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The Myth of the 1990s 'Crack Baby,' and it's Pandemic-Related Lesson

From the Left / Leonard Pitts Jr. /

Like crack cocaine, COVID can be easily politicized. The deeply troubled lives of "crack babies" thankfully, never came to pass.

If you missed that era of hyperventilated pronouncements, here is a synopsis.

When crack cocaine first swept through American cities, much concern and social anxiety arose about the long-term impact if women used the...Read more

You Can't Fix It Facebook

From the Left / Leonard Pitts Jr. /

Maybe Facebook can’t be fixed.

Did anyone ever think of that? As a whistleblower releases damning information, as Congress holds another hearing into the harm the company does, the implicit assumption is that the social-media giant can be reformed, that with the right combination of algorithmic tweaks and legislative remedies, it can cease ...Read more

You Can't Fix Facebook

From the Left / Leonard Pitts Jr. /

Maybe Facebook can’t be fixed.

Did anyone ever think of that? As a whistleblower releases damning information, as Congress holds another hearing into the harm the company does, the implicit assumption is that the social-media giant can be reformed, that with the right combination of algorithmic tweaks and legislative remedies, it can cease ...Read more

Republicans ‘Make Bigotry Great Again’

From the Left / Leonard Pitts Jr. /

You might think it was a crime, but last week, a grand jury did not.

The reference is to the case of one Jared Lafer. He is a white man in his 20s who, in September of last year, was driving in Johnson City, Tennessee, when he came upon a small group of Black Lives Matter protesters in a crosswalk. According to witnesses, Lafer’s SUV bumped a...Read more

Leonard Pitts Jr. Advisory

From the Left / Leonard Pitts Jr. /

A column posted today titled "Raising debt ceiling critical to Biden and his ambitious agenda" for Politics Today was mistakenly posted under Leonard Pitts Jr. Please disregard.

©2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

It’s Easy to See Why They Consider Books Dangerous

From the Left / Leonard Pitts Jr. /

Here’s what happened when Ruby Bridges went to school in 1960.

Four federal marshals escorted her. She walked through a mob of outraged white people. They called her names. They threatened to poison her. And to lynch her. They held up a small casket with a black doll inside. One Southern belle explained to a reporter why she and other New ...Read more

Goodbye, and Good Riddance

From the Left / Leonard Pitts Jr. /

“If you want to leave, take good care, hope you make a lot of nice friends out there.” -- from “Wild World” by Cat Stevens

This is for those of you who’ve chosen to quit your jobs rather than submit to a vaccine mandate.

No telling how many of you there actually are, but lately, you’re all over the news. Just last week, a ...Read more

You Can Starve an Ideal Only So Long Before You Kill It Altogether

From the Left / Leonard Pitts Jr. /

Those pictures are traumatizing.

That’s because they contain so much more than what’s in them, so much more than horse-mounted U.S. Border Patrol agents at the Rio Grande in Texas, running down and flogging would-be Haitian immigrants. No, those pictures contain George Floyd and forced removal from ancestral land, contain internment camps ...Read more

Managing a Mentally Unbalanced President

From the Left / Leonard Pitts Jr. /

What do you do when a president is crazy?

That’s essentially the question Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, faced in the twilight days of the Trump administration. His answer, as reported by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa in their forthcoming book, “Peril,” has some people up in arms.

It seems that Milley, according...Read more

Activism is Not a Popularity Contest

From the Left / Leonard Pitts Jr. /

“He wears the clothes of a dissenter, but there’s a logo on his back.” — from “Damn It, Rose,” by Don Henley.

When he died, Martin Luther King was likely the most hated man in America.

This is a fact obscured by decades of veneration so intense that even conservatives now try to claim him as one of their own, but it’s a ...Read more

America Has Always Run From the Truth of Itself

From the Left / Leonard Pitts Jr. /

Robert E. Lee has retreated from Richmond. Again.

The first time, you will recall, was in April of 1865, when he and his tattered army abandoned the city, fleeing east before finally surrendering at Appomattox Courthouse to federal forces commanded by General Ulysses S. Grant. This latest — and, one hopes, last — retreat was similarly ...Read more

It’s Shocking How Easily It All Comes Back

From the Left / Leonard Pitts Jr. /

It was a day that did not end.

It went on for days, it went on for weeks, it went on for years. But then you look up and somehow, 20 years have gone, and you realize with a start that you can’t recall the last time you thought of September 11, 2001. “We’ll go forward from this moment,” I wrote. And we did. And we have. So much so that ...Read more

Shame on Texas

From the Left / Leonard Pitts Jr. /

Can we first just say how bizarre it is?

Yes, it’s invasive, and hypocritical, too, and we’ll get to that soon enough. But first, let us spare a moment for how purely, intensely and prodigiously strange it is.

As you’ve likely heard, Texas’ new anti-abortion law, which the Supreme Court refused to block on Wednesday night, bars ...Read more

Right-Wing Radicals Have Stated Their Aims. We Better Believe Them

From the Left / Leonard Pitts Jr. /

It’s been five years since I first speculated in this space about the end of American democracy.

In doing so, I felt like a man climbing out on an especially creaky limb. But as hyperpartisanship rose to ever more bizarre extremes, as the misinformation crisis left ever more people babbling angry gobbledygook, as voter suppression resurrected...Read more

The Wisdom of Experience is a Priceless Gift ... That Many Spurn

From the Left / Leonard Pitts Jr. /

Many years ago, one of my sons came to me, excited about a promotional offer from some bank. I no longer remember the offer or the bank, but I do remember telling him not to fall for it; I had accepted a similar offer years before, and it cost me several of my favorite limbs and the shirt off my back. If a thing sounds too good to be true, I ...Read more

Tired of Marching for What Should Already Be Ours

From the Left / Leonard Pitts Jr. /

He said many profound things that day.

He said America had given African Americans “a bad check.”

He said he had come to remind the nation of “the fierce urgency of now.”

He said we might hew “out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”

He said, “I have a dream.”

But as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s spiritual heirs ...Read more

The Dots Had Names

From the Left / Leonard Pitts Jr. /

Last week, at least two men fell from a U.S. military plane as it climbed into the skies above Afghanistan.

In video taken from the ground, they are so small you almost have to squint to see them. They seem roughly the size of a period, the end to some sentence no one wrote. But no, we are told those figures are Afghan men, plunging to their ...Read more

No Tantrum Can Last Forever

From the Left / Leonard Pitts Jr. /

Chris Rock described it as a kind of temper tantrum.

This was in 2011. “When I see the tea party and all this stuff,” the comedian told Esquire, “it actually feels like racism's almost over.” He likened the tea party — with its street theatrics, overwrought histrionics and overt panic at the idea of living under a Black president — ...Read more

Skepticism Can Make You Blind

From the Left / Leonard Pitts Jr. /

They told them they had bad blood.

What they actually had was syphilis, but the U.S. Public Health Service never shared that diagnosis with the almost 400 African American men, most of them poor and under-educated sharecroppers, they recruited for a secret study at Tuskegee Institute in 1932. Indeed, health officials did little for those men ...Read more

Too Stupid to Live

From the Left / Leonard Pitts Jr. /

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” — Martin Luther King

Dr. King didn’t know the half of it.

Those words, after all, are from 1963. Back then, the idea of U.S. citizens and lawmakers attacking their own democracy would have been unthinkable, flouting precautions in ...Read more

 

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