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Al Gore speaks to people before a meeting on climate change during the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Dueling disaster thrillers

Ill winds are supposed to bring somebody good, so Al Gore, the circuit-riding global-warming preacher with manuscripts of novels and sequels in his saddle bags, is entitled to his snit. He can blame literary misfortune on Harvey, Irma and Jose.

A vintage coal-fired steam engine pushes a passenger car up the Cog Railway on a 3.8-mile journey to the summit of 6,288-foot Mount Washington in New Hampshire, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. Tourists visiting the northeast's highest peak were rewarded with summer-like weather on the first weekend of autumn. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Warmed again by coal

Gentlemen, start your thermostats. Ladies, too. The Obama war on coal, which cost Hillary Clinton the vote in once-reliably Democratic West Virginia, is over. Maybe the war on nuclear energy, too. Americans might soon heat their homes without choosing between the warmth and food and medicine.

U.S. First lady Melania Trump greets First lady Brigitte Macron, left, wife of President Emmanuel Macron of France, after she addressed a luncheon at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.  (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

The right stuff from a first lady

First ladies are usually, but not always, eager to establish themselves as separate but equal personalities. Some of them are content to be the “wife of,” but nearly all of them leave their mark on a presidency, even if only their husbands know the details of how and when the mark was applied.

FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2016 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is joined by Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of metro Phoenix, at a campaign event in Marshalltown, Iowa. Prosecutors in former Sheriff Joe Arpaio's now-pardoned criminal case face a deadline Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, for explaining why they now believe the case should be dismissed and all rulings should be thrown out. Judge Susan Bolton set the deadline after she found that prosecutors hadn't offered any legal authority to back up their argument. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Showtime in the Senate

Now is the time for all good Republicans to put up or shut up. There’s no more time for big talk about repealing and replacing Obamacare. The hot air sent spiraling into the cosmos over the eight years of the Obama administration, by big talkers safe in the expectation that whatever they did would get only a veto, was enough to raise the temperature of this planet and maybe Saturn and Pluto as well.

President Donald Trump walks to his seat after speaking during a luncheon with African leaders at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Premature applause for the Trump trio

The point of political affiliation, like fan loyalty, is to join a team to win. Donald Trump promised voters weary of being beaten like a drum that if he were elected they would soon “get sick of winning.” That hasn’t happened. Yet. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that most Americans are cheering the president for linking up with the Democrats to post some victories. They might restrain the high-fives, though. Those triumphs come with a hefty price tag.

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State Rep. Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, reads a story to Head Start children at Community Action of Southern Kentucky, Thursday, May 18, 2017, in Bowling Green, Ky. (Bac Totrong/Daily News via AP)

Good First Amendment news

Sometimes there's a nugget of something good in the daily ration of bad news. A T-shirt printer in Lexington, Ky., one Blaine Adamson, won a state court ruling early this month that he was within his First Amendment rights to refuse to print an offensive message on T-shirts ordered by the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization for a "gay pride" parade.

President Donald Trump listens to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, left, speak during a news conference in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, May 18, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

A promise not kept

During the late, lamented campaign of 2016, when brave talk was in season, Donald Trump promised faithfully that once he was president he would take the United States out of the infamous Paris climate accord, an international agreement signed and promoted by Barack Obama that locks the United States into all kinds of anti-competitive things "to combat global climate change."

President Donald Trump walks across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 17, 2017, following his short trip on Marine One from nearby Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Trump was returning to Washington after speaking at today's U.S. Coast Guard Academy Commencement Ceremony. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The anonymous 'heroes' of the Resistance

Anonymous sources may not always be reliable, but they're always convenient. More than that, anonymous accounts are usually made of putty, soft and easily shaped. Not only that, an anonymous source never claims he was misquoted. He never demands a correction or a retraction. The Washington Post, which deals in anonymous sources for many of its blockbuster disclosures, is particularly skilled at working with anonymous sources, and gets more out of them than almost any other newspaper.

Demonstrators hold candles during a vigil for the victims of the clashes with the government's security forces, during protest against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, May 17, 2017. Several humanitarian organizations and the opposition have accused the security forces of using too much violence during demonstrations against the government, which have left dozens dead.(AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

The deadly peril in Venezuela

If Venezuela burns, the United States will feel the heat. Like a nearby brush fire, the Venezuelan civil war threatens to erupt in a conflagration that will disrupt life throughout the hemisphere. Americans are accustomed to watching tinderboxes from half a world away, but this one is too close for comfort.

