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Syndicated Columns

Opinion: U.S.-Cuba shift may not be ‘historic’
December 19, 2014
While President Barack Obama’s announcement Wednesday that he will normalize relations with Cuba is the biggest diplomatic breakthrough with the island after six decades of hostilities, his speech may have been less “historic” than he portrayed it, according to numerous U.S. congressional sources and Cuba experts.
Opinion: Plates spur Texas-sized dispute
December 18, 2014
The Battle of Palmito Ranch near Brownsville, Texas, on May 13, 1865, is called the last battle of the Civil War, but the Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) might consider that judgment premature, given its conflict with the state’s Department of Transportation and Department of Motor Vehicles. This skirmish is of national interest because it implicates a burgeoning new entitlement — the right to pass through life without encountering any disagreeable thought.
Opinion: China, U.S. resetting relationship
December 17, 2014
This year began with some Chinese and American foreign-policy analysts looking back a century to World War I and wondering if confrontation was inevitable between a rising power and a dominant one. But now there has been progress on climate, trade and security issues and what seems a modest “reset” of the Sino-American relationship.
Opinion: Bipartisanship not always pretty
December 16, 2014
The trillion-dollar spending bill that the House of Representatives passed last week had something for everyone to hate. But it was still a step, however awkward, toward making the United States governable again.
Opinion: Iraq minorities plead for help
An Illinois couple’s record-setting gift will have a lasting impact on Kansas University students.
December 14, 2014
In August, President Obama authorized air strikes to prevent the Islamic State from carrying out a genocidal slaughter of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, tens of thousands of whom had fled their besieged city and villages into barren mountains.
Opinion: Details doom federal tax reform
December 13, 2014
“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”      — Mr. Micawber in “David Copperfield”      If America’s long-term economic growth were 3.5 percent, the result would be the restoration of cheerfulness. If long-term growth is closer to 2 percent, the result will be continuing social disappointment and political crankiness.
Opinion: Safety concerns justified CIA tactics
December 13, 2014
The report by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding CIA interrogation essentially accuses the agency under George W. Bush of war criminality. Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein appears to offer some extenuation when she reminds us in the report’s preamble of the shock and “pervasive fear” felt after 9/11.
Opinion: Overcriminalization a national plague
December 12, 2014
By history’s frequently brutal dialectic, the good that we call progress often comes spasmodically, in lurches propelled by tragedies caused by callousness, folly or ignorance. With the grand jury’s as yet inexplicable and probably inexcusable refusal to find criminal culpability in Eric Garner’s death on a Staten Island sidewalk, the nation might have experienced sufficient affronts to its sense of decency. It might at long last be ready to stare into the abyss of its criminal justice system.
Opinion: Banning torture is a moral choice
December 11, 2014
A CIA medical officer who was assigned to monitor the interrogation of an al-Qaida operative named Abu Zubaida sent a message to his superiors on Aug. 4, 2002, the day the CIA first used the technique known as “waterboarding.” He hauntingly titled his cable: “So it begins.”
Opinion: Police cases hold U.S. focus
December 11, 2014
“There’s something happening here.” — Buffalo Springfield “Can you feel it?” — The Jacksons They have not stopped. That’s one of the most heartening things about the demonstrations against police brutality that began with the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August and renewed with a grand jury’s decision last week not to indict a New York police officer who choked Eric Garner to death. In a nation with the attention span of a toddler in the toy department, the focus on this issue has not wavered, as evidenced by several demonstrations last weekend in Miami.
Opinion: Interim agreement buys time in Iran
December 9, 2014
Some of the world’s leading diplomats, including Secretary of State John F. Kerry, worked right up until their self-imposed deadline of Nov. 24 trying to reach agreement with Iran on limits to that country’s nuclear program.