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Dan K. Thomasson

Julia Pierson’s playing it safe attitude cost her

WASHINGTON — Julia Pierson’s failure as the first woman director of the Secret Service is symptomatic of a culture that pervades much of the federal government. It is simply making personnel decisions based not on competence but on political correctness. In other words, it’s the “first” syndrome – the first woman, the first African-American, the first […]

October 07, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

Threat of attack ruining taxpayers’ rights

U.S. taxpayers foot the bill amounting to tens of millions of dollars each year to protect the nation’s public officials and property. Because of the threat of terrorism, what once was thought of as the welcoming seat of democracy has become a fortified maze of barriers and checkpoints and restricted access. It’s about to get […]

September 30, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

Academia needs to act to protect college women

Back in the dark ages when I was in college, female students at most colleges and universities, including mine, had what we called “hours.” If memory serves me correctly, at my school they had to be in their dormitories or sorority houses by 10:30 Sunday through Thursday and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. That, of […]

September 23, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

Arrogance led to McDonnell’s demise

Most politicians, I’m convinced, believe they can talk their way out of anything. Whether it is arrogance, over confidence or just plain stupidity, this trait often seems to lead them into disaster when facing serious legal challenges to their conduct in office. The latest example of this, of course, is that of former Virginia Gov. […]

September 09, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

A little common sense would have prevented Uzi tragedy

When is the last time you heard about a grade school youngster stumbling over an Uzi on the playground? Like never you say? Amazing! But that improbability, or close to it, seems to be at the heart of the defense of those who would let little children handle the deadliest firearms on Earth. Have we […]

September 03, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists | Tagged ,

Cautionary tales for James Foley and war correspondents everywhere

WASHINGTON — Being a war correspondent is glamorous and exciting, high up on the list of any aspiring young journalist. But it is also extremely dangerous under any circumstance but especially when those practicing it are pretty much on their own without the proper support or guidance. Photojournalist James Foley fit into that category and […]

August 26, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

NCAA ruling and the myth of the student athlete

It may take a bit longer but it seems clear that college athletics is about to change dramatically and one of the most autocratic, often overbearing institutions ever conceived might never be the same. It’s about time. The NCAA with its doorstop rules book and its pretense at amateurism until now has managed to sidestep […]

August 12, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

Four decades on, lessons of Nixon resignation worth recalling

Forty years ago, I sat alone in the White House briefing room wiped out mentally and physically by the nearly unrelenting pressure of two years of covering the scandal that has come to symbolize the worst and the best in America’s history. The worst because of its enormous assault on our democracy and the best […]

August 06, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists | Tagged ,

Put partisanship aside for sensible immigration reform

President Barack Obama three weeks ago attended July 4 ceremonies for 25 members of the U.S. armed forces who were sworn in as newly minted American citizens. It was a quiet, dignified and impressive event that punctuated the importance of somehow solving what has become the nation’s most pressing domestic problem: the lack of coherent […]

July 29, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

Bloomberg injects money, influence into firearms debate

It may be a longer, hotter summer for the gun freaks than they have had in some time, mainly the National Rifle Association, which approaches every election with a strategy to oppose everything and dole out money only to candidates who pledge allegiance to the industry’s policy of no firearms restrictions, period. Michael Bloomberg is […]

July 15, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

Sizing up the latest IRS scandal

Many years ago, I walked into the senatorial offices of Republican John Williams of Delaware and noticed a number of big boxes stacked in the hallway. When I inquired if he was moving to other quarters, Williams, a good source and a better friend, grinned and explained that the boxes contained documents that supported his […]

July 08, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

Shortage of functioning brain cells in Washington

Here’s the situation as it now stands in this capital of the Western world, if it still is. The president has had his knuckles rapped by the Supreme Court, which unanimously ruled that he couldn’t get away with making recess appointments when the Senate was still in session, which it technically was when he made […]

July 01, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

Fantasy-speak from White House adviser

Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to Barack Obama and a longtime confidant of the president, told reporters at breakfast the other day that there is an opportunity this summer for meaningful immigration reform. Now that the primary season is over, she said, there is a rare chance the Republican-controlled House will adopt the compromise bill […]

June 24, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

Civility and commencement speeches

A year ago, attending my oldest granddaughter’s graduation from a major Virginia university, I was somewhat curious about the lack of a commencement speaker. There was instead a short, perhaps six- or seven-minute statement by the dean of her particular college, the largest in the school, praising the newly minted graduates and wishing them luck. […]

May 20, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

Oh, for the days of Dr. Welby

When our longtime family doctor retired in the early 1960s, he was, according to my mother, charging the same amount for an office visit as he did in the 1930s when she and my father first became his patients. I always thought that was a bit of an exaggeration and it probably was but not […]

