Will column: The madness of college hoops’ amateurism

Appropriately, during the crescendo of this college basketball season, in which the most significant event was a shoe malfunction, a lawyer whose best-known client was a pornographic actress was indicted for threatening to shrink a shoe company’s market capitalization by making allegations about the company misbehaving in the meat market for a small number of tall “student-athletes.” What counts as misbehavior in this swamp is a murky subject.

Editorial: Who gets to say what the rules mean?

The Supreme Court on March 27 heard arguments about whether federal courts should be required to defer to the executive branch’s interpretation of its own rules, if that interpretation is reasonable. This may sound like a technical, legalistic dispute — and it is — but the wrong decision could make it vastly harder for the federal government to protect the public.

Kiss me, kiss me not

CAMDEN, S.C. — At a recent brunch here preceding the Carolina Cup steeplechase race, the host gave me a gift of hometown recognition and, though we are friends, extended his right hand as I approached him.

New York Times column: The $70,000-a-year minimum wage

Staff members gasped four years ago when Dan Price gathered the 120 employees at Gravity Payments, the company he had founded with his brother, and told them he was raising everyone’s salary to a minimum of $70,000, partly by slashing his own $1.1 million pay to the same level.

Parker column: Can I call ya Jo(k)e?

WASHINGTON — It may be a truism-in-the-making that one’s political career is over when, as a candidate, you must first apologize for your sex and race, which can mean only one thing: Young or old, you’re a white guy.

Will column: Step into the batter’s box for some baseball trivia

When umpire Dutch Rennert blew a call at first base, then-St. Louis Cardinals manager Joe Torre trotted out and asked, “How come you’re such a good ball-strike umpire and such (expletive) on the bases?” Rennert, equally puzzled, amiably replied, “Isn’t that something?” Try to be as serene as Rennert was if you miss some of these calls:

Will column: Report makes a normal election possible in ‘20

WASHINGTON — Robert Mueller’s report is a gift to the nation, which now knows what was already a reasonable surmise: that its chief executive’s unlovely admiration for a repulsive foreign regime, Vladimir Putin’s, is more a dereliction of taste and judgment than evidence that he is under that regime’s sway.

Will column: Gerrymandering not the high court’s duty

WASHINGTON — If an adjective creates a redundancy, does preceding it with two other adjectives give the Supreme Court a reason to venture where it has never gone before? Come Tuesday, the court will hear oral arguments urging it to referee gerrymandering in the drawing of congressional districts. The justices should, like Ulysses, listen to this siren song but bind themselves from obeying it.

Brooks column: Rural America can teach us a lot

Everybody says rural America is collapsing. But I keep going to places with more moral coherence and social commitment than we have in booming urban areas. These visits prompt the same question: How can we spread the civic mindset they have in abundance?

Will column: Drug war futility only to worsen

WASHINGTON — On Feb. 12, Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka “El Chapo,” was convicted of multiple crimes related to running the Sinaloa drug cartel, Mexico’s largest. Thirteen days before his conviction, authorities seized enough of the synthetic opioid called fentanyl for 100 million lethal doses. It was hidden in a truck carrying cucumbers through the Nogales port of legal entry. On Feb. 28, authorities at the port of Newark inspecting a container ship that had arrived from Colombia found inside a container supposedly filled with dried fruit 3,200 pounds of cocaine, worth $77 million on U.S streets. This was two days after Don Winslow published “The Border,” the final volume in his 1,900-page trilogy of novels (“The Power of the Dog” and “The Cartel”) about the cartels and the U.S. “war on drugs.” He could hardly have arranged a better launch for his book, which is already on best-seller lists.

Gerson column: As GOP partisans cling, gap widens

A friend just returned from some time with a group of wealthy conservative donors. “They were ambivalent about Donald Trump two years ago,” he said. “Now they are vociferously pro-Trump. There’s a psychological study to be done here.”

Commentary: America’s costly and futile war

“America would be more secure and stronger economically if we recognized that we have largely achieved our objectives in Afghanistan and moved aggressively to bring our troops and tax dollars home,” Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) write in an op-ed article. “Today, despite vast investment in training and equipping Afghan forces, the country’s deep-seated instability, rampant corruption and, in some cases, compromised loyalties endure. Extending our commitment of combat troops will not remedy that situation.”

Will column: As Dems self-combust, Schultz eyes 3rd party run

WASHINGTON — As an upbeat Howard Schultz tucked into lunch here recently he was having a good week because Democrats were having an awful one. The former Starbucks CEO, who is contemplating a plunge into politics, knows that his narrow path to the presidency as an independent depends on the Democratic Party becoming as offensive as the Republican Party has become. So, because his political prospects depend on the Democratic Party making normal people wince, he cannot be displeased by: