Ideas & Voices


What you told us: Teachers should be top priority for Dayton schools

Teachers should be the number one priority of the Dayton Board of Education as it works on the turnaround of the Dayton Public Schools, according to an analysis of public feedback at a recent town hall meeting sponsored by the Dayton Daily News. As part of the newspaper’s Path Forward project seeking solutions to some of the community’s most pressing issues, the Daily News assembled written...

Opinion: How Democrats can deliver on health care

“Democrats need to have a positive agenda, not just be against Donald Trump.” How many times did you hear pundits say something like that during the midterm campaigns? In fact, you’re still hearing it from people like Seth Moulton, who’s leading the effort to block Nancy Pelosi from returning as House speaker. What makes this lazy accusation so annoying is that it’s demonstrably...
Turkey pot pie is the best

Turkey pot pie is the best

Some people say it’s apple or pumpkin. Those people are wrong. Other people go with lemon meringue, strawberry, chess, chocolate or cherry. They are misguided. Fact is that turkey pot pie is the best pie ever created. The savory delight even trounces my favorite sugary treats, pecan pie and sweet potato pie. How can it not? Thick and tender chunks of turkey, celery, potatoes and carrots covered...

Opinion: The supreme test of Nancy Pelosi’s wizardry

WASHINGTON — Without Nancy Pelosi’s toughness, focus and legislative skill, there would probably be no Affordable Care Act. Her speakership during the Obama presidency left a legacy of achievement in other areas as well, including a far-reaching reform of Wall Street regulation and a massive economic stimulus that helped save a collapsing economy. It would be hard to find a more effective...

Opinion: Will Democratic rebels dethrone Nancy?

After adding at least 37 seats and taking control of the House by running on change, congressional Democrats appear to be about to elect as their future leaders three of the oldest faces in the party. Nancy Pelosi of California and Steny Hoyer of Maryland have led the House Democrats for 16 years. For 12 years, they have been joined in the leadership triumvirate by Jim Clyburn of South Carolina. If...

Opinion: Politics isn’t pretty. But politicians are.

At a Beto O’Rourke rally near Dallas shortly before the midterms, Sonia Qutob, 41, turned to her friend and asked what was clearly the most pressing question about the candidate. “Do you think,” she said, “that he needs a second wife?” O’Rourke seems to me plenty happy with the first. But a fangirl can dream. At the rally immediately preceding the one where Qutob...

Opinion: Lucrative law enforcement will become lawless

WASHINGTON — Tyson Timbs made a mistake, but not one as important as Indiana’s Supreme Court made in allowing to stand the punishment the state inflicted on him. He was a drug addict — first with opioids prescribed for a work-related injury, then heroin — when his father died. He blew the $73,000 insurance payout on drugs and a $41,558 Land Rover, which he drove when selling...

Opinion: What Trump needs to do to avoid being a one-term president

WASHINGTON — President Trump did defy history in the 2018 midterm elections. While his predecessor, Barack Obama, lost 63 House seats and six Senate seats in his first midterms, Trump held the GOP’s House losses to just over half of that and bolstered the GOP majority in the Senate. The combination of a Senate map that heavily favored Republicans, and Trump’s success in turning out...

Opinion: GOP cannot win without cheating

So Georgia voters decided against Stacey Abrams as their governor. Maybe. With all the shenanigans perpetrated by Republicans in that state, we’ll never know for sure. Had they not passed a restrictive “exact match” law that put 53,000 voters (most of them reportedly African American) in electoral limbo over misplaced commas and transposed letters in their names, had they not purged...

Opinion: The new normal that isn’t

WASHINGTON — Across much of media lately, the phrase “new normal” keeps cropping up to describe what is, in fact, not normal, as most sane adults have understood its meaning. This is to say, the everyday machinations and human behaviors typical within a healthy, robust society have shifted gears and evolved, not in a good way, to accommodate new circumstances. Overwhelmed by natural...

Opinion: The dangerous naïveté of Trump and Xi

Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping are a bit alike, and that presents a danger to the global order. The American and Chinese leaders are both impetuous, authoritarian and overconfident nationalists, and each appears to underestimate the other side’s capacity to inflict pain. This dangerous symmetry leaves the two sides hurtling toward each other. The 10 percent tariffs already imposed in...

