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Columns

Column: When Full Disclosure Promotes Mischief

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Washington The debate over campaign contributions is never-ending for a simple reason: Both sides of the argument have merit. On the one hand, of course money is speech. For most citizens, contributing to politicians or causes is the most effective way to augment and amplify speech with which they agree. The most disdainful dismissers of this argument are editorialists and …

Column: Kansas, the KKK and the Pernicious Undercurrent of Hate

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The news that a former grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan is suspected of shooting and killing three people near Jewish community centers in Kansas seems at first glance like a disparaged past flaring briefly into the present. Americans like to imagine that the KKK belongs to a long-gone South and anti-Semitism to a distant 20th century. Sadly, this better reflects a …

Column: Snowden Story: Public Service or Betrayal?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Washington On Monday, my Washington Post colleagues celebrated winning the Pulitzer Prize for public service along with the Guardian newspaper for their reporting on Edward Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency. On Wednesday, Post columnist Marc Thiessen held a counter-demonstration. Thiessen, who writes a weekly online column for the Post, hosted an event at the American Enterprise Institute devoted in large part …

Column: Parents, You Don't Like Standardized Tests? Well, Get Over It

Friday, April 11, 2014

No, tests are not fun — but they’re necessary. Stepping on the bathroom scale can be nerve-racking, but it tells us if that exercise routine is working. Going to the dentist for a checkup every six months might be unpleasant, but it lets us know if there are …

Column: A Marine Speaks Out About Gay Marriage

Friday, April 11, 2014

I slept with a gay man for six months in Afghanistan. No one asked. He did not tell. In 2005, I and 200 Marines in my squadron deployed to Afghanistan to support the global war on terrorism. We were stationed at Bagram air base, a deep bowl surrounded …

Column: Robbing the Poor to Pay the Middle Class

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Liberals are shocked (shocked!) that Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and his co-partisans would consider cutting Medicaid, food stamps, Pell grants and other programs that serve the neediest Americans. They have accused Ryan of trying to balance the budget on the backs of the poor. But long before Ryan …

Column: Meteoric Rise of Airbnb Proves Worth of ‘Sharing Economy’

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Airbnb is all the talk on Wall Street. Its 30-something founders were nearly broke six years ago. Now it seems likely they will soon become billionaires. Their company, which connects 600,000 apartment dwellers and homeowners in 160 countries …

Column: Watch Out When Women Get All Emotional

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Washington Let’s have a rational discussion about the word “emotional.” But first, I’d better calm down. Maybe I’ll have a soothing cup of herbal tea and pet the cat. Oh wait, I don’t have a cat. Which is lucky for former CIA Director Michael Hayden, or else we’d …

Column: The West Misunderstands Putin at Its Peril

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Medford, Mass. In early March, the Russian Federation, after staging a referendum under Kalashnikovs in Crimea, proceeded to annex the region and laid the groundwork — according to Moscow — for “new political-legal realities,” that is to say, a new Russian paradigm for a lawless world. As German …

Spring Was Late This Year, but in 1816 It Never Arrived at All

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Montpelier Probably the first sure sign of spring after a longer-than-usual winter in the Northeast is the increased volume of kvetching on the Internet by people who ought to know better than to try to second-guess its arrival. You can’t help but feel for some of them; they’re …

Column: The Supreme Court Sides With the Oligarchs

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Washington An oligarchy, Webster’s dictionary tells us, is “a form of government in which the ruling power belongs to a few persons.” It’s a shame that the Republican majority on the Supreme Court doesn’t know the difference between …

Column: Next Test for Obamacare: How to Improve It

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

When Obamacare’s first open-enrollment period ended last week, the tally was impressive: 7.1 million Americans signed up for insurance on federal and state exchanges by the March 31 deadline, several million more signed up for Medicaid and a whole lot of under-26 Americans got covered by their parents’ …

Column: Will China Break Hong Kong’s Precarious Hold on Democracy?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Washington In the global war of ideology that President Obama says is not happening, Hong Kong is on the front lines. Democracy in Hong Kong is increasingly squeezed by the autocrats of Beijing. It is a fight of ideas and power, but also of flesh and blood: Just …