A murderer's warped idealism

WASHINGTON — Western reflection about human nature and the politics of the human condition began with the sunburst of ancient Greece 2,500 years ago, but lurched into a new phase 70 years ago with the liberation of the Nazi extermination camps.

Rethinking foreign policy and use of force

WASHINGTON — Barack Obama's coming request for Congress to "right-size and update" the Authorization for Use of Military Force against terrorism will be constitutionally fastidious and will catalyze a debate that will illuminate Republican fissures.

They, however, are signs of a healthy development — the reappearance of foreign policy heterodoxy in Republican ranks.

Losing faith in America's medical system

CHICAGO — These days, you won't often hear reporters exclaim, "Wow, I am sure glad I'm in journalism." But I found myself saying this over and over as I made my way through Sandeep Jauhar's gloomy book "Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician." It convinced me I made the right career choice to write columns rather than prescriptions.

Rethinking Hillary 2016

WASHINGTON — Now that two of the last three Democratic presidencies have been emphatically judged to have been failures, the world's oldest political party — the primary architect of this nation's administrative state — has some thinking to do.

Dan Corkery: Red poppy remains a symbol of remembrance

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

That's the first stanza of John McCrae's poem "In Flanders Field," arguably the best-known literary work from the First World War.

Jim Dey: Governor Rauner, meet Speaker Madigan

Tuesday was a big day for Illinois Republicans, who have been wandering in the wilderness of political irrelevance for 12 years.

What Republicans must do next

WASHINGTON — Unlike the dog that chased the car until, to its consternation, he caught it, Republicans know what to do with what they have caught. Having completed their capture of control of the legislative branch, they should start with the following six measures concerning practical governance and constitutional equilibrium:

Jim Dey: Inmate's freedom latest act in tangled drama

Illinois' death-penalty law went up in smoke in 2011, the result of a combination of factors — most significantly, the supposed near-execution of an innocent man back when George Ryan was governor.

"How does an innocent man sit on death row for nearly 15 years and get no relief? And that piqued my interest," Ryan said years ago.

Illinois has a lot of fixing to do

As I write this, the election has not yet been held.

I have been traveling the state, invited by audiences large and small (mostly small) to discuss my co-authored book on "Fixing Illinois." At each stop, I ask those in attendance if Illinois can indeed be fixed?

The people and the pendulum

WASHINGTON — To paraphrase Roger Miller — and, indeed, to reveal my vast store of musical trivia — America swings like a pendulum do.

If projections, human nature and historical bent prevail next Tuesday, we may see a bit of topsy-turvy up on the benighted Hill. Anything still can happen, but it seems as though Republicans may command both the House and Senate beginning next year.