Opinion: Break up Facebook

The New York Times revealed last week that Facebook executives withheld evidence of Russian activity on the Facebook platform far longer than previously disclosed. They also employed a political opposition research firm to discredit critics. There’s a larger story here. America’s Gilded Age of the late 19th century began with a raft of innovations — railroads, steel production, oil...

Opinion: Liberal parents, radical children

When I meet someone who runs an organization in a blue state, I often ask: Do you have a generation gap where you work? The answer — whether the person leads a college, a nonprofit, a tech company, an entertainment company or a publication — is generally the same: Yes, and it’s massive. The managers at these places, who are generally 35 and older, are liberals. They vote Democratic...

Opinion: Trying to fight, not spread, fear and lies

Something continues to nag at me about the midterm elections. It’s the way we in the news media too often allowed ourselves to be manipulated by President Donald Trump to heighten fears about the immigrant caravan from Central America so as to benefit Republican candidates. Obviously there were many journalists who pushed back on the president’s narrative, but on the whole I’m afraid...

Opinion: Trump’s assault on the rule of law

The “rule of law” distinguishes democracies from dictatorships. It’s based on three fundamental principles. Trump is violating every one of them. The first is that no person is above the law, not even a president. Which means a president cannot stop an investigation into his alleged illegal acts. Yet in recent weeks, Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who at least had possessed...

Opinion: Black education — What makes sense?

What do you think of the proposition that no black youngsters should be saved from educational rot until all can be saved? Black people cannot afford to accept such a proposition. Actions by the education establishment, black and white liberal politicians, and some civil rights organizations appear to support the proposition. Let’s look at it with the help of some data developed by my friend...

Opinion: How the U.S. can help caravan migrants stay home

When a caravan of Central American families seeking asylum in the United States was almost a thousand miles away, President Donald Trump called it a “national emergency” on Twitter and ordered more than 5,000 troops to protect the border. But by the time the first group of migrants arrived at the port of entry in Tijuana, Mexico, near San Diego, a few days before Thanksgiving, the troops...

Opinion: The two-emperor problem

Generally, Donald Trump’s Twitter beefs are an expense of spirit and a waste of breath. But a minority of them are genuinely edifying, and illustrations of his likely world-historical role — which is not to personally bring down our constitutional republic, but to reveal truths about our political situation, through his crudeness and goading of others, that might be harbingers of the Republic&rsquo...

Opinion: Will Mitch Landrieu run?

NEW ORLEANS — “I am not already running for president.” He continues, “I haven’t done anything that a person who was running for president would do.” That’s what the former New Orleans mayor and current whispered-about presidential possibility Mitch Landrieu told me Friday afternoon as we sat at a window table in a hotel restaurant in the city’s French...
What you told us: Teachers should be top priority for Dayton schools

What you told us: Teachers should be top priority for Dayton schools

Teachers should be the number one priority of the Dayton Board of Education as it works on the turnaround of the Dayton Public Schools, according to an analysis of public feedback at a recent town hall meeting sponsored by the Dayton Daily News. As part of the newspaper’s Path Forward project seeking solutions to some of the community’s most pressing issues, the Daily News assembled written...

Opinion: How Democrats can deliver on health care

“Democrats need to have a positive agenda, not just be against Donald Trump.” How many times did you hear pundits say something like that during the midterm campaigns? In fact, you’re still hearing it from people like Seth Moulton, who’s leading the effort to block Nancy Pelosi from returning as House speaker. What makes this lazy accusation so annoying is that it’s demonstrably...
Turkey pot pie is the best

Turkey pot pie is the best

Some people say it’s apple or pumpkin. Those people are wrong. Other people go with lemon meringue, strawberry, chess, chocolate or cherry. They are misguided. Fact is that turkey pot pie is the best pie ever created. The savory delight even trounces my favorite sugary treats, pecan pie and sweet potato pie. How can it not? Thick and tender chunks of turkey, celery, potatoes and carrots covered...

Opinion: The supreme test of Nancy Pelosi’s wizardry

WASHINGTON — Without Nancy Pelosi’s toughness, focus and legislative skill, there would probably be no Affordable Care Act. Her speakership during the Obama presidency left a legacy of achievement in other areas as well, including a far-reaching reform of Wall Street regulation and a massive economic stimulus that helped save a collapsing economy. It would be hard to find a more effective...

Opinion: Will Democratic rebels dethrone Nancy?

