W. Bush Presidential Center, to be located on the Southern Methodist University campus, were unveiled in ceremonies last week. | 11/23/09 14:07:39 By -

Commentary: Why not throw the whole Constitution out while we're at it?

I didn't know we had so many scared conservative leaders. There are a fair number of scared liberal ones as well, given the rhetoric from Washington, Columbia and New York. But I thought conservative leaders and pundits were the "Bring it on!" types who crave confrontations with terrorists. | 11/23/09 06:16:50 By - Issac Bailey

Commentary: Palin is a bellwether for celebrity culture

Sarah Palin, a one-time beauty queen, a mother of five, the Republican candidate for vice president in 2008, and the former governor of Alaska, has a new incarnation: author. But, as the country continues to be fascinated with Ms. Palin, here is what continues to fascinate Alaskans: how a woman who takes pride in calling herself a homemaker from Wasilla brought celebrity culture to the Last Frontier. Ms. Palin exposed Alaskans to a larger universe. We learned how celebrity is created through images, words, legends and, in a few cases, outright fabrication. | 11/19/09 11:55:27 By - Michael Carey

Commentary: Hutchison needs to pick her fight

Based on the rhetoric coming from the senior senator from Texas over the past couple of weeks, you might think she was preparing to defend the Alamo itself. U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, in deciding to remain in the upper house of Congress while she runs for governor, has said she has to do what is best for Texas by fighting to the last stand against some pretty evil forces. The truth is Hutchison is in a high-stakes political game and is hedging her bets. | 11/18/09 14:02:56 By - Bob Ray Sanders

Commentary: 'Big Mac' is another hero in Fort Hood assault

For a bunch of people at Fort Hood, being shielded by Big Mac — U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford — was almost their last memory. Period. Lunsford shielded some fellow soldiers from one of their co-workers who turned on his own in a deadly massacre. | 11/17/09 13:44:38 By - Barry Saunders

Commentary: Confirming Judge Hamilton for the Seventh Circuit

When Barack Obama became President in January, the United States Courts of Appeals experienced openings in fourteen of their 179 judgeships. The new administration realized that swiftly filling these openings was critical and applied specific measures to facilitate appointments, vowing to end the "confirmation wars" that have plagued selection. Thus, President Obama exercised special care to insure that his first nominee, U.S. District Judge David Hamilton of Indiana, was extremely qualified. Despite these efforts, numerous Senate Republicans have opposed Judge Hamilton. It is crucial that the Senate confirm Judge Hamilton on Tuesday, as this date is the eight-month anniversary of his nomination. | 11/16/09 14:13:06 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: U.S. legal system is capable of trying 9-11 suspects

The American system of justice has won an important vote of confidence from the Obama administration, signaling an overdue return to due process and the rule of law. By deciding to move the trials of five Guantanamo detainees accused of orchestrating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to New York City for trial in a civilian court, the administration reaffirmed confidence in a system of justice that has repeatedly shown itself capable of handling terrorism cases. | 11/16/09 12:57:56 By -

Commentary: Here's how the GOP plans to defeat health care reform

Something as sweeping as health care reform, we're being told, should have bipartisan support. Well, no kidding. Of course health care reform should have bipartisan support — just as so many of our Republican congressmen are insisting. As they work feverishly to keep any trace of bipartisanship from seeping into the vote counts. | 11/16/09 06:13:35 By - Barbara Shelly

Commentary: Mr. President, take your time on Afghanistan

President Barack Obama has yet to decide where we're going and what we're doing in Afghanistan, but if the flood of leaks this week is any indicator, he at least has decided what he isn't going to do. | 11/13/09 18:44:46 By - Joseph L. Galloway

Commentary: Seniors should question ads warning of Medicare 'cuts'

The word "cut" is one of the most slippery and often-abused words in American political discourse. When there's talk about government budgets, "cut" is used to mean "any change that stops the rate of growth in whatever program we're talking about." So when the right-wing advocacy group The 60-Plus Association attacks the pending health reform by saying it will "cut" Medicare, it's not a blatant lie. Their attack ad, airing in Alaska and other states, is just a slippery propaganda tactic to scare seniors and get them to oppose health care reform. | 11/13/09 13:32:00 By -

