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Like Mike

In the 1990’s, Michael Jordan was a hero of the NBA and a pop culture icon. A recurring theme in Gatorade ads at the time featured people singing about how they wanted to “be like Mike.”

What should be done about Lidia?

When leaders of eight Arkansas higher learning institutions sent a letter to Congress recently calling for immigration reform, among their arguments was that undocumented students brought to America as children struggle to access college — a waste of their talents, both for them and for society.

Voter fraud is a fraud

Hardly anyone noticed last spring when Jon Husted, the Republican Secretary of State in Ohio, issued a report on the 2012 election. Out of 5.63 million ballots cast in that state, he identified 135 possible cases of voter fraud.

When will the madness end?

Who knows when this madness will end. Perhaps by the time these words reach print we will have been delivered of the latest psychotic episode — the absurd shuttering of some federal government bureaus and offices. Dangerous shenanigans, and a national embarrassment. And still to come is the debt ceiling debate.

Uncle Sam can't refuse to pay bills

As this column is being written, the government is shut down, which is bad, but temporary. The bigger debate is over raising the debt limit, which will be reached on about Oct. 17. The consequences of failing to increase it would be permanent, would cost taxpayers trillions of dollars, and would benefit mostly the foreign creditors who loan our government money.

The real meaning of the 'Redskins' debate

As a general rule, the names of professional sports teams, and their connotations, are of little concern. No one cares that the Chicago White Sox don’t wear white socks, or that Utah, where the NBA’s Jazz are based, is the last place you’d think of when you think of jazz.

Obamacare is here for now

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — has dominated the political conversation for the last five years since the legislation was introduced in 2009. Now, at long last, key parts of it are here, but for how long may depend on factors outside either political party’s control.

Jail Cells, STEM Cells and Mixed Messages

Yellow buses are running all across town. School days are here again. Having attended high school right after the Sputnik space vehicle was successfully fired into orbit, I have at least one thing in common with today's students. My high school classmates and I were told repeatedly that "the Russians are coming." This meant that both for ourselves and our nation we had better do well in school. Today, in response to similar national fears, students are being told "the Chinese are coming."

Nullification makes a comeback

The 21st century is the golden age of gun rights. All 50 states allow the carrying of concealed weapons. The once-toothless Second Amendment finally has real potency. Even after the Newtown massacre, Congress rejected new restrictions on firearms. Monday's Washington Navy Yard shooting is not likely to change that.

Who is a journalist and why does it matter?

Who is a journalist? That's not a question limited to college classes, like the one Steve teaches on media ethics at George Washington University. Congress is now grappling with a definition as it debates a media shield law that would protect reporters against "unwarranted intrusion" by federal prosecutors, in the words of Sen. Chuck Schumer. The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support earlier this month and could soon be headed to the Senate floor. It sprang to life after a spate of intrusions by the Justice Department last spring graphically demonstrated how overzealous law enforcement can threaten the vitality of independent journalism.

Hill runs for the House

House District 35 stretches from the northern part of Little Rock out past Pinnacle Mountain. Like at least a third of the state's House seats, it will have no incumbent in next year's elections. It would not be worth singling out except for this: Its announced Republican candidate is French Hill, one of the state's top-tier business figures.

Hillary Clinton front-runner in new survey

Within moments of its online publication it was subsumed, overwhelmed by coverage of the nation's latest sad, if predictable, spectacle — the slaughter of a dozen innocents by a disturbed man at the Washington Navy Yard. Once assured that the violence was contained, however, the political class in Washington turned its eye to a poll freshly released by CNN. And then began linking to it in e-mails to operatives in the 50 states.

Obama and the misery of a second term

Everyone elected president comes into office modeling himself on some predecessor: Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan. But those who win re-election eventually end up wondering whether they should have emulated James K. Polk instead. Why? Because he promised to serve only one term, and he stuck to it.

Reelin’ in the years

As a birthday present, Kathleen — the nice lady that let's me live in her house — took me over to the Mud Island Amphitheater (in Memphis) to see Steely Dan in concert. I've been a fan of The Dan since I was a little kid.