Opinion Columns

Commentary: Surprising results from a gun survey

You’d think, reading news reports about people rushing out to buy assault rifles and stock up on ammo, that gun ownership is on the rise. But according to at least one survey, just the opposite is true. | 03/23/13 06:14:18 By - James Werrell

Commentary: Women's progress understated by oft-used wages number

Next month, brace yourself for another round of grumbling about gender discrimination in the workplace. April 9 is Equal Pay Day, supposedly the magic point at which women finally make what men made in the previous year. | 03/22/13 06:09:18 By - E. Thomas McClanahan

Commentary: Media throw Bradley Manning to the wolves

In media mythology, the years from the mid-1960s to the mid-’70s were the classical age, a heroic time of moral clarity.

Mainstream journalism marinated in adversarialism. Little Southern newspapers infuriated their own readers by staring down segregation. Foreign correspondents forced upon an unwilling public the realities of a brutal war. Network news ignored official disdain and showed the bottomless suffering the war inflicted on the innocents it was supposed to save. With the Pentagon Papers, newspapers defied secrecy rules to expose government lies. With Watergate, reporters forced out a corrupt president. | 03/21/13 06:02:22 By - Edward Wasserman

Commentary: Concentration of wealth with the 1% is too profound to ignore

In 2011, a Kansas City union rep was explaining why Occupy Wall Street wasn’t galvanizing more of his members. | 03/21/13 06:00:34 By - Steve Kraske

Commentary: Too many deaths in an unnecessary war

Someone left a SpongeBob SquarePants snow globe on Elizabeth Jacobson’s grave. A fuzzy yellow Easter Bunny. A sand dollar adorned with the yellow SpongeBob character. | 03/20/13 06:03:12 By - Fred Grimm

Commentary: No reason to fear U.N. resolution Agenda 21

Hey, Missouri citizen. When you woke up this morning and gulped your orange juice, did you obsess about United Nations resolution Agenda 21? | 03/20/13 06:01:26 By - Barbara Shelly

Commentary: The media blew it on Iraq

A decade ago, the media screwed up, and screwed up royally.

We got the Iraq war wrong.

Big time. | 03/19/13 06:04:30 By - Issac J. Bailey

Commentary: A conundrum of capitalism - we want high wages, cheap goods

The conundrum of capitalism is finally easing its tight hold on the economy.

The first part of the conundrum is the primal drive of most consumers to spend as little as possible on goods and services. | 03/19/13 06:05:45 By - Keith Chrostowski

Commentary: We must remember Iraq war soldiers

Today's front page contains the faces of Columbus-area soldiers who gave their lives in Iraq. Many of these are official Army photos, with the green-clad soldier standing at attention in front of the American flag. | 03/18/13 13:44:09 By - Dimon Kendrick-Holmes

Commentary: Empty rhetoric over nullification

Pumped up on conservative steroids, many Republican legislators in Kansas and Missouri want to send a message to Washington, D.C.

It goes something like this: You can’t tell us what to do. | 03/18/13 06:05:09 By - Yael T. Abouhalkah

Commentary: Targeted killings have deadly, tainted history

The name Patrice Lumumba doesn't mean anything to most Americans today, and certainly not to most people in my home state of Texas. | 03/18/13 06:03:42 By - Bob Ray Sanders

Commentary: The abortion debate and Jesus

I spent time with a group of readers the past couple of weeks, talking mostly about faith. | 03/17/13 03:13:07 By - Issac J. Bailey

Commentary: Little knives and cellphones on planes? This won't end well

Gee, what could possibly go wrong with this?

At the same time the FCC is requesting that airlines ease up on restricting the use of cell phones, the TSA is fixing to relax rules so we can carry knives onto planes. | 03/17/13 06:04:23 By - Barry Saunders

Commentary: Helping alleviate the student debt trap

Nearly a year ago, President Obama came to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he campaigned for re-election by reaching out to young people saddled by crushing student debt and facing a jump in interest rates on their federal loans. | 03/16/13 06:00:22 By - Ned Barnett

Commentary: Drone debate lands in Texas

Drone phobia is upon us. | 03/16/13 06:05:24 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Israel seeks calm but fears the future

The Israel Defense Force (IDF) has long been vaunted as the preeminent military power in the Middle East. But Israel lost the eight-day war last November in the Gaza Strip, both Israelis and the Gaza Palestinians believe. | 03/15/13 13:46:56 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: Six ways the Catholic Church is just like the Republican Party

One might think that a political party and a religious organization would not have that much in common. But the Republican Party, in the wake of its failure to retake the White House, and the Catholic Church, in the aftermath of a series of scandals, actually have a lot in common. Here are at least six similarities: | 03/15/13 06:01:41 By - Dennis Jett

Commentary: Mayor Bloomberg and the supersized soda menace

Perhaps you remember when Dr. Doom conquered the world.

Or perhaps you don’t. Sadly enough, even in this day and age, not everyone is comic-book literate. | 03/15/13 06:00:09 By - Leonard Pitts Jr.

Commentary: Coverage of Obama may take harder edge in second term

Second terms have a habit of being unkind to presidents and one wonders whether the pattern will apply to Barack Obama, whose treatment by the press has been unusually respectful, to put it mildly. | 03/15/13 06:04:33 By - E. Thomas McClanahan

Commentary: Pope Francis could impact politics in Latin America

One of the biggest questions about Pope Francis is whether he will be a politically activist pontiff who — much as he has done in Argentina — will be a thorn in the side of leftist-populist governments throughout Latin America. Some say he will. | 03/14/13 07:43:02 By - Andres Oppenheimer

Commentary: Falkland Islands redux

The Argentine-British dispute over the Falkland/Malvinas islands is once again heating up, and the latest events point at a new diplomatic setback for Argentina’s legitimate claims over the South Atlantic islands. | 03/14/13 06:07:33 By - Andres Oppenheimer

Commentary: Jeb Bush's views on immigration keep shifting

Yet another member of the Bush family has demonstrated an uncanny ability to flinch on immigration.

Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, has long advocated a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, roughly in line with current thinking of a bipartisan group in Congress. Yet in a new book he has written with Clint Bolick, “Immigration Wars,” Bush has flip-flopped on the question of the path to citizenship. | 03/14/13 06:04:07 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: U.S Census quits using 'Negro' and it's about time

When I was born my mother named me Merlene, a compilation of her middle name, Merle, and an ending that must have sounded good at the time. | 03/13/13 06:06:11 By - Merlene Davis

Commentary: GOP still doesn't get it, but thinks it can win anyhow

Ever since failing to make Obama a one-term president, Mitt Romney has been trying to figure out why he doesn't occupy the White House. In a recent interview (naturally with Fox News), he blamed his loss in part on his failure to connect with minorities and his remark that 47 percent of Americans think they are entitled to a government that does something for them. He said he regretted the comment, but indicated his only error was a poor choice of words and not the sentiment behind them. Politicians say they misspoke whenever they inadvertently reveal what they really think. | 03/13/13 06:03:27 By - Dennis Jett

Commentary: Big holes in the medical safety net

Paul Chan is hopeful that the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, will improve the treatment of people who lack health insurance. That would come as welcome relief if his research is any indication of what’s happening to the uninsured right now. | 03/12/13 06:09:29 By - Alan Bavley

Commentary: Want a job in Obama's administration? Support his opponent

Former Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire may still get asked to serve in President Obama’s administration.

But if the call doesn’t come, she has no one to blame but herself. | 03/11/13 06:05:54 By - Peter Callaghan

Commentary: What is really driving the creative process

Inventor Thomas Alva Edison is quoted as saying that “genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” I make no claims to being a genius, but I’m not sure Edison took into account some of the other things that influence the creative process. | 03/11/13 06:06:34 By - James Werrell

Commentary: Send the spring break hordes to Cuba

For those of us who survived the invasion of ’85, forgetting is not so easy. | 03/10/13 06:07:04 By - Fred Grimm

Commentary: Obama has a peace opportunity during World War I centennial

President Barack Obama finally has a chance to live up to winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, and he can do it next year in Kansas City. | 03/10/13 06:10:02 By - Lewis W. Diuguid

Commentary: Justice Scalia shows his politics

Surely by now Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia knows that his Feb. 27 comments from the bench about a voting rights case were at best insensitive. | 03/09/13 06:08:26 By - Bob Ray Sanders

Commentary: Sandra Day O'Connor is retired but still engaged

Her hair is snowy white. She leans heavily on a cane and calls herself "just an unemployed cowgirl." But this self-deprecating ex-cowgirl is retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman to serve on the nation's highest court, and she remains passionate about the nation she served. | 03/09/13 06:17:10 By - Ginger Rutland

Commentary: Who needs science anyway?