Commentary: Some myths about Afghanistan

As President Obama decides whether to send more troops to Afghanistan, we should remember that most of the conventional pessimism about Afghanistan is only half-truth. | 11/11/09 11:51:53 By - Victor Davis Hanson

Commentary: Sen. Coburn single-handedly stops bill to help veterans

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich and two of his colleagues on Monday called on "Dr. No" to allow a Senate vote to help some of our seriously wounded veterans and their families. "Dr. No" is Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a budget hawk who has exercised his senator's prerogative to place a hold on the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2009. | 11/11/09 11:25:47 By -

Commentary: Fall of Berlin Wall lead to more complexities

When the Berlin Wall fell, it brought an end to a titanic struggle, one that terrified but also defined and shaped us. The Soviet Union and the United States were the ultimate hero/villain. On one of the most significant anniversaries of the last half century, it's worth celebrating the freedoms that opened to millions of East Germans. The fall of the wall led to once-unimaginable opportunities throughout the old Soviet world.

But it's also worth listening to how the end of one threat brought an unexpected new one to some. | 11/09/09 13:32:28 By -

Commentary: We must not jump to conclusions in Fort Hood tragedy

A tragedy as stunning as Thursdays mass killings at Fort Hood evokes extreme emotions. Perspective is difficult — but absolutely necessary to understanding what happened and its implications. The rush of information after 13 people were shot to death at the U.S. Army base was at once extensive, incomplete and occasionally wrong. | 11/09/09 11:14:27 By -

Commentary: Fort Hood policewoman 'erased a lot of prejudice'

Fort Hood police Sgt. Kimberly Munley has kicked open a new door. At 5-foot-2, Munley is now a heroic giant, one of the officers who confronted an Army psychiatrist Thursday, ending a bloodbath at Fort Hood. In doing so, Munley has 'erased a lot of prejudice' toward female officers. | 11/09/09 11:00:49 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Its time again to count the cost of freedom

Today in this nation of 300 million, fewer than 1 percent wear the uniform, and, with their families, bear all the burdens and sacrifice of protecting and defending the rest of us who give little thought to those who pay the price for our freedom. | 11/06/09 16:26:51 By - Joe Galloway

Commentary: Goldman Sachs saga shows unregulated market is a jungle

So-called sophisticated investors. Purchase of favorable ratings on investments. Cayman Islands for escape from federal regulation. Bets on a housing collapse. Trolling for suckers. If anyone thinks our financial industry doesn't need tougher regulation, just check out the McClatchy newspaper series on the Goldman Sachs Group, a bank holding company. Here was an iconic Wall Street investment house, a heavyweight player with a history of Washington connections, misleading investors here and abroad, leaving ruin in its wake and tarnishing its own name. | 11/04/09 09:31:47 By -

Commentary: Allen ran roughshod over Alaska politics

Bill Allen said what you expect from a man standing before a judge at sentencing. I made mistakes, I'm sorry, I know I will be punished. Remember the good I did. I followed Allen's public career for more than 20 years. He was driven by his appetite for money and power and played by his own rules, indifferent to public opinion. Hypocrisy was foreign to him; he was a man who never learned pretense. | 11/03/09 11:00:04 By - Michael Carey

Commentary: Schwarzenegger's legacy may be determined in last months in office

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the least popular governors in California history. His relationships with the Democrats who control the Legislature are lousy, and his rapport with his fellow Republicans is probably worse. He is under constant attack from interest groups on the left and the right, and his policy agenda has been skunked in two special elections in the past four years. | 10/30/09 13:30:10 By - Daniel Weintraub

Commentary: Life's good things were free for Easley

Free stuff. Lots of free stuff. North Carolina's former Gov. Mike Easley lived like a sweepstakes winner during his eight-year term, according to testimony in a hearing this week in Raleigh. He got all these freebies: plane trips, home repairs, a fishing trip to Florida. | 10/29/09 14:09:59 By - Mark Washburn

Commentary: Military spending bill good for Alaska, U.S.

