Maya Angelou was a quotable-quote factory. Since her death, her verbal nuggets have been cobbled into countless lists, all of them hinting, in the words of BuzzFeed's compilation, that her quotes will "make you a better person"

Who deserves more attention in news coverage of mass killings: the victims or the killers? After the mass shooting in Isla Vista, many families of victims and law enforcement officials have urged journalists to avoid using gunmen's names and photos in public

What kind of culture produced those two 12-year-old Wisconsin girls charged with stabbing a classmate 19 times? Our culture. Police said they wanted to kill their classmate so they could cement a pact with a fictional character that lives on the Internet

To all those who complain that Hispanics are unwilling to assimilate, listen up. Research shows that not only do they embrace American culture, but many also buy into the convoluted messaging around race and ethnicity that has long been this country's specialty

In keeping with his determination to get America off "a perpetual wartime footing" after more than a decade of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama's commencement address at West Point was a sobering preview of what lies ahead for the graduates


  • Coverage, analysis, photo and video coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup from Brazil

  • The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates has revived the conversation. In 'The Case for Reparations' in the magazine's June issue, Coates focuses less on slavery than on its legacy, particularly the policy choices that systematically denied equal protections

  • Lonesome Racist of the Week: Robert Copeland of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. He's not as wealthy or prominent as Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, but the 82-year-old Copeland is no less detestable

  • "Thank you for your service" is all well and good. But if we do not put some muscle into that gratitude, it might be better -- or at least, more honest -- to just shut up and let our military men and women walk through airports in peace

  • 'The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap' is a volume of stories. The thesis: this country has evolved a two-tier justice system under which some of us are fair game for aggressive policing, while others are 'too big to jail'

  • The new memorial and museum commemorating the worst attack on the continental United States in history stands starkly as remembrance of that morning in lower Manhattan nearly 13 years ago when terrorism rained down on the Twin Towers from those two hijacked jetliners

  • Sure, fighting bigotry is right and good. The test isn't in the motives but in the methods. Today, it is a kind of evil-thinking not to be part of the war on evil thinking. And so the cause of tolerance demands evermore intolerance

  • The print journalism world has been shaken by the firing in no uncertain terms of Jill Abramson, the first female executive editor of the New York Times. The reaction has created as much buzz within the newspaper craft

  • "A Fragile Trust: Plagiarism, Power and Jayson Blair at the New York Times" reintroduces us to the one-time wunderkind who lied and plagiarized his way through a career on what is arguably the greatest stage in American journalism

  • One of us dies from a bullet every 17 minutes. That statistic lends a certain futility to the anguished plea of Richard Martinez: 'Not one more!' He made this appeal after losing his only son, Chris, in the shooting rampage in Santa Barbara

  • So it turns out that Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old who killed six UC Santa Barbara students, then committed suicide, in Isla Vista, California, was shut out of human connection, nailed into a coffin of isolation

  • Every year a tiny number of mentally ill people go on horrific killing sprees. It just happened in California. I think the media attention lavished on these horror shows encourages some of these young men to seek fame or validation through bloodshed

  • It swallowed people up. That's what it really did, if you want to know the truth. It swallowed them up whole, swallowed them up by the millions. In the process, it hollowed out communities, broke families, stranded hope

  • In early April, the Anti-Defamation League offered some happy news about a very grim topic. It reported a 'significant and encouraging decline' in anti-Semitic acts across America in recent years. Unfortunately, the new spirit of hope would not last long

  • The Pulitzer Prizes to two news outlets that cooperated with whistleblower Edward Snowden in the disclosure of widespread National Security Agency surveillance of electronic communications at home and abroad has U.S. officialdom in a dither

  • The vast majority of the 2.6 million veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are able to return home, find work and resume their lives. But many struggle with the so-called "invisible wounds" of mental health. And it is for them that we must do more

  • If the federal government considers a person is mentally ill enough to receive financial benefits, why can't it also decide that person is dangerous enough to be banned from buying a gun?

