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President Barack Obama laughs at a joke during the White House Correspondents' Association dinner at the Washington Hilton on Saturday, April 25, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The liberation of President Obama

President Obama obviously feels liberated by the sight of his administration swiftly approaching the outer suburbs of oblivion. With no fear of red line or deadline, he has set about to use the time he has left in office to make the United States a nation that neither he nor Michelle would be ashamed to be proud of.

FILE - In this Tuesday, April 21, 2015 file photo, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to students and faculty during a campaign stop at New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord, N.H. The acting chief executive of the Clinton Foundation is acknowledging the global philanthropy made mistakes in how it disclosed its donors amid growing scrutiny as Hillary Rodham Clinton opens her presidential campaign, Sunday, April 26, 2015. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)

A ’bot with a rap sheet

Sometimes the news sounds like science fiction by Ray Bradbury. We’ve been asked by a high government official, lately in charge of the State Department, to believe that certain of her emails reside in a black hole in cyberspace. Two scientists — computer geeks, anyway — are working on a computer program to bring a dead man back as a virtual live man for a virtual conversation.

In this Dec. 7, 2005 file photo, former South African President, Nelson Mandela, smiles at the Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg. The former political prisoner who became the country's first black president in 1994 died in December 2013 at the age of 95. Pan Macmillan said Tuesday, March 24, 2015, that it will publish the sequel to Mandela's best-selling autobiography "Long Walk to Freedom" in Britain, South Africa, India and Australasia in 2016. U.S. and Canadian rights have not yet been sold. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell)

Dreams of children of angry fathers

Most Americans can’t quite understand how events of previous centuries still have the power to stir anger and resentments, and make an appreciation of their common interests difficult. Well, some Americans can recall a certain anger late on a summer night after a third or even fourth bourbon and branch water, but the feeling quickly goes away. Nations, after all, do not have permanent friends, in Lord Palmerston’s famous explanation to Queen Victoria, but nations do have permanent interests and memories of a civil war no longer poisons those interests on these shores.

Sen. David Vitter, Louisiana Republican, says he'll try to force the Senate to vote on a bill halting the subsidy that lawmakers and their staffs get to pay for insurance on the Obamacare exchanges, saying that's a benefit no other American receives, so Congress shouldn't either. (Associated Press)

Treats from the congressional buffet

Successful congressional candidates of both parties often — perhaps usually — suffer amnesia when they get to Washington, and get a glance of the vast buffet of perks Congress votes for itself. They forget a lot of the promises they made during their successful campaigns for Congress. Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, a Republican, has not forgotten. He’s trying to find out who certified that Congress is a “small business” so its members and their highly paid staffs could be eligible for an Obamacare subsidy for employees of businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

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FILE - In this April 12, 2013 file photo, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Michele Leonhart testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. An Obama administration official says the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration is expected to resign soon. Leonhart is a career drug agent who has led the agency since 2007 and is the second woman to hold the job.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Smoke in her eyes

The government announced Tuesday that Michele Leonhart, the administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, will soon be leaving, and only the potheads of America have reason to grieve. She has had an uncomfortable ride, bucking the Obama administration by relaxing enforcement of federal narcotics law in states where marijuana has become legal in state law. Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington no longer prohibit marijuana under certain circumstances. Neither does the District of Columbia.

FILE - In this April 4, 2015, file photo, from video provided by Attorney L. Chris Stewart representing the family of Walter Lamer Scott, Scott appears to be running away from City Patrolman Michael Thomas Slager, right, in North Charleston, S.C. Slager was charged with murder on Tuesday, April 7, hours after law enforcement officials viewed the dramatic video that appears to show him shooting a fleeing Scott several times in the back. (AP Photo/Courtesy of L. Chris Stewart, File)

Race and police brutality

Police brutality is real, and there are bad cops among the good. Police brutality and police misbehavior must be swiftly and firmly punished when and where it occurs. A star on a policeman's breast confers responsibility along with authority.

Retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, has long opposed a nuclear waste site at Yucca Mountain, said it is "not something I will ever accept."

Bury the death tax

The House of Representatives approved legislation last week to abolish the death tax, and the vote was not close — 240 to 179. Democrats joined Republicans for the first vote on the death tax in nearly a decade. This is an issue that must come up every year until the tax is killed permanently and decisively until it is graveyard dead.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks at a Republican Leadership Summit in Nashua, N.H., April 17, 2015. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Waffling toward the starting gate

Only yesterday Jeb Bush was the Republican flavor of the week, the favorite of the Republican establishment, those wonderful folks who yearn for a nice man who oozes political propriety and respectability. Establishment Republicans — Rockefeller Republicans, they were once called — live in dread of frightening the horses.