After adding at least 37 seats and taking control of the House by running on change, congressional Democrats appear to be about to elect as their future leaders three of the oldest faces in the party. Nancy Pelosi of California and Steny Hoyer of Maryland have led the House Democrats for 16 years. For 12 years, they have been joined in the leadership triumvirate by Jim Clyburn of South Carolina. If...

Opinion: Politics isn’t pretty. But politicians are.

At a Beto O’Rourke rally near Dallas shortly before the midterms, Sonia Qutob, 41, turned to her friend and asked what was clearly the most pressing question about the candidate. “Do you think,” she said, “that he needs a second wife?” O’Rourke seems to me plenty happy with the first. But a fangirl can dream. At the rally immediately preceding the one where Qutob...

Opinion: Lucrative law enforcement will become lawless

WASHINGTON — Tyson Timbs made a mistake, but not one as important as Indiana’s Supreme Court made in allowing to stand the punishment the state inflicted on him. He was a drug addict — first with opioids prescribed for a work-related injury, then heroin — when his father died. He blew the $73,000 insurance payout on drugs and a $41,558 Land Rover, which he drove when selling...

Opinion: What Trump needs to do to avoid being a one-term president

WASHINGTON — President Trump did defy history in the 2018 midterm elections. While his predecessor, Barack Obama, lost 63 House seats and six Senate seats in his first midterms, Trump held the GOP’s House losses to just over half of that and bolstered the GOP majority in the Senate. The combination of a Senate map that heavily favored Republicans, and Trump’s success in turning out...

Opinion: GOP cannot win without cheating

So Georgia voters decided against Stacey Abrams as their governor. Maybe. With all the shenanigans perpetrated by Republicans in that state, we’ll never know for sure. Had they not passed a restrictive “exact match” law that put 53,000 voters (most of them reportedly African American) in electoral limbo over misplaced commas and transposed letters in their names, had they not purged...

Opinion: The new normal that isn’t

WASHINGTON — Across much of media lately, the phrase “new normal” keeps cropping up to describe what is, in fact, not normal, as most sane adults have understood its meaning. This is to say, the everyday machinations and human behaviors typical within a healthy, robust society have shifted gears and evolved, not in a good way, to accommodate new circumstances. Overwhelmed by natural...

Opinion: The dangerous naïveté of Trump and Xi

Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping are a bit alike, and that presents a danger to the global order. The American and Chinese leaders are both impetuous, authoritarian and overconfident nationalists, and each appears to underestimate the other side’s capacity to inflict pain. This dangerous symmetry leaves the two sides hurtling toward each other. The 10 percent tariffs already imposed in...

Opinion: Break up Facebook

The New York Times revealed last week that Facebook executives withheld evidence of Russian activity on the Facebook platform far longer than previously disclosed. They also employed a political opposition research firm to discredit critics. There’s a larger story here. America’s Gilded Age of the late 19th century began with a raft of innovations — railroads, steel production, oil...

Opinion: Is President Trump racist? He doesn’t mind sounding like one

To those who complain that I never seem to have anything positive to say about President Donald Trump, now hear this: I appreciate his lack of ability to hide his sexism and racism, among other odious -isms. Or maybe it’s simply a lack of interest. I try to use the S-word and the R-word sparingly. The words spark so many different reactions that the result often sheds more heat than light. But...

Opinion: The fruits of college indoctrination

Much of today’s incivility and contempt for personal liberty has its roots on college campuses, and most of the uncivil and contemptuous are people with college backgrounds. Let’s look at a few highly publicized recent examples of incivility and attacks on free speech. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, were accosted and harassed...

Opinion: Fighting the spiritual void

Wherever I go I seem to meet people who are either dealing with trauma or helping others dealing with trauma. In some places I meet veterans trying to recover from the psychic wounds they suffered in Iraq or Afghanistan. Sometimes it is women struggling with the aftershocks of sexual assault. Wherever Americans gather and try to help each other on any deep level, they confront levels of trauma that...

Opinion: Stan Lee’s work a reflection of his times

Stan Lee, the reinventor of the comic book, died Nov. 12 at the ripe old age of 95. Comic books get a bad rap, although not nearly as bad as they used to. There was a time when comic books were the cause of an all-out moral panic. After the release of psychiatrist Fred Wertham’s book “The Seduction of the Innocent,” the Senate held hearings to grapple with the alleged moral rot of...