Cadet Drew Borinstein, right, the valedictorian of the VMI Class of 2017, is congratulated after taking the oath of office as a Marine on Monday, May 15, 2017 in Lexington, Va.  In August, Borinstein's mother, brother and sister were killed in an airplane crash near Fredericksburg while on the way to watch him graduate from an officer training program. The tragedy followed the unexpected death of his father 16 months earlier. Borinstein soldiered on at VMI, completing his academic work with honors while preparing for the military.   (Stephanie Klein-Davis /The Roanoke Times via AP)  /The Roanoke Times via AP)

Sexual confusion in the colors

Patriotism is the old-fashioned path to celebrity. These days just acting out can punch the ticket to fame, if not fortune. Just ask Bradley Manning, aka Chelsea Manning, the American soldier who sold out his country, then his manhood -- not necessarily in that order — to WikiLeaks. He/she emerges from prison Wednesday through the intercession of Barack Obama, but the United States will pay the price for the treachery he/she flaunted if the military risks a repeat.

President Donald Trump watches Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan depart the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May 16, 2017. The White House defended Trump's disclosure of classified information to senior Russian officials as "wholly appropriate," as Trump tried to beat back criticism from fellow Republicans and calm international allies increasingly wary about sharing their secrets with the new president. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Settling the voter-fraud debate

President Trump made good last week on a promise to create a Presidential Commission on Election Integrity, and surely this was a promise kept that everyone could applaud. Who but cheats and frauds doesn't like clean elections? Who doesn't want his vote to count, and his vote not be canceled by someone ineligible to cast a ballot? This was something that would surely warm hearts at the Brennan Center for Justice and at the League of Women Voters.

President Donald Trump pauses while meeting with Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Monday, May 15, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington.

A not-so-neutral decision

"Net neutrality" is often misunderstood, but it's an issue that arouses passion on both sides of an important issue. One of President Trump's first appointments was Ajit Pai as the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, which imposed "net neutrality" in the Obama era, and Mr. Pai and conservatives generally want to reverse that decision.

In this Wednesday, May 10, 2017 file photo, protesters rally outside the town hall held by New Jersey Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur in Willingboro, N.J. Americans vented some frustrations this past week in Republican districts crucial to GOP majority control of the House, sounding off about health care and President Donald Trump's abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey. Republicans in some districts faced a backlash over their votes for the House health care bill at raucous town halls, with plenty of complaints about a provision that would allow insurers to charge seriously ill customers higher rates if they let their coverage lapse. Other lawmakers avoided holding forums. (AP Photo/Michael Catalini)

Goodbye to Comey, and all that

The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on. James Comey has moved on, too, and even the loudest dogs are moving on to the canine duty of barking after President Trump as he selects the Comey successor as director of the FBI.

Rowers paddle down the Charles River near the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., Tuesday, March 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Segregated commencement at Harvard

The commencement season is at hand, soon school will be suspended for the summer, and the silly season is at hand. Students are competing with the college dean and the university president to be the Sophomore of the Year.

In this Tuesday, May 9, 2017, photo, a Hanford Patrol officer blocks traffic on Route 4S that leads to 200 East Area, where an emergency has been declared at the Hanford nuclear weapons complex in southeastern Washington. The collapse of a tunnel containing radioactive waste at Hanford underscored what critics have long been saying: that the toxic remnants of the Cold War are being stored in haphazard and unsafe conditions, and time is running out to deal with the problem. (Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review via AP)

When government waste is radioactive

Government waste is bad; radioactive government waste is badder. Billions of dollars were spent on a nuclear-waste repository in Nevada and it sits abandoned. President Trump should cut out the regulatory obstruction and redeem one of the most embarrassing boondoggles ever, the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository.

Unrealistic minimum wages and maximum grief

The continuing increases in the minimum wage is curdling the cream in the coffee at many restaurants, and nowhere more than in New York City, the nation's top town for a variety of good eats. A $2 minimum wage increase to $11 became effective at the end of 2016, and the impact on restaurants, just now emerging, has been startling.

