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A plane flies over the mountains in south of the Strait of Hormuz as the trading dhows and ships are docked on the Persian Gulf waters near the town of Khasab, in Oman. The operator of a Marshall Islands-flagged cargo vessel boarded by Iranian forces as it was traversing the Strait of Hormuz said Wednesday, April 29, 2015 that it has confirmed the crew is safe but that the company is still trying to determine why the ship was seized the previous day by the Islamic Republic. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)

Mullahs against the mouse

The cat and mouse game playing out in the waters of the Middle East has profound consequences, not only for the United States, but for the rest of the world. It’s part of the clash of civilizations, whether the West likes it or not — the mullahs in Tehran against the Katzenjammer Kids in the White House. It’s not yet clear who’s the cat, and who’s the mouse, but the mullahs think they know.

FILE - In this June 15, 2012, file photo, a group of tourists from China take in the sights of the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall National Memorial, in New York. Chinese tourists, already among the fastest-growing and highest-spending groups of international visitors to the United States, are poised to make an even bigger impact, thanks to a rule change that would allow visitors to get visas valid for 10 years. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

The Ugly Chinese

In times more innocent than these, Eugene Burdick and William J. Lederer wrote a best-seller, “The Ugly American,” circa 1958, about a well-meaning American bureaucrat who set out to repeat the success of the Marshall Plan in what were accurately called, with no intention of hurting anyone’s feelings, “the undeveloped countries.” Good intentions were not enough. The new plan didn’t work, foiled by hubris and pretension in the new class of American bureaucrats. The unattractive hero understood, but couldn’t turn the tide. He was dismissed as “the Ugly American” of his book.

President Barack Obama rides in the presidential limousines at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., Wednesday, April 29, 2015, for a visit with wounded military personnel. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Saving Baltimore

Barack Obama is a symbol of black pride, and why wouldn’t he be? He was elected president of the United States twice. But as a president who has not done very much for black America, he has been a disaster. The riots that have ripped through Baltimore in recent days are more an indictment of his willfully failed leadership than as a marker of the state of race relations in the United States.

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter flies over natural gas rigs in the waters of Mobile Bay off Dauphin Island, Ala., Sunday, April 26, 2015. Coast Guard crews are searching for five people missing in the water after a powerful storm capsized several sailboats participating in a regatta near Mobile Bay. (AP Photo/G.M. Andrews)

American ingenuity hits a gusher

You wouldn’t know it from all the hot air from the government, but American entrepreneurs, with little help from Washington, have ignited a worldwide energy revolution. They have done it despite of the efforts of the ideologues who prescribe an altogether different energy strategy.

FILE - In this Oct. 28, 2006 file photo, then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., speaks at a benefit gala for the Clinton Foundation at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Clinton is tapping some of the biggest donors to her family's philanthropy for her presidential campaign, even as the charity is under scrutiny over its own fundraising practices. Starting what could be a $1 billion-plus fundraising effort, Clinton began raising money for her presidential bid Tuesday in New York, the state she represented in the Senate. The hosts’ connections with the Clinton Foundation show how intertwined the charity is with Clinton’s political career. Even her campaign finance director, Dennis Cheng, was a leading fundraiser role at the foundation before departing for the campaign. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow, File)

Closing in on Hillary

Americans are a tolerant lot, most of the time, but suspicion of foreigners trying to intervene in things that are none of their business is a constant in the nation’s history. On leaving the presidency after two terms, George Washington warned in his farewell address of the wisdom of staying clear of foreign entanglements.

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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."

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei took issues with key points on the framework of a nuclear deal including sanction relief and inspector access. (Associated Press)

Devilish nuclear details

The devil is often in the details of a deal, but the devil lies in the West's negotiators themselves as they attempt to make a deal with Iran. We have the word of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, supreme leader of Iran, on that. He launched such a fusillade of verbal rockets against the Obama administration that the newly signed "framework" for a deal is scorched and blackened. If there was doubt that Iran would act in good faith in talks to shut down its nuclear weapons program, there is none now.

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during his news conference at the Summit of the Americas in Panama City, Panama, Saturday, April 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Congress must do what Obama won’t

Americans reasonably expect their president to treat himself to an occasional session of introspection, to give himself a grade on whether he's living up to his oath to protect and defend the nation — to ask himself whether he has done anything wrong and if so, how to correct it. Alas, does anyone think it occurs to Barack Obama that he has ever done anything wrong?