At first blush, I might have guessed that a group calling itself the American Suntanning Association was a group promoting nudism. Much to my disappointment, I learned it’s an organization representing 14,000 tanning salon owners. | 03/09/13 06:11:46 By - Terry Plumb

Commentary: Cancer took Debi Austin's vocal cords, didn't stop her anti-smoking message

Debi Austin spoke loudest after surgeons removed her cancerous vocal cords. | 03/08/13 06:09:16 By - Dan Morain

Commentary: Changes in the GOP?

It’s hard to stay angry, especially when you’re really not. That effort is beginning to drain the long harrumph that has been the Republican Party for the past four years. | 03/08/13 06:02:19 By - Ned Barnett

Commentary: Sometimes politicians embarrass a state more than it deserves

In the contest among certain states to see which can do the most embarrassing political face plant, Georgia continues to be among the leaders. The Peach State's latest sweepstakes entry (well, maybe not the latest -- let's not discount the possibility that something even stupider has emerged) is … drum roll … a nullification bill. | 03/07/13 06:02:37 By - Dusty Nix

Commentary: Carrie Nation would be proud of Kansas liquor laws

In 1881, Kansas put into play the first statewide constitutional prohibition of alcohol. | 03/07/13 06:14:12 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Hugo Chávez's 'revolution' won't lose steam in Venezuela

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s death will most likely mark the beginning of the end of Venezuela’s political clout in Latin America, but his influence inside Venezuela is likely to last for many decades. | 03/06/13 11:28:55 By - Andres Oppenheimer

Commentary: The diplomacy style of John Kerry

The metaphor became a clever laugh line even before John Kerry took the reins of the State Department from Hillary Clinton. Kerry spoke respectfully of his predecessor, saying he had “big heels” to fill. Richard Haass, head of the Council of Foreign Relations, expressed his admiration for Hillary by joking that Kerry would have to fill “very large Manolo Blahniks.” | 03/06/13 06:09:56 By - Frida Ghitis

Commentary: Sequester offers an opportunity to realign national security

No matter how bad the problem, a former colleague of mine used to always preface discussions by saying that it represented an "opportunity." The Sequester's cuts will hit the Department of Defense (DOD) especially hard. But rather than focus on the cuts, I suggest we see this as an opportunity to assess and better align America's national security interests and capabilities. | 03/05/13 06:10:12 By - Scott Sigmund Gartner

Commentary: Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer made good call on work in office rule

The new chief executive of Yahoo spoke, and a nation of telecommuters howled back.

Actually, it was Yahoo’s human resources director, Jackie Reses, who issued the controversial memo, marked “proprietary and confidential — do not forward.” | 03/05/13 06:10:09 By - Barbara Shelly

Commentary: Some questions without easy answers

The Dept. of Awkward Questions has been working overtime recently.

Please try to keep up. | 03/04/13 06:03:14 By - Keith Chrostowski

Commentary: GOP must embrace immigration reform

The wake-up call Republicans received last Election Day has the party and some of its more popular and strident leaders engaged in an "extreme makeover." | 03/03/13 06:25:54 By - Bob Ray Sanders

Commentary: Brazil must become more outward looking

Brazil, South America’s biggest country, may become a global economic super-star in the future, but it will have to stop being an inward-looking giant. | 03/03/13 06:00:17 By - Andres Oppenheimer

Commentary: Where is the science against genetically modified crops?

If this column appeared under the headline, “Massive defeat for the anti-science forces,” you would naturally assume I’m talking about some kind of setback for conservative Republicans, right? And you would be completely wrong. | 03/02/13 06:03:56 By - Glenn Garvin

Commentary: More guns but fewer gun owners in America

There’s a little-known fact about guns in America, and it’s one that the firearms industry and its political allies don’t like to dwell on: The rate of gun ownership in America is declining. | 03/01/13 06:05:29 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: The Bush email hacking episode's hidden dangers

Media throughout the country carried news recently that a half-dozen email accounts belonging to ex-President George W. Bush and several of his friends and relatives had been hacked. The words and images that were pilfered weren’t all that interesting, so all in all it wasn’t a huge story. | 02/28/13 06:01:02 By - Edward Wasserman

Commentary: More fear-based rants around gun control

The Wizard of Second Amendment Fear was back at it Saturday, cranking up conspiracies.

Expanded background checks for gun purchases are a government plot to grab guns, claimed the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre. | 02/28/13 06:08:59 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: One year after Trayvon Martin's death, more questions about other violent deaths

People wore their hoodies Tuesday to remember Trayvon Martin on the first anniversary of his appalling shooting death at the hands of a neighborhood watchman, who pursued the black youth on the suspicion that he didn’t look like he belonged in his gated townhouse community. | 02/27/13 11:42:56 By - Fabiola Santiago

Commentary: The N word and a slap for Jonah Bennett

“The first kick I took was when I hit the ground.” - Bruce Springsteen, “Born in the U.S.A.”

So now, Jonah has received a lesson in How Things Are. He is 19 months old. | 02/27/13 06:07:04 By -

Commentary: A racism conundrum in Flint, Michigan

I remember interviewing a white man who refused to shake my black hand. | 02/27/13 06:05:28 By - Issac J. Bailey

Commentary: My mother is my hero

I’m here because my mother, Elizabeth Bailey McDaniel, refused to die. | 02/26/13 13:51:22 By - Issac J. Bailey

Commentary: Boy Scouts leader makes point to ponder on gays

There was nothing unusual about a representative of the Boy Scouts of America's national office being invited to speak Friday night at a Fort Worth banquet to raise money for three enduring inner-city troops and honor four longtime Scout leaders. | 02/26/13 06:03:02 By - Bob Ray Sanders

Commentary: The value of recess

What was your favorite subject in school? If many of us were honest, the answer would be recess. | 02/26/13 06:08:20 By - James Werrell

Commentary: Are we numb to gun violence at this point?

According to Slate magazine, there have been nearly 2,000 gun-related deaths in the U.S. since 20 children and seven adults were massacred in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14. | 02/25/13 06:00:15 By - Marcos Breton

Commentary: A better understanding of hate crimes is needed

The power of hate crimes to terrorize is relatively simple: They are criminal acts that send a message far beyond the initial victim. | 02/25/13 06:03:55 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Dick Lugar's take on D.C. partisanship

Few people have more reason to be bitter about America’s political polarization than Dick Lugar – he was fired because of it. | 02/24/13 06:08:45 By - Taylor Batten

Commentary: Investing in preschool is investing in America

Compared with our counterparts in the developed world, the United States is a wealthy nation of dummies and dropouts. A few years ago, American 15-year-olds were ranked 17th in science and an unimpressive 25th in math when compared with their peers in other countries. | 02/23/13 06:01:03 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Florida governor's about-face on Medicaid expansion

Florida Gov. Rick Scott did an abrupt about-face on Wednesday and said he has learned to love the foundation on which Obamacare was built, the expansion of Medicaid. He called it common sense. | 02/22/13 14:31:37 By - Mike Norman

Commentary: Our deadly love affair with guns

President Barack Obama received a vigorous ovation when he declared during his State of the Union address last week that the parents of Hadiya Pendleton deserved a vote on bills before Congress that would stem gun violence. | 02/22/13 06:03:59 By - Terry Plumb

Commentary: Crunching the numbers on immigration

Giovanni Peri, an Italian-born economist at UC Davis, is quickly becoming one of the most important voices in America's immigration debate. | 02/22/13 06:05:46 By - Marcos Breton

Commentary: Stop planting the seeds of bullying and hatred

He’s found a Hurley tank top on the rack. It’s striped — yellow, orange, black, red and blue.

The teen holds it up to his mom. | 02/21/13 06:08:08 By - Jenee' Osterheldt

Commentary: Chris Dorner was no kind of hero

Hero, my butt.

All right, that was not exactly my response to the gentleman who called and suggested a column in defense of California cop-killer Christopher Dorner. It is, though, the only translation that my editor would allow in the newspaper. | 02/20/13 06:03:15 By - Barry Saunders

Commentary: Wal-Mart moms are a potent and frustrated force

The Wal-Mart mom does it all. She raises kids, works a job or two, runs Girl Scout troops, cares for elderly relatives and walks the family dog. Without her — regardless of where she shops — entire households, schools and neighborhoods would go to pieces. | 02/19/13 06:05:45 By - Barbara Shelly

Commentary: Marco Rubio won't be sunk by a swig of water

It’s official: Marco Rubio is a national punch line.

