Ideas & Voices


Commentary: Why I gave out my kid’s dresses on a journey to Kilimanjaro

I took my son Jay’s dresses to Africa. These pink, polka-dotted girlie garments stuffed in trash bags in our garage were waiting to be donated to someone, somewhere. They sat there almost a year. Jay had cleaned out his room, dresser and closet, getting rid of things that made him sad. Jay says “sad” is not a strong enough word. “The dresses made me feel invalid, miserable...

Opinion: Trump’s failure to condemn bigots of alt-right tars presidency

WASHINGTON — How can a president as successful as Donald Trump be so unpopular? Fueled by his historic tax reform and an unprecedented regulatory rollback, the economy grew by 4.1 percent in the second quarter. The unemployment rate is just 3.9 percent — near the lowest it has been in nearly two decades — and the New York Times reports, “Job growth is on a record streak [and]...

Opinion: Trump and the politics of Arf

I am beginning to worry that when I die, the highlight of my obituary will be that I was once called “a dog” by Donald Trump. Hey, it was long ago, but it still comes up. Particularly now that we’re making lists of all the women our president has ever compared to a canine. Back when I worked for New York Newsday, he sent me a copy of a column I’d written, scrawled with objections...

Opinion: Partying like it’s 1998

And now for something completely similar. For a while, those of us who devoted a lot of time to understanding the Asian financial crisis two decades ago were wondering whether Turkey was going to stage a re-enactment. Sure enough, that’s what seems to be happening. Here’s the script: start with a country that, for whatever reason, became a favorite of foreign lenders, and experienced a...

Opinion: America’s lengthening enemies list

On Friday, deep into the 17th year of America’s longest war, Taliban forces overran Ghazni, a provincial capital that sits on the highway from Kabul to Kandahar. The ferocity of the Taliban offensive brought U.S. advisers along with U.S. air power, including a B-1 bomber, into the battle. “As the casualty toll in Ghazni appeared to soar on Sunday,” The Wall Street Journal reported...

Opinion: Republicans are playing with fire in the states

WASHINGTON — The backlash to President Trump and the steady rightward journey of the Republican Party could sharply shift the distribution of political power in state capitols across the nation in this fall’s elections. And because reapportionment is coming, this could change the contours of American politics for more than a decade. Strengthening that possibility is the success of pragmatic...

Opinion: A great moment in black history

In 2006, Leonard Pitts wrote this column based on an interview with Ron Stallworth, who, 12 years later, is the subject of Spike Lee’s latest film, “BlacKkKlansman.” In 1979, Stallworth was an intelligence officer with the Colorado Springs police department. He infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan, a hate group, and even developed a relationship with leader David Duke. And now here&rsquo...

Opinion: Markets know better than bureaucrats what society needs

Governments, seemingly eager to supply their critics with ammunition, constantly validate historian Robert Conquest: The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies. Consider North Carolina’s intervention in the medical-devices market. Born in India, Dr. Gajendra Singh is an American citizen and a surgeon...

Opinion: How Trump’s war on regulation is trickle-down economics

When Donald Trump isn’t blaming foreigners for everything that ails America, he’s blaming regulations. Last week he even blamed regulations for the wildfires now ravaging California. They’re “made so much worse,” he tweeted, “by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amounts of readily available water to be properly utilized.” I have...

Opinion: Action must be taken to address black community’s problems

During the weekend of Aug. 4-5 (and the preceding Friday night), 12 Chicagoans were shot dead, and 62 others were shot and wounded, the Chicago Tribune reported. Before last week’s mayhem, 1,718 Chicagoans had been shot since the beginning of the year, and 306 had been murdered. Adding to this tragedy is the fact that Chicago’s clearance rate is less than 15 percent. That means that in...

Opinion: A cure for urban violence right under our noses

Cities have multiple personalities. I am reminded of that with bracing clarity by what some Chicagoans are calling the “weekend from hell.” It was the weekend in which the mammoth Lollapalooza festival drew tens of thousands of music fans to make joyful noise in downtown Chicago while some of the city’s lowest-income and highest-crime neighborhoods endured the worst weekendlong surge...

