Steve Chapman from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Wed, 04 Aug 2021 20:41:52 -0700 Steve Chapman from Creators Syndicate 72a6c36a4f53a375efd9e871a3e5d294 Politicians Are Waffling on Vaccine Mandates. So Businesses Are Leading. for 08/04/2021 Wed, 04 Aug 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Public health is normally the responsibility of government officials and agencies. But the rampaging delta variant of COVID-19 has shown public institutions to be inadequate to the task. So it may be up to the private sector to do the heavy lifting. </p> <p>Early in the pandemic, the urgent danger forced governors and mayors to take drastic actions that many citizens resented &#8212; closing businesses, issuing stay-at-home orders and mandating masks. But the arrival of vaccines sharply curtailed the virus, allowing life to return to near-normal. Even though this virulent variant has sent infections and hospitalizations soaring, public officials are leery of the opposition that new requirements might provoke. </p> <p>President Joe Biden has shied away from putting any mandates on ordinary Americans, for obvious reasons. When he raised the idea of a door-to-door outreach initiative to encourage vaccinations, Republicans reacted as if the Gestapo were coming to drag people out of their beds. Treading lightly is part of Biden's attempt to restore calm after the nonstop turbulence of the previous four years. <p>Updated: Wed Aug 04, 2021</p> d1b20241109fd7c1113f2fafbd33ed21 The Eviction Moratorium Deserves the Heave-Ho for 07/30/2021 Fri, 30 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Emergency situations can justify actions that would normally be inexcusable. The social order is not damaged if a lost hiker breaks into an unoccupied cabin to avoid freezing to death. The damage comes if the exception becomes the norm and cabin owners lose all protection from intruders. </p> <p>In the early months of the pandemic, the federal government was doing everything it could think of to limit the damage from COVID-19. One measure was a ban on evictions by landlords at a time when many renters were suddenly out of work and unable to pay. </p> <p>Originally part of the coronavirus relief package passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump, the moratorium was extended in September by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Congress later extended it again, and when that extension lapsed, the CDC renewed it until the end of June. Some states, including California, New York and Illinois, imposed their own bans. <p>Updated: Fri Jul 30, 2021</p> bf751ba541fa696e0f6a8e010b171f6d The Capitol Riot Aftermath Bodes Ill for Democracy for 07/28/2021 Wed, 28 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Someday, the past year or so may be remembered as a bout of temporary insanity among a large share of the American people. This group refused to take basic precautions against a devastating pandemic, swallowed the lies of a president who had lost an election, and excused a violent mob that attacked the Capitol to prevent Congress from doing its constitutional duty. </p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Or maybe not. Maybe it will come to seem perfectly normal. Maybe this period will be known as the time when we lost our bearings for good, dooming us to a catastrophic national unravelling.</span></p> <p>The rise in insanity is hard to overstate. A recent poll found that 20% of Americans &#8212; including half of those who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 &#8212; believe the inoculation implants a microchip that the government can use to track them. Nearly half of Republicans don't plan to get vaccinated.<p>Updated: Wed Jul 28, 2021</p> 54152d16a049a5987045e22aab1486fc Hypocrisy on Housing Is a Bipartisan Scourge for 07/23/2021 Fri, 23 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Right now, selling a home is akin to selling beer on a troopship: Buyers are so eager they'll pay almost any amount. The median home sales price in the United States was nearly 23% higher in June than a year earlier. </p> <p>Surging demand is the immediate cause of the increase, and it will abate before long. But underlying it is a more durable factor: policies that choke off supply by making it harder and more expensive to build homes. </p> <p>The claim that all politics is local has never been more true than in the realm of housing policy, which has a way of turning principles upside down. At the national level, Democrats favor affordable shelter for all and Republicans oppose burdensome regulation. But in their own neighborhoods, they give priority to high real estate values. <p>Updated: Fri Jul 23, 2021</p> 74de375b12d7dff6a6829644c6bf0af6 Political Dysfunction Keeps the 'Dreamers' in Purgatory for 07/21/2021 Wed, 21 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Someday, many years from now, historians will use the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program as a case study in the monumental dysfunction of American democracy in the early 21st century. But there is no guarantee that the issue will be consigned to the history books by then. Many of the "dreamers" could pass on to the next world before our political institutions have settled their fate in this world. </p> <p>DACA was initiated in 2012 by President Barack Obama after he gave up on persuading Congress to pass legislation that both Democrats and many Republicans &#8212; including President George W. Bush &#8212; thought was wise and necessary. The program allowed foreigners brought here illegally as children to remain in the United States and eventually gain citizenship