Steve Chapman from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Wed, 12 May 2021 19:11:55 -0700 Steve Chapman from Creators Syndicate c9b4ed81664cbbbbc1c028e9c8cfe09c A Court's Extreme View of the Second Amendment for 05/09/2021 Sun, 09 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The modern era of gun rights began in 2008, when the Supreme Court struck down the District of Columbia's near-total ban on handgun ownership. It later overturned a similar Chicago ordinance. Both were serious infringements on a freedom enshrined in the Second Amendment &#8212; "the right of the people to keep and bear arms." </p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">But gun rights advocates are not content with eliminating stringent regulations on firearms ownership and use. They oppose minimal ones as well.</span> An Illinois circuit court judge recently ruled that the state's requirement of a license to own a gun is unconstitutional, at least when applied to someone keeping a firearm at home.</p> <p>The case arose after deputies in downstate Carmi responded to a report of shots fired inside the home of Vivian Claudine Brown. Though they found no evidence of shots fired, they did find a rifle in her bedroom. <p>Updated: Sun May 09, 2021</p> 42d056ccc83c0ee06bdd1529565a7dd4 An Allegedly Senile Biden Keeps Succeeding for 05/06/2021 Thu, 06 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In a Democratic presidential debate in September 2019, Julian Castro thought he heard Joe Biden say something that contradicted himself, and he pounced on the opportunity to suggest that Biden was over the hill. "Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?" he demanded. "Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago?" </p> <p>Propelled by this moment of triumph, Castro went on to become a member of the board of directors of a Washington think tank. His humiliated opponent was never heard from again.</p> <p>As it turned out, it was Castro who was confused about what Biden had said. If the 2020 campaign proved anything, it's that underestimating Biden is dangerous. But Republicans persist in depicting him as a decrepit specimen who is wholly inadequate to his presidential responsibilities.<p>Updated: Thu May 06, 2021</p> 90f090f2b8020e8c56d69778b76292a3 The Dangers of Biden's Spending Binge for 05/02/2021 Sun, 02 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>In his 1996 State of the Union address, President Bill Clinton said: "We know big government does not have all the answers. We know there's not a program for every problem." In short, "The era of big government is over."</p> <p>A generation later, President Joe Biden says, in effect, "I've got $6 trillion that say otherwise." That's the combined cost of his COVID-19 relief program, his infrastructure plan and his American Families Plan. This gargantuan sum would come on top of the nearly $4 trillion authorized in 2020 to deal with the pandemic and its economic fallout. Biden is proposing a vast expansion of government programs that would weigh heavily on our economic future.<p>Updated: Sun May 02, 2021</p> 176469b3efafc977405f6b1ab656a100 The Census Is a Reminder of Why We Need a Bigger Congress for 04/29/2021 Thu, 29 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The preliminary 2020 census count has been released, and as usual, it means that when it comes to congressional representation, some states will gain and some will lose. Illinois is one of seven states that will suffer a shrinkage of their House delegations. But the zero-sum nature of this game is not a necessary feature, and it's not a good one.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">The reason states are pitted against one another every 10 years is that the nation's population has steadily grown but the House has not.</span> It has been frozen at 435 seats since 1911, even though the number of people in America has more than tripled. Back then, the typical member represented 212,000 people. Today, it's 761,000. </p> <p>The current number has no basis in the Constitution. The framers meant for the House to grow over time, and it did &#8212; from 141 in 1803 to 293 in 1873 to 357 in 1893. The only constitutional limit is that there can be no more than one representative per 30,000 people. James Madison wrote confidently that "the number of representatives will be augmented from time to time in the manner provided by the Constitution." <p>Updated: Thu Apr 29, 2021</p> a34ee3174e83a22859cca1b0e0366a04 Matthew McConaughey for Governor? Maybe Not So Crazy for 04/22/2021 Thu, 22 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>AUSTIN, Texas &#8212; In 2006, mystery author and musical humorist Kinky Friedman ran for governor of Texas as an independent on the slogan: "Why the hell not?" He lost, but Texans seem open to the same concept with a different candidate: Matthew McConaughey.</p> <p>The Oscar-winning actor says he's seriously considering a race for governor next year, and he can take encouragement from a poll by The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler. It shows him leading incumbent Republican Gov. Greg Abbott by 45% to 33%, with the remainder holding out for Willie Nelson.<p>Updated: Thu Apr 22, 2021</p> 5f9d34ed84e54b42f1d135497c986a30 Biden Faces the Tragic Truth About Afghanistan for 04/17/2021 Sat, 17 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>For most of the past 20 years, the United States has had a clear policy in Afghanistan: avoiding reality. We kept telling ourselves that if we stuck it out a while longer and did one thing or another differently, the outlook would brighten, paving the way for us to leave in the glow of victory. But that improvement never came.