  • The gun industry's advertising war is centered around a state of fear and helplessness. Most people, or at least most gun owners, think 'disarmed' means 'disempowered' and the debate, such as it is, ends there

  • When Errol Morris began 30 hours of interviews with Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush's Defence Secretary, he hoped to learn why America went to war in Iraq in 2003. And if that was not possible, he could still gain some insight into Rumsfeld's thought process

  • President Obama still wrestles with more limited American foreign-policy responsibilities as a world leader, while struggling to move from what he has deplored as 'a permanent wartime footing' toward a post-Cold War peacetime normalcy

  • Dear Tom Perkins. I'm writing to apologize. I do this on behalf of the 99 percent of us who are not multimillionaires. You, of course, are, having made a pile as a venture capitalist and co-founder of the firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

  • Things are getting worse in the American classroom, not better. The experts and the special interests purporting to fix the American educational system are continuing, instead, to asphyxiate it

  • Don't hold your breath waiting for the state legislature to fix Florida's cockeyed Stand Your Ground law. The National Rifle Association owns too many of the Republican lawmakers who could end the madness

  • Doug Varrieur likes to shoot. Problem is, it's 25 miles to the range, where they charge $45 an hour. What's a gun enthusiast to do? Lucky for him, Varrieur lives in Florida. Just erect a makeshift range in the back yard and fire away. It's perfectly legal

  • 'But it works.' That, in three syllables, has been the go-to argument of the last two presidential administrations to justify assaulting civil liberties in the name of rooting out terrorists. It's a dubious line of reasoning

  • The Fourth Amendment guarantees freedom from unfettered government snooping, and government needs probable cause and a warrant before it can search or seize your things. That guarantee would seem to be ironclad, but we've been learning lately that it's not

  • In the United States, home to the world's fourth-largest Catholic population, the pope appears to be well-liked by Catholics and non-Catholics alike. But has the pope's popularity produced a Catholic resurgence in the U.S.?

  • Fifty years ago, in the span of just a few seconds, the course of American history was altered. President Kennedy became the victim of assassination when he was shot while riding in an open limousine through downtown Dallas on November 22, 1963

  • President Kennedy's death put the Secret Service on the defensive. It's the organization that protects the president and his family. In conversations with several former Secret Service agents, the assassination led to changes in how the President and first family are safeguarded

  • The revelations about PRISM are far from new or interesting in themselves. The NSA was created with a charter to do these things, and given the state of technology it was inevitable that the NSA would be capturing communications around the world

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  • A new National Climate Assessment report says that Florida is seriously threatened by rising sea levels, mass flooding, salt-contaminated water supplies and increasingly severe weather events -- all caused by climate change

  • Charlie Crist wants to go to Cuba this summer, in the middle of his campaign to get elected governor of Florida again. His sunny optimism is based on polls showing that most Floridians want an end to the U.S. trade embargo and travel ban against Cuba

  • The American way of execution is in legal crisis -- that much is obvious regardless of whether one is for or against the death penalty. States can't defend the use of drugs they won't name, nor can citizens demand that justice be done to those on death row

  • No species in nature kills its own kind more often or more creatively than humans do, yet we cannot seem to devise a reliably swift, painless method of capital punishment. Oklahoma's bungled execution of Clayton Lockett is the latest death-chamber debacle

  • Bungled lethal injection executions are beginning to make firing squads look good. I did not always feel this way. But with new questions being raised about the effectiveness of lethal-injections, this seemingly humane form of execution is looking a lot less palatable

  • The state of Oklahoma 'botched' an execution. Botched is the accepted term in the media coverage, despite the fact Clayton Lockett was executed. He just died badly, suffering for 43 minutes until he eventually had a heart attack

  • Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy said the prayers offered at a town council meeting in Greece, New York, are ceremonial and in keeping with the nation's traditions. If prayer is largely "ceremonial" and "traditional" then it has lost all meaning