After the Florida senator’s weird decision to interrupt his Tuesday rebuttal of the president’s State of the Union speech by taking a swig from a bottle of water, he was quickly mocked on The Daily Show, Colbert Report, Tonight Show with Jay Leno and the Late Show with David Letterman. | 02/19/13 06:04:40 By - Marc Caputo

Commentary: One part of black history must change

No one for Black History Month should view kindly the economic degradation that African-Americans still face. | 02/18/13 13:12:54 By - Lewis W. Diuguid

Commentary: U.S. really is a nation of immigrants

There are those who resist immigration and those who embrace it, and finding consensus between those two groups is likely to be the key challenge in reforming our national immigration policy. | 02/18/13 06:07:09 By - James Werrell

Commentary: Michelle Obama and our definitions of beauty

Black History Month is a fine time to talk about First Lady Michelle Obama’s “big butt” and the death of Strom Thurmond’s black love child. | 02/18/13 06:06:35 By - Issac J. Bailey

Commentary: Tea party's coffers benefit from splits in GOP

The tea party may be a shrinking, aging slice of the electorate. But you'd never know that from Sal Russo's operation. | 02/17/13 06:14:26 By - Dan Morain

Commentary: Ode to the cockroach

Your Orkin man will never tell you this. Of course, you’ll probably never ask him this, either. Despite the loathing we feel for them upon sight, roaches aren’t all bad. The little six-legged critters serve an important ecological purpose. | 02/17/13 06:08:26 By - Barry Saunders

Commentary: A true hero remembered in the home of sports 'heroes'

The building was designed specifically as a stage for our "heroes" to play football, soccer or basketball, but not until Monday afternoon did Cowboys Stadium honor a person truly worthy of that description. | 02/16/13 06:03:15 By - Mac Engel

Commentary: America still struggles with its racial past

The story of Essie Mae Washington-Williams, the daughter of once avowed segregationist U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond by the black maid who worked for the family, is more curiosity than revelation to most who’ve paid attention to America’s history. Hypocrisy was a constant companion of race relations in this country during Thurmond’s lifetime – hypocrisy that Thurmond embraced through anti-black words and actions in much of his public life. | 02/16/13 06:08:34 By - Fannie Flono

Commentary: How about equal rights and protections for all?

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed the Violence Against Women Act with bipartisan support. If passed by the House of Representatives, this will be the third renewal of the act that was originally passed in 1994 aimed at preventing and alleviating domestic violence. | 02/15/13 06:05:35 By - Merlene Davis

Commentary: Geraldo Rivera and the sins of Fox News

The spectacle of TV personality Geraldo Rivera using his soapbox with Fox News to test-market a possible run for the U.S. Senate has, not surprisingly, caused some real journalists to cough up hairballs. | 02/15/13 06:04:17 By - Edward Wasserman

Commentary: A drink of water isn't Marco Rubio's problem

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the Republicans’ big Hispanic hope for 2016, is a smart politician who might still make it to his party’s presidential ticket, but he blew it big time during his nationally-broadcast State of the Union rebuttal speech on Tuesday. | 02/14/13 12:40:08 By - Andres Oppenheimer

Commentary: Mali needs more than a military response

Mali, at the crossroads of Arab North Africa and black West Africa, tends to be one of too many places in the world where we Americans remain blissfully ignorant until a military or other emergency. | 02/14/13 06:06:56 By - Pia Lopez

Commentary: Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes

An Alabama high school football coach took time out in his fifth-hour psychology class last month to voice his opinions about First Lady Michelle Obama's body. | 02/13/13 06:01:28 By - Merlene Davis

Commentary: Americans still find little about the economy to cheer them up

You hear a lot from analysts that the economy is finally turning a corner. The strengthening of the house market does give a sound reason for saying so. | 02/12/13 06:00:19 By - Keith Chrostowski

Commentary: Some life lessons from my Chinese father-in-law

My father-in-law used to love Chinese New Year, which is being marked today by 1.5 billion people from Sacramento to Shanghai. | 02/11/13 11:03:07 By - Marcos Breton

Commentary: Things really are getting better

Which of the following 10 statements is false? | 02/11/13 06:18:28 By - Issac J. Bailey

Commentary: South Carolina is a hotbed of 'Hell No-ism'

Many summers when I was young, I spent a week or longer at a camp in Florida’s Ocala National Forest. During one evening assembly, a cabin mate named Wayne loudly proclaimed: “I’m gonna take my pig and secede.” | 02/11/13 06:06:37 By - Terry Plumb

Commentary: N.C. lawmakers seeking more guns, fewer nipples

Guns don’t kill people: nipples do.

Say what? | 02/10/13 06:00:41 By - Barry Saunders

Commentary: Afghan aid at risk

Billions of dollars worth of U.S. development projects in Afghanistan – from roads to clinics to police stations – may fail to serve any useful purpose, because U.S. troops have been rapidly withdrawn from many areas leaving insecurity, corruption and violence, a senior U.S. official said in Washington. | 02/09/13 06:07:58 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: More bluster from North Korea

Only two conclusions can be drawn from the bellicose statement issued late in January by North Korea. | 02/09/13 06:05:47 By - C.W. Gusewelle

Commentary: A view of tax reform - from North Carolina

All the talk about changing North Carolina’s tax code can make your head swim. Politicians and think tanks have diverse opinions about what to do. They are, naturally, influenced by their ideology, and in some cases one group’s “facts” are in direct contradiction of another’s. I wanted to get beyond that circle. | 02/09/13 06:16:19 By - Taylor Batten

Commentary: Republicans should back immigration reform

Considering the difficulties facing any immigration-reform proposal, last week’s opening moves were encouraging. | 02/08/13 06:05:32 By - E. Thomas McClanahan

Commentary: A strange history of presidents and guns

Mr. President, why did you do it? What where you trying to prove? And to whom? | 02/07/13 06:07:14 By - Bob Ray Sanders

Commentary: Immigration and the global talent race

President Barack Obama’s immigration plan calling for a huge increase in visas for foreign science and engineering graduates will pose a huge challenge for China, India and Latin America: they will either have to do something to retain their best talents, or they will face the biggest brain drain in recent history. | 02/07/13 06:04:08 By - Andres Oppenheimer

Commentary: Improving gun safety would save lives

A heart-wrenching reminder of a feasible way to reduce gun violence splashed in local headlines last week.

You might have missed it because it wasn’t heavily emphasized. | 02/07/13 06:05:10 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Black history's lessons are doubly important today

Thanks to noted African-American scholar Carter G. Woodson, the nation celebrates Black History Month in February as a tribute to the birthdays this month of President Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass. | 02/06/13 06:09:11 By - Lewis W. Diuguid

Commentary: Is Republican change of heart on immigration for real?

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I thought I’d give the GOP a little friendly advice on avoiding the missteps of courtship. | 02/05/13 06:07:40 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Too much misinformation surrounding immigration

As President Barack Obama gave the most important speech on immigration reform in years last Tuesday, it became clear that his greatest foe is not the Republican Party on this terribly divisive issue.

It's misinformation. | 02/04/13 06:04:08 By - Marcos Breton

Commentary: Easy debt and undisciplined spending

I get it: The national debt of the United States is different from the debt used by the likes of you and me. | 02/04/13 06:02:40 By - Keith Chrostowski

Commentary: Hollywood isn't the place for accurate history

The movie Django Unchained, the 2012 American epic western film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, has received a lot of criticism. | 02/03/13 06:04:15 By - Merlene Davis

Commentary: Obama must get serious about entitlement reform

President Obama’s inaugural speech struck the notes expected on such occasions. He evoked our founding documents. He used words like “timeless” and “enduring,” and as with most Obama speeches, it was a fine performance. Yet after four years you know this president doesn’t always mean what he says. | 02/03/13 06:05:33 By - E. Thomas McClanahan

Commentary: Is Congress finally serious about immigration reform?

The ugly duckling of Capitol Hill — immigration reform — has turned into a swan. | 02/02/13 06:18:53 By - Fabiola Santiago

Commentary: How about more taxes on guns and bullets?

Americans will never surrender their lust for guns.

For a lot of people, one is never enough and bigger is always better. That includes magazines that hold more rounds. The 22-caliber, bolt action rifle that I learned to shoot at age 11 as a Boy Scout is insufficient. | 02/02/13 06:08:23 By - Lewis W. Diuguid

Commentary: Effort Saxby Chambliss makes at bipartisanship matters

The long political career of Saxby Chambliss has been something I've observed with reactions that could almost be called bipolar. There's rarely been any in-between: Most of the things he's done or said have struck me as either very, very good or very, very bad. | 02/01/13 06:09:10 By - Dusty Nix

Commentary: 'Mallard Fillmore' is one unfunny cartoon duck

Just because it comes across as homophobic, racist and reactionary, I told one caller last week, is not reason enough to fish-wrap the alleged comic strip "Mallard Fillmore." | 01/31/13 06:08:13 By - Barry Saunders

Commentary: Corruption weasels into online media

Even while some media organizations roll out new online subscription plans, the Internet continues its steady drift toward a business model built overwhelmingly on money not from readers, but from advertisers. It’s advertising that’s emerging as the revenue source that everybody, from Facebook and Google to newspaper websites and gadfly bloggers, wants a piece of. | 01/30/13 06:02:10 By - Edward Wasserman

Commentary: Georgia's Eleventh Circuit judicial openings need filling

Last summer, Eleventh Circuit Judge J. L. Edmondson assumed senior status after a quarter-century of valuable service. His decision leaves the bench with 17 vacancies in the 179 appeals court judgeships and the Eleventh Circuit with two in twelve. | 01/29/13 12:08:28 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: Manti Te’o story shows we're better connected but farther apart

You are missing the point.

