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President Barack Obama waves from Air Force One upon his arrival at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, Thursday, March 26, 2015, in Birmingham, Ala. The president will speak at Lawson State Community College, about the economy.  (AP Photo/ Hal Yeager)

A late education on the left

Liberals and conservatives don’t often come together on important issues because they commute from different planets. Pundits of various stripe bemoan the lack of common values and ponder why Democrats, Republicans, conservatives and liberals seem to have lost respect not only for each other’s views, but for each other.

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2015 file photo, Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate will begin consideration of Lynch's nomination to be attorney general next week. Democrats have been pressing for the Senate to act on President Barack Obama's selection of Lynch, who is the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

The Lynch nomination

The longer the United States Senate puts off the vote on her confirmation the less likely Loretta Lynch will become the attorney general. Some Democrats, in particular Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, have played the usual race card but so far none of the groups that specialize in expressions of outrage have said much, if anything.

Former President Bill Clinton hugs his daughter, Chelsea Clinton, during the closing session of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. At right is Chelsea's husband, Marc Mezvinsky. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Cash for clunkers

Successful politicians know how to avoid a conflict of interest. Unsuccessful politicians can’t recognize one when they see one, or if they do, figure they can duck when sticks, stones and subpoenas fly. Then there are the Clintons. Bubba wrote the book on how to duck and weave. Hillary is learning, with difficulty. She doesn’t have the good ol’ boy’s wink and smile.

FILE - In this June 6, 2013 file photo, a sign stands outside the National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. There was a break in the case of a man who fired shots on several occupied vehicles and the headquarters of the NSA when he returned to the scene of the first shooting, police said Wednesday. The 35-year-old Prince George's County man was arrested Tuesday night near Arundel Mills mall, where shots were fired Feb. 24. A man driving away from a gas station near the mall was injured by glass shot out from his car, police said.  (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Taming the surveillance state

The Patriot Act was fashioned with good intentions, but it has been dragooned to serve bad purposes. It was enacted during the national panic that followed the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 to protect Americans from the enemy. Now it’s employed by government busybodies to treat Americans themselves as the enemy.

**FILE** The skyline of Washington, D.C. (Associated Press)

What’s not in your wallet?

There’s nothing like a “best and worst” list at tax season to remind a taxpayer that the IRS isn’t the only government revenuer putting on the squeeze. States and cities take a bite, too.

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Corizon can serve DC jail well

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New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, speaks at a news conference at the statehouse in Santa Fe following the end of a New Mexico's Legislative session Saturday, March 21, 2015. Partisan bickering prevented lawmakers from funding a variety of different state projects and left many bills on the floor and in committees. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)

Good news in New Mexico

Ronald Reagan, an eloquent proponent of federalism, called the several states the laboratories of democracy. The Gipper was on to something. State governments have a unique freedom to innovate, to experiment, to move "outside the box" to search for solutions to thorny public policy problems. The institutional bureaucracies, creatures of Congress, and special interest groups that pepper Washington policymakers with their demands can't do it half as well. The states not only have rights the federal government doesn't, but they have unique talents as well.

Becky Domokos-Bays, the Director of Food and Nutrition Services at Alexandria City Public Schools, holds up a tray of food during lunch service at the Patrick Henry Elementary School in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, April 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Indigestion in the lunchroom

Hardly anyone has a fond memory of the school cafeteria. The gray meat, if meat is what it was, and peas, Jell-O and oily pizza are best forgotten. Many have tried to improve school lunches but sometimes a tater tot is best left a tater tot. Enter Michelle Obama, the first lady of the steam table. Her good intentions have only done for the school lunch what Obamacare has done for health care, with loud fanfare, more government guidelines and greater costs. With government "help," the lunchroom offers only more kale.

FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2015 file photo, the Homeland Security Department headquarters in northwest Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015. on Wednesday, President Barack Obama signed a law funding the Homeland Security Department through the end of the budget year. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

A bureaucracy at bay

No department of the government has a mission more important than the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), created after Sept. 11, 2001 to defend and protect the towns and cities, the farms and factories of the American homeland. It ought to be one of the most attractive places in Washington to work, inspired by pride and sacrifice to deliver a job well done. But it isn't. It's one of the worst.

Hillary Clinton is the keynote speaker at the American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey’s Tri State CAMP Conference at the Atlantic City Convention Center, in Atlantic City, NJ, Thursday, March 19, 2015. (AP Photo/The Press of Atlantic City, Michael Ein)

Birds of prey on the hunt

Poor Hillary. She never got to be the homecoming queen in high school and she's still trying to make up for it. Since leaving the State Department, she has doubled down in regal style at every turn to draw a caricature of herself that is beginning to look like ruining the last chance that she will have to be the president of the United States.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, watches Honda Motor Co.’s interactive robot Asimo demonstrate, along with the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation "Miraikan" Chief Executive Director Mamoru Mori during her visit to the the museum in Tokyo, Monday, March 9, 2015. Merkel is in Japan on Monday and Tuesday as part of a series of bilateral meetings with G-7 leaders ahead of a June summit in Germany. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

On the planet of the apps

Barack Obama promised that his presidency would be a time of "hope and change," and he made good on half of it. Hope is still missing, but there's plenty of change. Mr. Obama might say that Americans are still clinging to the God and guns of the past and do not appreciate the whirlwind we're reaping. The unfolding trends are stretching the boundaries of human identity in ways Mr. Obama and his "progressives" (as liberals want to be called now) could not have imagined. Yogi Berra warned us that "the future ain't what it used to be."

