Columns

‘Tis season for mindless consumerism

I love giving gifts when they're from the heart. But I hate giving or receiving presents if they're things nobody needs, given out of a sense of obligation.Here's a story that illustrates what I mean. Back in college, a friend of mine approached me and said, "I just want to give you a heads up, ...

Should profiling be banned?

Last week, the Obama administration announced new curbs on racial profiling by federal law enforcement. Before deciding whether this is good or bad policy, we might try to develop a description/definition of racial profiling or any other kind of profiling.A good definition of profiling in ...

Did you vote what you drink?

Did you know that Democrats drink more than Republicans? Or that they are likelier to choose clear liquors, whereas Republicans tend toward the darker ones? That voters who skew most Republican favor Jim Beam? That those who skew most Democratic go for Seagram's gin?I didn't. And frankly, I'd ...

To despair is to surrender

This is how a Dec. 8 editorial of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board began:"For the next two months, we are turning off the comment function on all editorials, columns and letters in the opinion section."Why?"Ferguson."Isn't it something how we know immediately what the writer meant? ...

For retail workers, time is money

In late November, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a Retail Workers' Bill of Rights - the first law of its kind in the nation.The focus of the new law might surprise you. A bill of rights for workers is probably about wages, right?Think again. This new law is about fair ...

Feminism must see right course

WASHINGTON - It is probably too soon to declare a feminist reformation, but a few signs here and there give one hope. Hold it, sirs, don't stop reading yet. I realize that seeing the F-word in the first paragraph is like discovering that your bride is wearing pantyhose, but bear with me.This ...

America drilling way to prosperity

The old Republican rallying cry "drill, baby, drill" was supposed to be simplistic sloganeering masquerading as policy.It turns out that it represented transformative wisdom. The fall in the price of oil - about 40 percent in the past several months, down to less than $70 a barrel - is largely ...

Wealth gap is too big to ignore

Three years after the Occupy movement first directed long-overdue attention to the scourge of inequality in America, the gulf between rich and poor has gotten too big for even the Federal Reserve to ignore.As Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen recently pointed out, half of us now own a mere 1 ...

Paul Ryan’s hope for Congress

Like two predatory animals circling each other, Republicans and Democrats are trying to sort out the meaning of last month's election and plan strategies for the remaining days of the current Congress and the new one in which Republicans will hold majorities in both houses.Rep. Paul Ryan ...

What’s rule of law?

President Barack Obama said just before the recent Ferguson, Missouri, riots, "First and foremost, we are a nation built on the rule of law." Most Americans have little or no inkling of what "rule of law" means. Many think it means obedience to whatever laws legislatures enact. That's a vision ...

Are we turning post-materialistic?

In 1916, Wanamaker's department store in Philadelphia sponsored a children's parade with heralds, a brass band, Jack the Giant Killer, clowns, girls as snowflakes, boys as silver stars and Santa Claus transported by four Eskimos to his throne in the Royal Red Theater - every morning it was open ...

Hypocrisy rules over presidential kids

It's an obvious rule: Never pick on a president's family.Elizabeth Lauten, the formerly unknown "communications director" for two-term GOP congressman Stephen Fincher resigned after a national-media feeding frenzy over some stupid words about the president's daughters on her personal Facebook ...

How long must US troops stay in Afghanistan?

Only a few months ago, President Barack Obama announced the good news that our combat role in Afghanistan - the longest war in U.S. history - would finally end by New Year's Day.Put away that champagne.A flock of screeching war hawks brought heavy political pressure on Obama to reverse himself. ...

Hillary Clinton’s stock continues decline in volatile futures market

Is the market in Hillary Clinton futures collapsing? Quite possibly so.A year ago Clinton seemed likely to become the next president. Presumably she and her husband had not yet started to call themselves, Bush style, 42 and 45. But she had an overwhelming lead in the polls for the Democratic ...

Taxes still funding war footing at home, abroad

WASHINGTON - Two disparate news items caught my eye recently that demonstrate how our government can act in ways that mystify and anger the taxpayers who support it with their hard-earned money.The first was the report from the new prime minister of Iraq, Haider al-Abadi, that about 50,000 ...

UVA rape case reveals much and it isn’t pretty

Rolling Stone magazine and its reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely are facing a great deal of skepticism about a story called "A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA."The article tells the story of "Jackie," a University of Virginia student who says she was gang raped at a ...

Obama is right on immigration but what about Congress’ role?

President Barack Obama's immigration initiative may or may not be good politics, but it is good policy, and it's the right thing to do.Our hope is that it marks a beginning, rather than a derailment, of efforts to reform U.S. immigration policy.Admittedly, that hope is remote. The GOP response ...

If only our grief were colorblind

Hundreds showed up Wednesday morning for the funeral of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.Tamir was black, and all but a handful of his mourners in the pews were black, too. A group of white people was in the balcony, armed with cameras and media credentials.I point out the lack of white mourners at ...

A look at the Ferguson charade

The White House response to Ferguson wouldn't be complete without a meeting with Al Sharpton, the infamous agitator who has become President Barack Obama's "go-to man on race," in the words of a Politico headline from August.So Sharpton was inevitably one of the civil-rights leaders at a White ...