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CEPEDA: Revering our national anthem

This year, like no other before it, I feel a deep desire to get back to basics. It's been an especially difficult few weeks of tumult over race, same-sex marriage rights, immigration and other issues that highlight our differences rather than our similarities.. I'm

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THOMAS: No standards remain

"For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." -- Genesis 2:24, NIV. The problem for people who believe in an Authority higher even than the Constitution is that

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PARKER: 'Cracker' lacks evil history of the N-word

WASHINGTON -- The trial of George Zimmerman, accused of fatally shooting Trayvon Martin, inevitably and quickly devolved into a contest of who is more racist -- the victim or the accused?. The question was inevitable because the prosecution is basing its case largely on the suggestion that Zimmerman profiled the

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CEPEDA: Obesity disease categorization could lead to better treatment

CHICAGO -- Is obesity truly a disease that requires medical treatment and prevention, as the American Medical Association recently proclaimed? Or is it still more accurately a "condition" with too many variables and factors to shoehorn into a neat category?. There are as many opinions on this matter as there

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ROBINSON: Food for thought on Paula Deen

WASHINGTON -- Paula Deen needs to give the self-pity a rest. The damage to her carefully built image is self-inflicted -- nobody threw a rock -- and her desperate search for approval and vindication is just making things worse.

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CEPEDA: On teacher training, miles to go

CHICAGO -- Maybe someday, I'll go back to school and re-experience teacher training decades after the current movement to bring rigor to such programs has finally taken hold in higher education.. Perhaps then I could marvel at changes in the currently laughable system of identifying and preparing the K

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THOMAS: VRA ruling a win for races moving on

"Character, not circumstance, makes the person." -- Booker T. Washington. The Supreme Court's narrow 5-4 decision to strike down a central component of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, "freeing nine states, mostly in the South," writes The New York Times, "to change their election laws without advance federal

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THOMAS: Breakout from politics of the past

The "Faith and Freedom" Coalition held a gathering last week in Washington, D.C. It resembled many similar conservative assemblies: mostly white male speakers, a mostly white, middle-age audience and mostly full of attacks on President Obama, liberals, Democrats and Washington. That is not a winning strategy.

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PARKER: Is it possible to get a jury of peers?

WASHINGTON -- The headlines were immediate: All-women jury chosen for George Zimmerman's trial. What is the likelihood that you, a man, would face a jury of all women?

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CEPEDA: Trouble with a 'textured' life

CHICAGO -- In his revealing book "Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010," Charles Murray spends hundreds of pages using statistics to illustrate the rising inequality that is increasingly putting the white working class on the path toward generational poverty.

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ROBINSON: Hang up on phone tracking

WASHINGTON -- From the evidence so far, there's no good reason to let the National Security Agency continue its massively intrusive practice of logging our private phone calls. Congress should pull the plug.. I'm not ignoring all the officials, including President Obama, who swear that the NSA's electronic snooping has

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CEPEDA: Dropping out does have its cost

If there's one thing public policy researchers fear, it's that they'll share a finding with the potential to oversimplify a complex, wide-ranging issue.. Such has been the case with a recent Brookings Institution blog post -- "Is Starting College and Not

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THOMAS: Talking to the Taliban

After 12 years of fighting, the Taliban in Afghanistan have announced they are ready to talk peace with the United States. The Taliban opened a political office in Qatar. The talks will take place there, but without the Afghan government, which is refusing to take part

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THOMAS: Then what in Syria?

The United States has a bad track record in the Middle East.

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O'REILLY: Who's your daddy?

With Father's Day, there is good news and bad news. First the negative: Single mothers head up almost 9 percent of U.S. households. The good news? Fathers who care are making a huge difference in this country.