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Kathleen Parker

Stories by Kathleen

PARKER: The evolution of Michelle Obama

First-term first ladies are often shadows to their more-important husbands, dabbling in lite fare to avoid criticism and picking safe projects to shield them and their families from the inevitable slings and arrows.

PARKER: Pool party mayhem

Video imagery doesn’t get much worse than a white police officer throwing an African-American girl in a bikini to the ground, kneeling on her back as she cries, and drawing his gun on other teens.

PARKER: Being Bill Kristol

One can understand why The Weekly Standard’s William Kristol would try to nullify Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy, but smearing all baby boomers in the process seems a stretch of veracity in the service of a blank page.

PARKER: GOP debates in game show format

Politics isn’t really science after all, but is a schoolyard brawl — or a survivor reality game, depending on one’s preference — where human nature calls the shots.

PARKER: Trigger warnings trample free speech on campus

A trigger warning is usually conveyed on a sign carried or posted near the auditorium where a speech is to be given, alerting students to the possibility that the speaker may express an idea that could trigger an emotional response. A discussion about campus rape statistics, for example, might cause a rape victim to suffer.

PARKER: Freddie Gray and matters of perception

In a diverse nation, we’ll never all see things exactly the same way, nor would we want to, but we might at least strive to recognize our own biases and judge our own perceptions as harshly as we do others’.

PARKER: Fear of free speech

True words are often said in jest, it has long been said. But a harsher idiom has been taking shape in recent years: Jest is becoming the only way to express truth.

PARKER: With a song in prisoners’ hearts

On a recent serendipitous visit to the prison with a friend, renowned cellist Claire Bryant, and a group of her fellow New York musicians, I was privileged to witness the transformative power of music scored with human kindness.

PARKER: Mr. Hughes goes to Washington

It takes courage to stand where you put your money. Or to deliver your letter to the U.S. Congress in person.

PARKER: Presidential race pits past vs. future

Americans, perhaps more than anyone, worship the future and resent the past.

PARKER: Revenge of the help

The president and his family have had only one haven in Washington where they can escape the constant surveillance of the capital’s pathologically curious population. Now the culture of discretion that kept previous staff members from talking out of school can be pronounced officially dead.

PARKER: Freedom is a two-way street

Excited protests against Indiana’s recently passed religious freedom law have highlighted both America’s growing support for same-sex marriage and our apparent incapacity to entertain more than one idea at a time.

PARKER: Wacko birds nesting in U.S. Senate

President Obama got it two-thirds right when he said that the delayed confirmation of his attorney general nominee, Loretta Lynch, is owing to Senate dysfunction and Republican stubbornness.

PARKER: Hillary and the Media: Act 2016

Amid all the verbiage about Hillary Clinton’s email, one irrefutable fact emerges: Polls will drive us crazy before the Clintons do.

PARKER: Twitter as America’s conscience

There are fine lines and shades of gray between funny and offensive. Often, a good joke is both. Oversensitivity, meanwhile, can have a stifling effect not just on humor but on public discourse and free expression.

PARKER: The riddle of war

There’s a very 2001 feel to President Obama’s request for authorization to use military force and the nauseating sense that we’ll be at war indefinitely.

PARKER: Why did Brian Williams do it?

These are tough times for NBC’s Brian Williams — and tougher times for journalism

PARKER: The sacrifice of Sarah Palin

If Republican strategists had viewed Palin in 2008 as someone with talent who needed nurturing and support, she might have been ready for a national ticket by 2016. But this possibility exposes the matter of her own judgment.

PARKER: When the pope talks, we all listen

Each time Pope Francis speaks, his words are as shiny objects on a desert floor. We scramble to examine them, turning them over, looking for hidden meanings, holding them up to the light in search of codes and encryptions.

PARKER: Hyping Obama’s Paris fail

What France and other nations need from us is support, sympathy and, most of all, intelligence. Symbolic gestures have their place in diplomacy and war, but sometimes the wiser act is playing it safe.

PARKER: Our bias, ourselves

As we try to ease racial tensions, we might begin by examining our own unconscious biases, which are too easily coaxed to the surface, and apply a more-critical eye to narratives before accepting them as true. We might also send racist agitators back to the soapbox, where the peddlers of outrage have always belonged.

PARKER: This year the joke’s on us

A writer seeking profound pronouncements for a year-end column is likely instead to find herself awash in punchlines. Life isn’t a comedy. It’s a joke.

CEPEDA: Now that’s a real wildfire

The story is a doozy — a tale of corruption, prosecutorial abuse, alleged fraud upon the court, and possible government cover-ups in the service of power and greed.

PARKER: Feminism sees the right

It is probably too soon to declare a feminist reformation, but a few signs here and there give one hope.

PARKER: Ferguson and the media circus

As the curtain closes on the latest episode of “Ferguson,” the media series, it is fair to wonder whether events might not have spiraled out of control to the extent they did had the media settled on another topic.

PARKER: Pope calls for family resurrection

News that Pope Francis will visit the U.S. next year for the triennial World Meeting of Families brings elation to Catholics, excitement to pope watchers — and perhaps a little chagrin to some who too soon interpreted Francis’ broad compassion as a precursor to doctrinal changes related to marriage.

