Linda Chavez: President keeps on appeasing dictators

It may not be too early for President Obama to start job-hunting given his lame duck status, and I have a suggestion for the perfect fit.

Mary Sanchez: Pragmatism must guide new Cuba policy

“With all due respect.” That’s a fitting sentiment to express to Cuban-Americans angered by President Obama’s decision to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Steve Chapman: ‘Assault weapons’ targeted yet again

The 1994 federal law banning “assault weapons” was a high point of the gun control movement and Bill Clinton’s presidency. Signing the bill, he said it was the beginning of “our effort to restore safety and security to the people of this country.” But something happened that he and his allies had not predicted: nothing.

Froma Harrop: Pottersville goes online

What is it that makes the holiday movie classic It’s a Wonderful Life feel so ancient? It’s the relationships, but which ones?

Jonah Goldberg: Magazine misses excellent opportunity

Jonathan Gruber should have been Time’s Person of the Year. The magazine gave it to the “Ebola Fighters” instead. Good for them; they’re doing God’s work. Still, Gruber would have been better.

Trudy Rubin: People of Israel face major election

While Arab countries are struggling to redefine themselves amid violence, Israel is poised to wrestle with its own identity crisis at the polls.

Kathleen Parker: Talk about a wildfire

WASHINGTON — First there’s the spark, then the conflagration, followed by the litigation and then, surely, the movie.

Doyle McManus: Ugly spending bill looks like compromise

The trillion-dollar spending bill that the House of Representatives passed recently had something for everyone to hate. But it was still a step, however awkward, toward making the United States governable again.

Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe: Closure ties up public info

We work hard to bring you the news when it happens. We recognize both the importance and the value of telling you what we know as soon as we know it — not the next day or the day after that.

Thomas Sowell: Democrats express tortured reasoning

Critics and defenders of the harsh interrogation methods applied to captured terrorists can argue forever over whether those methods were “torture.”

Rex Huppke: Presents we actually want don’t exist

At this point, we all know the true meaning of Christmas. That kid from Peanuts — the one with the blanket — gives us a lecture every year when we watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. And we see the Grinch’s preposterous decision to not make off with an entire town’s gifts — a move that likely would’ve netted him millions in today’s Who dollars — and are reminded that maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store.

Walter E. Williams: Sometimes profiling is correct thing to do

Recently, the Obama administration announced new curbs on racial profiling by federal law enforcement.

Froma Harrop: Survey ties right, left to favorite alcohol

Did you know that Democrats drink more than Republicans? Or that they are likelier to choose clear liquors, whereas Republicans tend toward the darker ones? That voters who skew most Republican favor Jim Beam? That those who skew most Democratic go for Seagram’s gin?

Steve Chapman: Government ineptitude continues

Anyone skeptical about entrusting ambitious tasks to the government was not stunned by the dismal rollout of the Affordable Care Act. It featured technical glitches, cost overruns and false advertising (“If you like your plan, you’ll be able to keep it.”). Things got so bad that President Barack Obama apologized and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius resigned.

Leonard Pitts: Rainbow coalition keeps protests going in U.S.

They have not stopped. That’s one of the most heartening things about the demonstrations against police brutality that began with the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August and renewed with a grand jury’s recent decision not to indict a New York police officer who choked Eric Garner to death.

Jonah Goldberg: Schumer takes shot at Obama’s failures

At a time when Ferguson, Missouri, has been under siege, the president unilaterally brought millions of illegal immigrants “out of the shadows,” the so-called Islamic State beheaded another American, an architect of Obamacare admitted the law was conceived and birthed in deception, and the secretary of defense was unceremoniously dumped, it’s no wonder that a recent speech by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., didn’t get the coverage it deserved.

Clarence Page: Racial strife can help lead to progress

Big city mayors have to stay as neutral as possible when asked about disputes between their citizens and the police. But New York Mayor Bill de Blasio found his voice in a profoundly moving way when he responded not as a mayor, but as a parent.

Doyle McManus: Corruption abroad harms U.S. national security

When the militants of Islamic State swept across Iraq last June, they numbered no more than 12,000 and they faced a U.S.-trained, U.S.-equipped Iraqi army that boasted some 200,000 troops. And yet it was the Iraqi army that collapsed.

Kathleen Parker: Women can be feminist, conservative

WASHINGTON — It is probably too soon to declare a feminist reformation, but a few signs here and there give one hope.

Froma Harrop: End practice of hiding rape victims’ identities

Jackie’s shocking account of gang rape at a University of Virginia frat house has been growing holes by the day.

Thomas Sowell: Books can make good Christmas presents

This year, Christmas shopping may be an especially welcome respite from the ugly events going on across the country, as mobs take to the streets because grand juries that examined evidence reached different conclusions from those reached by mobs who made up their minds without examining that evidence.

Steve Chapman: At Gitmo, a tough policy to swallow

President Barack Obama is a champion of using video cameras to prevent and expose misconduct by uniformed people with guns.

Leonard Pitts: Case illustrates meaning of ‘cruel and unusual’

So what does “cruel and unusual” mean? I once asked that of a law professor. The Eighth Amendment prohibits “cruel and unusual” punishment, but I figured there had to be some technical definition I, as a layperson, was missing.

Walter E. Williams: People in America do not want rule of law

President Barack Obama said just before the recent Ferguson, Missouri, riots, “First and foremost, we are a nation built on the rule of law.”

Clarence Page: Empathy should be a two-way street

After a grand jury decided not to indict a police officer in the death of Michael Brown, President Barack Obama stepped up to perform his unofficial yet widely presumed role: racial explainer-in-chief.

