Tribune News Service

Op-Ed Budget for Monday, October 7, 2019

Updated at 4:30 a.m. EDT (0830 UTC)

This budget is now available on the web at www.TribuneNewsService.com, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.


^Commentary: Remarkable wins for democracy in past five weeks<

^DEMOCRACY-COMMENTARY:BZ—<Ever since Brexiters and Donald Trump won in 2016, the world's big-picture political story has been that democracy is under siege. This summer, Jair Bolsonaro's victory in Brazil, Narenda Modi's Kashmir crackdown and dramatic electoral gains for the anti-immigrant Alternative fur Deutschland in eastern Germany have only amplified widespread beliefs about the inexorable advance of the authoritarian right.

This general story line is dangerously true, but an intriguing counter-narrative may be starting to appear: Small-D democrats are starting to play offense.

750 by Andrew L. Yarrow. MOVED


^Commentary: US meddling in Ukraine is a disaster<

^USUKRAINE-COMMENTARY:BLO—<Thanks to a newly released trove of U.S. official correspondence, the world now knows just how clumsily the Trump administration tried to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to serve its political ends. Perhaps the embarrassment will finally teach the Americans a lesson: This kind of meddling in foreign governments' affairs will do you no good.

950 by Leonid Bershidsky. MOVED


^Commentary: Why Stacey Abrams isn't running for the US Senate<

^ABRAMS-COMMENTARY:AT—<More than a few people in Washington are puzzled about what Stacey Abrams is up to. I can point them to a book that will help clear things up.

1100 by Jim Galloway. MOVED


^Commentary: North Carolina taxpayers have paid $8.3 billion to expand Medicaid elsewhere<

^MEDICAID-COMMENTARY:RA—<When the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2014, Leighton Ku helped write a report that described how much North Carolina would lose out on if it declined to expand Medicaid starting in 2016.

The report, funded by the Cone Health Foundation and the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, presented daunting numbers. It estimated that holding out on Medicaid expansion would cost North Carolina $21 billion in lost federal funding by 2020, would result in 43,000 fewer jobs and would deny the state $860 million in potential revenue.

At the time, 22 states were refusing to expand. Since then, eight have expanded and 14 are still saying no. To Ku's chagrin, North Carolina is one of the latter.

600 by Ned Barnett. MOVED


^Commentary: Meghan Markle vs. the tabloid mob<

ROYALS-TABLOID-COMMENTARY:LA — Brexit is roiling Britain. Prince Andrew has been accused by a woman of abusing her as a teenager in Jeffrey Epstein's child sex-exploitation network. Yet the British tabloids are obsessed by another royal: Meghan Markle, the most high-profile woman of color in Britain.

Why Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, has become the reigning royal chew toy isn't obvious.

850 by Anne-Marie O'Connor in London. MOVED



^Trudy Rubin: Mitt Romney was first. Will GOP stand up against a lawbreaker in the White House?<

^RUBIN-COLUMN:PH—<Finally, one GOP senator had the guts to tweet the obvious: "The President's brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling."

Thank you, Mitt Romney, but let's get more specific.

900 by Trudy Rubin. MOVED


^Doyle McManus: Trump should read the Constitution<

^MCMANUS-COLUMN:LA—<This president doesn't appear to know or care much about the Constitution, especially the limits it puts on his power.

950 by Doyle McManus. MOVED


^Mary C. Curtis: Americans as 'High Noon' heroes against lawlessness? Nope<

^CURTIS-COLUMN:CON—<Americans like to imagine themselves as Gary Cooper's Marshal Will Kane in "High Noon," facing impossible odds, struggling, yet managing to stand up, even if it means standing alone and risking it all. We are all rugged individuals, we think, rushing in while cowards run for cover.

Think again.

1150 by Mary C. Curtis. MOVED


^Jonathan Bernstein: Oust Pelosi from the presidential succession line<

^BERNSTEIN-COLUMN:BLO—<The top order of business when the House of Representatives returns from recess on Oct. 15 is certain to be the impeachment inquiry into the conduct of President Donald Trump. Here's something the lawmakers should take care of first: changing the presidential line of succession to remove the speaker of the House and the president pro tempore of the Senate.

The U.S. Constitution specifies that the vice president takes over if a president leaves office. After that, presidential succession is up to Congress, which has changed the procedure several times throughout U.S. history. There are two strong reasons to change the law again now: It's the best way for the Democrats to handle impeachment, and it's best for the nation, anyway.

1100 by Jonathan Bernstein. MOVED


^John M. Crisp: Impeachment and the death of parody<

^CRISP-COLUMN:MCT—<As a former English teacher, I mourn the death of parody in our age. There was nothing mysterious or nefarious about what Schiff was doing. He wasn't producing fiction or pretending that President Donald Trump actually said the words in question. Parody is a time-honored artistic device that puts an intentional, usually exaggerated, imitation of another work of literature, music, art or film to another purpose.