A human embryo generated by SCNT at Advanced Cell Technology in 2003 (Courtesy of Advanced Cell Technology)

When time slows down

Many women delay the births of their children, some to get a firmer footing in a career or to take more time to find the right someone with whom to share a blessed adventure. Some women wait until their late 30s or even the early 40s. But Mother Nature did not give women the option of bearing children and enjoying them forever. That's why God invented grandparents.

Hillary Rodham Clinton made an unannounced pit stop Monday at a Chipotle outside Toledo. It would have gone completely unnoticed if not for a Clinton campaign aide tipping off The New York Times, which contacted the restaurant and obtained security camera footage of Mrs. Clinton wearing sunglasses while waiting in line for a burrito bowl. (Associated Press)

A first test on the trail

If Hillary Clinton can't stage-manage ordering lunch in an Iowa diner, with aides at hand, how can she manage a presidential campaign? This is the question worried Democrats are asking each other after Mrs. Clinton's campaign ventured into the weeds in the Midwest, demonstrating that the feminists and a noisy claque of like-minded allies may be "ready for Hillary," but she does not seem to be ready to persuade skeptical voters that she's ready for them.


Volunteers pass through the first full body scanner, which uses backscatter technology, at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago on March 10, 2010. Those airport scanners with their all-too revealing body images will soon be going away. The Transportation Security Administration says the X-ray scanners will be gone by June 2013 because the company that makes them can't fix the privacy issues. (Associated Press)

Hanky-panky in the security line

When the Transportation Security Administration installed full-body scanners several years ago the ACLU, privacy advocates and many passengers sounded warnings that this invited sexual harassment, voyeurism and maybe even sexual adventuring. The government routinely dismissed the complaints as "unfounded" and even "paranoid." Would your government do anything like that? "Full-body pat-downs" followed for passengers who raised an alarm going through the scanners.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada pauses during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 14, 2015, following a Senate policy luncheon. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Choking on gall and wormwood

Harry Reid is having shrinking pains, choking on a diet of gall and wormwood. He is not dealing well with the events of last November, when he lost the comfort and prominence of the Senate. The Senate's longtime Democratic leader revealed to an interviewer this week how the not-so-sweet mystery of life continues to elude him. He cannot understand why people don't like him. He thinks it's "unfortunate."

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy holds up a pen before signing new emission guidelines during an announcement of a plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030, Monday, June 2, 2014, at EPA headquarters in Washington.  In a sweeping initiative to curb pollutants blamed for global warming, the Obama administration unveiled a plan Monday that cuts carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by nearly a third over the next 15 years, but pushes the deadline for some states to comply until long after President Barack Obama leaves office. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Halting the EPA's power grab

America is the land of the free, but environmentalists are determined to rule the air. The Environmental Protection Agency persists with expensive and unnecessary schemes to regulate harmless carbon dioxide — the stuff we and the plants breathe — and several energy companies and coal-producing states are making a final appeal to the courts to halt a deliberate attempt to seize authority the EPA was never meant to have.

Austin Bryant celebrates his victory at tether ball with Hogan Conder during recess at Marlin Elementary School in Bloomington, Ind.

When nanny runs amok

In the beginning there were good parents and bad parents. Then came "deadbeat dads," who didn't support their children. "Soccer moms" were (mostly suburban) mothers who spent a good part of their day getting their children to the playing fields on time. Then "helicopter parents" arrived, hovering over everything their kids did.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton takes notes during a roundtable with educators and students at the Kirkwood Community College's Jones County Regional Center, Tuesday, April 14, 2015, in Monticello, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Adventures in the Scooby van

The silly season begins, when nobody follows presidential politics but the men and women of press and tube who are paid to do it. Still, on her first venture out of the shadows we learned several substantial things about "the new Hillary." She stopped at a Chipotle on the highway south of Toledo, en route to Iowa, and nobody recognized her behind a pair of dark sunglasses. She lunched on a chicken burrito bowl (with guacamole) and when she pulled into her hotel in Pittsburgh she was not hungry for further fine dining, and ordered "Scooby snacks" from the room-service menu. She's traveling in an "upgraded" Chevrolet van, "approved" by the Secret Service, christened "the Scooby van."

Hillary Rodham Clinton has attempted to allay the furor over her exclusive use of a private email account hosted on a private server in her home for conducting official business as secretary of state, a practice that may have violated federal open records laws. (Associated Press)

Hillary to the rescue

Hillary Rodham Clinton is not the inevitable president, but she was clearly the inevitable candidate. For the party, she's what's available, and she's a meal ticket for the clutch of retreads, has-beens and hangers-on from a checkered past, and now she wants to be the 67-year-old leader of a youth movement in a Democratic Party reeling and disillusioned in the wake of suffering blowouts in consecutive congressional elections. Her appeal, such as it is, is an unusual one: "I ain't much, but I'm all you've got."