if they met certain criteria. </p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Broad public support for legislation was not enough to overcome irresponsible fearmongering and partisan gridlock. The blameless became the victims of the feckless. </span><p>Updated: Wed Jul 21, 2021</p> c808fa3137c28489797a777f3383ea58 A New Civilian Climate Corps Would Take Us Down the Wrong Trail for 07/16/2021 Fri, 16 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Nostalgia is an essential ingredient in class reunions, wedding anniversaries and Baseball Hall of Fame inductions. But it's a poor source of guidance for public policy. Often, rose-colored memories serve to obscure dangers and cloud judgment. </p> <p>In January, President Joe Biden issued an executive order directing Cabinet officers to create a Civilian Climate Corps. The $3.5 trillion budget plan unveiled by congressional Democrats Wednesday includes funding to expand the initiative. It's a self-conscious emulation of President Franklin Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps, which has attained mythic status in our national lore.</p> <p>Much of the original CCC's reputation is deserved. It enlisted some 3 million unmarried men &#8212; and almost no women &#8212; to plant trees, clear trails, and build roads and lodges in national and state parks and forests. You can still see the results in parks across the country. <p>Updated: Fri Jul 16, 2021</p> 001ed79f28702341f5e878c4406370bd Send US Troops to Haiti? A Bad Idea Gets No Takers for 07/14/2021 Wed, 14 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>When the president of Haiti was gunned down last week by a team of mercenaries, the country fell into even more turmoil than before, which is saying a lot. The assassination prompted the interim prime minister to ask the United States to send military forces. But here's the surprise: No one is jumping to accept the invitation. </p> <p>Haiti is not far from the U.S. mainland, though most Americans couldn't find it on an unlabeled map. Its proximity has always given the U.S. government the idea that we are entitled or obligated to take action to affect events there. </p> <p>But we have never been able to sustain much interest because for Americans, there is nothing significant at stake in Haiti. The history of our involvement gives no evidence that we know how to achieve anything of value. <p>Updated: Wed Jul 14, 2021</p> 4302731d3dbd25697d822bf2d787290d Mike Pompeo's Cynical Lies for 07/09/2021 Fri, 09 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>One of the many aggravating ills of the era of Donald Trump is having our intelligence constantly insulted. <span class="column--highlighted-text">It is one thing to have spirited debate on divisive issues. It's another to have transparently fraudulent claims thrust upon us by people who are smarter than they pretend to be. </span></p> <p>One of these is former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who weighed into the mostly manufactured controversy over "critical race theory" in schools with an ungrammatical tweet: "If we teach that the founding of the United States of America was somehow flawed. It was corrupt. It was racist. That's really dangerous. It strikes at the very foundations of our country." </p> <p>Pompeo is an evangelical Christian, which makes it odd for him to suggest that what our forebears brought about in 1776, or 1789, achieved perfection. Christianity teaches that all humans are afflicted by original sin, dooming them to fall short in every endeavor. The philosopher Immanuel Kant channeled the Lutheran faith of his upbringing when he wrote, "Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made."? <p>Updated: Fri Jul 09, 2021</p> a8b1d7c10d6853232d3428a4a8ed79a5 Afghanistan and Cuba Show the Limits of US Power for 07/08/2021 Thu, 08 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>If you've ever been on a date with someone who got up to go to the restroom and never came back, you know how Afghan officers at Bagram Airfield felt when they woke up the other day to find the American military gone. </p> <p>According to the Afghans, our units vacated in the middle of the night without so much as a goodbye, cutting off the electricity on their way out. The sudden departure gave looters a chance to ransack some barracks before the Afghan military established control. </p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">The American experience in Afghanistan has produced a lot of tragedy, but even tragedies can include moments of farce. It's conceivable that the U.S. commander decided to escape without an awkward breakup conversation.</span><p>Updated: Thu Jul 08, 2021</p> 600d852859fc1c314fc8011c72821dbc Don't Blame Bail Reform for Violent Crime for 07/04/2021 Sun, 04 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The Fourth of July is an occasion for the reading of the Declaration of Independence. But a better project might be the reading of the Constitution, a document that many Americans revere without fully understanding. </p> <p>Among this group are many police officers, even though they take an oath to uphold it and are greatly affected by it in the course of their duties. One provision that sometimes gets short shrift is the Eighth Amendment, which says, "Excessive bail shall not be required." </p> <p>That provision rests on the longstanding right of criminal defendants to be granted bail except when no amount would ensure their appearance in court &#8212; notably in capital cases. But for others, the right to be released before trial is implicit in the amendment. Denying bail, after all, has exactly the same effect as imposing excessive bail. <p>Updated: Sun Jul 04, 2021</p> c9100b0d71c739e1b69d676fbfcc0cfe Bill Barr Adds to His Disgrace for 07/01/2021 Thu, 01 Jul 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Anyone who serves as attorney general of the United States owes a huge debt to the predecessors who upheld the rule of law while protecting the Justice Department from politicization. Bill Barr, by contrast, can thank the less distinguished ones. They may save him from being remembered as the worst attorney general the nation has ever had.