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U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, left, and U.S. Marine Corps General Thomas Waldhauser at Camp Lemonnier in Ambouli, Djibouti, Sunday April 23, 2017.   Mattis on Sunday visited Djibouti to bolster ties with the tiny and impoverished African country that is home to an important base for U.S. counterterrorism forces, including drones. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool via AP)

The Russian riddle

News is not called news for nothing. Terror attacks, cruise missile strikes, nuclear provocation — it all adds up to the headlines of today burying the headlines of yesterday. That’s why it’s essential to circle back to one story that must not be forgotten, the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Inquiring minds want to know whether the political mischief, if any, was cause or effect.

U.S. special representative for North Korea policy Joseph Yun, center, answers questions from reporters following meeting with Japanese and South Korean chief nuclear negotiators to talk about North Korean issues at the Iikura Guesthouse in Tokyo Tuesday, April 25, 2017. North Korea marks the founding anniversary of its military on Tuesday, and South Korea and its allies are bracing for the possibility that it could conduct another nuclear test or launch an intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time.   U.S. envoy Yun says he and his counterparts from Japan and South Korea agreed to coordinate "all actions" on North Korea. (Toru Yamanaka/Pool Photo via AP)

Getting serious about North Korea

President Trump has called the entire U.S. Senate to the White House Wednesday for a rare top-level briefing on what’s going on with “the crazy fat kid” in North Korea. The president will have all hands on deck and he expects 100 senators to be there. They’ll be greeted by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

President Trump has arguably done more than his predecessors to get the border wall along the U.S. frontier with Mexico finally realized. Despite congressional promises, little construction progress has yet been made. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

A barrier to the wall

The U.S. government just dodged a headlong run into a wall. Democrats threatened to vote against an interim budget deal if President Trump includes a down payment on a wall on the southern border. It’s a mark of the lengths politicians of the liberal persuasion will go to destroy the Trump presidency. National security is held hostage in a high-stakes game of chicken.

A local resident holds a sign as he listens to Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speak at a rally for Omaha Democratic mayoral candidate Heath Mello, Thursday, April 20, 2017, in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Riding the tiger

“He who rides a tiger is afraid to dismount,” a Chinese proverb cautions the unwary. That’s where the Democrats, flailing in a search for a way out of the wilderness, find themselves in their warm embrace of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

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FILE - In this Jan. 17, 2017, file photo, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Promising to "expose the Republican Party for what it is," Sanders predicted April 12, that President Donald Trump would be a one-term president as the liberal icon prepared to launch a nationwide tour to rally Democrats. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Fizzler in Kansas, surviving hopes in Georgia

Congressional Democrats were counting on two special elections this month to provide the smelling salts to revive their dispirited ranks. The first, on Tuesday in Kansas, fizzled. Now all hope is focused on a reliably red district in the suburbs of Atlanta.

People watch a TV news program showing a file image of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, April 12, 2017. North Korea's parliament convened Tuesday amid heightened tensions on the divided peninsula, with the United States and South Korea conducting their biggest-ever military exercises and the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier heading to the area in a show of American strength. The signs read "The USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier changes route". (AP Photo/Ahn Yooung-joon)

Calculating the threat from North Korea

"The land of the morning calm" is anything but that. The ancient Korean name for the divided peninsula is belied by the tension simmering for nearly 70 years, enlivened with frequent bursts of cross-border invective and sometimes violence.

FILE - In this July 8, 2015, file photo, United Airlines and United Express planes prepare to takeoff at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. After a man is dragged off a United Express flight on Sunday, April 9, 2017, United Airlines becomes the butt of jokes online and on late-night TV. Travel and public-relations experts say United has fumbled the situation from the start, but its impossible to know if the damage is temporary or lasting. Air travelers are drawn to the cheapest price no matter the name on the plane. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, FIle)

The unfriendly skies

One man's misery can be another man's meat, and business-school students looking for a lesson in how not to turn a manageable crisis into an uncontrolled public-relations catastrophe will owe United Airlines a debt for years to come.