Opinion: Are we to blame for the Alex Jones problem?

The behemoths of the internet have shunned Alex Jones, the worm-tongued, often shirtless conspiracy theorist and paranoia monger who hosts a show called “Infowars.” The debate over this cartel-like decision is much larger than Jones now, and it’s taking place mostly on the right. While I have no love for Jones, the reasons offered by YouTube, Apple and other platforms for dropping...

COMMENTARY: How important is truth in our politics?

In 1967, another turbulent time in American politics, philosopher Hannah Arendt began a now-famous essay with the following assertion: “No one has ever doubted that truth and politics are on rather bad terms with each other, and no one, as far as I know, has ever counted truthfulness among the political virtues.” In the 50 years since, we’ve witnessed examples of untruthfulness from...

Opinion: Oh, the Humanities!

In the spring of 1946, W.H. Auden came to Harvard to read a poem to the university’s Phi Beta Kappa chapter. Titled “Under Which Lyre: A Reactionary Tract for the Times,” the poem envisioned a postwar world in which, the war-god Ares having quit the field, public life would be dominated by a renewed contest between “the sons of Hermes” and “Apollo’s children&rdquo...
CareSource: Progress seen in reducing opioid prescriptions

CareSource: Progress seen in reducing opioid prescriptions

We spoke with Jonas Thom, CareSource’s vice president of behavioral health, about some of the latest work the Dayton company is doing to fight the addiction crisis. Here’s the conversation, condensed and edited. Q: CareSource recently announced that it had made some strides to reduce opioid use in the state. Can you talk about that program and how it worked? Jonas Thom: So one of our key...
Commentary: Ohio’s biggest Medicaid provider facing the opioid epidemic fearlessly

Commentary: Ohio’s biggest Medicaid provider facing the opioid epidemic fearlessly

In the battle against the opioid epidemic, CareSource has been all in. As a nonprofit health insurance organization, we are wholly and uniquely committed to the well-being of our members. It is our mission, our purpose and the reason we continue to fight in the grip of addiction throughout the communities we serve. CareSource is collaborating with our members, our health providers and the broader...

Opinion: ‘BlacKkKlansman’ holds a mirror to America’s deepest problem

The credits were rolling, Spike Lee’s latest offering to cinema, the Cannes Film Festival sensation “BlacKkKlansman,” was concluding in a Midwestern premiere. A man seated next to him leaned over to Lee’s co-writer Kevin Willmott with a confession, followed by a denial. “I voted for Donald Trump,” he said. There was a pause, as others within earshot at the small...

Opinion: Summertime is puppy time

“Have any big plans for the summer?” people sometimes ask by way of small talk. I reply literally: “Yes, housetraining a new puppy.” Our newest family member is a 12-week-old Labrador retriever mix — jet black from the top of his nose to the tip of his slightly odd long tail. When I phoned the local vet to make his first appointment, the receptionist asked his age (he...

Opinion: Stop calling Trump a populist

Message to those in the news media who keep calling Donald Trump a “populist:” I do not think that word means what you think it means. It’s true that Trump still, on occasion, poses as someone who champions the interests of ordinary working Americans against those of the elite. And I guess there’s a sense in which his embrace of white nationalism gives voice to ordinary Americans...

Opinion: The Democrats’ rhetoric is just as dangerous as Trump’s

WASHINGTON — This week a New York man, Carlos Bayon, was arrested after leaving threatening messages for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and Conference Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., promising to go after their families and “feed them lead.” When police raided his home, they found 200 rounds of ammunition as well receipts for an assault rifle and handgun and...

Opinion: Building a Trump-free barbecue

Our issue for today is: topics to be banned at weekend barbecues. Or, maybe for the entire month of August. Do you want to take a vacation from politics? From any mention of the word “collusion?” From all discussions about the prospects for the Senate election in North Dakota? My old pal Arthur Brooks argues that people need at least two weeks of politics cleanse. (“Think of it as...

