Steve Chapman

Posted March 06, 2014

The Russian invasion of Crimea occurred in a place little known to Americans, for reasons rooted in a tangled and bloody history. The showdown between President Vladimir Putin and the new Ukrainian government is a fight about tangible matters of intense mutual interest.

Posted March 02, 2014

If you're in the hospital with multiple fractures, a staph infection and a collapsed lung, you may not take great comfort when your doctor informs you that his last patient has it worse, being dead. Sometimes encouraging comparisons are not that encouraging.

Posted February 27, 2014

A basic rule for assessing policy is to ask what bad things it makes likely or even possible. Conservatives are fond of citing the law of unintended consequences, which they know can produce negative effects dwarfing the envisioned benefits of a particular measure.

Posted February 23, 2014

After journalist Terry Anderson was taken hostage by a terrorist group in Lebanon in 1985, he spent much of six years in tiny cells completely by himself. Trapped in solitude, he found his mind inexorably breaking down.

Posted February 20, 2014

If driving a taxi in Chicago is your dream job, have I got a deal for you. You get to fight traffic, deal with drunks and deadbeats, work long hours and breathe exhaust fumes nonstop. And I can get you into it for just $360,000.

Posted February 16, 2014

In 1999, newspaper columnist Molly Ivins was diagnosed with breast cancer and promptly exhorted her readers: "Go. Get. The. Damn. Mammogram. Done."

Posted February 13, 2014

The name "Chicago," according to local lore, came from an Indian word meaning "stinky onion." But for decades the city had a different aroma, wafting from an array of candy factories. It was a sweet bonus of urban life. Thanks to a little-known government program, though, it has largely faded away.

Posted February 09, 2014

In the battle over same-sex marriage, opponents are strongly in favor of deferring to the wisdom of our ancestors. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence uses the prevailing formula when he says, "I support traditional marriage." The Christian Coalition of America urges its friends to "Say 'I Do' to Traditional Marriage."

Posted February 06, 2014

In 2012, the Republican Party stood for the ancient biblical proposition that the sins of the father should be visited upon the son. Mitt Romney captured its presidential nomination while vowing to veto the Dream Act, which would allow immigrants brought here illegally as children to gain citizenship.

Posted February 02, 2014

The United States government and the Taliban don't agree on much, but they have found one point of convergence: Both think someone needs to get a hose and put out the flames engulfing Hamid Karzai's pants.

Posted January 30, 2014

Americans have always treasured the freedom to pick up and go anywhere they please. Our forebears had to travel to get here, often had to travel more after they arrived and sometimes moved on to uncharted territories out West only to return East. No one stopped them, whatever direction they were going.

Posted January 26, 2014

In the polarized atmosphere of Washington, there is one thing that both parties can usually agree on: convening independent, bipartisan panels of respected experts to devise solutions to tough problems. Actually, there's one more thing they can usually agree on: ignoring what those groups recommend.

Posted January 23, 2014

The American people once elected a president who favored decriminalizing marijuana. Jimmy Carter endorsed the change in 1976 as a candidate and again after taking office. Nothing happened, and more decades have been wasted in the war on cannabis and other drugs.

Posted January 19, 2014

In times of war and national emergency, it's sometimes necessary to sacrifice civil liberties to secure vital gains in public safety. In those cases, we may have to accept a loss of privacy or freedom rather than invite mass slaughter of Americans.

Posted January 16, 2014

Robert Gates may be the only CIA director or defense secretary who ever took part in peace demonstrations during the Vietnam War. In his 1996 memoir -- the one nobody noticed -- he says that in 1970, as a young CIA employee and Air Force veteran, he marched in Washington to protest the U.S. invasion of Cambodia.

Posted January 12, 2014

Many Americans might have learned from watching Chris Christie's marathon news conference on Thursday, but none more than Meryl Streep.

Posted January 09, 2014

Since the death of communism in most of the places where it once prevailed, North Korea and Cuba function mainly as educational exhibits for an irrelevant and unsuccessful ideology. When it comes to the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, the city of Chicago fills a similar role.

Posted January 05, 2014

In modern America, sex is increasingly where it should be: outside the reach of government. Anti-sodomy statutes have been tossed by the Supreme Court. Contraception is widely accessible. Anyone with a computer can gorge on pornography without fear of prosecution.

Posted December 22, 2013

The course of freedom and democracy in the world is an evolutionary process, though sometimes it proceeds in the wrong direction. Wines have good years and bad years. If 2013 were a wine, you'd use it to kill weeds.

Posted December 19, 2013

If you're part of the U.S. national security apparatus and you torture someone to death during an interrogation, you can rest easy. Two administrations have furnished get-out-of-jail cards absolving you of responsibility for your crime.