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Today's Opinions

  • Bagging it: grounds for divorcing the java monkey

    I needed caffeine. I woke up feeling like my brain was in an unclean fish tank and a hundred miles away. A shower didn’t help rejuvenate my senses, and I stumbled around trying to find a shirt not wrinkled like a dead elephant’s carcass. There were none. This wasn’t all that unusual. Iron in hand, I cleared a space on my countertop and melted a hole in a $40 shirt. I looked at the bottom of the iron and then to the clock above the stove — I was running late for a meeting.

  • Legislators should read the constitution, too

    I remember Michael McConnell, my constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago, opening a textbook with a picture of the members of the Supreme Court on the inside cover. “What’s wrong with this?” he asked.

    At first blush, it makes sense that a book on the Constitution would have a picture of the highest judges in the land. But to McConnell, the photo represented a fundamental misunderstanding about the constitution: namely, only courts have the ability to read and interpret our greatest law.

  • Pride, prejudice and Michelle Obama

    Hannah Hayes

    As spin doctors continue to weigh in on Michelle Obama’s comment, it must be obvious that even she would wish to restructure her proud-to-be-an-American sentence for more clear communication. In context, it seems that Michelle Obama was referring to the level of participation this year’s candidates have been able to bring to the primary process. It didn’t quite match the turnout in 1972, but came close. Can Michelle Obama be right that “hope is finally making a comeback”?

  • Jury system keeps 'self' in self-government

    Last Tuesday I dutifully reported to the Jefferson County Taj Mahal to serve as a juror. As it turned out, after a video and some introductory remarks, I was among the group of people who wouldn’t be needed that day. So I, juror No. 1259, left the building having fulfilled my duty for the time being.

    As Milton said, they also serve who only stand and wait.

  • Turning up the heat in the polar bear debate

    Hannah Hayes

  • In a well-polished shoe, a reflection of life

    Black shoe polish, a lighter, nylons, spit or faucet water, a freezer, cotton balls, wax. I was running late, so I just grabbed two clean socks and wrapped them around a worn can of Kiwi and a half-empty lighter. I placed them all in my jacket pocket. I could feel the soft lump pressing against my side as I drove to my parents’ house.

    He would soon be graduating and going off to college. I was 14 years old when my parents brought him home from the hospital as a baby. He is now the same age I was when I first entered basic training.

  • 2008 legislative session: For education, at least, it was a banner year

    The 2008 legislative session is in the books, so it’s time to take a look at a few key policy areas and grade our work.

    On education, the legislature gets a B+. 2008 was a banner year for education reformers, led by a coalition of Republicans and inner-city Democrats. This combination of reform-minded legislators proved to be the catalyst for several key bills putting the interests of kids ahead of special interests.

  • Plants and bugs abound: a new lease on life

    I don’t know what time it is — but it’s late. My bloodshot eyes stare angry holes into the darkness. I want to sleep, but I can’t. Every 15 minutes a loud diesel truck pulls up in front of my apartment complex, and then quickly drives away. This happens again and again. The rumble of the heavy diesel engine smacks away at my skull like a holy ruler on blaspheming knuckles. It’s relentless.