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Columns, Perspective

  1. Column: Hope for an end to Florida's ban on gay marriage


    It's that time of the year. The tree is up, lights on the house, whispers of presents for the grandkids and a sense of awe as we proceed through the Advent calendar. For my wife and me, Christmas has always been a joyous time, filled with family, festivities and a sense of wonder.

  2. Column: Why Florida should take Medicaid expansion money


    Two years ago, Florida was offered $50 billion over 10 years as part of the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid to low-income families who didn't qualify under the current eligibility requirements.

  3. Ruth: Propaganda film will dull, not shape, students' minds


    Using convicted felon Dinesh D'Souza's ham-handed video America: Imagine A World Without Her, to force Florida public school students to watch a warped view of the nation's history would be like requiring children to sit through a screening of Saw (1 through 7) as a biology primer on proper dissection …

  4. What war on Christmas? Numbers say it's over


    The War on Christmas is over. Jesus won.

    That's the implication of a new Pew Research Center survey that finds nearly three-quarters of Americans (73 percent) believe that Jesus was literally born to a virgin. (About 40 percent of Americans say the Bible should, in general, not be taken literally but do believe in …

  5. Column: Elizabeth Warren can win


    Elizabeth Warren's memoir begins with the story of a family in collapse. She was 12 years old when her father had a heart attack.

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., right, with Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.,  voice their objections Dec. 10 to a House-approved spending bill that includes a repeal of Dodd-Frank.
  6. Column: Attempt to mold students' minds hearkens back to Cold War


    The Legislature is considering a bill that would mandate the showing of a conservative film to all eighth- and 11th grade students in Florida. I'm sure the supporters of the bill believe the documentary, America: Imagine the World Without Her, will help influence the students' political beliefs.

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., right, with Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.,  voice their objections Dec. 10 to a House-approved spending bill that includes a repeal of Dodd-Frank.
  7. Column: Time for Legislature, governor to work toward meaningful sentencing reform


    In his 2010 campaign for governor, Rick Scott promised to cut $1 billion from Florida's nearly $2.4 billion budget for the Department of Corrections.

  8. Column: We were all rooting for the big snake


    A divided nation has finally united, if only for a while.

    Paul Rosolie of Eaten Alive, in a publicity photo with the snake, chickened out once the anaconda started to wrap around him and chew.
  9. Sen. Marco Rubio: Debate must be focused on how to defeat ISIS


    It is clear that our efforts to defeat the Islamic State have been inadequate. Half-measures will not work against a growing threat from radical Islamists who are uniting fractured terrorist groups around the world under one banner.

    Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., asks questions on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 9, 2014, during a hearing to examine Russia and developments in Ukraine.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) DCPM115
  10. David Brooks: Understanding can lead to small miracles


    Most of us don't save enough. When governments try to encourage saving, they usually enact big policies to increase the incentives.

  11. Ruth: In Congress, it takes one twit to know one


    It's probably worthwhile to think of these moments as Washington's version of The Jerry Springer Show, where some hapless oaf goes on national television to be exposed as a dolt.

  12. The Reading File: China's century, mondegreens and why we speak


    China rising

    In Vanity Fair, the Nobel-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz parses the implications of China's surpassing the United States as the world's largest economy. Read "The Chinese Century" in full at chinacentury

  13. Our do-little Congress is going to have to change



    Sen. Mark Pryor began his farewell speech with the usual homage to the institution and how he had a "front row seat to the making of history." But he quickly launched into a biting indictment of Congress.

    In his farewell speech in the Senate last week, Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., criticized the Congress he is leaving, saying: “We are the problem,” adding, “look at what is happening to us.” 
  14. Column: Torture is wrong, and treaties have said so


    We now have the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's report on this nation's treatment of detainees, partially redacted at the insistence of intelligence agencies. The report may not shock us, for we have known of American abuse of detainees for more than 10 years.

    Long before the Geneva Convention, President Abraham Lincoln originated the first code for humane treatment of detainees during the  existential crisis of the Civil War.
  15. History foreshadows against the use of torture


    The Senate Intelligence Committee's report on the CIA detention and interrogation program has quickly stirred up a white-hot debate on the use of torture to extract information from our enemies.

  16. What waterboarding, torture and secrets say about the CIA and about us


    On Nov. 4, 1977, moments after the legendary CIA director Richard Helms received a suspended two-year sentence and a $2,000 fine for committing perjury by lying about U.S. covert action in Chile before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, his former CIA colleagues gave him a standing ovation at a local country club. …

  17. Now a teacher, but at Abu Ghraib, a torturer



    I spent this semester teaching creative writing at Lehigh University. I've been a soldier, a police officer and an interrogator. So hearing students call me "Professor" and assigning homework was a significant change of pace.

    A hooded and wired Iraqi prisoner is seen at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, Iraq. The revelations — and the photos — shocked Americans.
  18. How to mend what divides us politically


    Most Americans consider themselves to be centrists, and more Americans are registering as independents or no party affiliation than as Democrats or Republicans.

    Twenty years ago, Republican Rep. Newt Gingrich, then the House Minority Leader, helped to rewrite the rules of political combat, and the GOP has seldom relinquished control of Congress since. 
  19. A house shouldn't be used as a credit card


    This fall, federal regulators made a controversial decision to back down from tough new underwriting standards for mortgages. Some affordable-housing advocates, allied with parts of the corporate housing industry, had successfully argued that the proposed standards would make it too hard for people to qualify, thereby …

    It’s important to know this about the subprime mortgage crisis: A sizable percentage of mortgages, including most of the risky ones in the run-up to the crisis, weren’t used to buy a home. They were used to refi an existing mortgage.
  20. Column: Flu shots for kids protect whole community


    Too few Floridians get their flu shots. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control reported that last year the Sunshine State had the worst influenza immunization rate in the United States, leaving our seniors and other susceptible groups disturbingly vulnerable.

    J. Glenn Morris Jr.