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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, stands with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton before the first presidential debate at Hofstra University, Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Beyond the debates

We heard a lot of promises Monday night, when Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton at last took the measure of each other face to face. Both the Donald and the gentle lady from the Clinton counting house were trying to show us how they would lead the nation, dispatch the nation’s enemies and bestow all the free stuff that voters have come to expect as their due.

Stickers for voters are seen on a table at a polling station Tuesday, April 26, 2016 in Wayne, Pa. Attention is shifting from a well-worn campaign trail to the voting booths as Pennsylvanians cast ballots Tuesday on presidential primary contests, including the first competitive Republican primary in decades, and races for Congress and state offices. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)

Diluting the vote

It’s easy to feel lost in a nation of 320 million. But it’s the strength and glory of the American way that the least among us has a say, no smaller and no bigger than anyone else, with a vote on Election Day.

David Foley holds a handgun while shopping at the Spring Guns and Ammo store Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, in Spring, Texas. President Barack Obama is making good on his pledge to politicize gun violence. The package of gun-control executive actions Obama will formally announce Tuesday has pushed the contentious issue to the forefront of the 2016 presidential campaign, just weeks from the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

A tale of two states

There’s a lot of miles between downtown Chicago and, say, Valdosta. Illinois and Georgia are very different places, and the politicians who live there have a profound disagreement about guns. Illinois politicians take pride in their gun-control laws that enable gangbangers, killers and other thugs to rape, rob and kill all but unmolested in Chicago and its frightened suburbs.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves to the crowd during a rally in Roanoke, Va., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. Trump faces Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton in the first of three debates Monday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

A single for Donald Trump

There’s baseball tonight, and politics, too. Politics, like baseball, is a game of inches. A called strike, two inches within the strike zone, a fly ball that clears the left-field fence by three inches. A tag at third base misses by four inches. An inch here and two inches there, and a late-inning rally ruined.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign stop in Orlando, Fla., Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016.  (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

Answers for Hillary

Hillary Clinton is smart — she has the academic credentials to prove it — but she can’t figure out why she isn’t scoring above 50 percent in the public-opinion polls. Life on the hustings just ain’t fair.

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President Barack Obama looks to entrepreneurs on stage with him during a visit to the DreamPlex Coworking Space in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Tuesday, May 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Secret deals, broken promises

Barack Obama is entitled to wonder why, after all he has done to keep their nuclear-weapons research intact and thriving, the mullahs in Iran are being so mean to him. Only the naive and foolish expect gratitude in politics, domestic or foreign, but still.

The HealthCare.gov website, where people can buy health insurance, is displayed on a laptop screen. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Bilking with Obamacare

Obamacare has been unpopular from the time it became law. Now President Obama's health-care scam has gone rogue, and maybe illegal. That's the conclusion of analysts both inside and outside of the federal government. They say the Obama administration is diverting taxpayer funds to save the president's scheme from collapse, if only until after he leaves office.

The American dream. (Jonathon Gruenke/Daily Press via AP)

The shrinking American dream

The 21st century has not been kind to the American dream. The dream that brought millions of "the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free" to America rests on the idea that each generation will have it better than the one before it.

A mural is seen at the site of Freddie Gray's arrest in the Sandtown neighborhood of Baltimore, Monday, May 23, 2016, after Officer Edward Nero, one of six Baltimore city police officers charged in connection to the death of Gray, was acquitted of all charges in his trial. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Justice and good sense in Baltimore

The policeman on trial for his role in the arrest of Freddie Gray in Baltimore was acquitted Monday and the city did not explode. Much of the credit for keeping the peace goes to the Gray family. Billy Murphy, the family lawyer, said after the verdict that "I don't think anybody should be upset with this verdict." He praised the judge, who like Freddie Gray, is black, for deciding on the facts and not the public pressure coming from both sides.

A new sticker designates a gender neutral bathroom at Nathan Hale high school Tuesday, May 17, 2016, in Seattle. President Obama’s directive ordering schools to accommodate transgender students has been controversial in some places but since 2012 Seattle has mandated that transgender students be able to use of the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice. Nearly half of the district’s 15 high schools already have gender neutral bathrooms and one high school has had a transgender bathroom for 20 years. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Reflections in the urinal

"Bein' good isn't always easy," as an old folk song puts it, and begin' politically correct in the brave new America is extraordinarily difficult. Who can keep up with what's new in confusion and abuse?

In this Monday, Sept. 1, 2014 photo, a central Illinois corn farmer begins to harvest this years crops of corn in Pleasant Plains, Ill. Wet, cool conditions across much of Illinois have put farmers behind schedule in bringing their corn in from the fields, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

When corn rules the road

Washington overflows with bad ideas. The Environmental Protection Agency's ethanol mandate for truck and automobile fuel is a big one. Rather than think again unworkable rules, the EPA doubles down, or in this case doubles up, raising the bar for compliance ever higher. If cars would run best on ethanol, the federal government wouldn't have to force it on the American motorist.

Illustration on Obama's false Iran deal narrative by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

Correcting the false White House Iran narrative

It can be no surprise how political debate on the West's policy toward Iran has intensified in the wake of the recent New York Times Magazine article revealing the deliberate deceptions carried out by the Obama administration to justify its nuclear negotiations and its broader policy of appeasement.

