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Steve Chapman


Justice and Freddie Gray

Local prosecutors, being elected to office, are subject to the rule of the people. Their decisions, however, are not — or at least they shouldn’t be. Any state’s attorney or district attorney worthy of the office gives public opinion about particular cases exactly the weight it deserves: zero.

After Orlando, Exercises in Irrelevancy

In the aftermath of the mass shooting in Orlando, our leaders have shown a talent for devising remedies that are clear, simple and irrelevant. One politician after another has stepped forward with remedies that would not actually have stopped or appreciably hindered Omar Mateen from carrying out his slaughter.

Why People Vote for Trump

Participating in a democratic society is a thankless duty that seldom repays the effort. If you do research so you can select the better candidate in a race, your choice may be futile because your candidate loses. Even if your candidate wins, those campaign promises may be discarded. Or other officials may keep them from being fulfilled.

Obama prolongs unwinnable wars

Barack Obama came into office intending to correct his predecessor’s biggest mistakes by ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He didn’t, because he made his own grievous mistake: choosing to prolong failure rather than admit it.

Trump’s epic meltdown

Donald Trump: crazy or evil? That’s the question that has loomed over his presidential candidacy from the start. But we now have a definitive answer. He is a raging tsunami of both qualities. Without one or the other, he would just not be the Trump we know.

Making Fun of Transgender People

When I was a lad, I often heard jokes about blacks, Latinos and gays, who were regarded as amusing because of their supposed inferiority and defectiveness. Today most people would be embarrassed and offended by such humor. But, at least in some places, there is one group that is still a safe source of yuks: transgender people.

Airport lines: your government failing you

This summer, air travel is for people who expect to go to hell and want to know what it will be like. Security lines have reached epic lengths in many airports. Thousands of travelers have missed flights. And the Transportation Security Administration now advises passengers to arrive two hours before departure for domestic flights — and three in some places.

Colorado’s lessons from legal pot

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper opposed a 2012 state ballot initiative to allow the sale and use of marijuana for recreational purposes. He told voters it might “increase the number of children using drugs and would detract from efforts to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation. It sends the wrong message to kids that drugs are OK.” Spurning his advice, voters approved it.

Obama and Trump at Hiroshima

In early August, 1945, a 19-year-old Navy ensign sailed from California to take part in the invasion of Japan. Those on board the vessel didn’t know if they would live to see the end of the war. But suddenly, as they were en route, Japan surrendered.

Rescuing elephants, at last

If you’re one of those people who go to the circus to see the animal acts, there is bad news: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey staged its final show using elephants on Sunday in Providence, Rhode Island. These animals have done their last tricks for human entertainment. All the elephants that have been part of the circus will be relocated to a 200-acre refuge in Florida.

Trump’s feast of incoherence

The reviews of Donald Trump’s grand foray into foreign policy agreed on one thing, which is that Trump can’t even agree with himself. His Wednesday speech was an exercise in self-contradiction, a feast of incoherence, a walk up the down escalator.

Why felons should be allowed to vote

America has 2.2 million jail and prison inmates, and everyone worries about what will happen when they get out. Some of us worry that they will seek out new victims and commit new crimes. Some of us worry that they will head to the nearest courthouse and register to vote.

Why it’s too late to scrap the Iran deal

To most Republicans, the three scariest words in the English language, after “Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” are “Iran nuclear deal.” The GOP presidential candidates are so intent on putting distance between them and it that you’d think the document was printed on radioactive paper.

What Trump and Sanders get wrong on trade

Donald Trump says the problem in the United States is that “we don’t win anymore.” Trade is his favorite example, based on our longstanding trade deficit. But in one big area, America is a big global winner, year after year. That little-known fact exposes the basic, fatal error in Trump’s lament.

Ted Cruz wages Jihad on truth

Listening to Ted Cruz’s response to the terrorist attacks in Brussels raised a question: Is he a pitiful victim of hysteria, a calculated promoter of it or both? Major emergencies call for sober leadership and careful thought, but Cruz is intoxicated by his 150-proof ideology.

Obama’s foreign policy success

On the campaign trail, Barack Obama’s foreign policy gets no love. Republicans portray it as weak, timid, inept and rudderless. Hillary Clinton has faulted him for the rise of the Islamic State and lacking a strategy. Bernie Sanders doesn’t rush to Obama’s defense.

Bernie Sanders’ Free Trade Mythology

Bernie Sanders’ upset victory in Michigan came just two days after he stood on the debate stage in the perennially beleaguered city of Flint, Michigan, and decried the economic condition of the surrounding area. He put the blame where he, like Donald Trump, often puts it: on free trade.