</p> <p>There was John Mitchell, who went to prison for his role in the Watergate burglary and cover-up. There was Bobby Kennedy, who had all the independence you could expect of someone appointed by his brother and who approved the wiretapping of Martin Luther King Jr. </p> <p>There was Harry Daugherty, who was indicted in connection with the scandals that engulfed Warren Harding's administration. Barr can make a plausible case that he doesn't belong at the bottom of the rankings. <p>Updated: Thu Jul 01, 2021</p> 7a236aabddfb95dd82d74f42e02d1377 A University Meets Vaccine Resistance for 06/27/2021 Sun, 27 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans have been yearning for the bygone life they once took for granted. But many of those most impatient to return to normal have been the least willing to help us get there. First, some people refused to wear masks. Now, some &#8212; often the same ones &#8212; balk at getting vaccinated. </p> <p>This resistance is behind a lawsuit filed by eight students against the Indiana University, which is requiring all students, faculty and staff at all campuses to be inoculated against the virus for the fall semester. The school says exceptions will be "extremely limited," covering only those with religious objections or certain medical conditions. </p> <p>The point is to move past the onerous restrictions and precautions that have made college life unrecognizable. "Classrooms, labs, housing, dining, recreation and other campus facilities will return to pre-pandemic capacities, with no physical distancing required," says IU. "Classes will be held in person in typical classroom settings." <p>Updated: Sun Jun 27, 2021</p> 86c3a42af5f17817691ec48f9f2a958f Why Hasn't Legal Weed Killed the Illegal Market? for 06/24/2021 Thu, 24 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Legal marijuana is becoming the norm in America. Nineteen states have legalized recreational cannabis, and 36 allow medical use. In all five states where liberalization was on the ballot in November, voters supported it &#8212; even in such conservative states as South Dakota and Mississippi. One in three Americans now lives in a place where adults can legally buy weed just because they feel like it. </p> <p>The shift has come about for a couple of main reasons. The first is that more than half of Americans have used cannabis, and people know from experience it's not a demon drug. The second is that the national war on drugs, launched half a century ago by President Richard Nixon, has proven utterly futile in preventing such use.</p> <p>There are other good reasons behind the change in laws and attitudes. <span class="column--highlighted-text">By fostering a huge black market, pot prohibition rewarded street dealers, criminal gangs and foreign drug cartels. It also exposed users to a product that may be contaminated with harmful ingredients.</span> Legalization promised to dry up the illicit trade, ensure safer products and force weed merchants to find honest work.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 24, 2021</p> fa13a261fe7cca259b20a3bd3ce8148a A Supreme Court Ruling on Gay Rights Is a Victory for Pluralism for 06/20/2021 Sun, 20 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In its Thursday decision letting a Catholic agency decline to place foster children with same-sex couples, the Supreme Court analyzed the First Amendment, state law and judicial precedents. But what prevailed in the end are the words emblazoned on the Great Seal of the United States: E pluribus unum. Out of many, one.</p> <p>America is a land of rights. The constitution explicitly enshrines several, and it has been interpreted to protect more. Federal and state statutes recognize others. Our reverence for rights stems from a respect for individual autonomy. It affirms that each person has a sphere in which to act without permission from anyone.</p> <p>But this nation is also a kaleidoscope of differences &#8212; in race, religion, culture, ideology and more. Uniformity is not part of our national makeup. We prize our shared values &#8212; well, most of us do &#8212; but we cherish the attributes that not all of us share.<p>Updated: Sun Jun 20, 2021</p> fbe80ca49febefa5406982aac1ae82f9 What Joe Manchin Knows That Progressives Don't for 06/17/2021 Thu, 17 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>The 2010 Senate candidate was almost a caricature of the sort of Republican who drives Democrats crazy. He bragged about his endorsement by the National Rifle Association, criticized "Obamacare" and dramatized his support for coal by picking up a rifle and blasting away at a bill aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions. </p> <p>But the guy who turned those themes into a victory was not a Republican. He was a Democrat, Joe Manchin of West Virginia. And he's somehow proven to be both the indispensable senator for President Joe Biden and a villain to many in his party.</p> <p>You might think Democrats would be building shrines to the person who has kept them in control of the Senate. A Democrat has about as much business representing West Virginia &#8212; which Donald Trump won by a 39-point margin &#8212; as a vegan sandwich has on the Burger King menu.