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Opinion: In a Culture War, American Values Lose
Nation’s top leaders have already picked a side

Vice President Mike Pence’s staged walkout at a Colts-49ers NFL game in Indianapolis was a political stunt that disrespected several players’ support of equality, justice and police accountability, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Over the weekend, a group of white nationalists returned to Charlottesville, Virginia, faces proudly uncovered and tiki torches in hand, with a message of division.

White supremacist leader Richard Spencer said to applause, “You are going to have to get used to white identity” — and warned of more to come.

Opinion: A Fake Senate Hearing on Fake News
What if the Intelligence Committee took up the president’s request

North Carolina Sen. Richard M. Burr, right, and Virginia Sen. Mark Warner lead the Senate Intelligence Committee, which President Donald Trump called on recently to look into “Fake News Networks.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Under Donald Trump’s interpretation of the Constitution, when the president tweets, the Senate must take action immediately.

So it was with Trump’s pointed suggestion last week, filled with the kind of oddball capitalization normally found in ransom notes: “Why Isn’t the Senate Intel Committee looking into the Fake News Networks in OUR country to see why so much of our news is just made up-FAKE!”

Opinion: Amid the Alabama Mess, a Reason for Optimism
Gov. Kay Ivey provides an example of politics done right

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, center right, seen here with presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway, is a bright spot in the state’ political buffoonery, Murphy writes. (Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images File Photo)

It’s no secret Alabama politicians have been giving Chicago pols a run for their money when it comes to corruption lately.

The state’s most recent governor, Republican Robert Bentley, resigned in April as he faced possible impeachment related to campaign spending and a sex scandal.

Opinion: Another Health Care Bill, Another Health Care Cliff
Major rewrites of policy deserve more than partisan signoff

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer conducts a news conference in the Capitol on Sept. 18 to oppose the Graham-Cassidy legislation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Maybe we have finally established a lasting legislative principle for both parties: Don’t ever again try to pass major health care legislation using parliamentary gimmicks to avoid a filibuster.

The Democrats, under Barack Obama, followed this route in 2010 after they lost their filibuster-proof Senate majority when Republican Scott Brown unexpectedly won the special election to fill Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. As a result, final tinkering and technical improvements could not be made in the Obamacare legislation using a House-Senate conference.

Opinion: The Two-Party System on a Sick Bed
It will take more than Trump and infighting to kill the patient

The two-party system is here to stay despite rocky times in the recent past and ahead, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It is as lasting an American literary metaphor as Captain Ahab and the white whale or Hester Prynne and her scarlet “A.”

We are, of course, referring to that branch of science known as cartoon thermodynamics. The first law, as popularized by the late film critic Roger Ebert, is worthy of Isaac Newton: “Any body suspended in space will remain in space until made aware of its situation.”

Opinion: How 9/11 Permanently Changed Us
Biggest transformation — a growing climate of mistrust

Two New York City fire fighters look into a car while another pulls a water hose from a fire truck amid smoke and debris following the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. (Courtesy Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division)

The front page of The New York Times from the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, conjures up a world both familiar and distant. The lead story highlights talk of tax cuts on Capitol Hill while a major feature conveys the worries of public school officials that dress codes are being flouted: “The days when torn jeans tested the limits are now a fond memory.”

In this era before iPhones and Androids, the Times headlined a page-one article about Paula Zahn’s new CNN contract: “In a Nation of Early Risers, Morning TV Is a Hot Market.” The Times front page also brooded about continuing threats like nuclear smuggling in Asia and the depressing verities of foreign policy: “Mideast Still Roiling.”

Opinion: How Trump and the Democrats Spared McConnell and Ryan
The Art of the Backroom Deal

President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders did House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a huge favor by working out a deal on disaster relief, the debt ceiling and government funding, Allen writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan want you to know they’re plenty angry about President Donald Trump’s trifecta deal with Democratic leaders on keeping the government open, averting a debt-limit crisis and sending aid to hurricane-and-flood-ravaged Texas.

McConnell and Ryan were “shell-shocked” when Trump, in a meeting with congressional leaders of both parties, opted to go with the plan favored by Senate and House minority leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, according to a CNN source. After all, Ryan had publicly said their proposal — the obvious solution to all three legislative headaches — was “ridiculous.”

Opinion: The US Action Endangering Mothers Worldwide
Congress should fully restore funding for UNFPA’s lifesaving work

The United Nations Population Fund provides lifesaving maternal health care in regions of the world plagued by conflict, famine, and disaster, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney writes. (Courtesy UNFPA Facebook page)

As the world faces multiple humanitarian crises around the world, few political actions have been as cruel and shortsighted as the Trump administration’s decision to cut off funding to the United Nations Population Fund, or UNFPA.

This U.N. agency provides lifesaving maternal health care in regions of the world plagued by conflict, famine, and disaster and has saved countless lives around the world. With millions of refugees forced from their homes during the reign of terror across the Middle East brought on by groups such as ISIS, cutting funding for one of the world’s foremost humanitarian medical organizations is reckless, immoral, and actually harmful to our national security.

Opinion: A Partial Eclipse of Bad News
Celestial event didn’t blot out Confederate statue stain

A spectator with a welding mask views the solar eclipse in Sylva, N.C. on Monday near a Confederate memorial. The town was in the path of totality. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s hard to be mad at the neighbor you don’t know when both of you and everyone else are wearing goofy glasses and looking skyward. That was America in the grip of eclipse-mania, when people who may not have had one thing or opinion in common gathered in common spaces to be transfixed and transformed.

Maybe it was the reality that there is something, a universe, greater than all of us — and all you can do is give in to the majesty. For those few minutes and the days leading up to them, scientists, as unlikely as it seems, were kings. The kind of educated folks whose findings on everything from climate change to the effects of pollution have been disparaged and disputed were the experts, featured on news shows for perhaps the first and only time in their lives.

Opinion: Echoes of Vietnam in Trump’s Afghan About-Face
President’s instinct may be to avoid the appearance of losing a war

In outlining a new approach in Afghanistan on Monday night, President Donald Trump reflected that “decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office.” (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

Donald Trump is the seventh president since the end of World War II who inherited, on taking office, his predecessor’s war or the planning for one. And like most of these American presidents Trump decided that the most important strategic consideration was not to publicly lose a war on his watch.

No president wants to replicate the experience of Jerry Ford watching images of the last desperate helicopters taking off from the American embassy in Saigon as North Vietnamese troops battered down the gates.