Or at least, you are if you’re one of the bazillion people following the Manti Te’o story, dutifully trying to determine whether the Notre Dame football star was the victim or the perpetrator of a bizarre hoax. Granted, the story is irresistible as one of those 15-minutes-of-fame-kitten- stuck-in-the-well fables without which people who gather around the water cooler wouldn’t have anything to talk about. | 01/29/13 06:05:35 By - Leonard Pitts Jr.

Commentary: A sobering lesson from WWII

Clicking through the TV channels one Sunday during the holidays, I stumbled by pure luck onto a magnificent History Channel documentary titled “World War II From Space.” | 01/28/13 06:03:21 By - C.W. Gusewelle

Commentary: A tale of two gun shows

Title this a tale of two gun shows. | 01/28/13 06:07:39 By - Fabiola Santiago

Commentary: The NRA's callous and stupid shooting app

The callousness, the sheer idiocy, of some organizations never ceases to amaze me.

A month after the slaughter of 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, the National Rifle Association has released a new game that lets children fire virtual guns at clay ducks or coffin-shaped targets with bull’s eyes at chest and head levels. The guns of choice include assault and sniper rifles. | 01/27/13 06:04:16 By - Ana Veciana-Suarez

Commentary: Turning gun debate into and arms race

Sen. Lindsey Graham believes “the best way to confront a homicidal maniac who enters a school is for them to be met by armed resistance from a trained professional.” | 01/27/13 06:15:04 By - Issac J. Bailey

Commentary: Obama-paranoia at the gun show

The Miami gun-show line stretched 200 people long. Many blamed President Barack Obama. | 01/26/13 06:08:17 By - Marc Caputo

Commentary: Everything is 'climate change'

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says last year was the hottest on record in the contiguous United States. As The New York Times put it in a recent headline, it was “not even close.” | 01/26/13 06:06:22 By - E. Thomas McClanahan

Commentary: NRA could be part of the solution or make the problem worse

A faint promise of hope and change filtered through the Washington chatter in the days preceding President Barack Obama’s swearing in for a second term. | 01/25/13 06:01:44 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: What will our next civil rights breakthrough be?

When I was a child, many white Americans, and most of them in the South, considered Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights activists to be radicals and trouble-makers. Some even called them "communists." | 01/25/13 06:05:17 By - Tom Eblen

Commentary: How gun roundups can save lives

On a cold night at the northeast end of Stockton, a California Department of Justice agent wearing a bulletproof vest beneath his black uniform knocked on the door of a small tract home. A 65-year-old man living alone peeked out. | 01/24/13 06:03:45 By - Dan Morain

Commentary: Sheriffs are blowing smoke over 'unconstitutional' gun laws

When Texas sheriffs say they won't enforce "unconstitutional" gun laws, it means only one thing.

They think voters are dumb enough to believe them. | 01/24/13 06:01:50 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Vive La France

Across the vast Sahara Desert in Northern Mali, as well as in the neighboring countries of Chad, Niger, Mauretania and Algeria, millions of people are cheering openly or in secret at the French aircraft smashing down Islamists since Jan 11. | 01/22/13 14:33:28 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: Buying ambassadorships is as American as apple pie

The United States prides itself on having a market economy. But does that philosophy really have to extend to the selling of government jobs as well? | 01/22/13 06:02:24 By - Dennis Jett

Commentary: Martin Luther King's message of nonviolence resonates

There’s never a shortage of oversimplifications and stretched analogies this time of year, Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. | 01/21/13 06:05:35 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: MLK and Barack Obama

When Martin Luther King Jr. made his most famous speech during the Great March on Washington in 1963, Barack Hussein Obama was 2 years and 24 days old. | 01/21/13 06:04:00 By - Bob Ray Sanders

Commentary: Congress heads toward another manufactured crisis- the debt ceiling

Sometimes the simplest solutions work best.

With the nation still exhausted from several breathless weeks on the brink of the fiscal cliff, the new year began with another crisis in Washington. This time it’s the debt ceiling | 01/21/13 06:01:02 By - Terry Plumb

Commentary: Is torture right?

Does torture work?

It is a Bush-era debate that has found Obama-era relevance because of a new movie, Zero Dark Thirty, in which torture seems to work quite well. | 01/20/13 06:03:07 By - Leonard Pitts Jr.

Commentary: Avoiding the lure of an easy chair

This is going to shock you. You’d better sit down.

On second thought, don’t. It might kill you. | 01/20/13 06:09:51 By - James Werrell

Commentary: The real meaning of Martin Luther King holiday

King Day weekends mean parades, or speeches, or TV specials.

We forget what they really mean. | 01/19/13 06:03:42 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: The parallel universe of the White House

Most Americans, even those who pay little attention to politics and Washington’s squabbling, understand that the government has a huge debt and deficit problem. The phrase “trillion-dollar deficits” is a leitmotif of the Obama years. | 01/19/13 06:02:35 By - E. Thomas McClanahan

Commentary: Avoiding those 'senior moments'

I just marked one of those birthdays where the odometer flips over two digits, the kind of milestone that reminds you nature is relentlessly serious about that ashes-to-ashes thing. | 01/19/13 06:01:29 By - Mark Washburn

Commentary: Filling the Third Circuit judicial opening

The Senate must immediately vote on U.S. Magistrate Judge Patty Shwartz, the experienced nominee for the Third Circuit. President Barack Obama nominated the highly qualified jurist fifteen months ago with the enthusiastic support of New Jersey GOP Governor Chris Christie. Because the opening that Shwartz would fill can delay appellate resolution and has been empty since June 2011, New Jersey Democratic Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez, who robustly support Shwartz, must encourage the chamber to rapidly vote on her. | 01/18/13 13:24:51 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: To improve mental health, we must first understand it

Here’s a better idea for “arming” the nation’s teachers.

Let’s do it with knowledge, support and resources about the mental health of children. | 01/18/13 06:01:02 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Some myths about assault weapons

An otherwise intelligent friend of mine launched a recent Facebook rant against “weapons that automatically feed bullets and can fire 100 rounds per second. I just don’t get why the Average Joe needs one. Can you explain it to me?” I couldn’t, I admitted. But I could explain that there is no hand-held gun in the world that fires that fast. | 01/18/13 06:05:10 By - Glenn Garvin

Commentary: Get over your dislike of government secrecy

Two weeks ago on a cross-country flight I checked three bags, and when I unpacked I found three printed memos from the Transportation Security Administration indicating that they’d each been searched. | 01/17/13 06:01:52 By - Edward Wasserman

Commentary: Here's what's ahead in 2013

A dozen years into the new century, we still hadn’t settled on what to call the 2000s.

The oughts? | 01/17/13 06:15:26 By - Keith Chrostowski

Commentary: Rise of the 'preppers'

This month at a picnic shelter at Umstead State Park in Raleigh, they plan to gather and trade notes about preparing for a disaster.

These are not FEMA or EMS folks. FEMA and local government services will be useless when this trouble comes. This will be big: a collapse of the government, nationwide riots, famine, plagues, nuclear war. People will be on their own. | 01/15/13 06:11:02 By - Ned Barnett

Commentary: We should avoid loosening of gun laws

Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday plans to submit his recommendations to President Barack Obama on new gun control proposals.

But don’t expect the National Rifle Association’s buy-in. Biden’s plan includes limits on high-capacity magazines, improved background checks on gun buyers and promotion of gun safety. | 01/15/13 06:03:52 By - Lewis W. Diuguid

Commentary: It's man vs. python in Florida Everglades

Would you like to make some extra money, and at the same time run the risk of being eaten by a carnivorous reptile the size of a war canoe? | 01/14/13 06:52:40 By - Dave Barry

Commentary: One child's voice for Newtown

Dear Mr. Obama,

I am 12 years old and in seventh grade. | 01/14/13 06:01:09 By - Joe Tarica

Commentary: Behind the tax cuts

Pop quiz: Who’s the bigger tax cutter, Barack Obama or Ronald Reagan?

Answer: Obama. The fiscal cliff agreement, signed early this year, cuts expected federal income tax revenue by about $1.8 trillion over the next five years, while the famous supply-side Reagan tax cuts in 1981 cost the government about $1.5 trillion, in inflation-adjusted cash, over their first five years. | 01/14/13 06:03:22 By - Dave Helling

Commentary: It all starts with 26 acts

Thursday, Mae Suramek grabbed a cup of coffee at Berea Coffee & Tea and left an extra $4 to pay for the next customer's order.

