The NFL markets the Super Bowl as the ultimate game, the ultimate contest. Helmets clash like gladiators in ancient Rome. Stadiums resemble coliseums -- especially those without a roof. The contest is macho all the way. Players talk about "manning up" (not a reference to the quarterback family) and other testosterone-leaning terms.
Another State of the Union address, another road trip for President Barack Obama to push now-familiar policies that he said he would pursue on his own if Congress won't cooperate.
On Tuesday night, President Barack Obama will deliver his fifth State of the Union message. He will declare to a dysfunctional Congress, weakened by years of gridlock, that the union is sound -- even if effectively only two-thirds of the government is functioning.
Oh there been times that I thought I couldn't last for long But now I think I'm able to carry on It's been a long, a long time coming But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will. ?Sam Cooke
As a practicing Catholic all my life, my faith and the church are never far from my mind. The lessons I learned in the church have structured the way I've approached my life and my career. They were lessons of grace, kindness, forgiveness and compassion.
2014 is shaping up to be a pivotal political year for Republicans.
When the Dow Jones Industrial Average topped 16,000 earlier this month, headlines throughout the country trumpeted the milestone as a sign of recovery for the economy.
A remarkable thing just happened in Congress. Republicans and Democrats sat down together to work out a budget. This hasn't happened since 2009.
After the vote in the House of Representatives to slash the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, I wrote a column against cutting food stamps. This column generated more than 5,200 online comments and hundreds of e-mails.
We are in the middle of a fight to preserve the dignity and grace that makes all of us Americans. We have big hearts and great souls. I know. I have seen them, felt them and watched them in wonder when my family was lost and unreachable in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Tonight, President Obama will give a pivotal speech, perhaps the most pivotal speech of his second term. He will address the nation from the Oval Office and make the case for an air attack against Syria.
"Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, I'm free at last."
I finished this column at 7 a.m. Friday morning, interrupting my vacation to write it. About six hours later, President Obama made an impromptu appearance in the White House briefing room, sharing in detail his thoughts and feelings about the verdict in the case of George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin.
Like so many others, I am distraught. It will take many days to sort through my feelings and reactions to the verdict of not guilty in the Trayvon Martin case. Still, some thoughts and lessons are obvious, immediate and, in a sense, imperative.
In an earthshaking 1965 speech to Congress and to the nation, President Lyndon Johnson spoke directly to the sinister forces that had restricted black Americans' right to vote across the South -- laying out the goals of the Voting Rights Act in the form of a command to this shameful cabal.
"The stupidity is simply staggering," Rep. Charlie Dent, a moderate Republican from Pennsylvania, told Roll Call. He was referring to the political miscalculation of anti-abortion forces in the House Judiciary Committee who insisted this week on reviving the culture wars, years behind us, still again, with yet another proposed abortion bill.
Today is the 46th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that declared unconstitutional any ban on interracial marriage. More than four decades after the historic and aptly named Loving decision, the U.S. Supreme Court is once again poised to rule in a case that could put an end to discriminatory bans prohibiting marriage, this time for gay and lesbian couples.
Our democracy is endangered. Not by the Russians, North Korea, the Iran regime, or even terrorists. To quote Pogo: "We have met the enemy and he is us."
For some Republicans, 2016 is 1992: Hating Hillary Clinton is chic again. Only more so, since the former secretary of state is also the partner of and potential successor to the last two Democratic presidents?Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
My dad was an avid sports fan and a great athlete in his day. We used to watch basketball and football games together, and I know some of his proudest moments as a father were when I wore my sports uniforms in high school and college.
Despite the many differences I had with former President George W. Bush on a range of public policy issues, or as he called them, "decision points," I found common ground with him in one area, simply because we decided to put aside partisanship and do something good.
The second Boston bombing suspect is in custody. Now everyone will focus on what it all means, what "lesson" we can learn from the events.
Susan Patton kicked up a firestorm with her letter last week to the editor of The Daily Princetonian urging female students to find a man to marry before they graduate because "the cornerstone of your future and happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry, and you will never again have this concentration of men who are worthy of you."
Sometimes, a First Family remains a first family -- a mirror of our times -- even after the president leaves office. So it is with the Clintons.
Politicians and historians love to use the word "crossroads."
Who is Grover Norquist? He's a private citizen, a conservative lobbyist, the author of the Taxpayer's Protection Pledge and president of Americans for Tax Reform. His idea of tax reform is no more tax increases ever again. And no closed loopholes unless matched by cuts in government spending.
It seems everyone -- except perhaps the die-hard NFL fan -- agrees that the most important event scheduled for next week is the first presidential debate. I say "scheduled" because you never know what the news cycle will kick in. Snickers might have a new chocolate bar. Or something.
This weekend we pause to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation that set in motion the freeing of the slaves throughout the South.