Opinion: Are globalists plotting a counter-revolution?

On meeting with the EU’s Jean-Claude Juncker last month, Donald Trump tweeted: “Both the U.S. and the E.U. drop all Tariffs, Barriers and Subsidies! That would finally be Free Market and Fair Trade.” Did Larry Kudlow somehow get access to Trump’s phone? We know not. But, on hearing this, Steve Forbes, Stephen Moore and Arthur Laffer broke into the “Hallelujah” chorus...

Opinion: Listening to history’s echoes

WASHINGTON — How do democratic countries get to the point where they give up on self-rule? Under what circumstances do demagogues capture large audiences through irrational, emotional appeals unmoored from fact, logic or morality? When do politicians responsible for maintaining a democratic system surrender to dictators? These questions are more pertinent to us in the early 21st century than...

Opinion: ‘Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him’

“Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him.” So says Carolyn Bryant Donham in historian Timothy B. Tyson’s 2017 book, “The Blood of Emmett Till.” You keep hoping for more, hoping to hear her wrestle with her crime, explain how she could have done what she did — and how she lives with herself now. But in the end, the admission is all she gives...

Opinion: Portland progressives: So much to protest, so little time

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” — L.P. Hartley WASHINGTON — They do things differently in Portland, but not because it is a foreign country, although many Americans might wish it were: At this moment, it is one national embarrassment too many. Rather, the tumults in Portland, which is a petri dish of progressivism, perhaps reveal something...

COMMENTARY: What does smart energy mean for the Dayton region?

As the new president and CEO of DP&L, I have spent the past few months connecting with community leaders, elected officials and customers throughout our 24-county service territory. They shared their concerns, asked questions about the future of DP&L and were interested to learn more about how we are building a smarter energy infrastructure to serve our customers. I am proud to be a member of the...

Opinion: Colleges — A force for evil

Many of the nation’s colleges have become a force for evil and a focal point for the destruction of traditional American values. The threat to our future lies in the fact that today’s college students are tomorrow’s teachers, professors, judges, attorneys, legislators and policymakers. A recent Brookings Institution poll suggests that nearly half of college students believe that...

Opinion: On the constant hunt for fresh outrage

It’s a perfect mess befitting our imperfect age. The New York Times announced it was hiring a Sarah Jeong to join its editorial board. A respected reporter on technology and the internet, Jeong is Asian-American. Nanoseconds later, a number of her objectively racist tweets emerged. “Oh man it’s kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men,” reads one...

Opinion: QAnon — When reality is just too much

“Reality is for people who can’t handle drugs,” according to an old hippie slogan from the ’60s. Today I would update that line to say that reality is for people who can’t handle conspiracy theories. Back when Barack Obama was president, we saw the rise of “birthers,” people who couldn’t wrap their heads around the reality that the nation’s first...

Opinion: Plastic gun blueprints are out there; guns will follow

It’s not often that I find myself in agreement with Dana Loesch, spokesperson for the National Rifle Association. But on one crucial aspect of 3D-printed guns, she’s right: Pandora’s box has been opened. The blueprints are circulating. Loesch is probably much happier about that than I am. Her organization has fought tooth and nail to stop any regulation of firearms. The new 3D-printed...

Opinion: Waiting for Caesar

In the eight years of the Obama presidency, there were three cycles of policymaking. First came the attempt to pass an ambitious liberal agenda through a Democratic-controlled Congress, which ended with the Republican House takeover in 2010. Then came the attempt to strike bargains, grand and otherwise, with John Boehner and congressional Republicans, which petered out early in Barack Obama&rsquo...

Opinion: Clinton campaign sought dirt on Trump from Russian officials

WASHINGTON — All of Washington is waiting with bated breath to find out whether the Mueller investigation will provide evidence proving that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. So far, “Exhibit A” against President Trump is the meeting Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort had with a group of Russians claiming to have dirt on Hillary Clinton. That meeting should...