The defense funding bill President Obama just signed will do some helpful things for the country as a whole and Alaskans in particular. It fixes the snafu that left two dozen WWII-era veterans of the Alaska Territorial Guard with lower retirement payments than they deserved. It took a lot of work by Senators Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski to overcome perplexing resistance from the Obama administration on that one. | 10/29/09 11:48:16 By -

Commentary: When pilots act unprofessionally

Maybe we should be glad they weren't texting while flying. But how comforting is it to learn that two Northwest Airlines pilots flew right by their destination last week because they were on their laptops messing with their schedules? Somehow, it seems this is not what flight attendants mean when they warn that electronic devices will interfere with communications. | 10/28/09 13:52:50 By -

Commentary: Abortion opponents must speak out against extremist fringe

The murder of George Tiller was appalling on its own. But now Dennis Roeder, the man accused of shooting the physician point-blank in his church, is being embraced by a phalanx of fellow extremists. | 10/28/09 11:19:10 By -

Commentary: Gays need protection through hate crime laws

Gay people are society's most rejected minority. The most convincing proof is that many parents are capable of abhorring and abusing their gay child simply because that child was born that way. Thus, it should come as no surprise that hate crimes against gays receive the least attention. We have always been the last ones to receive protection from the law — if ever. | 10/27/09 12:52:22 By - Daniel Shoer-Roth

Commentary: Sacramento sheriff has interesting take on immigration

Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel is not an immigration rights advocate. He supports maintaining strong borders. And he has no sympathy for undocumented felons. But based on nearly 30 years as a cop, Braziel believes that confusing immigration laws are hindering cops and helping criminals. | 10/26/09 11:59:48 By - Marcos Breton

Commentary: Hope gives way to 'No, We Can't'

You may remember all those Obama campaign cheerleaders for change chanting, "Yes we can!" during last year's campaign events. This year, in the 10th month of his presidency, it doesn't really seem that they can, or that he can. Nothing much has changed except the size of the federal budget deficit and the National Debt, both swelling and swollen by the humongous bailout of Wall Street and the big banking corporations. | 10/22/09 15:28:24 By - Joseph L. Galloway

Commentary: 'Don't ask, don't tell' must go

With the "don't ask, don't tell" law in place, forbidding homosexuals in the military from disclosing their sexual orientation, the U.S. has a national policy that codifies discrimination. It is a law that is out-of-step with the times and now with public opinion. | 10/22/09 13:59:07 By -

Commentary: The difference between just money and crazy money

There's just money, and then there's crazy money. Let's do crazy money first. Crazy money is what you get on a game show for knowing that mountain range in Bolivia. Crazy money is what goes to some NFL defensive ends. Crazy money is what happened in the final hours of the Merrill Lynch deal when Bank of America agreed to buy out the Wall Street brokerage. | 10/22/09 13:14:11 By - Mark Washburn

Commentary: Interracial marriage doesn't harm children

It has been a while since I last heard anyone use the future welfare of the progeny of mixed-race couples as an excuse to prohibit or block those couples' marriages. In fact, I thought having parents from different cultures or races had been proven to be no more an indicator of a child's success or failure than if those parents were Democrats or Republicans. But apparently, Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, La., knows something I don't know. | 10/22/09 11:48:44 By - Merlene Davis

Commentary: Sanford's car stop says a lot about S.C. law enforcement

The case of the governor's SLED agent/driver and the Highway Patrol trooper is worth lingering over, not because of what it tells us about Mark Sanford but because of what it tells us about law enforcement in South Carolina. | 10/21/09 14:11:26 By - Cindi Ross Scoppe

Commentary: Balloon boy's honesty deflates parents' tale

If Richard and Mayumi Heene wanted TV exposure, as authorities allege, they've certainly succeeded. But the family isn't experiencing the thrill of a reality show -- something the parents had reportedly been pursuing. | 10/21/09 05:03:28 By -

Commentary: Second Circuit Appeals Court openings need to be filled

The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals has vacancies in four of its thirteen authorized judgeships. Operating without nearly 25 percent of the tribunal's judicial complement frustrates expeditious, inexpensive and equitable disposition of appeals. Thus, President Obama should promptly nominate, and the Senate must swiftly confirm, outstanding judges to all four openings. | 10/20/09 11:35:35 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: Close loopholes on ammo purchases

There have long been laws on the books that require identity checks and waiting periods for purchasers of guns, but virtually no restrictions govern purchases of ammunition. It's a regulatory oversight that makes our communities less safe. | 10/19/09 12:39:19 By -

