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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Author Archive: Dan K. Thomasson

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 […]

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 | 10 Replies

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 | Leave a reply

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 | Leave a reply

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 | Leave a reply

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 | Leave a reply

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 | 15 Replies

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 | 3 Replies

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 | 18 Replies

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 | Leave a reply

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 | Leave a reply

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 | 11 Replies

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 | 1 Reply

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 | 4 Replies

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 | Leave a reply

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 | Leave a reply

Banks know how to pass the buck

It has always been a Bob Cratchit/Ebenezer Scrooge sort of business . . . “empty as a banker’s heart” and so forth. Ever get angry with those guys? Most of us have at one time or another for a variety of reasons ranging from disputed balances to impolite and diffident clerks to hidden and frequently […]

December 10, 2013 | Posted in State, national columnists | 30 Replies

Option of a third term could produce second-term results

I’m not so sure the nation is well served these days or perhaps ever was by limiting the terms of its chief executive. It seemed like a good idea at the time following Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four elections to the presidency, but the negatives, I believe, have come to outweigh the positives. That doesn’t mean […]

December 03, 2013 | Posted in State, national columnists | 1 Reply

Mixed emotions over change in Senate rules

It’s easy to have mixed emotions about the change in Senate rules that overturns the filibuster employed to block most presidential nominees. On the one hand, requiring 60 votes instead of a simple majority to confirm judges and executive branch nominees has produced a backlog that has denied the chief executive the right to name […]

November 26, 2013 | Posted in State, national columnists | 8 Replies

‘Snake Salvation’: Religious freedom meets reality TV

WASHINGTON — Just when you thought reality television couldn’t get more bizarre . . . . how about a star who handles poisonous snakes? He’s not a herpetologist dedicated to risking his life to advance medicine. Actually, he is probably the diametric opposite – one who eschews rational explanations and follows a bible-oriented faith in […]

November 20, 2013 | Posted in State, national columnists | 1 Reply

Health care reform missing key ingredient

Much of what Barack Obama has been cooking seems to come out half-baked. As a political chef, he seems unwilling to make certain of the ingredients and refuses to stay home to watch the oven. Maybe I’ve been watching too many of those ubiquitous short-order cooking shows on television, but you get my drift. The […]

November 13, 2013 | Posted in State, national columnists | 59 Replies

Health-care reform needed bipartisan support to curb chaos

To learn how implementation of the Affordable Care Act got so bollixed up, you don’t have to look much further than the Oval Office, where an inexperienced President Barack Obama listened to the wrong advice and apparently made a fateful decision based on political concerns. At least that’s the skinny filtering out of the mistake-tattered […]

November 05, 2013 | Posted in State, national columnists | 1 Reply

Gov’t needs leaders at the top

Someone needs to ask House Speaker John Boehner how bad he wants to keep his job. Is holding on to it so important that he won’t buck an extreme faction of Republican conservatives to promote the greater good and prevent the nation from defaulting on its debts? If he doesn’t lead, he could become among […]

October 09, 2013 | Posted in State, national columnists | 3 Replies

Valerie Plame disclosure pales beside Yemen

Being outed as an undercover operative for the CIA may be the best thing that ever happened to Valerie Plame, who along with her husband, former ambassador John Wilson, stirred things up pretty good around here during the last years of President George W. Bush’s administration. Since that time, Plame has been the subject of […]

October 02, 2013 | Posted in State, national columnists | 2 Replies

‘Obamacare’ at fault for some government ills

Among the faults of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — or “Obamacare,” if you prefer — is the violence this bloated, complex, immensely controversial law has done to the orderly process of government, best accomplished by political compromise. The president’s crowning initiative, manipulated through Congress despite disapproval of a majority of Americans, […]

September 24, 2013 | Posted in State, national columnists | 60 Replies

Indecision over Syria has lasted too long

My father used to say that if you have to think about something very long, you probably shouldn’t do it. That seems to be the case with President Barack Obama’s deliberations over whether to launch a limited military strike on Syria’s ruling regime to emphasize that its use of chemical warfare against its own citizenry […]

September 03, 2013 | Posted in State, national columnists | Leave a reply

Disciplining students requires perspective

The lazy days of summer offer the nation’s youngsters and their parents a break from school schedules. Summer also offers a cooling-off period for zero tolerance, a disciplinary approach by school administrators who are so gun shy (if you will excuse the expression) that they magnify every incident, no matter how innocent, into a major […]

Can Republicans bridge party’s divide?

As president, Ronald Reagan issued his 11th commandment that Republicans should not speak ill of other members of the party. But the edict has languished, and it won’t be restored unless the GOP ends its internecine warfare over what is more important: winning elections or being philosophically pure. It is not difficult to foresee a […]

February 12, 2013 | Posted in State, national columnists | Tagged , | 4 Replies

Women long ago earned combat rights

U.S. women have been in combat one way or another at least since the 1989 invasion of Panama. That’s when Scripps Howard New Service’s Peter Copeland reported from the isthmus that women assigned to at least one operation in the Southern Command had been attacked and returned fire. The information was never official, but the […]

February 01, 2013 | Posted in State, national columnists | Tagged , | 1 Reply

Confirm Chuck Hagel for defense secretary

The folks who gave you the long agony of Iraq now are leading the charge to derail the man who warned that it was a mistake, an opinion with which millions of Americans would now agree. Former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel’s nomination as secretary of defense to replace Leon Panetta is being opposed by the […]

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