</p> <p>President Joe Biden has now faced the immutable facts that have long been denied, and he intends to act in deference to them by withdrawing American forces, come what may. Twenty years of futility, in his mind, are enough.<p>Updated: Sat Apr 17, 2021</p> 30c343ba255a22d5a4d6c81f75dd320b Police Traffic Stops Are a Needless Danger for 04/15/2021 Thu, 15 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Driving has gotten much less dangerous over time, thanks to new safety features in cars, better highway design and a decline in drunk driving. But that's no solace to motorists who face dangers of a different kind &#8212; not when they are driving, but when they are stopped on the side of the road.</p> <p>Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old African American, was fatally shot by a police officer in Minnesota after being pulled over for an expired license tag. In Virginia, Caron Nazario, a Black and Latino Army officer, was pepper-sprayed after being stopped for lacking a rear license plate &#8212; though a temporary plate was affixed to his rear window. </p> <p>Jenoah Donald, a 30-year-old Black man, was fatally shot by a Kentucky sheriff's deputy who had pulled him over for a broken taillight. And it's impossible to forget Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old African American, who died in 2015 in a Texas jail after being stopped for failing to signal &#8212; and was arrested for refusing to put out her cigarette. <p>Updated: Thu Apr 15, 2021</p> 4943f7f3d0399139f25a0d2d856c2a83 Mass Transit Has To Change for the Post-Pandemic World for 04/11/2021 Sun, 11 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The Biden administration has grand dreams for mass transit. In its blue-sky vision, subways and buses will do everything from reducing traffic congestion to curbing climate change. But like generals preparing for the last war while failing to imagine how the next one will differ, it has the perfect strategy for an era that has passed.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">The pandemic took the "mass" out of mass transit.</span> In April of last year, the Chicago Transit Authority saw total ridership down 79% compared to a year earlier. In November, it was still down by 69%. The Metra commuter rail system took an even bigger hit, with passenger loads off by 97% in April and 92% in November.</p> <p>Chicago is not unusual. In New York, subway use today is one-third of what it was before. In Washington, D.C., it's one-sixth. <p>Updated: Sun Apr 11, 2021</p> 953e2f0a93a30221798d30c8f0050df4 Republicans Versus 'Woke Corporations': A Losing Battle for 04/08/2021 Thu, 08 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Mitch McConnell has been presented with the spectacle of giant American corporations taking sides on a political issue, and his eyes were seared by the sight. The Senate Republican leader could not have imagined Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola, much less Major League Baseball, coming out against a piece of legislation. Processing the trauma may require years of therapy.</p> <p>"I'm talking about taking a position on a highly incendiary issue like this and punishing a community or a state, because you don't like a particular law that passed &#8212; I just think it's stupid," he said Tuesday. "So my warning, if you will, to corporate America is to stay out of politics." </p> <p>This is not quite what you would expect from a politician who last year got more than $250,000 in campaign contributions from chief executives of major companies. Nor is it quite in line with his longstanding view that corporations enjoy the same First Amendment rights as individuals. But McConnell hastened to add that he was not referring to business people making political donations, a practice he assured them is "fine."<p>Updated: Thu Apr 08, 2021</p> 21cf11bfb0ca455aa422c07cc43c07cf The Un-Conservative Rejection of Vaccine Passports for 04/04/2021 Sun, 04 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>If there is any fundamental belief that has always united conservatives, it's the central importance of property rights. James Madison wrote: "Government is instituted to protect property of every sort ... (T)hat alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own." Said economist Milton Friedman, "Nothing is so important for freedom as recognizing in the law each individual's natural right to property." </p> <p>That idea still has some appeal on the right. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has gone so far as to criticize the Fair Housing Act, which barred racial discrimination in the sale and rental of homes, for infringing on the liberty of owners. "Decisions concerning private property and associations should in a free society be unhindered," he wrote in 2002. "As a consequence, some associations will discriminate." He was fine with that.</p> <p>But Republicans have gotten fickle about the rights of property owners. This shift is apparent in their rejection of "vaccine passports," which would allow businesses to deny service to people who have not been inoculated against COVID-19.