Commentary: Snitching is doing the right thing

I don't know Michael Brewer, but I can tell you that he is an upstanding kid because even though fearful, he did the right thing. Brewer, 15, was doused in rubbing alcohol Monday afternoon near his Deerfield Beach neighborhood by one classmate and then set ablaze by another -- both miscreants part of a group of five who allegedly surrounded Brewer during the immolation so he couldn't escape. Police say the accused wanted to punish Brewer because one of them was arrested after Brewer reported the attempted theft of his father's bike. | 10/16/09 12:27:36 By - James Burnett

Commentary: Learning a lesson from Capt. Sully

Working in the news business, I must admit there are stories I get tired of. And then there are the stories I can't get enough of. One such story is that of Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenburger, the heroic pilot of US Airways flight 1549 who successfully landed on the Hudson River on Jan. 15 after a flock of geese caused both engines to fail. | 10/16/09 11:56:40 By - Harold Goodridge

Commentary: The Southern politeness facade

Bless their hearts.

That's about all I can say to whoever came up with the idea in the new book "Miracle on the Hudson" -- the idea being that the passengers handled the crash with grace because most of them are Southerners. | 10/15/09 13:39:06 By - Tommy Tomlinson

Commentary: Obama critics try scoring cheap political points with Nobel Peace Prize

We'd rather have the world hating and despising us instead of extending olive branches. One week, critics of President Obama cheered and gloated that "the world rejected Obama" when we missed out on the 2016 summer Olympics. The next, the president is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and the people who cheered "the world rejected Obama" are offended a prominent world body embraced him. | 10/13/09 14:19:54 By - Isaac Bailey

Commentary: Congress must quickly address ethics complaints

Reports that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel of New York leases four rent-controlled apartments in his district and uses one of those units as a campaign office space first surfaced in July of last year. It was news because this is a possible violation of local housing rules. | 10/13/09 12:48:06 By -

Commentary: I'll take your H1N1 shot

I'm not going to question the decisions being made by some parents and health care workers to forgo swine flu vaccinations. All I'd like to ask these Opt-Out Americans is this: Can I have your place in line? Being a baby boomer, I grew up loving immunizations. I was happy - proud even - to be a little soldier in the war on communicable disease. I helped take on polio one sugar cube at a time. | 10/12/09 10:28:43 By - Peter Callaghan

Commentary: Health care as a moral issue --Calling Dr. Salk

The next time you see an expensive ad for the latest pharmaceutical innovation, think of this conversation between famed broadcaster, Edward R. Murrow and Dr. Jonas Salk, inventor of the polio vaccine. Murrow asked, "Who owns the patent on this vaccine?" Salk answered, "Well, the people, I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?"

What? No considerations about market shares, billion dollar profits, high-profile media blitzes? Such naivete. | 10/12/09 06:15:51 By - William S. Meyer, MSW

Commentary: Fresno, don't believe the Daily Beast's hype

Hello, idiots of Fresno. As you've probably heard by now, our fair city finished dead last on a list ranking the smartest cities in America released this week by The Daily Beast. For those who missed it, The Daily Beast ranked the 55 most populated cities in the country, by their collective brainpower. Fresno and its metro area finished at 55 with a collective IQ of 3. By contrast, smarty-pants winners Raleigh-Durham had a 170 IQ. | 10/09/09 11:25:05 By - Mike Osegueda

Commentary: Medicare Advantage provide no advantages to Alaskans

The dark side of Medicare Advantage is that the government spends about 14 percent more per senior citizen than for those enrolled in traditional Medicare, which is run directly by the federal government. That's a fairly recent development that should be reversed. A GAO study of 2007 Medicare Advantage plans found that most of the plans allocate less than 85 percent of revenues to medical expenses, with the rest going to administration, marketing, sales and profit. Shifting money out of Medicare Advantage is a nearly painless way to help pay for health care reform. For Alaskans it won't hurt a bit. | 10/09/09 11:15:02 By -

Commentary: Medicare subsidy costs are indefensible

How to pay for it all? That remains a vexing challenge for Congress in expanding health care coverage to all Americans. A large part of the solution must involve wringing savings from within the existing system. And some cost savings can come from Medicare, the public insurance program for those over age 65. One fruitful area is to provide a level playing field between traditional Medicare and private plans that have participated in Medicare since 1985. | 10/08/09 11:31:44 By -