April 16, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists | Tagged ,

Government for sale to highest bidder

Look for this advertisement on TV, your local newspaper and online in the not too distant future: “For sale at auction: 535 Seats in the U.S. Congress – 100 in Upper House and 435 in Lower Chamber. Seats to be occupied by person of buyer’s choice after bipartisan elective process with no restrictions on qualifications […]

April 08, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

Nothing good in military sex-assault verdicts

The verdicts are in and only one thing seems certain. No one in the two sensational military sexual assault cases is innocent – not the general or his woman scorned nor the Naval Academy midshipman and his once reluctant accuser nor for that matter the woeful system that prosecuted the whole mess. To paraphrase a […]

March 25, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

Later school start is a boost for teens

A growing number of public school administrators are capitulating to the obvious — that it is better for teenagers to get extra sleep at home than in the classroom. It’s about time. It has taken several decades for them to come to that position although one suspects that they have known all along that starting […]

March 18, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

Eliot Ness’s credentials are untouchable

The ATF can’t seem to catch a break . . .  even when it comes to naming a headquarters building. The much maligned (by gun nuts) Justice Department agency has plans to formally attach the name of its most illustrious alumnus – Elliot Ness of “Untouchables” fame – to its relatively new, architecturally interesting nerve […]

March 11, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

U.S. is hurt by lax attention to foreign affairs

WASHINGTON — As he faces the perhaps the most significant foreign policy crisis of his presidency, it has become abundantly clear that Barack Obama’s lack of attention to the nation’s overseas interests has seriously damaged America’s global position. Is that too harsh an assessment of a president who likes to draw lines in the sand […]

March 04, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

GOP determined to make Obama’s remaining years meaningless

There seems to be a growing consensus that the Republicans have a real shot at recapturing the Senate in the next midterm elections, giving them further opportunity, if not total assurance, of making Barack Obama’s next years in office meaningless. The president understands this and has been pulling out all the stops to try to […]

February 25, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

For better or for worse, women reach foul-language equality

The recent brief dust up (let’s hope it’s brief) over Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s use of the F- word as an epithet aimed at the European Union does highlight the dramatic change of culture in women in public life, including the highest ranks of the government. While this is a scene that always […]

February 11, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

Job No. 1 for Obama — compromise

The latest presidential message is that he is not concerned about the nation’s capital but about moving the country forward on the strength of its grass roots. Barack Obama is expecting to set an agenda to do that and then use executive orders and the bully pulpit to accomplish it. What’s new about that? This […]

February 04, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

The Olympic spirit takes back seat to me-first IOC

WASHINGTON — Thanks to President Jimmy Carter, the last time Russia hosted the Olympics, the United States didn’t participate, depriving America’s finely honed athletes the one opportunity many of them would ever have to enjoy the thrill of taking part in the games. Now as Sochi looms the descendants of those unfortunates may fervently wish […]

January 28, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

2016 campaign shifts to higher gear

If anyone doubts that the 2016 presidential election campaign has begun already despite a lack of announced candidates, the furor surrounding the leading prospects of both major parties should dispel any such notion. Both Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and former first lady, senator and state secretary Hillary Clinton have found out quickly what […]

January 21, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

What did Christie know and when did he know it?

WASHINGTON — Why is it there is always a sameness in political scandal? No one ever seems to profit from history. Take the governor of New Jersey, a state where political hardball is notorious. The recent best hope for the Republican presidential nomination, Gov. Chris Christie, who can’t seem to keep his weight in check […]

January 14, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

GOP may be waking up to importance of Hispanics

Is it possible that after years of ignoring the nation’s worsening immigration problems, there may be a crack in the Republican opposition to sensible reform? Could it be that in 2014 the bipartisan compromise that originated in the U.S. Senate might have a chance of adoption in the House? House Speaker John Boehner reportedly now […]

January 07, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists

Fair and reasonable politics from Congress, especially GOP, still unlikely

It seems fairly obvious now that the Republicans are going to have to ride into the midterm election year on an issue other than the Affordable Care Act, which more and more looks like a dead horse not worth beating as political campaigns go. That’s not to say that flaws in the “abominable Obamacare” – […]

December 31, 2013 | Posted in State, national columnists

Obama needs to rein in NSA’s power overreach

Sometimes I think we do the terrorist’s job for them. The response to 9/11, while understandably flamboyant, set off a spasm of overreaction that more than a decade later is still threatening all the things we hold so dear. Chief among these, of course, is our right to privacy especially from the prying eyes of […]

December 24, 2013 | Posted in State, national columnists

Technology reaches into the baby crib

There are bad ideas and then there are bad ideas. The difference of course is in the potential for harm. A recent prime example of the latter can be found in Fisher-Price’s decision to begin exposing America’s babies to the wonder of technology within weeks of entering the world. What obviously seemed like a good […]

December 17, 2013 | Posted in State, national columnists
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