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 17, 2021</p> 74db3605182b0d76b87286cd9afb1fb5 Why I'm Not (Very) Worried About Inflation for 06/13/2021 Sun, 13 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>For a long time, inflation has been the phantom of the American economy: often expected but never seen. But the latest Consumer Price Index, which showed that prices rose by 5% from May of last year to May of this year, raises fears that it is breaking down the front door and taking over the guest room.</p> <p>The price jump was the biggest one-month increase since 2008. It appears to support the warning of former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who wrote in February that President Joe Biden's budget binge could "set off inflationary pressures of a kind we have not seen in a generation." Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell charged last month that the administration has already produced "raging inflation." <p>Updated: Sun Jun 13, 2021</p> 54678a4de1d6f79fd1206cc042df1942 Draft Registration for Women? The Supreme Court Stands Down for 06/10/2021 Thu, 10 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>To everything there is a season, and in a season when the Supreme Court will decide many important questions, the justices have recognized an important truth: For major constitutional issues, there is a time to act, and there is a time to do nothing.</p> <p>They followed this wisdom in declining to hear a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of requiring only men to register for the military draft. You may ask: What draft? The justices may have asked themselves the same question.</p> <p>Aware that military conscription hasn't happened since 1973 &#8212; a year after Amy Coney Barrett, the newest justice, was born &#8212; they understand that there is no urgency about resolving a question that is important in principle but moot in practice.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 10, 2021</p> 007ef2a6dddf9d017a8ad9507ef9a14d Kamala Harris and the Worsening Job of Vice President for 06/06/2021 Sun, 06 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Kamala Harris has been vilified by critics on the right, but the people who may end up detesting her most are not conservatives or even contemporaries. They are future vice presidents, who will curse her for loading up the office with heavy burdens.</p> <p>On Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced that she will lead the administration's charge against voting rights restrictions being devised in one red state after another. The assignment reportedly came at her request, and it's easy to picture Biden pondering the idea for 0.01 seconds before offloading the issue to her.</p> <p>He had already given his veep a job that might have gone unfilled if he had invited applications: figuring out the reasons and remedies for the migration crisis at the southern border. Given that large numbers of people from Latin America have been sneaking into this country for decades, there isn't much chance Harris will find a way to dry up the flow. By now, it should be clear that unauthorized migration is not a problem that can be solved but a situation that can only be managed.<p>Updated: Sun Jun 06, 2021</p> 1bc90983b66828f5d70e7f7c25983eaf Finally, Free Agency for College Athletes for 06/03/2021 Thu, 03 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>A lot of young people enroll at a university they think will suit their needs but later realize they've made a mistake &#8212; maybe because of costs, maybe because of professors, maybe because of a failed romance. Fortunately, they have the option to move on, attending Missouri one semester and Kansas the next, and pursue whatever they went to college to pursue. </p> <p>But this has not been true for everyone. Any student going to State U to play a major sport such as football or basketball faced a major roadblock. These athletes can transfer to another Division I school, but with a major catch: being barred from competition for an entire season. So, a 19-year-old running back who leaves one football factory &#8212; I mean, institution of higher learning &#8212; might be 21 before being allowed to play another down. </p> <p>Until now. Recently, the NCAA drastically modified its rule, granting every student athlete a one-time opportunity to transfer without having to sit out a year. The equivalent of free agency, it aggrieves coaches but liberates the young people playing big-time college sports &#8212; who are, after all, the real reason fans show up or tune in to watch.<p>Updated: Thu Jun 03, 2021</p> 9e240ae993fd0301a9d0c758ad3aacc6 The Damaging Protectionism of Trump -- and Biden for 05/30/2021 Sun, 30 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>When he became president, Joe Biden summarily reversed his predecessor's policies on a range of issues, including climate change, immigration, taxes, social welfare and police reform. But on international trade, it's almost like Donald Trump never left.</p> <p>Trump had a primitive view of this issue. Good, in his view, were exports, trade surpluses, tariffs and trade wars. Bad were imports, trade deficits and multilateral trade agreements.</p> <p>He saw global commerce as a zero-sum game, in which anything that benefited another country must come at our expense, and vice versa. He was unable to grasp that exchanges of goods and services across national borders could &#8212; and do &#8212; make people in every nation better off.<p>Updated: Sun May 30, 2021</p>