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Syndicated Columns

Opinion: Visit may advance Islamic State fight
December 3, 2014
The Obama administration’s slow campaign against the Islamic State takes a small step forward this week as a leading Sunni politician visits Washington to urge support for a 10,000-member national guard force that could gradually help regain control of Mosul.
Opinion: Grassroots effort helps Afghan women
December 2, 2014
At a time when most foreign news is unremittingly grim, I have a good-news story to tell — about the first women-only restaurant in western Afghanistan, called the Scranton Restaurant. That name reflects the fact that the restaurant is a joint project of a noted woman activist in Herat, Afghanistan, and her counterparts in Scranton, Pa., who raised $20,000 to get the restaurant started. The Scranton Restaurant is a rare place where Afghan women, young and old, can socialize outside their homes in safety.
Opinion: Obama overreach may spur reaction
November 30, 2014
America’s Newtonian Constitution might again function according to Madisonian expectations if a provoked Congress regains its spine and self-respect, thereby returning our constitutional architecture to equipoise. But this is more to be hoped for than expected. Even without this, however, the institutional vandalism of Barack Obama’s executive unilateralism still might be a net national benefit. It will be if the Republicans’ 2016 presidential nominee responds to Obama’s serial provocations by promising a return to democratic etiquette grounded in presidential self-restraint.
Opinion: Let’s talk about ‘black on black’ crime
November 29, 2014
OK, fine. Let’s talk about “black on black” crime. That, after all, is where the conversation seems to inevitably turn whenever one seeks to engage a conservative on the American habit of shooting unarmed African-American boys and men. So it was exasperating, but nowhere near surprising, to see former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani go there last week on “Meet the Press.”
Opinion: Assessing keys to ‘16 presidential race
November 29, 2014
Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb’s decision to become the first of an expected dozen or more candidates forming presidential exploratory committees provides a good excuse to start considering 2016.
Opinion: No deal better than bad deal in Iran
November 27, 2014
The Iran nuclear talks defy easy comparison: But think of a labor negotiation where it’s too costly for workers to go on strike or for management to impose a lockout, so the two sides continue without a contract while negotiations proceed. The situation appears stable, but that’s partly because it’s at an impasse.
Opinion: Nation’s foibles are worth a laugh
November 27, 2014
Before the tryptophan in the turkey induces somnolence, give thanks for living in such an entertaining country. This year, for example, we learned that California’s Legislature includes 93 persons who seem never to have had sex. They enacted the “affirmative consent” law directing college administrators to tell students that sexual consent cannot be silence but must be “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement” and “ongoing throughout a sexual activity.” Claremont McKenna College requires “all” — not “both,” which would discriminate against groups — participants in a sexual engagement to understand that withdrawal of consent can be any behavior conveying “that an individual is hesitant, confused, uncertain.”
Opinion: U.S. must wake up to racial injustice
November 27, 2014
In September, I received an email that should have left me feeling vindicated. It was in response to the nonfatal shooting of Levar Jones, an unarmed African-American man, by Sean Groubert, a white South Carolina state trooper. Groubert would later claim he shot Jones because Jones came at him in a menacing way. But this lie was unmasked by Groubert’s own dashcam video, which shows Jones complying with the trooper’s orders until Groubert inexplicably panics and starts shooting.
Opinion: Politics hampers ISIS strategy
November 25, 2014
If there was ever an issue that required politics to stop at the water’s edge, it’s the fight against ISIS. With its Mideast land grab, its growing army of Western volunteers, and its global aspirations, ISIS threatens U.S. security interests and must be confronted.
Opinion: U.S. underestimated Islamic State
November 24, 2014
A centerpiece of President Obama’s strategy for defeating the Islamic State is mobilizing tribal fighters to join the Iraqi military in retaking Anbar and other Sunni-dominated provinces. But new research shows the jihadists have been working since 2009 to gut the very Sunni tribal leadership on which Obama’s rollback depends — making the U.S. campaign much more difficult.
Opinion: Bill Cosby, a serial rapist? Wow
November 23, 2014
Wow. Just … wow. So what’s next? Will it turn out Mother Teresa was a pornographer? Or Mr. Rogers a meth head? Is Billy Graham running a prostitution ring?