opinion USA TODAY Published 5:06 PM EST Dec 24, 2018 Dear Readers: Of the hundreds of columns USA TODAY Opinion published during 2018, some struck more of a chord than others. Below are a dozen of our most-read op-eds from the past year, including several you might have missed amid the daily fire hose of news developments. This year we put an emphasis on columns involving first-person experience, and the list concludes with one that was intensely personal. As always, thank you for reading, and we wish you a happy and healthy new year. — Bill Sternberg, editorial page editor 1. Americans are depressed and suicidal because something is wrong with our culture By Kirsten Powers "Yes, there are people who have chemical imbalances who should be supported and treated with medicine. But most Americans are depressed, anxious or suicidal because something is wrong with our culture, not because something is wrong with them. Changing our … [Read more...] about Most-read USA TODAY Opinion columns of 2018
August 28, 2018 By Jeremy Alford You Want Mayors? We've Got Mayors! Fake mayors, real mayors, convicted mayors, interim mayors, cartoon mayors & wannabe mayors Quick! Think of the names of four fictional mayors. I’ll do the same. (No, there aren’t any other rules. Just select your make-believe characters from books, movies, song or any other medium.) Where should we start? How about Mayor McCheese? (Where else, right?) Neither human nor a burger, McCheese was the municipal CEO of McDonaldland from 1971 to 1985, according to Nick Greene, the editor-at-large for MentalFloss.com. "Because he is a politician, there naturally was a scandal involved," Greene wrote, referencing a copyright infringement issue that sidelined the use of the McCheese vehicle for many years. Then there's Springfield Mayor Joe Quimby, a personal favorite on “The Simpson’s.” If you're unfamiliar with Quimby, think Ted Kennedy at his fighting weight and Edwin Edwards when he … [Read more...] about ALFORD: You Want Mayors? We’ve Got Mayors!ALFORD’S SYNDICATED OPINION COLUMN
August 21, 2018 By Jeremy Alford Not too long ago, at least in reporter years, I was utilizing the space in this weekly column with some regularity to write about the loss of influence and clout in Louisiana's congressional delegation. In doing so, I was probably repeating rather than reporting from Baton Rouge's echo chamber. Cooler heads knew there was an uncomplicated explanation, supported by recent history, that I had largely ignored — and that was the cyclical nature of political trends. As I reflected on this theme over the weekend, it occurred to me that the storyline was a staple for political opinion writers in the Bayou State from 2003 to 2014. Former U.S. Sen. John Breaux exited elected life first, followed by Congressman Billy Tauzin, which prompted worry about the lack of locals in key leadership and committee positions. The defeat of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu years later, in concert with turnover in the House, provoked similar outcries. Looking further … [Read more...] about ALFORD’S OPINION COLUMN: Dismissing Congressional Clout Concerns
August 14, 2018 By Jeremy Alford ALFORD: Approach To Constitution Requires Caution It has been three months since the Louisiana Legislature concluded its regular session without addressing the war cry for a constitutional convention. Sure, it passed a set of resolutions honoring the 45th anniversary of the 1973 con-con, but supporters were hoping for more of a forward-looking response. Opponents, as you could guess, were just fine with that outcome. At the top of the list of non-supporters was Gov. John Bel Edwards, who isn’t necessarily against the idea. He just believes there should be an informed buildup to a convention, and that clear objectives should be stated after considerable study. Interestingly enough, Edwards’ own history dovetails with neatly with this very topic, since his father was a delegate in 1973. So was the grandfather of Richard Carbo, the governor’s deputy chief of staff. We don't need a roll call of delegate to know that Edwards is right, … [Read more...] about ALFORD’S OPINION COLUMN: An Official Con-Con Reminder
August 7, 2018 By Jeremy Alford You ain’t nobody in Louisiana politics until somebody works for you. And there are plenty of people being hired by the five major candidates for secretary of state right now. It's the only statewide election on the fall ballot, so presumably that's where the money will show up. Presumably. All of the top contenders already have campaign managers or general consultants, and a few even have media consultants lined up as well. But don’t geek out too hard about the forthcoming attack ads. If political tradition holds, the unofficial start of the 2018 election season this year will be Sept. 3, which is also Labor Day. That’s no coincidence. For many, many moons, consultants, candidates and reporters have pointed to Labor Day as the launching point for media buys, key messaging and hardcore election maneuvering. That hasn't always been the case, though, and recent years have seen campaigns unrolling critical … [Read more...] about ALFORD’S OPINION COLUMN: Has It Started Yet?