National Columns

Opinion: This is the cynic’s finest hour

Washington — The presidency held by a cruel bigot. Many evangelical leaders parasitic on his power. The current and previous pope, along with a generation of bishops, implicated in the cover up of sexual abuse. Moral authority pulverized into dust. This is the cynic’s finest hour. The ...

Opinion: Mueller knows officers eat last

The Marine Corps lives by one hard-and-fast rule foreign to American corporate and financial life: “Officers eat last.” Simply stated, the Marine officer in command does not eat until all the Marines he is responsible for — beginning with the corporals and the privates — have first been ...

Opinion: McCain refused to sell his soul

Washington — John McCain’s death offers a moment to think about the insurgency in the GOP that vexed him during his final decade as a politician, and that produced in Donald Trump a man he seemed to loathe, but couldn’t figure out how to stop. With true national heroes such as McCain, ...

Opinion: In U.S., we protect the right to be afraid

“He owned the gun legally and had a concealed carry permit.” That matters? In an otherwise neutral and informative article, this reads like a bit of legal fetishism. Another human being is dead, oh so needlessly and pointlessly, thanks to a moment of lethally armed anger in a convenience ...

Opinion: Juror a rare spirit in polarized age

An avid fan of President Trump, she carried a red Make America Great Again hat in the backseat of her car. But when she was asked to render a verdict on Paul Manafort, she voted guilty. Juror Paula Duncan told Fox News that “Finding Mr. Manafort guilty was hard for me. I wanted him to be ...

Opinion: Similar to Watergate but with big differences

Hell hath no fury like a toady scorned. Michael Cohen, to all appearances, seems a hapless sort — a lawyer with no clients, a millionaire whose wealth from New York taxi medallions faced diminishing utility in the Uber age, a Donald Trump loyalist who received no appointment to a government ...

Opinion: Some questions for Kavanaugh

Washington — Senate Republicans and Democrats are at daggers drawn over confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Instead, they should unsheathe some questions designed to illuminate the excitement of constitutional reasoning. The Constitution vests in Congress the power to tax. ...

Opinion: There is, again, a cancer on the U.S. presidency

Washington — Whatever day you are reading this, it is June 1973 in Washington. A lawyer close to the president has turned decisively and damagingly against him. Testifying before a Senate committee investigating the Watergate scandal, John Dean described a high-level cover-up, including the ...

Opinion: GOP’s last chance to show guts

Washington — “Waiting for the jury to come in” is a good description of what this August has felt like. We’ve all been wondering how our legal system would cope with President Trump — even as we awaited the broader verdict of public opinion that will come with the November midterm ...

Opinion: Central casting alive in Tennessee

Nashville — The easternmost bit of Tennessee is east of Atlanta, the westernmost bit is west of New Orleans, and all of this horizontal state is the epicenter of 2018 politics. Its U.S. Senate race will reveal whether, for Republicans, fealty to the president is not only necessary but ...

Opinion: Report on medical profession: Doctor is not in

If you are frustrated by wait times to see your doctor, the cost of health insurance and prescription drugs, just wait until there may be no doctor to see. NBC News recently broadcast a story about how fewer young people are entering the medical profession. The network cited a report from the ...

Opinion: Foreign nations fear midterm fallout

Washington — For foreign countries that have made big bets on Donald Trump’s presidency — such as Russia, China, North Korea and Saudi Arabia — the U.S. midterm elections pose a significant problem: Trump’s maneuvering room may be sharply limited if Democrats win control of the ...

Opinion: Church cover-up, lack of sympathy revolting

I can testify from a lifetime of personal experience that practice does not really make perfect. Since the presidency of Harry Truman, during which I had the honor of being the youngest altar boy in St. Francis Xavier Parish to serve the standing-room-only midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, I have ...

Opinion: The crazy-rich Asian experience

Washington — The breakthrough Hollywood film about the Asian experience, told from an Asian perspective, featuring an Asian cast, could have been about the cruel exploitation of Chinese workers in the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. It could have been about the 1882 Chinese ...

Opinion: It’s time for another Reformation

Few words can describe the horror that comes from reading a Pennsylvania grand jury report on sexual abuse by Catholic priests in state dioceses over a 70-year period. At least 300 priests used their roles within the church to prey on the innocent. They groomed their victims with special ...

Opinion: Apparently we define ‘historic’ differently

Tuesday’s primary results were hailed as “historic” by a number of media outlets. “Vermont Democrats made history Tuesday,” declared the Burlington Free Press. NPR framed the matter with the same word, “historic,” as did The New York Times, ABC and others. Most were pealing the ...

Opinion: Overdue for another collapse?

Washington — Eric Sevareid (1912-1992), the author and broadcaster, said he was a pessimist about tomorrow but an optimist about the day after tomorrow. Regarding America’s economy, prudent people should reverse that. This Wednesday, according to the Financial Times’ Robin Wigglesworth ...

Opinion: How celebrity culture infected our democracy

Washington — From the beginning of the American republic, its founders obsessed about how it all would end. “Democracy never lasts long,” said John Adams. “There never was a democracy yet, that did not commit suicide.” George Washington used his farewell address to warn that partisan ...

In memoriam: Leonard Pitts pays tribute to Aretha Franklin

The Queen is dead. Aretha Louise Franklin, a preacher’s daughter from Memphis who was broadly acclaimed the greatest singer of the last half-century — indeed, one of the greatest singers in the history of American song — died of pancreatic cancer Thursday at her home in Detroit, ...

Opinion: Revoking clearance is ludicrous

Washington — What Donald Trump did Wednesday isn’t supposed to happen in a democracy. A president who swore an oath to uphold the Constitution just carried out a personal political vendetta against a career intelligence officer. In revoking the security clearance of former CIA Director ...