What have unions done for us lately? Other than give us Labor Day, and a three-day weekend to start football season.
"No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that I was born and raised."
The most important decision Mitt Romney has made in his campaign so far, the selection of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan for his running mate, tells us two things -- and neither bears good news for the middle class.
As we prepare to celebrate Earth Day on Sunday, let us not forget that Friday marks the second anniversary of the start of the BP oil spill. It deserves more than a shrug, an "oh, yeah," and "how's the fishing?" It deserves more than a solemn voiced announcer relegating it to a "this day in history," with a picture from the archives to jog our memory.
Maybe money can't buy you love, but it buys a nomination.
It's probably better to be the default candidate than the noncandidate, but it's a position that usually has too many gaps to fill. That seems to be the position of Mitt Romney, and it says a lot about the current state of the Republican Party.
Perhaps you remember the Oscar-nominated movie "12 Angry Men." It's the story of an all-male, all-white jury meeting for a slam-dunk guilty-of-murder-one verdict against a Spanish teenager. Except for one lone juror, known only as No. 8. He quietly, persistently presents his arguments, asks questions and refuses to be diverted by emotional outbursts or personal attacks until he persuades the other jurors to examine the case logically and objectively.
Every third Monday in January we gather as Americans to commemorate the values and beliefs -- as well as the ultimate sacrifice -- of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Running for president is an expensive endeavor, but the cost isn't measured in dollars alone.
Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder delivers a major speech on voting rights at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas. The location is significant: In 1965, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law, a landmark piece of civil rights legislation that banned the worst forms of racial discrimination in American elections.
On Tuesday, for the second time this month, the Republican field will debate foreign policy, a topic that hasn't seen much attention in the race until now. The candidates will be fighting an uphill battle against the president's strong record on national security.
Dorothy Cooper is a 96-year-old African-American resident of Chattanooga, Tennessee. She was born in a small town in northern Georgia before women could vote and when Jim Crow laws mandated racial segregation. Her life has spanned nearly a century of progress: The 19th Amendment extended suffrage to women, the Civil Rights movement led to the dismantling of segregation laws, and the Voting Rights Act outlawed overt racial discrimination in elections.
Ralph Nader floated the idea this week that a primary challenge to President Obama will help the president and the country.
Ever since Republicans in Congress held our country hostage to the brink of default, there has been an ongoing discussion about how President Obama can reassert control over the American economy.
Some Republicans love to talk about "job-destroying" progressive policies, but hate to own up to their own trickle-down ways. It's not that hard to get specific about the tepid economic recovery and all the Republican-backed policies that are destroying jobs though. Let me tell you about one we almost experienced.
My fellow Americans: In a matter of weeks you have become studied on the issues of budgets and deficits. You've also formed opinions on these issues, and these opinions are reflected in poll after poll. Isn't it strange that Congress has yet to listen?
On April 3, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. went to Memphis, Tennessee, to stand in solidarity with sanitation workers of AFSCME Local 1733 and the wider community they inspired.
"Our democracy is a light -- a beacon, really -- around the world because we effect change at the ballot box and not because of these outbursts of violence." --Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, March 2010
This week, as family and friends gather to give thanks for so many blessings, let us also remember to be of service.
This week, visitors entering Washington's Union Station are greeted by a work of art -- a two-story, red open-toed lady's dress shoe. It reminds me of Cinderella's lost glass slipper. I thought to myself, if someone is looking for the woman big enough to fill this, they need look no further than Nancy Pelosi.
Neil, one of my neighbors on Capitol Hill, recalled this story to me the other day after watching President Obama's town hall meeting: "She was recently widowed, about 93, having lost her husband of over 60 years. When I came upon her in a darkened church hallway, standing alone, staring at the floor, I wanted to know what was wrong.
This month marks the anniversary of many historical milestones in the continuing effort to guarantee equal rights to all Americans.
I spent a restless night, worrying that another man-made disaster might devastate my beloved hometown, New Orleans, just as its post-Katrina motto "Recover, Rebuild, Rebirth" was becoming real.
Campaign finance reform advocates will lose a great hero when Justice John Paul Stevens retires from the Supreme Court. As the last remaining World War II veteran in such a place of eminence, he brings an invaluable perspective to the bench.
On Sunday we commemorate the courage and sacrifice of 600 men and women who dared 45 years ago to take the first steps in a 54-mile march from Selma, Alabama, to the state capital, Montgomery, for the right to vote. That day, Sunday, March 7, 1965, would come to be known as "Bloody Sunday."
"Comprehensive health insurance is an idea whose time has come in America. There has long been a need to assure every American financial access to high quality health care. As medical costs go up, that need grows more pressing." -- Republican President Nixon's special message to Congress proposing a "Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan," February 6, 1974