  • The notion that something can simultaneously be wrong and constitutional really seems to bother a lot of people. The court ruled that Greece, New York, could have predominantly Christian clergy deliver prayers at the beginning of city council meetings

  • As secretary of state, John Kerry has left no doubt that he is ready, willing and able to go anywhere and do anything to make headway in his unenviable pursuit of progress in international stalemates

  • The first and most important step must be for the United States to declare who we are as a country and to define our purpose in the world. Presidents are supposed to do this. Somewhere between isolationism and interventionism is a U.S. policy waiting to be discovered

  • There are days in the opinion business when one story makes itself inevitable and unavoidable, one story sucks up all the air in the room. This is one of those times. One story. Well two, actually: the misadventures of Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling

  • To believe that capitalism and the United States are in an inexorable decline as Venezuela's ruling party states and a surprising number of Latin Americans believe, flies in the face of reality. In fact, the opposite is true

  • Vilifying the NRA can actually be counterproductive. It merely puffs up the organization's most alarmist elements. What really needs to happen is a change of thinking within the NRA membership: a rising up from within the ranks of the calm and reasonable gun owners

  • One thousand members of the military are returning home each day to America. Only 100 are hired each day. This dispiriting math troubles Mike Mullen, retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as does the estimate that 22 veterans commit suicide daily

  • The U.S. has now shot so many rhetorical arrows that its quiver of indignation is empty -- and the world's troublemakers may know it. An administration that ignores almost all of its own deadlines surely cannot expect others to abide by any timetables it sets abroad

  • Even as our two major wars come to a close and President Obama has promised to get the country off a permanent war footing, the United States continues to deliver more and more money, guns, equipment, and training to foreign military and police forces around the globe

  • At a time when many have become fixated on U.S. intelligence agencies' big data programs, authorities are becoming aware of a more insidious kind of threat -- one that successfully exploits the growing blind spot created by our overreliance on technology

  • The Obama government has taken a Cold War stand on the crisis in Ukraine. The White House has warned Russia not to intervene, which they have not threatened, and has ordered U.S. military precautions. This seems unnecessary

  • The summit was a missed opportunity to relaunch the 20-year-old free trade agreement among the three countries, but it produced a little-noticed plan that may have a big impact on North America's economic and cultural integration in coming years

  • Americans' addiction to harmful drugs is in the news again in a big way. CVS has decided to stop peddling them at its 7,600 stores. Its CEO explained that 'cigarettes and tobacco products have no place in a setting where health care is delivered'

  • Shades of Cold War anxiety were rekindled recently by reports that Air Force investigations were underway into alleged drug use, as well as cheating on preparedness tests, among nuclear missile launch officers working in the nation's pressure-cooker underground bunker

  • Robert Gates, in his book tour, talked about nightly sessions at his writing desk, penning letters of condolence letters to the families of the American fallen. Small wonder he is so reflective of America's war history that has followed the Cold War

  • It didn't have to be like this. There were signs of Detroit's decline that began as early as the 1950s, but politicians don't like telling voters 'no' when it comes to government freebies and benefits. They want the votes

  • Vulgarity has become cultural shorthand for everything from seriousness to rebelliousness to keeping it real. But it's closer to the opposite. The standards of the common culture are lower than they are in nearly every other walk of life

  • I wasn't too surprised when do-it-yourself vigilante George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin. The trial took place in Florida, after all. The verdict shows that with 'Stand Your Ground' laws, it's your word against theirs and they're dead

  • The not-guilty verdict a jury of six women reached in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin is outrageous. Although I'd been following this case since February -- the day George Zimmerman gunned down the unarmed 17-year-old black teen -- I am stunned

  • Fracking might be profitable, but whether it's good for anything else is doubtful. How does fracking American land make sense if it's poisoning our food and water supply with chemicals that give us cancer?

  • Ten generations have come and gone since 1776. Yet the Founders still fascinate us. What so attracts us to these men of means who put their security and their considerable comfort at risk for a greater good? Maybe the contrast with what we see all around us