Opinion: How Trump lost re-election in 2020

Last week, my colleague Bret Stephens imagined a news article on the morning after President Donald Trump’s re-election. Today, I imagine a different outcome. In the end, it was a lot simpler than it often seemed. Donald Trump, who spent much of the past four years as a historically unpopular president, lost his bid for re-election Tuesday. His approval rating hasn’t approached 50 percent...

Opinion: There’s more than one kind of corruption

When people think of corruption in high places, they tend to think of elites feathering their own nests. Bill and Hillary Clinton monetized political power into a personal fortune of hundreds of millions, and played the system better than any couple since Napoleon and Josephine. Paul Manafort is alleged to have sold his services to sketchy foreign powers (including a Putin puppet in Ukraine), pocketed...

Opinion: Afraid? Weak? Egotistical? Attack!

It is simply not healthy for the country to have a president stuck perpetually in attack mode, fighting enemies real and imagined, pushing a toxic agenda that mixes the exaltation of grievance and the grinding of axes. The president’s recent rallies have come to resemble orgies for Donald Trump’s ego, spaces in which he can receive endless, unmeasured adulation and in which the crowds...

Opinion: Will Tribalism Trump democracy?

On July 19, the Knesset voted to change the nation’s Basic Law. Israel was declared to be, now and forever, the nation-state and national home of the Jewish people. Hebrew is to be the state language. Angry reactions, not only among Israeli Arabs and Jews, came swift. Allan Brownfeld of the American Council for Judaism calls the law a “retreat from democracy” as it restricts the...

Opinion: Why Trump isn’t fighting the bots

WASHINGTON — Here is the issue raised by Facebook’s revelations this week about disinformation that we need to face squarely: The political interests of the president of the United States coincide with the purposes of foreign forces using social media to divide us along the lines of race and culture. President Trump’s refusal to make combating Russian interference a high priority...

Opinion: Trump’s words are weightless

Maybe you remember when Mexico was going to pay for the wall. You should. It was as recently as May. Donald Trump went to Nashville for one of those creepy rallies of his and renewed the vow he made ceaselessly during the 2016 campaign. Mexico, he promised, is “going to pay for the wall” along the U.S. southern border, “and they’re going to enjoy it.” The crowd cheered...

Opinion: A California election could catalyze K-12 improvements

LOS ANGELES — November’s congressional elections will decide which party will control a narcoleptic institution that is uninterested in performing fundamental functions: Only 43 of the 535 House and Senate seats — ten in the Senate, 33 in the House — are occupied by legislators who were serving in 1996, the last time Congress obeyed the law requiring it to pass all appropriations...

Opinion: The third-party option

Is there room for a third party? If some independent mounted a presidential bid in 2020, would that person have a chance? Those are questions we won’t be able to answer for a few years. If the Democrats nominate somebody like Mitch Landrieu, the answer is no. Landrieu is a progressive former mayor of New Orleans whose personal style would play well with the white working class and whose convictions...

Opinion: Trump sees foreign danger in the wrong places

What’s the most worrisome foreign intrusion into the United States — unauthorized immigrants, Chinese imports or interference in our democracy? For Trump, it’s immigrants and imports. He doesn’t care much about the third. “Border security is national security,” Trump said last week, as he threatened a government shutdown if Congress didn’t come up with money...

Opinion: Having a personal following the new key to political success

I have a theory. When people lose faith in institutions (political parties, organized religion, etc.) they don’t become cynics or nihilists, they simply transfer their faith to people. Specifically, two kinds of people: themselves and charismatic celebrities. The first category seems rather obvious to me. There’s always been an acute independent streak in Americans. “You’re...

Opinion: Trump brings a new edge to Reagan’s ‘South Succotash’

President Donald Trump expressed a familiar beef in his recent travels: The “fake news” media won’t cover his fake news. “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” he told a crowd estimated at 4,000 Tuesday at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Kansas City, Mo. What people were seeing and reading was a mixed picture...

