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Steve Chapman


Black crime and police killings

When a white cop kills an unarmed black man, many blacks see a pattern of prejudice that generates official suspicion, hostility and abuse based on skin color. Many whites, however, say it’s the fault of blacks. If they didn’t commit so much crime, they wouldn’t get so much attention from police.

At Gitmo, a tough policy to swallow

President Barack Obama is a champion of using video cameras to prevent and expose misconduct by uniformed people with guns. He is also a great believer in banning the use of torture on detainees in the war on terror. It may come as a surprise, then, to find that he doesn’t want to release videos of Guantanamo inmates being force-fed.

On the menu, government meddling

On Thursday, hundreds of millions of Americans risked obesity, heart disease and indigestion by eating large quantities of food with no precise knowledge of the caloric content. If many of them felt regret on Friday, it was not because they were duped into overeating by the absence of nutritional data.

What racially biased policing looks like

Black anger that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson was not charged for killing Michael Brown stems partly from the fact that blacks in America often face much worse treatment from cops than whites do. Only rarely do whites get an unpleasant taste of what minorities have to swallow.

Obama’s immigration order dispels fear

If you’re a foreigner in this country without authorization, you may be a hardworking, upright and taxpaying person, but you live in daily terror of making a fatal misstep. Overlooking a broken taillight, being a witness to a crime, getting hit by a car while crossing the street — minor misfortunes that attract the attention of police can bring exile, family breakup and misery.

Should we strip terrorists of citizenship?

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz doesn’t trust Barack Obama to protect Americans against Ebola, defeat the Islamic State, oversee the IRS or revamp the health insurance system. He decries the expansion of federal power Obama has brought about. But Cruz wants to give him another power by letting him decide that some Americans will no longer be Americans.

Inflated fears of Ebola and terrorism

Americans are living under a dire threat that could quickly escalate into a national emergency. No, not Ebola or the Islamic State but the hugely overhyped fear of them. The public resembles one of those cartoon elephants perched on a chair in trembling terror of a mouse.

Dangerous people and deadly force

When a man jumped over the White House fence, ran across the lawn and entered the residence, the Secret Service failed and failed again. One of the most conspicuous and surprising failures was that though it had armed agents on the ground and snipers on the roof, no one fired a shot to stop him.

The latest war will not be free

Young people may find it hard to believe, but going to war used to be a big deal. When the United States started bombing Iraq in January 1991, Americans somberly watched President George H.W. Bush address the nation, followed by live video of Baghdad being bombed. The Bush address drew the biggest audience TV had ever had.

I’m living large, but it’s an illusion

A few months ago I made a trip to attend my daughter Isabelle’s commencement at an institution of higher learning. Having no apparel to signify my investment in this particular school, I entered the bookstore and found a shirt emblazoned with its name. Too impatient to try the shirt on, I eyeballed the medium and the large and decided the medium would fit.

A few words about reclining airline seats

Good morning. This is your captain. We’ll be cruising today at an altitude of 30,000 feet, and we expect to arrive at our destination on time. Then we’ll spend 45 minutes on the tarmac waiting for a gate to open up, because apparently, the airport folks had no idea we were coming.

Ignorance fuels the calls for war

The New York Times ran an unfair headline the other day: “Arab Nations Strike in Libya, Surprising U.S.” It was unfair not because it was inaccurate but because the latter phrase suggested there was something noteworthy in our surprise. When it comes to events abroad, surprise is our natural state.

Another bad war in Iraq

In fighting disease, aggressive action is not always advisable. Two years ago a federal panel recommended against routine use of a test for prostate cancer because it carries “a very small potential benefit and significant potential harms.” Some men get false positives, and many true positives lead to risky surgery for cancers that grow so slowly as to pose no threat.

Ferguson shows blacks live in a different America

Fifty years ago this summer, President Lyndon Johnson signed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Back then, it was reasonable to expect that by 2014, America would be a fully integrated nation in which equality prevailed. But as the events in Ferguson, Mo., dramatize, the country still resembles what a presidential commission described in 1968: “two societies, one black, one white — separate and unequal.”