Linda Chavez: Ferguson different from case in New York

The grand jury system — indeed, the criminal jury system overall — is not perfect. And while I think the grand jury in Ferguson got it right by not indicting Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, based on the physical evidence and credible testimony from actual witnesses, the outcome of a recent grand jury in New York City in the death of Eric Garner is another matter.

Mary Sanchez: We must not let Mexico become a failed state

Mass protests have blocked highways, overtaken town squares and disrupted government buildings. Protesters are in their third unrelenting month of marching and organizing, demanding answers for the brutal deaths of the young men.

Jonah Goldberg: Cigarette taxes partly to blame in man’s death

Reasonable people can disagree on whether racism was involved in the tragic death of Eric Garner. My own suspicion is that this misfortune could have transpired just as easily with a white man resisting arrest and/or a black cop choking him.

Froma Harrop: End the game on immigration reform

President Obama’s plan to bypass Congress in shielding millions of immigrants from deportation is not the best way to do immigration reform. But if confrontation is what it takes to get House Republicans off their rear ends and deal with the problem, so be it.

Trudy Rubin: Our Iraqi aides now need help

In columns past, I’ve written of my gratitude to this country for taking in my immigrant grandparents, and my belief that immigration makes this country great.

Leonard Pitts: White privilege clear in videos of shootings

What follows is for the benefit of one William James O’Reilly Jr. “Bill” to his fans. Last summer, Mr. O’Reilly, a pundit for Fox News, spent time talking about white privilege and his contention that no such thing exists.

Steve Chapman: Obama’s immigration order helps dispel fear

If you’re a foreigner in this country without authorization, you may be a hardworking, upright and taxpaying person, but you live in daily terror of making a fatal misstep.

Clarence Page: America losing the Bill Cosby we knew

When asked about recent allegations against Bill Cosby, Chris Rock fell into what is for him an unusual position. He was at a loss for words.

Jonah Goldberg: Real life isn’t clear cut, rather it’s messy

The day after it was announced that Officer Darren Wilson would not be charged in the slaying of Michael Brown, the president for a second time called for calm. His statement was measured, careful and responsible.

Doyle McManus: GOP ponders its next move on immigration

When President Barack Obama announced his decision to allow roughly 4 million undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S. without fear of deportation, Democrats and Republicans in Washington disagreed furiously about the move. No surprise there.

Kathleen Parker: TV turns Ferguson into circus

WASHINGTON — As the curtain closes on the latest episode of “Ferguson,” the media series, it is fair to wonder whether events might not have spiraled out of control to the extent they did had the media settled on another topic.

Froma Harrop: Obamacare a boon to the middle class

Few truly appreciate the enormous economic benefits the Affordable Care Act will deliver to the American people over time, the middle class included. But you’d expect New York’s seasoned Democratic senator, Charles Schumer, to “get it” rather than belittle the 2010 federal health care law as a political inconvenience for his party.

Thomas Sowell: Ferguson will leave long legacy of victims

Everyone seems to have an opinion about the tragic events in Ferguson, Missouri. But, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan used to say, “You’re entitled to your own opinion but you’re not entitled to your own facts.”

Leonard Pitts: Let’s talk about ‘black on black’ crime

OK, fine. Let’s talk about “black on black” crime. That, after all, is where the conversation seems to inevitably turn whenever one seeks to engage a conservative on the American habit of shooting unarmed African-American boys and men.

Walter E. Williams: Meet basic needs to improve education

In the medical profession, there is the admonition primum non nocere, the Latin expression for “first, do no harm.” In order not to do harm, at the minimum, requires accurate diagnostics.

Clarence Page: Mistakes turn local clash into national tragedy

When my fellow critics of Ferguson, Missouri, police are reduced to arguing not whether but how hard Michael Brown hit police officer Darren Wilson, I think it is time to rethink what this scandal is all about or, more pointedly, what it should be about.

Mary Sanchez: Throw the bums out

Missouri is the Show-Me State. It says so right on our license plates. We Missourians like to think this slogan captures our strength of character, our down-to-earth sensibility and skeptical savvy.

Steve Chapman: Government meddling targets food

On Thursday, hundreds of millions of Americans risked obesity, heart disease and indigestion by eating large quantities of food with no precise knowledge of the caloric content. If many of them felt regret on Friday, it was not because they were duped into overeating by the absence of nutritional data.

Jonah Goldberg: Obama’s immigration goal: Enrage Republicans

Maybe President Obama is just trolling? For those who don’t know, in Internet parlance, trolling is an effort to elicit outrage from a specific group or the public generally.

Froma Harrop: In Ferguson, voting is what matters

In covering the violence engulfing Ferguson, Missouri, media routinely cite the following numbers to explain the frustration of the minority community there: Ferguson’s population is two-thirds African-American, yet the mayor, five of the six City Council members and nearly the entire police force are white.

Doyle McManus: President steps away from Powell Doctrine

We’re three months into our newest war, the one against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and nobody’s happy with how it’s going.

Kathleen Parker: Due process now victim of high-tech lynching

WASHINGTON — By now, most Americans probably have formed an opinion about what comedian Bill Cosby did or didn’t do sexually to or with at least 16 women beginning in the 1960s.

Leonard Pitts: America needs to wake up to racial injustice

In September, I received an email that should have left me feeling vindicated. It was in response to the nonfatal shooting of Levar Jones, an unarmed African-American man, by Sean Groubert, a white South Carolina state trooper.

Thomas Sowell: Beware actions of arrogant elitists

Jonathan Gruber’s several videotaped remarks about the gross deceptions that got Obamacare passed in Congress should tell us a lot about the Obama administration.

Steve Chapman: ‘Consent searches’ place police in bad light

Black anger that Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson was not charged for killing Michael Brown stems partly from the fact that blacks in America often face much worse treatment from cops than whites do. Only rarely do whites get an unpleasant taste of what minorities have to swallow.