Commentary: Obama disappoints on media shield law

The Obama administration's efforts to impede Senate approval of a law designed to protect reporters from punishment if they refuse to divulge confidential sources are both surprising and utterly disappointing. Now that he's the decider, Mr. Obama has developed cold feet. Last week, he let lawmakers know that he wanted the bill changed in a way that would cripple key provisions on when and how to invoke protections for reporters and their sources. This would gut the essential provisions of the proposed law. | 10/06/09 11:33:59 By -

Commentary: Medical marijuana — Still hazy after all these years

Thirteen years after California voters approved medical marijuana, we seem to be increasingly confused over how it should be sold — or if it is even legal. Until recently, medical marijuana dispensaries were rare. But two events triggered an explosion of outlets: state Attorney General Jerry Brown issued guidelines for sales of the drug last year, and the Obama administration said it wouldn't prosecute individuals complying with state medical marijuana laws. | 10/05/09 12:47:13 By - Bill McEwen

Commentary: ESPN and exploitation under those Friday night lights

You might think of them as quaint symbols of traditional Americana: kids playing the game of football for their high school, classmates, parents, coaches, their town, even for the old codgers who misremember their own exploits on those playing fields.

You might think of them that way. ESPN thinks of them as cheap programming. | 10/02/09 13:59:25 By - Fred Grimm

Commentary: Nothing funny about Obama poll on Facebook

Forgive me if I don't think talk of presidential assassinations is funny. Not even on Facebook. So I'm glad the U.S. Secret Service investigated the online survey that asked whether people thought President Obama should be assassinated. They've determined it was a juvenile mistake. But assassination threats against a president are serious business. Even those who promote it in jest need to learn that lesson. | 10/02/09 13:42:17 By - Fannie Flono

Commentary: Too much fuss made over Obama's Olympic assistance

Critics are carping that President Barack Obama's brief trip to Denmark to bolster Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympic Games will detract from his abilities to deal with health care reform, wage war in Afghanistan and handle other crises. Much of this criticism comes from GOP leaders who, last time we checked, hate Obama's proposed health care changes. | 10/01/09 14:22:00 By -

Commentary: More hypocrisy from Sanford

Being a hypocrite is not (or at least should not be) an impeachable offense. And it almost seems like piling on to note that Gov. Mark Sanford has demonstrated himself to be a first-rate hypocrite. | 10/01/09 06:13:04 By -

Commentary: McConnell jumps to Humana's defense

The health care debate sparked an uncharacteristic display of passion by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell last week, according to national news accounts. Was the normally unruffled McConnell upset because 205,000 more Kentuckians lack health insurance now than in 1999? No. McConnell was steamed (to use the New York Times' phrase) because his hometown insurance giant, Humana, was ordered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to cease sending mailers to its Medicare customers warning of benefit cuts if Congress enacts proposed health care reforms. | 09/30/09 13:27:33 By -

Commentary: California, Congress and comprehensive judgeship legislation

This week, the United States Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a hearing on Senate Bill 1653 to authorize the establishment of 63 new appeals and trial court judgeships. Congress last enacted a thorough judgeships statute in 1990, and federal court dockets — especially in California — have dramatically increased since then. Thus, legislators must expeditiously pass the measure, so that the federal courts may promptly, economically and fairly resolve mounting caseloads. | 09/30/09 11:46:22 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: Web would benefit from less anonymity among users

Anonymous speech has a revered place in U.S. traditions. Among the most enduring documents of American political thought are the 1787 Federalist Papers urging ratification of the Constitution, which were written by luminaries using pseudonyms. News organizations will sometimes use anonymous sources that provide valuable information that they might never furnish unless they knew they'd be safe from reprisal. However, anonymous posters on Web sites are nothing like confidential sources and shouldn't be afford the same levels of protection. | 09/29/09 13:38:50 By - Edward Wasserman

Commentary: Afghanistan: Heads I win; tails you lose, Mr. President

Suddenly the heat is on President Barack Obama to decide, right now, whether to heed his military commanders' appeal for another big surge of American troops or deal with the possibility of defeat within a year in Afghanistan. | 09/25/09 11:52:22 By - Joseph L. Galloway

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