FILE - In this April 22, 2015 file photo, a member of the Baltimore Police Department stands guard outside of the department's Western District police station as men hold their hands up in protest during a march for Freddie Gray in Baltimore. In a city that became emblematic of police abuse, excessive force and callous treatment of young black men, Baltimore's mayor and commissioner say they are eager and ready to change not only the culture of law enforcement, but the practice. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

The violent legacy of Freddie Gray

Healing is preferable to hurting but much harder to achieve. That's the lesson in Baltimore two years after the death of Freddie Gray, whose death in police custody set off riots and mayhem. Faced with a choice between escalating crime and aggressive policing, the city has spurned the advice of the Trump administration and stuck with a strategy that promises more pain and heartbreak.

President Trump decided that inaction against Syria posed far greater risk to the U.S. than action. (Associated Press/File)

A bad week for a rogue

Action speaks louder than red lines. Accepting the mantle of the leader of the free world, Donald Trump has just done what Barack Obama vowed to do, and never did. The sight of Syrian civilians massacred in a chemical weapons attack prompted President Trump to punish the Assad regime in the name of humanity. Next for a reckoning are Syria's more formidable protectors, Russia and Iran, which have drawn their own red lines. Fresh to the world stage, the dealmaker has put unruly powers on notice that he is as likely to strike a target as a bargain.

President Donald Trump watches as Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy administers the judicial oath to Judge Neil Gorsuch during a re-enactment in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, April 10, 2017, in Washington. Gorsuch's wife Marie Louise hold a bible at center. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

An early test of the Gorsuch court

The fireworks over the elevation of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court — he was sworn in Monday as the ninth justice — overshadowed a perversion of the law by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago that could offer an early indication of the tilt of the newly restored Supreme Court.

In this Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, file photo, Judge Neil Gorsuch stands with his wife Marie Louise Gorsuch as President Donald Trump announces him as his choice for the Supreme Court in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Nine again

Neil Gorsuch is finally safe as a justice of the United States Supreme Court, survivor of a cheap campaign to impugn his character and his knowledge and devotion to the Constitution and the law. The justices number nine again, and Donald Trump has redeemed one of his most important promises.

President Donald Trump walks across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Sunday, April 9, 2017. Trump is returning from a trip to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

A decisive week for the world

Donald Trump finally had a pretty good week after several weeks that were not so good. The U.S. Senate finally confirmed Neil Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court, overcoming partisan opposition for opposition's sake, and his missile strike on the government forces of Bashar Assad stunned nearly everybody, destroying the Syrian air force base that launched the chemical strikes on Assad's own people.

Mark Hainds, a 48-year-old junior community college forestry professor from Andalusia, Alabama, walks about 3 miles from his stopping point, near Why, Ariz., Monday, April 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Heck on the border

There's change coming on the border. Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee are working to make Speaker Paul Ryan's tax reform scheme palatable enough to sell to a cranky chamber. It's a high wall to climb over.

Public Affairs Officer Josh Hammond is reflected in a puddle as restoration work on the USS Constitution continues, Wednesday, April 5, 2017, at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston. The ship enters dry dock for below-the-waterline repairs every 20 years. The world's oldest commissioned warship afloat is scheduled to return to the waters in late July. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Roping in the cost of ships

Every sailor worth his salt knows the old knock: A boat is a hole in the water where you pour the money in. For Navy-size vessels, that hole in the water can be bottomless. As he commands the ship of state, President Trump has made it clear he intends to rebuild the nation's shrunken defense. While doling out cash to the warfighting services, the president should keep a weather eye on Navy shipbuilding contracts. They shouldn't dig that hole deeper than it should be.