This March 13, 2012 photo shows older and newly constructed 250,000 barrel capacity oil storage tanks at the SemCrude tank farm north of Cushing, Okla. (AP Photo/Tulsa World, Michael Wyke) KOTV OUT; KJRH OUT; KTUL OUT; KOKI OUT; KQCW OUT; KDOR OUT; TULSA OUT; TULSA ONLINE OUT

An oily blast from the past

Predictions of gloom and doom have been with us since before steam replaced sail on the high seas, putting thousands of galley slaves out of work. Panic has driven modern man, even in our own times, to extreme and unworkable solutions to problems manufactured in the heat of fright and alarm.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks during the Iowa Agriculture Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, on March 7, 2015. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Critiquing the president

President Obama, still the college professor at heart, doesn't easily listen to criticism or argument. Only he knows what's what, and he grades on a steep curve. When Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin critiqued the deal the president is about to strike with Iran, the president retorted that the governor didn't know what he was talking about. He should "bone up" before he says anything, the president said.

FILE- In this Nov. 10, 2009 file photo, soldiers salute as they honor victims of the Fort Hood shooting at a memorial service at Fort Hood, Texas. The Army said in a letter addressed to Congress on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015 that the victims of the 2009 shooting that left 13 dead and more than 30 wounded will receive the Purple Hearts many have said they deserve. (AP Photo/Donna McWilliam, File)

Honor at Fort Hood

There's a difference, you might say, between a hero and a zero, and President Obama has blurred that difference in Washington. But the Bard was right, truth will out, and so was Abraham Lincoln, you can't fool all the people all the time, not even at the White House. Several heroes are about to get their just rewards.

Palestinian residents of the besieged refugee camp of Yarmouk wait at the gate of the camp to receive aid supplies from the United Nations on the southern edge of the Syrian capital, Damascus. The deteriorating situation brought on by Syria's civil war prompted the U.N. Security Council to call an emergency meeting Monday, April 6, 2015, to discuss Yarmouk, calling for safe evacuation for the Palestinians, protection for the refugees, and humanitarian access to the camp. (AP Photo/SANA, File)

Muslims killing Muslims

The barbarians of ISIS no longer have the ability to surprise anyone. They have beheaded innocents, set a captive afire in a cage, taught children how to shoot to kill at point-blank range, and murdered Christians only because they worship the Christ. The West is outraged, both for the brutality and by its frustration for not doing much about it.

Republican Presidential candidate, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks, Wednesday, April 8, 2015, in Milford, N.H. Paul, a newly declared Republican presidential candidate, is dodging a central question about abortion: What exceptions, if any, should be made if the procedure were to be banned? In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Paul would not say where, in his view, a pregnant woman’s rights begin and those of the fetus end.(AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Rand Paul to the starting line

If diversity is the secret of winning politics, the Republicans are running the most ambitious cafeteria in town, featuring the favorite dishes of several freshman senators fired by both conviction and ambition. If a hungry customer doesn't see what he wants, there's probably something else coming from the kitchen.

FILE - In this May 24, 2011 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu walks with House Speaker  John Boehner of Ohio, to make a statement on Capitol Hill in Washington.  American politicians like to pick and choose when they’ll abide by the storied notion that politics should stop at the water's edge, and when to give that idea a kick in the pants.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

When the thrill of a romance is gone

That pop and crackle in the air is the sound of strains on a romance, like the noise of a cooling wood stove. The Jewish love affair with the Democratic Party has not gone bust by any means but it's beginning to frazzle at the edges, as unrequited love inevitably does. The Democratic left, which now dominates the party, does not like Israel very much.

In this Aug. 17, 2010 file photo, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald talks to reporters after a jury found former Gov. Rod Blagojevich guilty on one count of the 24 counts against him in his federal corruption trial. in Chicago. Robert Blagojevich the brother of imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich offers fresh details in a new book to back his contention prosecutors used him as a pawn to get his younger sibling on charges he sought to hock President Barack Obama's old U.S. Senate seat. While charges were eventually dropped against him, the Tennessee businessman, says his refusal to turn on his brother made him "collateral damage" of an overzealous prosecution that cost his reputation, $1 million in legal bills and a still-unrepaired family split. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

The crimes of the prosecutors

Prosecutors, like cops, usually deal with people who aren't very nice. Prosecutors at every level rarely see the occasional bursts of human kindness that lead the rest of us to see the good among the bad. Unfortunately, some prosecutors, blind to the good among the bad, conclude that evildoers don't deserve a break, that the important thing is to get evildoers behind bars, so anything goes. If no actual evildoers are available, make one up.