Commentary: Emergency price gouging regulations can be detrimental

One year ago, California and Hawaii were the first states to announce emergency declarations to fight COVID-19. In doing so, they activated preexisting price gouging regulations. The reasoning, California Gov. Gavin Newsom claimed, was so that “consumers (will be) able to purchase what they need, at a fair price.” Unfortunately, for some of those consumers that fair price cost them their lives.

Editorial: Don’t bring America’s longest war to an end just yet

President Joe Biden, a longtime critic of U.S. military strategy in Afghanistan, can’t be eager to preside over the 20th anniversary of what is already America’s longest war. But if he’s to secure U.S. interests and give Afghans a chance at achieving peace, he won’t have much choice.

Commentary: QAnon, the Holocaust and the deadly power of conspiracy theories

Our nation is getting a crash course in conspiracy theories. QAnon has been in the spotlight as the latest iteration. With the rise of social media, the messenger may be new, but the message is not. Conspiracy theories have been around for centuries, well before mass communications amplified their potency. The human desire to explain complicated events in simplistic ways often leads to blaming minorities for them, sometimes with deadly consequences.

Commentary: Jefferson would cringe at the destruction of local media — Congress must act

In 1787, on the eve of the French Revolution, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Edward Carrington, dispatched to the Continental Congress, on the role of a free press. If he had to choose between “a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government,” Jefferson wrote, “I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” The founding father feared governments, including the one he helped design, would become predatory if unchecked by a knowledgeable citizenry. And here we are.

Editorial: Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine could make vaccinations much simpler

This weekend marked another step in defeating COVID-19 as the FDA approved Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, giving America 100 million additional doses by this summer, another wonderful life-saving weapon against the deadly virus. Coming a day after President Joe Biden celebrated the 50 millionth shot jabbed in an arm, victory seems near.

The era of vaccine diplomacy is here

It is only natural that the American government and the American people have focused on getting coronavirus vaccines to as many of its people as possible, with the most vulnerable first in line. But as the pace of domestic vaccination accelerates, two facts are worth bearing in mind.

Commentary: Fighting human trafficking: A cause that should transcend politics

In the last several weeks, President Joe Biden has reversed — or put on hold — many of the Trump administration’s immigration and border security policies. No one doubts that the new team is scouring the field, looking for other Trump administration policies and initiatives to cancel. But surely fighting the scourge of human trafficking is a piece of Trump’s legacy that should be spared the chopping block. Indeed, this is one area where Biden’s Department of Homeland Security should be looking to continue and build upon the work of the previous administration.

Editorial: One time standardized tests could be good for everyone

Last year, then-Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made one of the few good moves of her tenure by waiving the annual standardized tests given to elementary and secondary school students under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. Schools were in emergency mode as they closed campuses in March, many students were without the tools for remote learning, let alone remote testing, and to put it simply, the academic year was a hot mess.

Editorial: Smart on policy, shame about the tweets

President Joe Biden’s Cabinet nominations had been moving forward pretty well until the past few days. Now they’ve run into trouble. Neera Tanden (nominated to lead the Office of Management and Budget), California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (Health and Human Services) and Rep. Deb Haaland (Interior) are facing opposition from Republicans. Tanden’s nomination, in particular, looks stalled, and Biden’s team is said to be considering alternatives.

Editorial: How the US can help save the Amazon

In his push to combat climate change, President Joe Biden has vowed to take action to protect the Amazon rainforest. That means getting Brazil’s populist government to cooperate. A combination of incentives and creative diplomacy offers the best chance of success.

Editorial: Powell’s reassurance and a question for the future

The stock market applauded Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s testimony to Congress on Tuesday, rebounding on his assurance that an increase in interest rates is nowhere in sight. Powell’s message was well-grounded as well as reassuring — but there’s no disguising the challenges that lie ahead for monetary policy.