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For decades, the nation's media have covered, and amplified, the controversies of rap music, from the hype of the East Coast-West Coast rivalry that framed the murders of rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. in the 1990s, to last year's murder of Los Angeles rapper and activist Nipsey Hussle.

When he was just a young teenage schoolboy, George Washington sat down and copied out 110 “Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior.” Many of these had to do with simple manners. “Cleanse not your teeth with the tablecloth, napkin, fork or knife,” reads Rule 100. Good advice at any time.

Bernie Sanders was supposed to run away with the New Hampshire primary. This is his kind of state, where Democrats are mostly educated liberals. Yet the national celebrity from next-door Vermont bested Pete Buttigieg, recently an unknown from Indiana, by less than 4,000 votes. It appears the…

By the end of February, the race for the Democratic nomination may have come down to a choice of one of three white men. Two are well into their 70s, and either would be the oldest president ever inaugurated. The third is a 38-year-old gay in a same-sex marriage who would be our youngest pre…

WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy is slowing down, with economic growth crawling along at a mere 2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, worsened by Trump's trade war policies.

The Iowa caucuses have long been nearly useless as a measure of Americans' preferences for the next president. This year it has been more useless than usual.

I don't mean to disillusion you, dear reader, but Raymond Chandler, author of "The Big Sleep" (Bogart and Bacall), was never a private eye. An Englishman, he pretty much perfected the hard-boiled L.A. detective novel after losing his job as an oil company executive. "When in doubt," he famou…

At the time of the American Revolution, the future United States was a small, colonial backwater on the world stage. There were an estimated 2-3 million people living here. Yet it somehow produced an array of talented, creative thinkers and politicians — Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison…

Can a septuagenarian socialist who just survived a heart attack and would be 80 years old in his first year in office be elected president of the United States? It's hard to believe but not impossible.

A lot of things are going wrong on this planet, and a lot of those problems are made in China. The deadly coronavirus is being linked to "wet markets" that traffic in wildlife. Not only have these markets enabled the virus to pass from animals to humans but they have also contributed to the …

Remember as a teen when you devised a strategy to convince your old man to let you have the family car to go on a date Saturday night? You we’re lobbying, trying to get what you wanted. We’re all lobbyists.

I've always been sentimental about baseball, the one youthful passion that's lasted all my life. At this time of year, I'm normally counting the days until pitchers and catchers report.

It needs pointing out that Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All plan bears little resemblance to Medicare. The Vermont senator undoubtedly exploits the word "Medicare" to obscure the radicalness of his single-payer proposal. Medicare, after all, is very popular.

The directed killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Iran's blood-soaked field marshal in the "forever war" of the Middle East, has begun to roil the politics of both the region and the USA.

Special counsel Robert Mueller warned last July that the Russians had conducted a "sweeping and systematic" campaign to undermine the last presidential election, and that a new attack was already under way. "They're doing it as we sit here," he told a Congressional committee.

You no doubt remember the old line attributed to Ben Franklin when he was asked what kind of government the Constitutional Convention had created: “A republic, if you can keep it!” Well, I’ve noticed an interesting thing in recent years: it’s got bi-partisan appeal.

So here's the good news: For all their assiduous efforts, President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr have failed to fully weaponize the U.S. criminal justice system. There's never going to be a Russian-style show trial of Trump's 2016 Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

"It is quite astonishing to see with what deadpan and neutral a tone our press and television report the open corruption — and the flagrantly anti-democratic character — of the Iowa caucuses."

The thing about Joe Biden, as the all-important, ultimately trivial Iowa caucuses loom, is that hardly anybody seriously dislikes him. Not really. Oh, it's possible to find dissenters here and there, mainly people who affix slogans such as "neo-liberal" and who think that people who disagree…

Throughout this unsettling conflict with Iran, Joe Biden has stood out as a calming Democratic voice, speaking of the stakes and challenges with deep knowledge of foreign policy. Just another reason for activists on the left backing Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren to lose their minds.

Here’s a basic truth about people who make decisions on public policy: they rarely have all the facts they want. Over the years, I’ve sat in countless meetings in which, after we’d reached a sticking point, someone said in exasperation, “Well, what are the facts?” We’d all look around the ro…

As of Dec. 26, Kim Jong Un's "Christmas gift" to President Donald Trump had not arrived. Most foreign policy analysts predict it will be a missile test more impressive than any Pyongyang has yet carried off.

Conservative Christians are fond of the adage WWJD — What Would Jesus Do? A good question during the Christmas season is HWJV — How Would Jesus Vote?

Heavens, no. We don't want the U.S. government to negotiate drug prices for Americans. That would be socialism, conservatives keep saying. So let's have the Canadian government do it for us.

Not long ago, I was in a meeting to talk about a public policy issue. It was a little complex, and as we considered the various angles I began to think about what it would take to translate talk into change on the ground. I wasn’t analyzing the politics of it — I was focused on the types of …

It was a week before Christmas, and I found myself anxious and angry. I was paying more attention to minute-by-minute politics than I had on any other day of the year.

To hear some people tell it, House Democrats are like the dog that finally caught the car. Voting to impeach Donald Trump could turn out to be politically suicidal. Essentially because voters turned against Republicans for impeaching Bill Clinton — the GOP lost five seats in the 1998 midterm…

Right-leaning opinions have declared British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's trouncing of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn a favorable portent for President Donald J. Trump in 2020. Not so fast. Other readings of the British election results see the very opposite.

President Trump likes to say he's restored the phrase "Merry Christmas" to the White House after it was banished by his predecessor. That's always been a typical Trump fabrication: Barack Obama said "Merry Christmas" many times, and he actually meant it.

Democratic candidates offer two basic approaches to raising revenues for public programs. One is grand opera — accusing the wealthy of greed (Bernie Sanders) and malice, that is, "leaving everyone else behind" (Elizabeth Warren). For this bad behavior, there must be punishment in the form of…

Breaking News: Anybody can say anything about anybody else. And in the age of social media, they probably will. Time was when all professional journalists understood that. Not that there was ever a Golden Age of what Superman called "Truth, Justice and the American Way."

To me, it was a thunderclap. Years ago, when I was in Congress, we were in the midst of a tense, contentious debate. Members had gotten irritated, levying charges back and forth, and tempers were rising.

As readers might surmise from reading the news about Illinois, our state is arguably embedded in a political culture (patterns of behavior) of corruption (unearned personal gain at public expense). This doesn’t mean that everyone in the Prairie State is corrupt, but that there is a learned d…

As the impeachment hearings concluded, committee chairman Adam Schiff discussed the difference between the Watergate scandal, which forced President Richard Nixon from office in 1974, and the current case against President Trump.

The 29 member states of "the most successful alliance in history" plan to meet to celebrate its 70th anniversary. Yet all is not well within NATO.

Representative democracy is based on a simple premise. It’s that ordinary citizens can make satisfactory judgments on complex public policy and political issues — or at least grasp them well enough to decide who should be dealing with them.

The focus here isn't President Donald Trump. He is a creature unto himself. Rather, this is about his spineless political party, which stands mute, or even supportive, as he breaks U.S. military discipline, morale and leadership.

As winter approaches, I find myself contemplating the impending death of my Great Pyrenees dog, Jesse — as magnificent an animal as I've known. Jesse's 14 now, elderly for a dog of his size, with ragged, thinning fur.

William B. Taylor has served his country for more than 50 years — first as an infantry officer in Vietnam, and later as a diplomat in perilous places like Afghanistan and Iraq. Today he runs the American embassy in Ukraine, and when he testified last week as part of the House impeachment inq…