It was another of her random acts of kindness in honor of the 26 adults and children gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14. | 01/13/13 06:03:42 By - Merlene Davis

Commentary: The NRA, guns and 'evil fame'

Two weeks ago the subject of this column was how soon America consigned mass shootings to history’s dustbin, a factor in the gun lobby’s ability to stifle debate over sensible rules on gun ownership. | 01/13/13 06:03:31 By - Terry Plumb

Commentary: Everglades python hunt could use a beauty queen

If we’re serious about sending forth an army of gun-toting, beer-drinking, redneck snake-hunters to wade into the Everglades and eradicate the python hordes, we’re going to need more than a couple of piddling cash prizes. | 01/12/13 06:15:54 By - Fred Grimm

Commentary: In Latin America, the super-rich pay lower taxes

French movie star Gerard Depardieu made the wrong choice by seeking Belgian and Russian citizenship to avoid paying higher taxes in France. He should have moved to Mexico. | 01/12/13 06:08:16 By - Andres Oppenheimer

Commentary: Hagel should be confirmed

A former Republican senator who served his country well is nominated by the president for secretary of defense, a post for which he is eminently qualified. | 01/11/13 06:04:29 By - Bob Ray Sanders

Commentary: Canaries in a coalmine

Two unrelated items popped up on the laptop screen last week. No, that's wrong. They're not unrelated at all. | 01/11/13 06:10:04 By - Dusty Nix

Commentary: Rights and responsibility go hand-in-hand

One of the frustrations for a newspaper opinion columnist is the inability to know, with any certainty, whether commentary on a controversial issue has found its intended mark. | 01/11/13 06:00:20 By - C.W. Gusewelle

Commentary: Journal News crossed a line and quashed gun owner privacy

Exposed. That, in a word, is how you feel when someone broadcasts your home address without your knowledge, against your wishes. Your correspondent speaks from experience. Six years ago when white supremacists published my home address and phone number on their web sites, the first thing I felt was vulnerable. | 01/10/13 06:03:10 By - Leonard Pitts Jr.

Commentary: Fiscal cliff shows Congress favors confrontations

Dinner-table conversation is a favored pastime at our house. | 01/10/13 06:10:04 By - Mike Norman

Commentary: Palazzo's offensive posturing on Sandy relief

Seldom has a single vote in Congress appeared as cold-blooded and hard-headed as one cast by Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., last week. | 01/09/13 13:32:51 By -

Commentary: FreedomWorks doesn't seem to be working very well

Dick Armey says buying $1 million in ads from Glenn Beck was a waste of campaign money.

Heck, I could have told him that. | 01/09/13 06:02:43 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: War on marijuana goes up in smoke

The war on marijuana is going up in smoke, and it’s about time. There is no bigger waste of money and resources in all law enforcement. | 01/09/13 06:09:57 By - Carl Hiaasen

Commentary: No need for resolutions

I never make New Year’s resolutions. Why set myself up for failure when there are so many naturally occurring opportunities to fail throughout the year? | 01/08/13 06:03:35 By - James Werrell

Commentary: U.S. tackles the Ernest Hemingway cat menace

After nine years of legal wrangling, the relationship between American commerce and cats — cats of the six-toed variety — has been decided. | 01/07/13 06:02:55 By - Fred Grimm

Commentary: The stupidity over 'concussiongate'

If only the people intent on dissecting Hillary Clinton's blood clot would channel that energy in more productive ways. | 01/07/13 03:41:12 By - Linda P. Campbell

Commentary: Newtown massacre media coverage and the harm that false information can do

There was something reassuring about the wave of public sorrow over the Newtown massacre. After Tucson, after Aurora, after the mass shootings in a dozen other places that you or I couldn’t name — events that were shrugged off within days — I was no longer convinced of the public’s capacity to respond to such horror in the right way: with outrage, with regret, with something close to determination. | 01/06/13 06:06:20 By - Edward Wasserman

Commentary: Are newspaper editorials passe'?

Here's a sad fact as we near the end of 2012: The editorial director of an influential California news organization, one that says it is dedicated to producing "stories that hold those in power accountable," believes there should be fewer voices dedicated to that cause. | 01/06/13 06:07:59 By - Stuart Leavenworth

Commentary: Best thing about 2012? It's over

What can you say about a year in which the crowning achievement was that the world didn't end? But you can hardly make fun of the Mayans for getting it wrong so long ago. It made even less sense close up. | 01/05/13 06:02:15 By - Glenn Garvin

Commentary: The first rule of hunting

At a speaking engagement for a large civic group a few years ago, I was introduced by someone using information he had gotten from a colleague. | 01/05/13 06:09:29 By - Bob Ray Sanders

Commentary: Father Time hits his 2012 highlights

To mark the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013, we found Father Time on his way out the door to wherever guys like him go and engaged him in his last interview. | 01/04/13 06:07:09 By - Peter Callaghan

Commentary: What fed the housing bubble?

One of the major points of contentions in the aftermath of the housing debacle was whether the Community Reinvestment Act — an anti-redlining law — contributed to the disaster. | 01/04/13 06:02:35 By - E. Thomas McClanahan

Commentary: Doing business with a gun monger?

Two months before Adam Lanza used one of his company's guns to massacre 20 first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School, George Kollitides talked about threats he perceived to his children. | 01/03/13 06:04:03 By - Dan Morain

Commentary: Gun-toting teachers and other 2013 predictions

One of my more foolhardy endeavors at the beginning of each year is to make some predictions of what is likely to happen during the upcoming year in North Carolina government and politics.

If nothing else, the exercise teaches one to be humble. | 01/03/13 06:05:38 By - Rob Christensen

Commentary: 'Chasing Ice' and melting glaciers

Seeing "Chasing Ice," a new movie that chronicles the rapid disappearance of the world's glaciers as man-made climate change proceeds, I was reminded of Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now." | 01/02/13 06:02:26 By - Pia Lopez

Commentary: Other nations have reduced gun violence, why can't we?

Guns don’t kill people, teachers do.

At least that’s the intent of a bill introduced by state Rep. Phillip Lowe, R-Florence, that would give South Carolina teachers and other public school employees the right to carry guns on school grounds as long as they have concealed weapons permits. Lowe says the bill would be one way to protect kids if a school comes under attack. | 01/01/13 08:03:24 By - James Werrell

Commentary: Political in-fighting over bust of Rush Limbaugh

Lock Rush Limbaugh in a closet.

Shut the door and keep it sealed until he’s deceased. | 01/01/13 08:06:00 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Dave Barry reviews 2012

It was a cruel, cruel year — a year that kept raising our hopes, only to squash them flatter than a dead possum on the interstate. | 12/31/12 06:57:18 By - Dave Barry

Commentary: Why put things off until later?

As a kid, I took piano lessons. It was fulfilling. Even as a teenager, I didn’t begrudge the practice time. I even enjoyed scales.

I went off to college and there was no piano, although I could have found one if I had tried. But I was busy with school. I told myself I’d return to the piano someday. | 12/31/12 06:07:46 By - Barbara Shelly

Commentary: The quotes of 2012

Merry Cliffmas!

My compilation of quotes saved up over the year runneth over. | 12/31/12 06:08:17 By - Keith Chrostowski

Commentary: Some Texas teachers have ideas about guns in schools

The last thing a pair of high school football coaches, a fifth-grade math teacher and a sixth-grade principal ever thought they would have to consider is adding a gun permit to their skill set. | 12/30/12 06:02:14 By - Mac Engel

Commentary: Killers target diplomats worldwide

Death stalks our diplomats, our aid workers, our businessmen and our Peace Corps volunteers. And unless we figure out how to live with this threat, we will find ourselves increasingly pushed into a corner and separated from the people of the world with whom we share this planet and all its wonders and troubles. | 12/30/12 06:04:55 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: Here's the really important news of 2012

Most media lists of the most important events of 2012 are led by headlines such as the reelection of President Barack Obama, the appointment of China’s new leader Xi Jinping, the revolt in Syria, the return to power of Mexico’s ruling PRI party and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez’s battle with cancer. | 12/30/12 06:06:21 By - Andres Oppenheimer

Commentary: Filling the Texas Federal Court openings

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Hilda Tagle assumes senior status after 14 years of dedicated service. That means the judiciary has 78 openings in 856 judgeships, the Fifth Circuit has two in 17 and the Texas District Courts has five in 41. | 12/29/12 06:05:03 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: Finding the sensible middle ground on gun control

Guns don't kill people; mentally disturbed people with easy access to guns kill people. The problem is simple and obvious. The solutions are anything but that. | 12/29/12 06:05:57 By - Tom Eblen

Commentary: Americans love cheap goods and China loves Christmas

Happy birthday, Jesus!