President Barack Obama speaks at The City Club of Cleveland, Wednesday, March 18, 2015, in Cleveland. Obama visited Cleveland, in the all-important presidential battleground state of Ohio, delivering a speech focusing on middle-class economics and to draw contrasts with Republicans over federal spending. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

The galloping pace of waste

It's a dubious distinction, but government productivity set a record in one category last year: improper payments. Federal printers wrote $125 billion — that's billion with a "b" — in checks to Americans who didn't deserve them. This is the solid argument for shrinking the size of the bureaucratic Leviathan. President Obama has redistributed the mountains of waste and the oceans of red ink, rather than reduce them. It's business as usual in Washington, where frittering away other people's money is good sport.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prays at the tunnel section of the Western Wall in Jerusalem Wednesday, March 18, 2015. Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party scored a resounding victory in Israel’s election, final results showed Wednesday, a stunning turnaround after a tight race that had put his lengthy rule in jeopardy. (AP Photo/Emeil Salman)

Mr. Netanyahu’s remarkable triumph

Food, shelter and a comfortable life are as important to the Israelis as to everyone else, but survival comes first. That's the clear and unequivocal message in the remarkable triumph of Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel on Tuesday. His victory, unexpected to anyone paying attention only to the polls and the skeptical international media, was decisive, complete and emphatic.

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2015 file photo, Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Judiciary Committee's confirmation hearing.  The White House blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday for holding up confirmation of Lynch, President Barack Obama's pick for attorney general, arguing the "unconscionable delay" was a stain on the Kentucky Republican's leadership. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Opportunity for Mitch McConnell

Loretta Lynch, President Obama's choice to succeed Attorney General Eric Holder, appears to be in trouble. So is the Republican legislation to do something about sex trafficking of girls and women, and the Republicans can prevail in both cases if Mitch McConnell doesn't blink before Harry Reid. This would erase the humiliation of the majority leader's performance in the debate over the budget for the Homeland Security Agency.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting of the Victory Day celebrations organizing committee in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, March 17, 2015. Russia's foreign minister says the leader of North Korea is among 26 world leaders who have accepted invitations to Moscow to take part in celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany. (AP Photo/Sergei Ilnitsky, Pool)

When dictators go missing

When Russian President Vladimir Putin vanished from sight in early March all the explanation were colorful rumors. The maximum leader was a victim of a coup, he was attending the birth of his "love child" (the warmer, fuzzier Vlad), he was having cosmetic surgery (bullies on steeds need Botox, too). Or he was dead.

An Orthodox Jewish man walks past a billboard of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv, Israel, Monday, March 16, 2015, a day ahead of legislative elections. Netanyahu is seeking his fourth term as prime minister. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

A long night for Bibi

Benjamin Netanyahu faces a long election night. As election day dawns on Tuesday, his Likud Party trails by four seats in election-eve polling. He has barnstormed the country, warning voters of the consequences of turning the security of Israel over to his rivals, with apologies for his government's lack of attention to the economic plight of the average Israeli family.

Sen. Barbara Boxer. (Associated Press)

Global warming snipe hunt

Politics and science can be a lethal combination. When scientists armed with their version of new-age religion draw a policy line that all must toe, objectivity is banished. Climate-change Torquemadas in the U.S. Senate are designing an inquisition to punish organizations that question the government-approved global warming creed. Couched as a means to "request information," the senators' queries carry the malevolent tone of a letter from the IRS, seeking further information about a tax return. Fortunately, it's not yet illegal to tell the senators where to go. (Using this strategy with the IRS is not advised.)

FILE - This Nov. 11, 2014, file photo shows the U.S. Capitol Building illuminated by the setting sun on the National Mall in Washington. When the leaders of the U.S. Olympic Committee meet Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, they'll be deciding on more than a city to put in the running to host the 2024 Summer Games. They'll be picking a partner that will help shape their near- and long-term future.  Leaders from Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington made their presentations last month and will not be present while the 15 USOC board members debate the pros and cons of each offering at their meeting at Denver International Airport. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Treason in the U.S. Senate

Sometimes public opinion must submit to a history lesson. The famous letter to Iran, signed by 47 senators, urging the mullahs in Tehran to beware of making a deal with President Obama to restrain their pursuit of the Islamic bomb, has got some Democrats in a proper tizzy over the Logan Act. These Democrats don't appear to know any more about the Logan Act than the rest of the anvil chorus, but they want the senators prosecuted for treason. They have collected 165,000 names on a petition to Mr. Obama urging him to prosecute someone.