<p>Updated: Sun Apr 04, 2021</p> c5d443be276e59407550cf020977ba29 Why Biden Will Prolong the War in Afghanistan for 04/01/2021 Thu, 01 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The U.S. mission in Afghanistan is nearly old enough to buy a beer, having gone on since 2001. Two presidents, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, promised it would come to an end, but the war outlasted them both. </p> <p>Trump's administration negotiated a deal with the Taliban that committed us to leave by May. That obligation was conveniently scheduled for after the 2020 presidential election, making it Joe Biden's problem. Biden said at his news conference last week, "It's going to be hard to meet the May 1 deadline." But when asked if our troops would still be there next year, he said, "I can't picture that being the case." </p> <p>Really? He served as vice president under Obama, who campaigned on a promise to get out within 16 months. Running for reelection in 2012, Obama promised to end our involvement by 2014. Trump made similar promises, which were equally empty. <p>Updated: Thu Apr 01, 2021</p> 4dccbc6e127348c3e431bbeebbefd9a8 The Ineffectual Remedies for Mass Shootings for 03/28/2021 Sun, 28 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Many national problems have simple, effective solutions. To curb global warming, reduce fossil fuel use. To combat child poverty, give money to families with kids. To end a pandemic, get people vaccinated. But some problems are impervious to any plausible remedy. Mass shootings are one of those.</p> <p>In the days after the bloody carnage in Georgia and Boulder, Colorado, politicians and activists offered familiar proposals: Ban assault weapons. Outlaw high-capacity magazines. Expand federal background checks. Close the "Charleston loophole" that allows gun sales to go through if the FBI can't complete the background check within three days.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Not all of these ideas are without value. But none holds any serious prospect of averting future horrors. The proposals stem from the idea that the perpetrators of this kind of slaughter are weakly motivated and easily foiled. They rest on mistaken beliefs about the guns that are often used.</span><p>Updated: Sun Mar 28, 2021</p> 25113551c651e0cda7ec71d0443d290d Biden's Low Profile Is a Bonus, Not a Burden for 03/25/2021 Thu, 25 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>This is a time of pandemic, economic turmoil and mass shootings, but no issue has galvanized the American public more than President Joe Biden's long refusal to hold a press conference. The deafening chorus of popular outcries, however, finally forced him to schedule one for Thursday. </p> <p>Just kidding. Americans have a lot of things on their minds right now. Whether Biden takes the time to answer questions from the White House press corps comes in about 87th on the list. It's mainly on Fox News that his absence has even been noticed. <span class="column--highlighted-text">Most people are grateful for one bonus of Biden's arrival: the chance to forget about the president.</span></p> <p>If you've ever been awakened by a car alarm in the middle of the night, you know how stressful it is to hear it blaring again and again. Former President Donald Trump was the car alarm that could not be turned off, making it impossible to fully focus on anything else.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 25, 2021</p> fe82a371c14702172386f77a237fbabd The Real Causes of the Border Crisis -- and the Real Remedies for 03/21/2021 Sun, 21 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In 2014, the Obama administration was faced with a surge in unaccompanied minors from Central America showing up at our border and seeking asylum. In an effort to reduce the number of kids trekking across Mexico, it created a program to let them apply for asylum in their home countries. Some 13,000 did, helping to ease the rush. </p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">You can guess what happened next. Donald Trump became president and acted on his twin beliefs: anything that Barack Obama did was bad, and anything that helped foreigners was worse. </span>He killed the program, and soon the number of Central American kids crossing over began to grow. By the spring of 2019, his administration was faced with its very own crisis at the border. </p> <p>His Department of Homeland Security responded with harsh measures &#8212; separating children from parents in large numbers, expelling children from Central America into Mexico and forcing asylum seekers to remain for months in Mexico in squalid camps. <p>Updated: Sun Mar 21, 2021</p> 79c2aa7c5ca6d9ad6c11296f0b1ec17f We Don't Need Biden's Infrastructure Binge for 03/18/2021 Thu, 18 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Donald Trump did many bad things as president, but he deserves a smidgen of credit for what he didn't do: go on an infrastructure spending binge. He vowed that under him, our roads, bridges and waterways would be "the envy of the world." He said that in 2016 and was still saying it in 2020. But his main achievement was to make "infrastructure week" a source of hilarity.</p> <p>Now President Joe Biden is hoping to do what Trump didn't do, and he has support from such divergent groups as the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. During his campaign, he made gaudy promises to "transform" our transportation networks, "revolutionize" railroads and urban transit, and upgrade water systems, broadband, bike lanes, home weatherization and just about anything else you could think of. Biden could make the Pledge of Allegiance an infrastructure issue.