Love, China.

For a country that persecutes Christians, China sure profits from Christmas. | 12/29/12 06:04:03 By - Marc Caputo

Commentary: North Korea - the mouse that wants to roar

It could have been a scene out of some comic opera — the wire service photo of North Korea’s pudgy boy dictator, strutting ceremoniously, followed by a half-dozen uniformed military officers, all applauding him in unison as they walked. | 12/29/12 06:19:58 By - C.W. Gusewelle

Commentary: What is the proper response to Sandy Hook massacre?

The Issue: The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., elicited an outpouring of political responses, notably calls for stronger gun control. On Sunday, President Barack Obama said any solution would be hard. "We're not doing enough, and we will have to change," he told victims' families. "We can't tolerate this anymore." | 12/28/12 06:01:30 By - Ben Boychuk and Pia Lopez

Commentary: Our national amnesia with gun massacres

The recent slaughter of 20 children in Newtown, Conn., immediately spurred responses that were both predictable and contradictory.

Elected officials across America, including President Barack Obama, declared that the nation must pass stricter laws to keep guns, especially “assault weapons” and high-capacity ammunition clips, out of the hands of people like Adam Lanza. | 12/28/12 06:05:15 By - Terry Plumb

Commentary: Sales of AR-15 assault rifles can and should be restricted

No more distractions. No more fake arguments that lead nowhere.

It's about the weapons – the AR-15 assault rifles and variations of them that were meant for military use but are being used to kill civilians with frightening speed and ease. | 12/27/12 06:02:10 By - Marcos Breton

Commentary: Killing is too convenient in America

One of the merits of that challenged institution known as the print newspaper is its ability to sum up the mood of the day, which this week would have to be described as grim astonishment. | 12/27/12 06:04:26 By - Barbara Shelly

Commentary: Showing courage, love beyond words

Millions of words have already been written about the Sandy Hook massacre, and millions more are coming. We’ll argue about gun control, violent video games, poor mental health services, inadequate school security. | 12/24/12 06:02:23 By - Dave Helling

Commentary: Christmas trees and other humbug

At this writing, the Christmas tree in our living room is standing.

That may not sound like news to some, but that’s only because they weren’t around a week ago to see me holding up the 10-foot evergreen behemoth, yelling at my wife who was on the telephone calling a friend to come help. | 12/24/12 06:05:54 By - Terry Plumb

Commentary: Hostess brass get bonuses while workers get pink slips

America lost one of its iconic brands last month when Hostess, maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Wonder Bread and other staples of postwar Middle America, closed up shop. | 12/23/12 06:02:28 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Finding a role for the Rolling Stones

Maybe the great rock stars of the ’60s can find a way to avoid getting stuck in the nostalgia gig. I was thinking this while I stayed up way too late watching the 12-12-12 benefit concert for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Producers obviously rigged the show to appeal to the people with money to donate to the cause: aging baby-boomers who will tune in any time to watch geriatric guitar heroes from the past. | 12/23/12 06:01:50 By - James Werrell

Commentary: Arming teachers is not the answer for Newtown violence

Here is the concealed-carry version of solving school violence: Reading, writing and target practice. | 12/22/12 06:02:17 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Some songs for the holiday season

In honor of the end of 2012, here are updated lyrics to some of your favorite holiday (OK, Christmas) songs. | 12/22/12 06:07:49 By - Peter Callaghan

Commentary: Gun advocates are too quiet after Newtown

They need to change the subject. Turn the conversation away from questions about assault rifles and high-capacity magazines and 26 first-graders and teachers mutilated by high-velocity bullets on a cold Connecticut morning. | 12/22/12 06:23:25 By - Fred Grimm

Commentary: Labor unions and America

I worked once at a union newspaper up North. It was a comfortable place, with good pay for the size of the paper. I knew that didn’t happen by accident. | 12/22/12 06:09:19 By - Peter St. Onge

Commentary: A new type of gun safe – a new approach to reducing gun violence

While it is impossible to eliminate heartbreaking attacks like that in Newtown; it is possible to make that level of violence less likely. At the same time, it is important to recognize that no single policy will fix the problem; rather, the achievement of even limited success will result from the cumulative effects of a range of policies. Policy responses should thus not only focus on eliminating guns, but rather, should also propose new ways to alter the relationships of guns, mental health and violence. | 12/21/12 06:05:19 By - Scott Sigmund Gartner

Commentary: Wishing for the spirit of Santa Claus

I'm not sure when I stopped believing in Santa Claus the individual, but it was well before I first admitted it to my parents -- for two reasons: | 12/21/12 04:28:59 By - Bob Ray Sanders

Commentary: U.S. is still strong despite the economic gloom

Oh, great. Another bit of gloomy news: Last week, the Federal Reserve issued a 2013 forecast more pessimistic than its previous one. More evidence we’re doomed, I suppose — fated to fall from the fiscal cliff, and even if we don’t collide with economic armageddon at the bottom, there’s sure to be something really bad down there. | 12/21/12 06:03:39 By - E. Thomas McClanahan

Commentary: It's time for sensible talk on guns, ultra-violent video games

Let’s hope the dude shoots better than he reads.

In a column written hours after the Newtown, Conn., massacre, I adopted – along with many of you – the same position as President Barack Obama: The immediate aftermath of the shooting was not the time to talk about regulating guns, he said. It was a time for us as a nation to mourn and rally together. | 12/20/12 06:03:58 By - Barry Saunders

Commentary: We care more about a cartoonish version of the Second Amendment

We don’t care that more than two dozen people – mostly children aged 5 to 10 – were gunned down in an elementary school in Connecticut. | 12/20/12 06:02:03 By - Issac J. Bailey

Commentary: It’s easier to kill with guns than regulate them more

Florida will hit the 1 million-mark for concealed-weapon permit-holders in the coming days, a stat reported last week that received scant attention. | 12/20/12 06:15:50 By - Marc Caputo

Commentary: More guns are not the answer to violence like Newtown

We don't know why Adam Lanza decided to kill his mother Friday and then 20 first-graders and the six women who tried to protect them at the Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn. | 12/19/12 06:03:51 By - Merlene Davis

Commentary: Does America love its guns more than its children?

There are no words for a tragedy this grim, this incomprehensible, one that strikes so close to home for every parent in America. | 12/19/12 06:05:56 By - Fabiola Santiago

Commentary: The biggest threat to my Second Amendment rights

The column originally scheduled to appear today in this space was withdrawn, at my request — possibly to be published at a later date or simply discarded. | 12/19/12 06:08:30 By - C.W. Gusewelle

Commentary: Some people shouldn't have access to guns

I'm tired of debating gun violence with people who cling to ideology as the bodies pile up. | 12/18/12 06:06:26 By - Marcos Breton

Commentary: Kansas family orphaned by death, deportation looks to better days

A baby’s first year — how quickly the time passes.

Baby Camila is babbling, practicing the noises that will soon form her first words. She’s absorbing language as a bilingual listener. | 12/18/12 06:01:44 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Guns are the problem

I wrote editorials after the Virginia Tech shooting and the debate then revolved around mental health and security. How could colleges better identify troubled students? Should access to campus be limited? | 12/17/12 12:56:53 By - Barbara Shelly

Commentary: Abuses were committed in our name

There's this big buzz whether the new movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden somehow justifies torture.

To me, this Washington and Hollywood hullabaloo is over-hyped and beside the point. | 12/17/12 06:08:43 By - Foon Rhee

Commentary: We must not forget our history

Students step onto college campuses today less aware or concerned with the past. It’s more pronounced than the usual grousing of old instructors about each new generation. | 12/17/12 06:05:07 By - Lewis W. Diuguid

Commentary: Heroes are rare indeed

It is the unspoken dread that must lurk in the imagination of nearly everyone who has traveled the underground rail system of one of the world’s great cities: the fear of stumbling or being shoved off the subway platform and falling into the zone of death. | 12/16/12 06:02:38 By - C.W. Gusewelle

Commentary: Obama missed an opportunity with Simpson-Bowles

Well, isn’t this another fine mess? We’ve gotten to the point that hard-liners on both sides are starting to say, “Jump!” — let the “fiscal cliff” happen. You wonder what they’re thinking. | 12/16/12 06:07:05 By - E. Thomas McClanahan

Commentary: Random thoughts and political musings

Cleaning out the files (and forgive me if some of this, thanks to my deteriorating memory, is recycled stuff that wasn't very good to begin with) … | 12/15/12 06:02:29 By - Dusty Nix

Commentary: Answer Man goes to the fiscal cliff

The daily drumbeat of depressing details about the deadlock in D.C. has created an unexplainable and unpleasant uptick in anxious and addictive alliteration. | 12/15/12 06:02:33 By - Peter Callaghan

Commentary: Some Latin American surprises on the corruption index

One of the most interesting things about the latest 174-country ranking of world corruption released last week by the Berlin-based Transparency International monitoring group was that Barbados, Chile and Uruguay ranked alongside the United States among the world’s 20 most honest countries. | 12/14/12 06:08:30 By - Andres Oppenheimer

Commentary: Corporations make mad dash to avoid Uncle Sam's tax bill

By Dec. 21, Larry Ellison will have more than made up for that $3 million he misspent in October trying to elect Mitt Romney as president.