700 by John M. Crisp. MOVED


^Michael Hiltzik: Trump runs dry on health care ideas, promotes wellness programs known to be useless<

^HILTZIK-HEALTHCARE-COLUMN:LA—<Wellness programs typically grant employees benefits, including discounts on their health coverage, for undergoing health screening, taking smoking cessation or nutrition classes, or getting more exercise. (This is functionally equivalent to imposing a penalty on those who don't take these steps.)

Study after study has shown that the programs don't produce health care savings, better health or improved work performance.

1150 by Michael Hiltzik. MOVED


^Timothy L. O'Brien: Trump falls into his own conspiracy quagmire<

^OBRIEN-COLUMN:BLO—<Donald Trump was never going to be someone who distinguished himself politically through policy expertise or visionary leadership. But as someone who could appeal to the fear of outsiders (like Chinese exporters and Mexican immigrants, for example) or stoke racism (toward Obama, for one) and clothe that sentiment as "politics," bingo.

900 by Timothy L. O'Brien. MOVED


^Martin Schram: Has Trump's inner flamethrower replaced Nixon's smoking gun?<

^SCHRAM-COLUMN-CORRECTION:MCT—<What once seemed improbable now seems inevitable: America suddenly appears to be hurtling inexorably toward the impeachment of our 45th president. It is happening with the speed of light, right before our disbelieving eyes. But it is real.

800 by Martin Schram. MOVED


^George Skelton: Looks like Kamala Harris isn't a shoo-in to win California's primary after all<

SKELTON-COLUMN:LA — OK, I admit it: A column I wrote three months ago was a real loser. That's because I predicted California Sen. Kamala Harris would be a big winner in her own state's presidential primary.

But two statewide polls show her falling far behind in the Democratic field, running a distant fourth and trailing Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

That's in a California primary she should own.

900 by George Skelton in Sacramento, Calif. MOVED



^Clarence Page: Courtroom hugs after Amber Guyger was sentenced in shooting of Botham Jean test the limits of forgiveness<

^PAGE-COLUMN:TB—<Amber Guyger got off easy.

Amber Guyger got what she deserved.

It's easy to be in either camp — or, for the truly ambivalent, be in both camps at once.

One thing is certain: Botham Jean is dead. Guyger killed him by accident, she says, but at best there appears to be considerable carelessness involved.

850 by Clarence Page. MOVED



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^Editorial: Trump's best weapon against impeachment may be his ability to change the subject<

^TRUMP-IMPEACHMENT-EDITORIAL:LA—<President Donald Trump isn't the most polished speaker to occupy the Oval Office, but he's peerless when it comes to rhetorical jujitsu.

His handling of the impeachment inquiry launched by House Democrats is just the latest example of Trump trying to turn his faults into strengths, and his critics' accusations into a weapon to use against them. It's a high-octane version of whataboutism, perpetually shifting the public's focus away from Trump's own questionable acts onto his opponents' (real or imagined) faults.

800 by The Times Editorial Board. MOVED


^Editorial: Governor's random attack on national anthem protests is an obvious political ploy<

^MOGOV-FLAG-EDITORIAL:KC—<Either Missouri Gov. Mike Parson didn't get the memo, or the governor has just plain run out of ideas as he casts about for inspiration in his quest to castigate the "extreme left." He's awfully late to this debate — perhaps the governor would like to weigh in on what's wrong with "New Coke" while he's at it.

650 by The Kansas City Star Editorial Board. MOVED


^Editorial: Trump's new refugee ceiling is built on lies<

^TRUMP-REFUGEES-EDITORIAL:BLO—<It's hard to say what's worse about President Donald Trump's decision to slash the number of refugees the U.S. will admit over the next year: its inhumanity or its dishonesty.

600 by The Editors. MOVED


^Editorial: The truth will out: Texts from the State Department contradict Trump's Ukraine cover story<

^UKRAINE-TEXTS-EDITORIAL:NY—<No quid pro quo, President Trump has said again and again about Ukraine, about as robotically as he got used to saying no collusion and no obstruction about Russia.

Deeply damning text messages of Trump's own diplomats turned over to Congress now reveal that they saw an explicit connection between Ukraine getting favorable treatment and its leader doing Trump's personal political bidding.

300 by Daily News Editorial Board. MOVED


^Editorial: Judge in Guyger case displayed the right balance of professionalism and mercy during and after the trial<

^DALLAS-SHOOTING-JUDGE-EDITORIAL:DA—<When the stakes for a community were as high as they were in ex-cop Amber Guyger's murder trial for killing an innocent man, we're rightly focused on making sure that judges fairly and professionally follow the points of law.

But if we're fortunate, we also have judges who understand that there are human beings involved in the criminal justice system — victims and defendants — who deserve whatever grace and mercy we can muster.

500 by Dallas Morning News Editorial. MOVED



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