Opinion: Some ideas to think about

Poverty is no mystery, and it’s easily avoidable. The poverty line that the Census Bureau used in 2016 for a single person was an income of $12,486 that year. For a two-person household, it was $16,072, and for a four-person household, it was $24,755. To beat those poverty thresholds is fairly simple. Here’s the road map: Complete high school; get a job, any kind of a job; get married...

Opinion: Trump’s fake war on true news

WASHINGTON — In President Donald Trump’s latest exhortation to his faithful supporters, he told them: “Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news,” adding: “Just remember: What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.” He was referring to mainstream journalism outlets not on the right wing, notably...
Middletown mayor: City needs roads levy now

Middletown mayor: City needs roads levy now

Middletown City Council is considering a proposed income tax levy to address street improvements, to be voted on at its August 7 meeting. The proposal includes a 0.25% increase for 10 years, which would generate about $3.2 million annually, dedicated to street repaving. I believe Council should allow the citizens to vote on this referendum in November for a number of reasons. First, our city streets...

Opinion: Libertarians in the age of Trump

A few weeks ago, in the brief historical entr’acte between the Brett Kavanaugh nomination and our president’s Helsinki rendezvous, I was in Las Vegas for the annual libertarian convention known as FreedomFest. Like most interesting churches, libertarianism is a diverse and fractious faith, and FreedomFest brings together all its different sects: The think-tankers with their regulatory-reform...

Opinion: Trump, ‘he’s like a rapper’

Some people are baffled by Donald Trump’s fawning admiration of the world’s strongmen. I am not. If you know anything about Donald Trump’s formative years in his native New York, you know that this has been part of his life since the beginning. In particular, he was a young man in the city when the hip-hop cultural movement was born here in the 1970s. He witnessed the birth and ascendancy...

Opinion: Can feminists cure what ails men?

“Boys need feminists’ help too,” declares Feministing.com founder Jessica Valenti. Writing in The New York Times, Valenti worries that while women “protest, run for office, and embrace the movement for gender equality in record numbers, a generation of mostly white men are being radicalized into believing that their problems stem from women’s progress.” Valenti...

Opinion: Protectionism proves that evidence is unpersuasive

If you are not collateral damage in the escalating trade wars, the bulletins from the wars’ multiplying fronts are hilarious reading. You are collateral damage only if you are a manufacturer, farmer or consumer, so relax and enjoy the following reports. Whirlpool, which makes washing machines and demands for government protection, wheedled Washington into imposing tariffs on, and quotas for...

Opinion: Condescension about God gets old

All she asked was that someone pray for her. As relayed on Twitter by the activist Brittany Packnett, the unnamed woman certainly had good reason to seek help, divine or otherwise. She was one of the people held hostage by a gunman last week in an L.A. Trader Joe’s. According to Packnett, her friend was hiding in the back of the store with her husband and a pregnant woman. All three survived...

Opinion: The hypocrisy of the Democratic Russia hawks

WASHINGTON — With his interference in the 2016 election, Russian President Vladimir Putin achieved something that none of his murderous Soviet predecessors were able to accomplish: He has turned Democrats into Russia hawks. A few months after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ronald Reagan addressed the 1992 Republican National Convention and said: “I heard those speakers at that other...

Opinion: Donald Trump’s relentless tribe

The verdict on the most galling week of an outrageous presidency is in, and it shouldn’t come as the shock that it does: Republicans forgive Donald Trump his surrender to Vladimir Putin, his siding with Russia over the United States, his puppy-dog performance in Helsinki — all of it. Or rather, they don’t see anything to forgive. They simply notice that their man is under attack...

Opinion: Burying old lies with new ones

WASHINGTON — “What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.” Trump was talking about media coverage of his trade war, but he was also describing his genuinely novel approach to governing: He believes that reality itself can be denied and that big lies can sow enough confusion to keep the truth from taking hold. Take the recording of his September...

Opinion: Is Putin’s Russia an ‘Evil Empire’?

“History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce,” a saying attributed to Karl Marx, comes to mind in this time of Trump. To those of us raised in the Truman era, when the Red Army was imposing its bloody Bolshevik rule on half of Europe, and NATO was needed to keep Stalin’s armies from the Channel, the threat seemed infinitely more serious. And so it was. There were real...