PARKER: Obama’s spiteful legacy

We also know that once trust is gone, it’s very hard to restore. Over time, and not just during this administration, we have lost trust in one institution after another. But when we have lost faith in our government, we have lost faith in ourselves.

PARKER: The people and the pendulum

What we are is a nation of sensible sorts, most of whom come home each day to rest where the pendulum do. May the victors, both Democrat and Republican, remember this fact and keep it close to their conscience.

PARKER: Bears and wolves find a voice in the wilderness

If politicians preying upon your attentions this season fail to inspire, you might seek common cause with the beasts — the four-legged variety rather than those running for office.

PARKER: The question unanswered

So unpopular is President Obama these days that the (D) following Democratic candidates’ names might stand for Denial.

PARKER: Words to the wise

Words have a way of seeping into our vocabulary and, through overuse or distortion, soon begin to lose their meaning.

PARKER: Whose war on women?

It isn’t possible to dissect the alleged war on women without mentioning abortion, since this is the entire content of the war as defined by savvy Democratic operatives. It was an effective strategy in 2012, aided quite a bit by some of the GOP’s lesser lights and looser tongues, not to mention good ol’ slut-talking Rush.

PARKER: Cry, you’re on hidden camera

Without prior knowledge or intent, I recently was inducted into a club I had no interest in joining, especially in light of the $200 initiation fee.

PARKER: Mark Sanford’s ongoing saga with himself

As a South Carolinian, it befalls me to examine the peculiarities afflicting our former governor and now-congressman Mark Sanford, who, contrary to decorum and taste, continues to demand attention.

PARKER: Eric Cantor’s swan song

Two victories, assuming the second, hardly bestow bragging rights on the tea party. Nor, consequently, would they bolster the Democratic narrative that the tea party has conquered the GOP.

PARKER: Armed, dangerous and dead

So much for the argument that having more people armed in public places will result in fewer gun deaths.

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PARKER: Obama's hard choices

The exchange of five Guantanamo detainees for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has reminded us of three unpleasant facts of life: The United States does negotiate with terrorists; the president will circumvent laws as circumstances require; Republicans and Democrats will be summarily outraged as party affiliations seem to require.

PARKER: Warning: Literature happening

Requiring labels on books is the busywork of smallish minds

PARKER: Bill Maher’s tiny point

When my neighbor gleefully reported that Bill Maher had dedicated a searing monologue to me for a column about the Donald Sterling/Cliven Bundy rants, my first thought was, Nah. If I tussled with everybody who tossed a brick through the window, I’d never get the draperies hung.

PARKER: Death unto others

Though my intentions be cruel, I’d rather not participate in the death of another except as self-defense. The additional specter of executing someone convicted in error further resigns me to the conclusion that our challenge is not in becoming more efficient executioners — but in becoming too civilized to want to be.

PARKER: GOP: Choose wisely or reap the whirlwind

The GOP does not deserve to be indicted along with Bundy, but for too long the party has sown the wind by tolerating some of its less ennobled colleagues. Cliven Bundy is their whirlwind.

PARKER: What does grandmotherhood mean for Hillary’s chances

I would submit that Chelsea’s baby gives Hillary Clinton all the more reason to run for president. She not only will want to help shape a world in which women lead nations but also one in which babies and grandmotherhood are celebrated as integral to women’s lives — not Photoshopped out as inconvenient obstacles to women’s advancement.

PARKER: Erasing the race card

It is striking that during what many had hoped would be a post-racial America, racial division has been amplified, owing not least to sustained media attention. Then again, maybe we’re experiencing the final death rattle of our racist past.

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PARKER: No offense meant to my Southern friends

After writing close to 3,000 columns, I’ve learned that people sometimes read what they’re looking for, often as a result of a headline, rather than what I wrote.

PARKER: Democrats acting desperately

H.L. Mencken gets a workout in election years when voters are reminded by pundits of the curmudgeon’s observation that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

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PARKER: Lighten up on the first lady

The past couple of weeks have marked a turning point in American ugliness as the mob has turned its full fury on first lady Michelle Obama.

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PARKER: Dershowitz and Starr: A matter of principle

When it comes to tackling complicated legal issues, one would be hard-pressed to conjure a less likely partnership than Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz and Baylor University President Ken Starr.

PARKER: Vladimir Putin being Putin

Crimeans, 97 percent of whom voted to become part of Russia (against a backdrop of heavily armed Russian troops), may be deluding themselves in thinking that they might become another Sochi — rebuilt in splendor in preparation for the Winter Olympics. Asks Khrushcheva, does Russia really have another $50 billion to create a new showpiece?

PARKER: A president between two ferns

Like most people older than 30, I also wondered whether this was an appropriate venue for the president, especially in consideration of current events.

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PARKER: When the going gets tough, make SAT easier

Periodic revision of standardized testing may be justified and, in some instances, even laudable. A new SAT focus on founding documents and their authors is one welcome shift. As to whether the new test will be useful in advancing capable students who, for whatever reason, weren’t able to demonstrate their abilities through testing — time will tell.

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