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Steve Chapman


Surrendering a Birthright

Republican presidential candidates often invoke Jesus, but lately they sound more like Jehovah. The Old Testament says, “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.” Punishing kids for their parents’ sins is the idea behind proposals to revoke birthright citizenship.

Are Democrats Really Socialists?

Socialism has had a rough few decades, but it’s enjoying a rare success. Bernie Sanders, who calls himself a socialist, is running for president, drawing big crowds and leading Hillary Clinton in one poll in New Hampshire. All this leads some people to a damning conclusion: Democrats love Sanders because Democrats are socialists.

Chris Christie: Not just a memory

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Chris Christie bills himself as the candidate willing to speak the truth even if his audience doesn’t want to hear it. Opening his talk at Beck’s Sports Grill, he wastes no time inviting a negative reaction.

Martin O’Malley, unknown but not implausible

In a party that produced such talented speakers as Mario Cuomo, Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, this year’s presidential race looks like a slog through an oratorical desert. Yet last week, the Iowa Democratic Party hosted a dinner so masochists could hear five White House aspirants deliver speeches.

Psychiatry ain’t what it used to be

There was a time when most of what I knew about psychiatrists came from Woody Allen. In his 1973 movie “Sleeper,” his character wakes up in the future and complains, “I haven’t seen my analyst in 200 years. He was a strict Freudian, and if I’d been going all this time I’d probably almost be cured by now.” But even his treatment sounded better than what Jack Nicholson’s character got in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” for being rebellious: a lobotomy.

The Iran Debate and the Echoes of History

If Rip Van Winkle had gone to sleep sometime in the past five decades and awakened today, he would know nothing about the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal. But he would have no trouble following the debate, because he’s heard it before. Presidents, adversaries and the world have changed; the arguments have not.

Superbugs are outstripping antibiotics

The old joke about making love to a gorilla is that you don’t stop when you’re tired; you stop when the gorilla is tired. In modern American agriculture, one of the gorillas is McDonald’s, the biggest restaurant chain on Earth. The other day it announced a change for its U.S. outlets that will force suppliers to adapt.

Jeb Bush’s Empty Indictment

Foreign policy is a complicated and bottomless topic, which forces politicians to address it with abstract words and punchy sound bites. Smart politicians know the difference between the messy realities and the simple pictures they paint. The danger lies with politicians who mistake the slogans for reality.

Baseball and the Spirit of Innovation

Baseball, being the noblest sport, has many lessons to teach: the value of daily persistence, the inevitability of failure and the likelihood that luck will not override ineptitude (Looking at you, Cubs.). But, as a creation of humans, it is also prey to human imperfections, like the urge to suppress useful changes to spare those who resist adaptation.

Government Debt on the Road to Ruin

Americans are addicted to living beyond their means, at least when it comes to the functions of government. That’s why the federal debt tripled over the past decade and under President Barack Obama’s budget plan would keep growing indefinitely.

Cancel the State of the Union

Mid-January is the time to ask the annual question: Are we ready for a big, noisy, overhyped prime-time production that has outgrown its simple origins and usually leaves us feeling both gorged and disappointed? If not, you may want to skip the State of the Union address and prepare for something humbler, like the Super Bowl.

Targeting ‘Assault Weapons’ Again

The 1994 federal law banning “assault weapons” was a high point of the gun control movement and Bill Clinton’s presidency. Signing the bill, he said it was the beginning of “our effort to restore safety and security to the people of this country.” But something happened that he and his allies had not predicted: nothing.

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.