FILE - In this Dec. 8, 2016 file photo Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks during a ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington. Reid and John Boehner are going to co-chair a new public policy think tank at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. MGM Resorts International and UNLV plan to bring plans for the institute headed by the retired U.S. Senate Democratic majority leader from Nevada and the former House Republican speaker from Ohio before Nevada university regents on Thursday, March 2, 2017.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Banish the trolls

There's an entire class of litigants in patent law that lawyers call "venue-shoppers." U.S. district courts in East Texas and Delaware have become the go-to venues, courts likely to produce huge judgments in plaintiffs' favor. Courts in these jurisdictions have shown themselves to be sympathetic to the trolls, or as they call themselves, "patent-assertion entities."

The permanent police line-up

Most Americans haven't sampled the thrill of being the subject of a police line-up, where the victim of a crime studies the faces of suspects from behind a one-way mirror. The proliferation of facial recognition technology changes all that. While the police need every advantage they can manage to stay ahead of evildoers, strong safeguards are necessary to protect individual privacy and prevent false accusations and arrests.

National Security Adviser Susan Rice (Associated Press) **FILE**

Susan Rice strikes again

Susan Rice, the most notorious liar in the employ of Barack Obama, is revealed as the queen of the unmasked ball. She abused her position as the national security adviser to the president to obtain the "masked" name of at least one member of the Trump transition team in the weeks between the election and the inauguration. What she did with the information is anybody's guess, and anybody could make a pretty good one.

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Charles Schumer of N.Y., speaks during an interview in his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Sen. Schumer's chutzpah

Chuck Schumer is a New Yorker, so he knows about chutzpah. He schmears it liberally on his breakfast bagel. Chutzpah is the useful Yiddish for "shameless audacity," once defined by the young man who murdered his parents and begged the judge and jury to show "mercy for a poor orphan boy."

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, left, walks with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to a lunch with President Donald Trump and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the White House in Washington, Monday, April 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

No playing Russian roulette

On paper, NATO is an imposing institution --one of the world's oldest and largest collective defense alliances. On the ground, its strength hinges on a single question: Will its 28 signatory nations actually spend blood and treasure to honor their pledge of collective defense in time of war? No one will know until the dread moment of truth arrives. With Russia more menacing than ever, it's gut-check time for NATO.

In this Feb. 27, 2017 file photo, National Governors Association (NGA) Chairman, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe holds a briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Four former sailors who became known as the "Norfolk Four" as they fought rape and murder convictions, saying police intimidated them into falsely confessing to the crimes two decades ago have been pardoned by Gov. McAuliffe on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) **FILE**

More bluster from the bag man

If Hillary Clinton had won, Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia might now be in President Clinton's Cabinet. But there is no President Clinton, and there is no Secretary McAuliffe, and the nation's gain is Virginia's loss. His days in Richmond are numbered, but the Old Dominion must endure 10 more months of bluster from Bill and Hillary's longtime bag man.

A modest suggestion to move Congress

Donald Trump, like a lot of Republicans, is mightily disappointed with the Freedom Caucus for blocking repeal of Obamacare, so he has gone to war with the caucus and thinks he can persuade some Democrats to help him repeal Barack Obama's signature "accomplishment." He will learn to his sorrow that this is a recipe for more disappointment. Democrats don't do compromise.

President Donald Trump greets Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen at the White House in Washington, Thursday, March 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Snubbing the White House

It's hard to be friends with someone who doesn't want to be your friend. A clenched fist is a poor return of a hand offered in friendship. Donald Trump, who knows what the Democrats in Congress think of him, nevertheless tried to reach out to the opposition with an invitation to a Senate-only reception in the East Room of the White House.

Eric as Evas Nelson, from Sandwich, Mass., and parents of a transgender child, wait for Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to arrive to raise a flag supporting the transgender community at City Hall, Thursday, March 30, 2017, in Boston. The flag-raising event was organized after the "Free Speech Bus," painted with the words "boys are boys" and "girls are girls," parked outside City Hall earlier in the day. (AP Photo/Bill Sikes)

Queering the numbers

The 2020 census won't ask questions about sexual orientation and gender identity, and the homosexual lobby is infuriated. The National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Task Force accuses the Trump administration of nothing short of genocide. "We've been erased!" the task force cried.