Opinion: Hate crime stats tell a disturbing tale

When FBI released its report “Hate Crimes Statistics, 2017” earlier this week, Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s name was nowhere to be seen. Yet his widow, Sunayana Dumala, knows his murder in Olathe, Kan., was a hate crime. She didn’t need the report to tell her that. But America does. We need hate crimes detailed and categorized in ways that make sense so that law enforcement can track...

Opinion: Sheep without shepherds

Here is a striking fact about the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. The sex abuse crisis in the early 2000s, the horrid revelations of predation that began in Boston in 2001, did not have an obvious long-term effect on the practice of the faith. Yes, American Catholicism has lost millions of its baptized flock over the last 50 years. But that decline was steepest in the 1960s and 1970s;...

Opinion: Michelle Obama tells her truth

So now Michelle Obama finally tells her truth. There has always been about her a sense that she did, indeed, have a truth of her own and that it was, if not at odds with the one her husband expressed with high-flown eloquence, more real and more rooted, as befits a girl from the South Side of Chicago. “You wait till Barack gets out of office,” some of us said, “Michelle’s going...

Opinion: Congressman who believes in what he has lived

WASHINGTON — The world’s oldest political party has developed an aversion to discretion. The Democratic Party is manacled to an over-caffeinated base that believes that deft government can deliver parity of status to everyone while micromanaging the economy’s health care sector, which is larger than all but three other foreign nations’ economies. Inconveniently, the party must...

Opinion: Democrats are trying to steal an election in Florida

WASHINGTON — Republican Gov. Rick Scott leads Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson by 12,562 votes in the Florida Senate race. A margin of victory that large has never be overturned in a recount. According to FairVote, the average vote shift in statewide general election recounts is a meager 282 votes. Democrats know that recounting the existing votes is unlikely to change the result. So Democrats have...

Opinion: Why was Trump’s tax cut a fizzle?

Last week’s blue wave means that Donald Trump will go into the 2020 election with only one major legislative achievement: a big tax cut for corporations and the wealthy. Still, that tax cut was supposed to accomplish big things. Republicans thought it would give them a big electoral boost, and they predicted dramatic economic gains. What they got instead was a big fizzle. The economic results...

Opinion: White House wall weirdness

Hey, do you think the government will run out of money before Christmas? I know, this seems to come up every year. But until the Trump era, it was generally something vague about Congress passing continuing resolutions. Certainly nothing you could start a fight over during Thanksgiving dinner. But now we’ve got The Wall! Good old Wall. Really, even in your seriously crazy countries, you don&rsquo...

Opinion: Will the GOP keep dancing with autocracy?

WASHINGTON — When a national leader urges that votes be ignored or that an election result he doesn’t like might best be set aside, we label him an autocrat or an authoritarian. When it’s President Trump, we shrug. Worse, many in his party go right along with baseless charges of fraud. We are in for a difficult two years. Surviving them will require that Republican senators take...

Opinion: Macron to Trump: ‘You’re no patriot!’

In a rebuke bordering on national insult Sunday, Emmanuel Macron retorted to Donald Trump’s calling himself a nationalist. “Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism; nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism.” As for Trump’s policy of “America first,” Macron said: “By saying we put ourselves first and the others don’t matter, we erase what a nation...

Opinion: We have an identity problem

According to a recent report in The New York Times, Health and Human Services Department officials have been circulating a proposal to define sex. Their memo says, “Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.” They add, “The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute...

Opinion: What Kansas got right

Love or hate him, Kris Kobach is a force to be reckoned with. And reckon with him is what voters in Kansas did in Tuesday’s election. Kobach, whose term as Kansas secretary of state will mercifully expire in the new year, was seeking the governorship and proved too extreme for the voters to retain. He lost to a previously unsung Democratic state senator, Laura Kelly, by a margin of more than...

Opinion: A defeat for white identity

Running for president in 2016, Donald Trump sold two kinds of populism. One appealed to white tribalism and xenophobia — starkly in his early embrace of birtherism, recurrently in his exaggerations about immigrant crime, Muslim terrorism and urban voter fraud. The other was an economic appeal, aimed at working-class voters hit hard by de-industrialization who found the existing Republican agenda...

