I met Herbert Block, the late, great editorial cartoonist Herblock, in Washington in the early 1980s. Maybe I should say I saw him. "Met" is too strong a word. I never even shook his hand.
A few words on the limits to freedom of expression: For what it's worth, there are a few that are acceptable. You don't threaten or incite violence. You don't defame. You don't produce child pornography. And you don't falsely shout "Fire!" in the proverbial crowded theater.
If we can be serious for a moment: The president made an error in judgment by not sending someone with a higher profile than our ambassador to join world leaders Sunday at a solidarity rally in Paris. The White House has admitted the error.
There is a certain je ne sais quoi in conservatives' criticism of the Obama administration over last week's terrorist attack in France.
A group called the Sons of Confederate Veterans has asked Texas to issue a license plate featuring the Confederate battle flag.
I like a feeding frenzy as much as the next shark. But I can't get a taste for Rep. Steve Scalise's blood. The Louisiana Republican, newly elected No. 3 in the House leadership, was recently discovered to have spoken to a group of white supremacists. Democrats see his offense as a scandal to be exploited.
Recent events from Ferguson, Mo., to Staten Island might prompt an observer to infer that American cops are racist and that a bigoted white populace tolerates unnecessary lethal force against minorities. One might also conclude that the United States has a hearty appetite for the carnival barker, the jester, the rabble-rouser, the race-baiter and, lest we leave anyone out, the performance-activist who pretends to be a newsman while fomenting unrest that only he can quell.
As the editor in charge of the opinion pages of newspapers in New York and Los Angeles, what was the hardest part of my job?
Friends of Obamacare, horrified that the Supreme Court has taken a case that could blow up the federal health insurance exchanges, should recalibrate their dread.
California parents are refusing to vaccinate their kindergartners at twice the rate of seven years ago.
Some time ago, burglars in England scrawled a message on the wall of a home they had looted: "RICH BASTARDS."
Blockbuster books like "Wild" and "Gone Girl" get so much attention that we forget other authors are out there busting their blocks trying to sell a few stories written without murders and mayhem. I received a couple of quietly wonderful books as gifts, and I have to share the news in case The Times neglects to review them. They deserve attention, too.
A writer seeking profound pronouncements for a year-end column is likely instead to find herself awash in punch lines. Life isn't a comedy. It's a joke.
It's one of the best-known lines of any English-language poet -- Robert Burns' reflection on the upper-class church lady who doesn't realize there's a louse crawling around on her bonnet. "O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us, To see oursels as ithers see us!"
I wanted to do something for my country during the holidays, so I went to the movies.
One outcome of and proof for ideological polarization is the way it has made stalwarts appear like centrists.
Ever since Bill Cosby was accused by one, then two, then four, then almost uncountable women of everything from unwelcome kissing to flat-out rape, the one reaction I can't quite figure is TV Land pulling "The Cosby Show" reruns from its air.
A young dove of peace with dreams in her eyes almost got shot down. A schoolgirl named Malala has lessons for us all. She's just joined the rare company of female winners of the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala Yousafzai, a champion for girls' education, was shot and almost slain for speaking out in her country, Pakistan.
Considering Marshall Fisher's credentials, Gov. Phil Bryant probably couldn't have made a better appointment to lead the scandal-ridden Mississippi Department of Corrections.
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4. Voice of the people: J.W. Sprayberry LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (VOICE@CDISPATCH.COM)
5. Voice of the people: Berry Hinds LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (VOICE@CDISPATCH.COM)