FILE - In this Dec. 3, 2014 file photo, New York Police Department officer Joshua Jones wears a VieVu body camera on his chest during a news conference in New York. Boston police had promised to launch a pilot program to outfit officers with body cameras by April 2016, but now are saying it will be closer to June. It's superintendent is publicly doubting whether the cameras are needed at all, and Community meetings are being held to debate the matter. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

The body-camera effect

Violent crime in America leaves a growing body count in its wake. Authorities disagree over whether the trend is simply statistical noise or a predictable result of relaxed policing in the wake of several explosive policing incidents.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event Thursday, May 19, 2016, in Lawrenceville, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

The alternative to Hillary

Only a month ago (a millennium in the era of social media and the hundreds of Internet "news" sites) the Republican Party was just about ready for an autopsy. The Grand Old Party was dead, rotting from the headless top, and Donald Trump was about to be buried by Hillary Clinton, perhaps by 60 points. Woe was all.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Little Rock, Ark. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

When tax returns are private

Donald Trump gets right to the point. When a reporter asked him about his tax returns he had a ready response: "It's none of your business." He's right. There's no law that says a president or a presidential candidate must release the private details of his tax returns. It's become a convention for the last 30 years or so, but most presidents before Richard Nixon kept their tax issues private.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has become a liberal leader both literally and symbolically, as she holds Edward M. Kennedy's old Senate seat after it briefly fell into the Republican hands of Scott Brown. Enthusiasm around Mrs. Warren now resembles the wild optimism that surrounded Mr. Obama's campaign in early 2008, when he received a coveted endorsement from Kennedy. (Associated Press)

The return of Pocahontas

If the millennials can't have Bernie Sanders at the top of the Democratic ticket, Hillary Clinton is feeling the burn (if not the bern) to put Sen. Elizabeth Warren at the bottom of the ticket. This would wreathe the campaign in clouds and tendrils of estrogen, the female "gender" hormone, and give Hillary the opportunity to set two precedents in one.

His story: White House adviser Ben Rhodes wrote that a main objective should be to "reinforce the president and the administration's strength." (Associated Press)

Obama's challenge of Congress

Once upon a time every congressman on Capitol Hill would have put on his fighting clothes to punish someone who not only lied to them about a subject of great national import, but boasted that he lied — and now dares Congress to do something about it.

A new sticker designates a gender neutral bathroom at Nathan Hale high school Tuesday, May 17, 2016, in Seattle. President Obama’s directive ordering schools to accommodate transgender students has been controversial in some places but since 2012 Seattle has mandated that transgender students be able to use of the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice. Nearly half of the district’s 15 high schools already have gender neutral bathrooms and one high school has had a transgender bathroom for 20 years. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

An alternate route to the restroom

Fads were once a rite of the young, but were rarely held to be a civil right. Swallowing goldfish, raiding women's dorms for panties and packing large numbers of students into telephone booths were harmless, though not to everyone's taste.

U.S. servicemen prepare to fire AT4 light anti-armour weapon during joint military exercises at the Vaziani military base outside Tbilisi, Georgia, Saturday, May 14, 2016. About 1,300 U.S., British and Georgian troops started this week conducting joint exercises aimed at training the former Soviet republic's military for participation in the NATO Response Force. (AP Photo/Shakh Aivazov)

Army somewhat strong

Maybe money can't buy happiness, but it can buy security and survival. From "safe spaces" on college campuses to "bug-out" shelters in the woods, Americans are looking for safety in a frightful world. One solution should precede all others: a refortified U.S. military.

In this March 17, 2016, file photo, travelers wait in line for security screening at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle.  (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File) **FILE**

Crisis at the airport

The good news is that summer and vacations are almost at hand. The bad news is that this year getting there won't be even half the fun. Some of the nation's airports, traffic managers and thousands of travelers have been overwhelmed by the first wave of summer travelers.

Google's happy bedtime story

Sleeping in a strange bed is not so strange in Washington, where lobbyists are eager to fluff the pillows for White House agents, and this is particularly (but not uniquely) true for the Obama administration. The intimate relationship between Google and the Obama White House is particularly close.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch pauses during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, Monday, May 9, 2016. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory's administration sued the federal government Monday in a fight for a state law that limits protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The tantrum in the toilet

Privacy matters, just not in a public restroom. President Obama, still searching for a legacy, may have finally found one in the toilet with his "order" on Friday to every public school district in America to make their restrooms "gender-neutral." This apparently means that if a boy feels like a girl, he can "identify" as one, and use the ladies' loo.

President Obama told Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung that he'll visit the communist-ruled country when he travels to Japan for the annual G-7 summit this spring. (Associated Press)

Warming up Southeast Asia

The more things change, they more they stay the same. Southeast Asia is bubbling again, with whispers of a secret arms conference of American arms suppliers and the government of Vietnam. China's construction of military bases on reclaimed shoals in the South China Sea, put across one of the world's most important sea lanes, has put everyone on edge.

FILE - In this June 11, 2014, file photo, a man walks past a mural in an office on the Facebook campus in Menlo Park, Calif. On Thursday, May 12, 2016, Facebook pulled back the curtain on how its Trending Topics feature works, a reaction to a report that suggested Facebook downplays conservative news subjects. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

A right jab at Facebook

Some conservatives have "unfriended" Facebook, meaning they don't want to be a "friend" or user anymore. Friendship is a two-way street, even as defined on social media, and the news, denied by its management, that Facebook routinely suppresses news that appeals to conservative audiences, shouldn't surprise anyone.

The Virginia Supreme Court overturned a decision that created a loophole in the smoking ban when the Court of Appeals of Virginia found that She-Sha Hookah Cafe and Lounge was exempt from the Virginia Indoor Clean Air Act because, although it served food as a restaurant, it derived the majority of its business from being a retail tobacco store. Smoking remains legal in such establishments in Virginia.

(AP Photo/Detroit Free Press, Jarrad Henderson)

A little fire with no smoke

The world is full of people who think they're smarter than you. Some of them are just blowhards, know-it-alls whose advice, freely given, is safe to ignore. Some of them, alas, are federal bureaucrats in federal agencies that regulate various aspects of the U.S. economy. They write rules and regulations that are not so easy to ignore.