Opinion: Real America versus Senate America

Everyone is delivering post-mortems on Tuesday’s elections, so for what it’s worth, here’s mine: Despite some bitter disappointments and lost ground in the Senate, Democrats won a huge victory. They broke the Republican monopoly on federal power, and that’s a very big deal for an administration that has engaged in blatant corruption and abuse of power, in the belief that an...

Opinion: You can’t always get what you want

You can’t always get what you want. So said the philosopher Mick Jagger. He said it in 1969, so obviously, he didn’t intend it as a comment on the 2018 midterms. But progressives might be forgiven for thinking otherwise. After all, they wanted Andrew Gillum to become Florida’s first African-American governor. They didn’t get it. They wanted Stacey Abrams of Georgia to become...

Opinion: Mississippi underwent a self-rehabilitation

WASHINGTON — In the previous 50 years, the state of Mississippi has validated Lord Tennyson’s belief that “men may rise on stepping-stones of their dead selves to higher things.” Now the state has until Tuesday to explain to the U.S Supreme Court why a state court was sufficiently serious in ruling that Joey Chandler is so depraved that he could never undergo a regeneration...

Opinion: Kavanaugh debacle cost Democrats the Senate

WASHINGTON — Brett Kavanaugh must have been smiling as the returns came in on Election Day, because it is now clear that the Democrats’ campaign to destroy him will go down as a massive blunder. It failed to keep Kavanaugh off the court. It cost Democrats their chance to regain control of the Senate. And it gave Republicans an expanded Senate majority that will allow them to confirm an...

Opinion: Trump is a really happy loser

Wow, Jeff Sessions was gone before they finished counting votes in Arizona. Do you think Donald Trump was trying to change the subject? Everybody knew he’d get a new attorney general after the elections, but we deserve to find out who won in Florida before we go back to 24/7 presidential pandemonium. Next year’s class of Democratic freshmen in the House is going to be incredible, with...

Opinion: Has Bloomberg Begun the Battle for 2020?

Did former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg just take a page out of the playbook of Sen. Ed Muskie from half a century ago? In his first off-year election in 1970, President Richard Nixon ran a tough attack campaign to hold the 52 House seats the GOP had added in ‘66 and ‘68, and to pick up a few more seats in the Senate. In that campaign’s final hours, Muskie delivered a statesmanlike...

Opinion: How Trump lost

WASHINGTON — The 2018 elections began the demolition of the Trump coalition. There remains much work to do. The results in some states were disappointing, and President Trump’s grip on the Republican Party was strengthened. But a large majority of Americans rejected the president’s divisive, ethno-nationalist politics. Democrats shook his hold on voters in the old industrial heartland...

Opinion: America has rejected Trumpism

Make no mistake: America has rejected Trumpism. No one seriously expected the Senate to flip, because Democrats had to defend 26 seats in that chamber, compared with only nine held by Republicans. The real battleground was the House, where Democrats had to achieve a net gain of 23 seats to get the 218 needed for a majority. They did. Trump wasn’t on the ballot, but he made the election into...

Opinion: The luck of the Democrats

One of the interesting features of this election cycle has been the gulf, often vast, between the hysteria of liberals who write about politics for a living and the relative calm of Democrats who practice it. In the leftward reaches of my Twitter feed the hour is late, the end of democracy nigh, the Senate and the Supreme Court illegitimate, and every Trump provocation a potential Reichstag fire....

Opinion: Trump courts votes with questioning of right to citizenship

President Donald Trump, in a pre-midterm snit, is obsessing over his fear of brown babies. It’s not surprising. After all, this is a president who manages to label any group of Latino migrants as “very bad people.” It was only a matter of time before Trump latched on to the fear tactic of immigrants increasing their numbers by giving birth on U.S. soil. So Trump is doubling down...

Opinion: Thinking about anti-Semitism

In the days following the murder rampage at the Tree of Life synagogue, I received several expressions of grief from friends who are committed Christians. One included in her note a verse from John Donne: “No man is an island entire of itself … any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for...

Opinion: The Great Center-Right delusion

What’s driving American politics off a cliff? Racial hatred and the cynicism of politicians willing to exploit it play a central role. But there are other factors. And an opinion piece by Hertel-Fernandez, Mildenberger, and Stokes in today’s New York Times (which is actually social science, not opinion!) seems to confirm something I already suspected: Misunderstanding of what voters want...
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