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Columns

  • Reasons for the Electoral College

    Every four years, American news is dominated by the presidential election. Pundits and analysts play up the drama, predict the outcome of the Electoral College, and endlessly analyze the results. Since the Republican candidate won the election, yet lost the popular vote by less than one percent, speculation has started on the purpose of the Electoral College.

  • Amercans' top job: bring country together again

    The well-worn conventional wisdom in America right now goes something like this: We’ve never been this politically divided.

    Nihilists and pundits will tell us that we’re so set in our rightish or leftish ways that Congress’s dysfunction is a result of the people’s philosophical rigidity. It’s a neat way of blaming citizens for the faults of their leaders.

    It’s all nonsense, of course.

  • Holidays a time to heal after stressful year

    By the time you read this, the giant, pulsing dark cloud of this year’s election will have finally passed over us… and I, for one, am looking forward to remembering what conversations were like before it happened.

    As usual, I am writing this column on a Sunday night, the eve of my Monday deadline for this paper — before the election — and when future me reads this in print later in the week, I just want to say to her: “At least it’s over.”

  • Last chance to register to vote

    Americans have perhaps never been as ideologically divided as they are in this election season.

    If that statement sounds familiar, it’s because you heard it during the 2012 election. Probably in 2008, too.

    Now, that divide has widened to a chasm that threatens to swallow up rational political discourse. As the two sides pull further apart on opposing sides of the abyss, it can be hard to even hear each other.

    Amid all the static, it can be easy to forget something vitally important — going out to vote on Nov. 8.

  • Festivals celebrate local character, bring communities together

    It’s that magical time of the year again: the leaves are changing, the temperature is dropping, our tasters are set for holiday treats and the streets are lined with vendors, performers and other fun things for families to enjoy just about every weekend.

  • Candidates give up privacy when seeking White House

    Hillary Clinton’s health isn’t a private matter anymore. Neither are her finances.

    Same goes for Donald Trump.

    It’s a fact of life in American politics today that voters expect a level of disclosure that would violate good taste, if not privacy laws, were it expected from anyone other than the men and women who want to be president.

    Too bad; these people are running for the highest office in the land, and that demands the highest level of disclosure.

  • Grayson invests in future of youth

    It’s not often in local government when you can save money by offering people more services.

    But Grayson County has wisely chosen to invest in the future of its youth as both a cost-saving measure and an effort to tackle social issues at the source. The county is being proactive with its at-risk youth and families, rather than responding later when the problems have become more pervasive — and more expensive.

  • Politics has poisoned debate over felon voting

    Since the beginning of the battle about automatically restoring the voting rights of 200,000 Virginia felons, the fight has taken on an unnecessary partisan flavor.

    Republican leaders have pointedly accused Gov. Terry McAuliffe of playing politics with the voting rolls to help Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, essentially calling his articulated motives a lie.

    Virginia is one of only four states that continues to permanently bar felons from enjoying full constitutional rights, a relic of a divisive time in Virginia history.

  • We count on the mail

    Chip Hutcheson is president of the National Newspaper Association and publisher of The Times Leader in Princeton, Ky.

    I got the mail today.

    A couple of bills. A greeting card. Some catalogs. A newspaper. One package that my wife grabbed right away. (Wonder what that was?)

    Lately, it occurs to me how completely I take for granted that I will get the mail tomorrow.

  • Voters, educate yourselves

    It is now official: we have our nominees for what could easily be called one of the most controversial presidential elections in our history; and the “Race for the White House,” as CNN so eloquently puts it, has begun.

    What the candidates do between now and November will be crucial in determining who better earns the trust of the majority of the country; that is, if we pay close enough attention.