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 18, 2021</p> e0a53c96e682dff33d5a884b5fd0709a A City Opts To Pay Racial Reparations for 03/14/2021 Sun, 14 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Difficult tasks often don't get done, because they are, well, difficult. It's easier to ignore them, delay them, hope they'll go away or give up on them. But the city council of Evanston, Illinois, has the idea that the formidable nature of one obligation isn't an excuse for doing nothing.</p> <p>The task it has taken up is providing a measure of compensation to African Americans for some of the costly inequities they have endured. In 2019, the aldermen approved a measure committing to use revenue from recreational cannabis taxes to create a $10 million fund for "local reparations." On March 22, the council plans to vote on a plan for allocating the first $400,000. </p> <p>The Chicago suburb, home of Northwestern University, has a population of 72,000 and is 16% Black. But despite its progressive politics (Joe Biden got 92% of the vote in 2020), Evanston has a history of racial exclusion and discrimination. In that respect, it's hardly unusual. What's unusual is its commitment to recognize that history and address its consequences.<p>Updated: Sun Mar 14, 2021</p> 1caab258d7ed951634c2e507d4cb1235 Car Collisions With Big Rigs Don't Have To Be So Deadly for 03/11/2021 Thu, 11 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Anytime I'm driving down the highway behind a semitruck, I look for the horizontal metal bar that spans the space underneath the trailer. It makes me feel a bit safer. And it reminds me of Jayne Mansfield.</p> <p>She was a well-known film actress who died in a traffic accident in Louisiana in 1967. Her car rear-ended an 18-wheeler and slid underneath the trailer. The top of the car was demolished, killing Mansfield and the driver. The coroner reported that the upper portion of her skull "was severed," though it was widely believed she had been decapitated.</p> <p>The wreck had another notable consequence: those bars on truck trailers, known as underride guards. Most drivers probably take them for granted, if they notice them at all. Those used in 1967, though, were not much use, and it took the horrific death of a celebrity to bring better ones into operation.<p>Updated: Thu Mar 11, 2021</p> d880616e83052d3bd80977e2646c3274 Decriminalizing Prostitution: An Idea Whose Time Has Come? for 03/07/2021 Sun, 07 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Eliza Orlins gained a measure of fame years ago as a contestant on the reality shows "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race." But if things go well for her, she could be remembered for something slightly more consequential: moving the nation toward decriminalizing sex work, commonly known as prostitution.</p> <p>Orlins, a veteran public defender who is running for district attorney of Manhattan, has taken a bold position. If elected, she says, she will "advocate for the full decriminalization of consensual sex work. This will begin with declining to prosecute all cases of consensual sex work." </p> <p>She is finding plenty of allies. Five other candidates in the eight-person field have taken the same position, according to a report published in The Appeal: Political Report and New York Focus. <p>Updated: Sun Mar 07, 2021</p> 5f7350e85bc3f67987c293078ea042fd Democrats Should Disown Andrew Cuomo for 03/04/2021 Thu, 04 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p>There are many instances when it sucks to be a Democrat, and the emergence of claims of sexual harassment against Andrew Cuomo is one of them. Just months ago, the governor of New York was a shining liberal hero, upholding facts and common sense in combating the coronavirus &#8212; in stark contrast to the reckless idiocy of the 45th president. Now Cuomo has become something else, and many Democrats are curiously uncertain what to say or do.</p> <p>The charges made by three different women have the ring of truth. Charlotte Bennett, a 25-year-old former aide to the governor, who is 63, said he harassed her with conversational detours indicating that he "wanted to sleep with me." Another former staffer, Lindsey Boylan, 36, said he forcibly kissed her and suggested playing strip poker. </p> <p>Anna Ruch, 33, who met him at a wedding reception, said he put his hand on her bare back and, when she removed it, cupped her face in his hands (as photos confirmed) and kissed her on the cheek as she tried to pull away. <p>Updated: Thu Mar 04, 2021</p> fa53578817805779c5ede20db4c244e2 How Americans Rose To the COVID-19 Challenge for 02/28/2021 Sun, 28 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p>This month, the United States recorded a horrific milestone: 500,000 deaths from COVID-19. Someday, historians will look back at the pandemic and note all the mistakes and failures that helped make it the most deadly outbreak of disease in more than a century. But if they are wise, they will also note this past year as one in which Americans were asked to rise to a challenge &#8212; and did so in impressive fashion. </p> <p>It's tempting to focus our attention on all the ways our leaders and people went wrong. The 45th president repeatedly lied about the severity of the threat, resisted basic measures to curb it and held out false hopes that only aided the virus. Some Americans protested against public health mandates and selfishly disregarded medical guidance, spreading disease in the process.</p> <p>But the noise and fury in some quarters obscure the broad acceptance of unwanted changes. For the most part, Americans have recognized the danger and have embraced unprecedented obligations.<p>Updated: Sun Feb 28, 2021</p>