Editorial: Remember COVID surges? Congress didn’t

Health officials are forecasting a fall COVID-19 surge, but one with fewer fatalities than past coronavirus spikes. The good news: A variant-specific booster has just been authorized to cope with the expected rise in cases.

The UN and Xinjiang: no one can say they don’t know

China’s treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang — including mass extrajudicial detentions, family separations and forced labor — is by now well documented, despite the secrecy surrounding it. Yet when Michelle Bachelet visited the region earlier this year, the usually outspoken UN human rights chief adopted some of the Chinese Communist party’s framing of the issue. As a long-awaited report into the region remained unpublished on her desk, human rights groups grew concerned that it might be watered down or suppressed entirely.

Commentary: What happened at Brigham Young University isn’t unique

On Aug. 28, a spectator at a volleyball game at Brigham Young University yelled the N-word multiple times at Rachel Richardson, a player from Duke University. There was no intervention by school officials until after the game. And while this may seem like an isolated incident, racist taunts like these are a routine experience for Black Americans, and silence from non-Black bystanders is the harmful norm.

Editorial: Long lived the Queen: As the crown became a curiosity, Queen Elizabeth did the British people proud

The death of the queen (there’s only one queen) might have come as “a shock,” as new British Prime Minister Liz Truss said outside No. 10 Downing St., but it was certainly not a surprise. When Elizabeth ascended the throne in 1952, the cry was “Long live the Queen.” That she did, with dignity and decency, all the way to 96. Having been the United Kingdom’s monarch for 70 years, Elizabeth was the constant ever since Winston Churchill was PM and Harry Truman president.

Editorial: The end of the end of the 20th century

Some would say the 20th century ended at Y2K — midnight on Jan. 1, 2000. Others would say that, as a historical phenomenon, it extended until the shock of Sept. 11, 2001. And others still might cite the Great Recession or even the election of Donald Trump as the real end of the long 20th century.

Editorial: Declining life expectancy is an indictment of American society

Not for a hundred years has there been such a pronounced drop in U.S. life expectancy, from 79 years in 2019 to 76 just two years later, in 2021, according to federal researchers. It’s easy to chalk this up entirely to the impact of COVID, and the virus was certainly the main culprit, but it would be wrong to suggest this dismaying trend is the result merely of forces out of our collective hands.

Editorial: Trump’s defenders look worse with each new revelation regarding the documents

After the FBI search for classified records at former President Donald Trump’s Florida home, his chorus of sycophants kept singing the same tune: The search was unnecessary. The government should have just asked him to return the documents. Trump had declassified them anyway. But new court filings devastate each of those arguments. The public should insist that those who lambasted law enforcement in their eagerness to defend Trump before any facts were known explain where they stand now.

Editorial: Lindsey Graham’s prediction of riots reads more like a threat

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham on Sunday said that if the Justice Department prosecutes former president Donald Trump for mishandling classified information, there will be “riots in the street.” A few minutes later, he said it again. There is no excuse for this irresponsible rhetoric, which not only invites violence but also defies democratic norms.

Commentary: Airline meltdowns are the canary in the coal mine

For would-be vacationers, this has been the summer of our discontent. In the wake of the pandemic, severe staffing shortages have triggered a crush of disruption: Flight cancellations abound while check-in lines snake out the terminal door. Travelers wonder when the chaos will abate.

Lynn Schmidt: An election system designed to excuse officials from responding to constituents

If an employee was completely unresponsive to her or his employer, the employee would likely not have a job for very long. Unfortunately, this is not the case in politics. Americans’ approval rating of the job Congress is doing has fallen to 18%, yet in the 2020 general election, 93% of incumbents nationwide won their reelection bids. Our political system is so broken that elected officials are not motivated to be responsive or accountable.

Editorial: Pot is now more prevalent than cigarettes, but federal law remains outmoded

Consider this for an illustration of just how much society has changed in the past few generations: New data shows that, for the first time ever, more Americans use marijuana than tobacco. It’s positive news from a public health standpoint. Whatever the legitimate concerns about the U.S. becoming a pot-head nation, weed is demonstrably safer than cigarettes. Yet federal law continues to treat pot like the dangerous illicit drug that past generations long thought it was. It’s time for that to change.

Editorial: Lessons learned from PPP loans that went mostly to the rich

As the pandemic forced widespread closures in 2020, federal policymakers were staring down a torrent of job losses. Millions of workers were being laid off from businesses large and small, and millions more would lose their jobs with every passing week, causing indelible long-term damage to their financial picture and the whole economy unless the government acted.

Editorial: Allowing the extremes to prevail is a formula for disaster in America

The examples abound of America’s lurch toward greater extremism on both the right and left. It’s getting to the point where free speech is being stifled by self-righteous word police on the left and screaming, armed lunatics on the far right. Each side uses the other’s examples as justification for even more extreme behavior, as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis so aptly demonstrated with his derisive reference to Dr. Anthony Fauci, saying, “Someone needs to grab that little elf and chuck him across the Potomac.”