Opinion: Can we trust experts?

Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers predicted that if Donald Trump were elected, there would be a protracted recession within 18 months. Heeding its experts, a month before the election, The Washington Post ran an editorial with the headline “A President Trump could destroy the world economy.” Steve Rattner, a Democratic financier and former head of the National Economic Council, warned...

Opinion: Let’s audit ICE, not abolish it

The self-defeating #AbolishICE movement got played against the very Democrats who support it this week. On Wednesday, Republicans brought to vote in the U.S. House of Representatives a nonbinding resolution in support of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, the federal agency that, among other things, apprehends and deports undocumented immigrants. The resolution passed easily with a...

Opinion: Trump and Russia: One mystery, three theories

My official pundit’s opinion on Donald Trump, Russian election interference, collusion, kompromat and impeachment is that I’m waiting for the Mueller investigation to finish before I have a strong opinion. So maybe this is a good time to step back and sketch out the three main ways to understand Trump’s relationship to Russia and Putin and the 2016 hacking of his Democratic rivals...

Opinion: Putin speaks code. Does Trump understand?

Back when word first leaked that Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. had met with a Russian lawyer and others offering dirt on Hillary Clinton, President Trump seemed to think he was supplying an exculpatory cover story. Flying home from Germany on Air Force One, Trump reportedly instructed Don Jr. to claim that he and the Kremlin-linked lawyer had “primarily discussed a program...

Opinion: The GOP’s War on the Poor

Four years ago, on the 50th anniversary of Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty, House Republicans led by Paul Ryan issued a report declaring that war a failure. Poverty, they asserted, hadn’t fallen. Therefore, they concluded, we must slash spending on the poor. Last week, Donald Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers issued a new report on poverty, recognizing what most experts in the...

Opinion: Our ‘America first’ president put America last in Helsinki

America’s child president had a playdate with a KGB alumnus, who surely enjoyed providing daycare. It was a useful, illuminating event: Now we shall see how many Republicans retain a capacity for embarrassment. Jeane Kirkpatrick, a Democrat closely associated with such Democratic national security stalwarts as Sen. Henry Jackson and former Sen. and former Vice President Hubert Humphrey, was...

Opinion: Spare me your shock at Trump’s sellout to Putin

“Lawmakers in both major parties and former intelligence officials appeared shocked …” —The Chicago Tribune “U.S. lawmakers of both political parties reacted with shock …” —Voice of America “Some of Mr. Trump’s own advisers privately said they were shocked …” —The New York Times “Shocked?” Really? After almost...

Opinion: Trump isn’t first president to cozy up to Putin

WASHINGTON — The definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting to get a different result, which is one of the many reasons President Trump’s news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin seemed so insane. Trump is trying to do something that both of his immediate predecessors tried to do: turn over a new leaf with Russia. They both failed, and so...

Opinion: ‘Sort of a double negative’

It is an unfathomable proposition that the day would ever come when America could rightly question the loyalties of its own president, but that is precisely where we have arrived. Donald Trump’s “Surrender Summit” with President Vladimir Putin of Russia was such a disloyal, traitorous display that it boggles the mind. Russia attacked our election in 2016. Russia. Moscow did it to...

Opinion: Two cheers for democratic socialists

WASHINGTON — “Socialism has known increments of success, basic failure and massive betrayal. Yet it is more relevant to the humane construction of the twenty-first century than any other idea.” With those words, the late Michael Harrington began his book “Socialism,” published in 1972. In his day, Harrington was often called “America’s leading socialist.&rdquo...

Opinion: Trump calls off Cold War II

Beginning his joint press conference with Vladimir Putin, President Trump declared that U.S. relations with Russia have “never been worse.” He then added pointedly, that just changed “about four hours ago.” It certainly did. With his remarks in Helsinki and at the NATO summit in Brussels, Trump has signaled a historic shift in U.S. foreign policy that may determine the future...
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