FILE - In this May 10, 2017, file photo, South Korea's new President Moon Jae-In speaks at the presidential Blue House in Seoul. Addressing the nation after taking the oath of office on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, South Korean President Moon Jae-in vowed to eventually move out of the Blue House, where every modern South Korean president has lived and worked since the end of World War II. (JungJ Yeon-Je/Pool Photo via AP)

'Groundhog Day' in South Korea

With electing a new president, South Korea has fallen into a familiar pattern that promises to revive a governing philosophy of years past. Unfortunately it's a philosophy that failed in previous attempts to deal successfully in the one area crucial to the survival of the nation, resolving the long-standing internecine conflict on the Korean Peninsula. The menace from a nuclear North Korea is likely to persist with no end in sight.

Multiple Media Research Center reports cite the press for their overblown coverage of FBI director James Comey's firing, which compared the event to Watergate. (Image from Media Research Center)

Gathering of the mob

The sky is falling, or it soon will be. That's the verdict of the chattering class in Washington, where making smoke, sometimes without a fire, is the leading industry. The sacking of James Comey, the director of the FBI, has put the cat among the pigeons, and they rarely fly in tight formation.

South Korea's presidential candidate Hong Joon-pyo of the Liberty Korea Party answers a reporter's question after voting in the presidential election at a local polling station in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, May 9, 2017. South Koreans voted Tuesday for a new president, with victory widely predicted for a liberal candidate who has pledged to improve ties with North Korea, re-examine a contentious U.S. missile shield, and push sweeping economic changes. (Im Hun-jung/Yonhap via AP)

Travel for the brave and foolish

Travel can be broadening, but in certain places it can turn out to be confining, too. Travel to North Korea, one of the most dangerous places on earth, is particularly dangerous for tourists who don't pay close attention to the rules.

In this Feb. 10, 2017, file photo, then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn sits in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

The Russia-Rice mashup

Spending other people's money is the favorite pastime in Washington, but taking up the magnifying glass to follow the trail of mischief-makers, real and imagined, is a close second. The trail of Russian collusion, if any, with associates of Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election has gone stone cold, but the investigation of the suspected Obama administration spying on the Trump team continues to turn up evidence. The trail is leading uncomfortably close to home.

And can't we get a laugh?

There was a time, and not so long ago, when the conversation at the water cooler got no more heated than a discussion of how sharp or disappointing the previous night's episode of "Seinfeld." Jerry Seinfeld now complains bitterly that hypersensitivity spawned by political correctness is killing comedy.

Roxanne White, right, a member of the Yakama Nation, sings during a protest inside a Chase bank branch Monday, May 8, 2017, in Seattle. Climate activists opposed to oil pipeline projects demonstrated at several JPMorgan Chase bank locations in Seattle on Monday, calling on the bank not to do business with TransCanada, the company pushing for the Keystone XL oil pipeline. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

When protest becomes a laugh riot

Demonstrators angered that Americans have turned their backs on the liberal-left agenda are trading earnest discussion for angry rhetoric, and sometimes violence. When protests break the law, ruffians who fancy themselves above the law are surprised to find themselves treated like common criminals. Democratic societies traditionally show a degree of tolerance for the excesses of political conflict, but patience is running out and the system is striking back.

FILE - In this Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015 file photo, the 24th Boeing 787 airplane purchased by Qatar Airways is photographed, during a delivery ceremony in Everett, Wash. FIFA has signed up Qatar Airways as a sponsor through 2022 when the World Cup is staged in the Gulf nation. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

The unfriendly skies

America's airlines have their faults, but they can't be accused of discrimination. All passengers are treated the same, reduced to cargo, and the beauty part is that the cargo is self-loaded.

FILE - In this Feb. 2, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump, flanked by then-Commerce Secretary-designate Wilbur Ross, left, and Harley Davidson President and CEO Matt Levatich, talks to media before a lunch meeting with Harley Davidson executives and union representatives in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. Trump says labor unions have an open door to his White House, but so far, he is holding it a little more ajar for some organizations than others. Trump has put out the welcome mat for the nations construction trades, with whom hes had relationships during decades of building office towers and hotels. Also invited in have been auto, steel and coal workers who backed him during the 2016 election. But theres been no White House invitation for other unions representing the nations sprawling _ but shrinking _ pool of 14.6 million workers who collectively bargain with employers in the labor movement. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

A first bite of an apple

The eagerly anticipated presidential executive order to make it easier for churches and pastors to participate in election campaigns falls short of what many religious conservatives, many of whom supported Donald Trump for president, hoped for. Mr. Trump signed it with considerable Rose Garden ruffles and flourishes, but many of his friends called it "disappointingly vague" or at best "just the first bite at the apple, not the last."