On that day, the billionaire founder of Oracle stands to receive roughly $198 million in accelerated Oracle stock dividends, avoiding $60 million or more in what every financial expert assumes will be higher federal taxes starting in 2013. | 12/14/12 06:03:41 By - Dan Morain

Commentary: Time to fill the Western District of New York bench

Now that the 112th Senate has reconvened for its lame duck session after President Barack Obama captured a second term and Democrats retained a Senate majority, this is an ideal moment to analyze the federal judicial vacancy crisis. | 12/13/12 13:45:53 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: Sure-fire ways the GOP can blow another election

Only 11 days after the re-election of Barack Obama, Marco Rubio flew to Iowa to informally begin his quest for the presidency in 2016. | 12/13/12 06:11:21 By - Carl Hiaasen

Commentary: Betraying Bob Dole

Anyone who meets former Sen. Bob Dole quickly gains an understanding of his war injury.

Through decades of public service he became adept at offering his left hand first when greeting people, a grip that came across as gracious, not awkward. | 12/13/12 06:08:35 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Are California oil companies warming to carbon tax?

Oil companies and taxes are a little like gasoline and lit matches.

The oil industry spent $93 million to blow up a 2006 initiative that sought to raise an oil severance tax. Taxes are not part of oil executives' DNA. But ever so cautiously, the industry is contemplating a California carbon tax. | 12/12/12 06:03:03 By - Dan Morain

Commentary: A close-up look at corporate welfare

When a poor person gets a government handout, it's called welfare. When a rich corporation gets one, it's called an economic development incentive. | 12/12/12 06:02:08 By - Tom Eblen

Commentary: Gun debate misses the point in Belcher case

At the risk of sounding like a Kool-Aid-fed daughter of Ted Nugent: It’s not the gun that should be implicated. | 12/11/12 06:02:30 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Gold rush is poisoning Peru's rain forest

As our plane topped the Peruvian Andes, I looked out the window and caught my first view of the headwaters of the Amazon. The green canopy of the rain forest spread out in all directions. Yet on closer examination, I noticed the wilderness was marred by a checkerboard of cleared fields, scarred stream banks and rivers stained brown by polluted runoff. | 12/11/12 06:02:50 By - Stuart Leavenworth

Commentary: Fed polygraphs seems more like Big Brother than about national security

The ethics of the matter, and the seemingly gratuitous intrusiveness of some interrogations, are just part of the problem with polygraph screenings of federal employees and applicants.

There's also the far more fundamental question of whether the process even works. Do these tests truly make us safer? Or are they an abuse of power by federal agencies that, by their very nature, are exempt from public accountability? | 12/10/12 12:46:24 By -

Commentary: President Obama's budget fairy tale

During the campaign, President Obama impressed everybody by singing an impromptu version of the old Al Green ballad Let’s Stay Together. But now the White House has switched tunes. The president’s new favorite is Young At Heart, a Frank Sinatra hit of the 1950s. You could hear it playing in the background last week when he talked about the budget: Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you . . . | 12/10/12 06:01:54 By - Glenn Garvin

Commentary: Will Obama years be a 'lost decade' for the US?

After five years of lousy economic performance, you would think people would be sick of it by now. Guess not. How else to explain why we’re having a big fight over inequality instead of arguing over how to jump-start growth? | 12/09/12 06:06:10 By - E. Thomas McClanahan

Commentary: I have questions

Guy Noir, the beleaguered private eye featured on “A Prairie Home Companion,” is said to constantly wrestle with “life’s persistent questions.”

I have a few of my own, including: | 12/09/12 06:02:54 By - Terry Plumb

Commentary: 'Citizen journalists' and credibility

Nearly 36 years ago when I started reporting for this newspaper, police and elected officials would stop speaking candidly to folks as soon as I entered the room. | 12/08/12 06:05:04 By - Lewis W. Diuguid

Commentary: Record number of journalists have died in 2012

They call it the Death Watch. The International Press Institute, which is based in Austria, for 15 years has tracked the number of professional journalists around the world killed on the job. | 12/08/12 06:01:27 By - John Drescher

Commentary: Congress forgets science and stands up for exotic snakes

Giant pet constrictors have clearly been denied their rightful place in the national mythology. American children grow up unexposed to the lovable reptilian equivalents of Snoopy or Garfield or Clifford the Big Red Dog. | 12/07/12 06:04:37 By - Fred Grimm

Commentary: Washington's top-down thinking on Medicare

They say that Social Security is the third rail of American politics: Touch it and you die.

That dictum extends to Medicare and even Medicaid as well. I’d like to take this opportunity to remind President Obama and members of both parties in Congress of why that is. | 12/07/12 06:14:00 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Time to fill Middle District of Pennsylvania judicial vacancies

With the Senate's reassembly for its lame duck session after President Barack Obama won another term and Democrats retained a Senate majority, this is an excellent time to evaluate the judicial vacancy crisis. | 12/06/12 13:43:15 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: Libel via Twitter in Great Britain

For all our cultural kinship, Britain and the United States approach expressive freedom in ways that are often sharply different. | 12/06/12 06:07:02 By - Edward Wasserman

Commentary: Billionaire NYC Mayor Bloomberg adds dynamic to gun politics

Joe Baca never saw it coming, and neither did Gloria Negrete McLeod. But as state Sen. Negrete McLeod replaces Baca in Congress, the dueling San Bernardino County Democrats witnessed first hand the beginnings of a change in gun politics, courtesy of billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. | 12/06/12 06:02:49 By - Dan Morain

Commentary: What's next for Jill Kelley, the Petraeus scandal's mystery vixen?

Jill Kelley, the mystery vixen in the David Petraeus scandal, is now flanked by a high-profile Washington attorney and a professional "crisis manager." This can only mean that she wants her own reality show, a book deal or both. | 12/05/12 06:06:34 By - Carl Hiaasen

Commentary: My life according to spam email

Real subject lines from emails in my spam file (not including those offering Russian wives, enhancement products or written in Cyrillic alphabet): | 12/04/12 06:04:39 By - Peter Callaghan

Commentary: Secession and the Texas tea party

Three weeks into the newest Texas Revolution, it's going nowhere.

That online petition for secession lost steam after 100,000 signatures. Even the Weatherford guy who started it calls it a fad. | 12/03/12 14:15:42 By - Bud Kennedy

Commentary: Obama faces a hostile world

The second Obama Administration faces a series of foreign policy challenges from war to hunger to terrorism to trade and aid. From the South China Sea to Somalia to Mali to Nigeria to Venezuela the usual culprits are at play: nationalism, ethnic hatred, religious zeal, overpopulation, climate change, pandemic disease, hunger, water, greed, and lust for power. | 12/03/12 06:05:15 By - Ben Barber

Commentary: The dangers of science denial

The Grand Canyon might be older than we thought – a lot older.

Contrarian scientists have posited a new theory that the canyon is not just 6 million years old, as the consensus now stands, but actually about 70 million years old. That would mean the Grand Canyon was a giant hole in the ground while T-Rex still roamed the Earth. | 12/03/12 06:00:42 By - James Werrell

Commentary: We all pay for prison price gouging

For two decades now, politicians and public scolds have sold America on the idea of a sterner penal system. Zero tolerance, three strikes and you’re out, supermax prisons and legions of young men who have done time — these are the hallmarks of our age. | 12/03/12 06:04:30 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Don't cut HIV/AIDS budget

Seven people — three women and four men — thought it was necessary to remove all their clothing and stand before cameras and strangers in U.S. House Speaker John Boehner's office Tuesday to bring attention to potential cuts to HIV/AIDS funding and other federal programs. | 12/02/12 06:00:36 By - Merlene Davis

Commentary: Lessons from the old man

Sometimes the kid in me saves the old man I’ve become.

That happened regularly when my daughters were girls and I joined them on bike rides, jumping rope, swimming and having fun on playgrounds. | 12/02/12 06:16:08 By - Lewis W. Diuguid

Commentary: Boomers didn't change the world like we thought we would

The Rolling Stones threw a 50th anniversary concert Sunday. After five decades, apparently, Mick and the band still aren’t satisfied. | 12/01/12 06:08:33 By - Dave Helling

Commentary: Marriage is no cure for poverty

Title this “Political magical thinking of the holiday season, Part II.”

Thanksgiving’s column dealt with illogic around unwed mothers and poverty. | 12/01/12 06:09:31 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Where our clothes are made matters

I'm cheap. Everyone knows that. Perhaps that is why I was so saddened when I learned Saturday that a fire killed at least 117 workers in a factory in Bangladesh where 1,700 people worked for pennies to make polo shirts, fleece jackets and T-shirts for U.S. and European companies. | 11/30/12 06:02:45 By - Merlene Davis

Commentary: Improving our political system

Before our memories of the 2012 elections fade to black, here’s what needs to happen to improve our political system: | 11/30/12 06:02:57 By - Steve Kraske

Commentary: Unions aren't the reason for Hostess' demise

Savor what could be the last Ding Dong you’ll ever eat while you contemplate the end of Hostess Brands Inc., but don’t fix blame solely on labor union intransigence. Company executives baked this failure. It’s an epic one, with 18,500 workers losing jobs. | 11/29/12 06:00:56 By - Keith Chrostowski

Commentary: Marco Rubio, the Elections Industrial Complex and life on Earth

Don’t let the calendar fool you. It’s already 2016.

Like it or not, the Elections Industrial Complex has unofficially declared it so. | 11/29/12 06:03:06 By - Marc Caputo

Commentary: The wider impact of Obama's Asia trip

President Obama’s recent trip to Asia was totally overshadowed by the violence in Gaza, to the point that few of us paid any attention to it. But his visit to Asia may have major implications for Latin America in general, and for Cuba in particular. | 11/28/12 06:15:40 By - Andres Oppenheimer

Commentary: Modern day secessionists could learn from Sam Houston

On a recent trip to Houston, I twice drove by the giant statue of the man for whom the state's largest city is named.

Sam Houston looms large -- very large -- in a wooded area on Interstate 45 in the city of Huntsville. Although the man Sam Houston was tall at 6-foot-2, his steel-and-concrete image towers over the highway at 67 feet. The lighted view at night makes it appear even larger. | 11/28/12 06:04:34 By - Bob Ray Sanders

Commentary: Petraeus-Broadwell affair could use a little Norman Mailer

The nation's columnists have exhausted themselves searching fiction for anecdotes and admonitions that will illuminate David Petraeus' affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. | 11/27/12 06:08:23 By - Michael Carey

Commentary: More fun with secession and states rights

Trying to lend one of his 2008 campaign speeches a little literary heft, Barack Obama borrowed a phrase from William Faulkner: “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.” Four years later, the president may be considering himself, however ruefully, a prophet. For it looks like much of his second term may be framed by one of America’s oldest, most persistent political debates — the one over states’ rights. | 11/27/12 06:03:57 By - Glenn Garvin

Commentary: Making sure every vote counts

Oh, how quickly the electorate forgets.

The long lines at the polls, the glut of millionaire money that poured into candidates’ coffers, the efforts to undercut voters’ rights under the guise of preventing “voter fraud.” | 11/26/12 06:00:46 By - Mary Sanchez

Commentary: Shifting US demographics will affect more than politics

While some at home will roll their eyes — and with good reason — South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s stock rose nationally even as voters dealt Mitt Romney and the Republican Party a solid defeat in the last week’s presidential election. | 11/26/12 06:01:26 By - Warren Bolton

Commentary: Longing for the days of Murrow, Cronkite and the old GOP

By all rights, a first post-election column should say something insightful, if not outright brilliant, about the results. But we're nearly two weeks out from that angst-filled day and night, and all my fellow know-it-alls of punditry have carved the corpses up nicely by now. | 11/25/12 06:34:10 By - Larry Dale Keeling

Commentary: Death penalty as an option has lived too long

No matter how glorious the weather – perhaps it’s an achingly splendid fall afternoon with brilliant sun highlighting the palette of changing leaves – there’s a place along Raleigh’s Western Boulevard where the mood turns gray and raw. | 11/25/12 06:04:16 By - Steve Ford

Commentary: Welcome to the minority

Oh, dear, this is disconcerting: I appear to have become a member of a minority group.

That's right — I am an Older White Male — an OWM. And if the Nov. 6 election results are any indicator, we OWMs are no longer in charge. | 11/24/12 06:15:35 By - Bob Cuddy

Commentary: Here's why we're a polarized nation

With the re-election of President Barack Obama, we have people petitioning to secede from the country. Before the election, I heard Democrats mumble that if Mitt Romney won they would move to Canada. Never mind that Romney was about as right wing as the elder President George Bush, or that Obama is about as much of a socialist as Harry Truman. | 11/24/12 06:09:14 By - Rob Christensen

Commentary: We have so many reasons to be thankful

Here’s why we need to be thankful:

For the past week, we’ve spent a fair amount of ink and air time discussing and conducting raids on local grocery stores to prepare for the potential demise of the Twinkie. | 11/23/12 06:05:08 By - Issac J. Bailey

Commentary: The U.S. as an oil-producing superpower

Four decades ago, the Arab oil embargo consigned Americans to gas lines. Odd-even rationing became routine, and everyone with a passing interest in energy policy heard regular predictions that the planet was nearing "peak oil." | 11/23/12 06:08:11 By - E. Thomas McClanahan

Commentary: Missing family on Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday because it has always meant "family" day -- historically void of the distractions and commercialization that long ago hijacked Christmas, Easter and other national observances. | 11/22/12 06:09:24 By - Bob Ray Sanders

Commentary: U.S. needs two strong political parties

I was listening to the Michael Baisden radio show during what he called “Tell The Truth, Tuesday.” His premise was about relationships where men openly tell women they are married and just want a little somethin’, somethin’, on the side, but the woman hears, “He’s in love with me and will leave his wife and kids.” | 11/22/12 06:01:17 By - Charles Richardson

Commentary: The gifts of autumn

The autumn came in like a girl in a new party dress.

Streets of the neighborhood were canopied with burgundy and gold. Never had our city seemed more beautiful. | 11/22/12 06:09:20 By - C.W. Gusewelle

Commentary: A simple way to thank a soldier

Soldiers can serve their country knowing that when they die, somebody will be at the airport to meet their body and make sure it’s handled with dignity, not left alone in some cold, dank storage facility. Soldiers who don’t die, however, are pretty much on their own when they arrive at the airport. | 11/22/12 06:05:21 By - Barry Saunders

Commentary: Thanksgiving and the federal courts

The federal courts have reason to give thanks this Thanksgiving. However, it remains unclear precisely how President Barack Obama and Congress will treat the judiciary, given the country's severe complications, especially the fiscal questions. Although Obama and Congress have instituted some actions that benefit the courts, they can, and should, do more. | 11/21/12 15:11:40 By - Carl Tobias

Commentary: More engineers needed in U.S., Latin America

When Xi Jinping was appointed China’s new leader last week, one of the things that caught my attention about his resume is that he’s an engineer. More exactly, that he is an engineer who has replaced another engineer as leader of the world’s most populous country. | 11/21/12 06:03:21 By - Andres Oppenheimer

Commentary: Voting rights law isn't a simple issue

Does a federal law that applies to some states but not to others, even to some counties but not to others, make constitutional sense? That's the question the country has been debating, sometimes bitterly, across political, geographical and racial lines for almost half a century now. | 11/21/12 06:04:05 By - Dusty Nix

Commentary: Overheard after the elections

They’re back, at their regular corner table, their volume fueled by a combination of caffeine and youthful self-confidence. As such, it is never difficult to eavesdrop on Earnest Guy and Cynical Girl. | 11/20/12 06:04:34 By - Peter Callaghan

Commentary: To secede or not secede? That shouldn't even be a question

Several thousand South Carolinians would like to secede from the union.

As Gov. Nikki Haley remarked Wednesday: “Didn’t we try that before?”

Yes, we did. And it didn’t turn out well at all. | 11/20/12 06:08:49 By - James Werrell

Commentary: Welfare drug testing and the Fourth Amendment

Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst probably wouldn't admit it, but they want to engage in social engineering.

They want people not to waste money on drugs, liquor, smokes or lottery tickets. Not everybody, mind you, but poor people. | 11/19/12 06:05:19 By - Linda P. Campbell

Commentary: A view from fiscal cliff's other side

You can go with hope, or you can go with fear.

The title and thrust of the economic forecast issued last Friday by the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce — "Averting the Fiscal Cliff" — was on the hopeful side. | 11/19/12 06:02:42 By - Keith Chrostowski

Commentary: No more health care Russian Roulette

Officials in Washington, D.C., Columbia and elsewhere are scrambling to figure out just how to embrace the Affordable Care Act now that President Barack Obama has been re-elected. They’ll be discussing philosophy and ideology, costs and quality, state and federal responsibilities.

They also need to keep in mind stories such as Shannon Sherman’s. | 11/19/12 06:04:30 By - Issac J. Bailey

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