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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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President Barack Obama speaks at the dedication of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston, Monday, March 30, 2015. The $79 million Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate dedication is a politically star-studded event attended by President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and past and present senators of both parties. It sits next to the presidential library of Kennedy’s brother, John F. Kennedy. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The nuclear mirage in Iran

Many a lost traveler in the desert has spied an oasis in the sand and sun only to discover that it was only a mirage. In similar desperation, President Obama sees a good deal with Iran on the horizon, where he would put an end to the strife in the Middle East and finally earn the Nobel Peace Prize his admirers in Sweden gave him in a similar fit of euphoria as he took his first oath of office.

FILE  In this March 25, 2015 file photo, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. waits on the floor of the House Capitol Hill in Washington for the arrival of Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani, who was to speak before  a joint meeting of Congress. Reid is announcing he will not seek re-election to another term. The 75-year-old Reid says in a statement issued by his office Friday that he wants to make sure Democrats regain control of the Senate next year and that it would be "inappropriate" for him to soak up campaign resources when he could be focusing on putting the Democrats back in power. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

The end of a Senate era

Harry Reid still has one good eye, and it's enough to read the handwriting on the wall. Announcing that he won't run for a sixth term, he said Friday that he wants to "go out at the top of my game." That's a face-saving way of saying he doesn't want to go out feet first.

Some of the parents of the kidnapped school girls sit outside a compound during a meeting in Chibok, Nigeria. At least 11 parents of the more than 200 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls will never see their daughters again. Since the mass abduction of the schoolgirls by Islamic extremists three months ago, at least 11 of their parents have died and their hometown, Chibok, is under siege from the militants, residents report. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba, File)

The missing girls of Nigeria

Almost a year has gone by since Boko Haram, a radical and violent subsect of Islam, kidnapped 276 Nigerian schoolgirls from the Nigerian village of Chibok. Hopes of a rescue were raised when the Nigerian army called a truce between government forces and the militant Islamist group in October, but few believed a swift or good outcome was likely. So far there hasn't been one. Good faith, alas, rarely survives in Africa.

Islamic State won't stay in Middle East

Last summer I wrote several letters urging U.S. forces to take out the Islamic State before the terrorist group strikes America. I argued that the Islamic State might have its sights set on Capitol Hill or Hollywood. Given the terrorists' twisted logic, they believe these two iconic landmarks are the symbols of American hedonism and must be destroyed.

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2015 file photo, Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate will begin consideration of Lynch's nomination to be attorney general next week. Democrats have been pressing for the Senate to act on President Barack Obama's selection of Lynch, who is the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

The Lynch nomination

The longer the United States Senate puts off the vote on her confirmation the less likely Loretta Lynch will become the attorney general. Some Democrats, in particular Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, have played the usual race card but so far none of the groups that specialize in expressions of outrage have said much, if anything.

Corizon can serve DC jail well

Your recent article, "DC Jail medical contract sparks city council criticism" (Web, March 18), may leave readers with a faulty impression of our company and what's at stake in the pending D.C. City Council vote to approve our award.

President Barack Obama waves from Air Force One upon his arrival at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, Thursday, March 26, 2015, in Birmingham, Ala. The president will speak at Lawson State Community College, about the economy.  (AP Photo/ Hal Yeager)

A late education on the left

Liberals and conservatives don't often come together on important issues because they commute from different planets. Pundits of various stripe bemoan the lack of common values and ponder why Democrats, Republicans, conservatives and liberals seem to have lost respect not only for each other's views, but for each other.

Former President Bill Clinton hugs his daughter, Chelsea Clinton, during the closing session of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. At right is Chelsea's husband, Marc Mezvinsky. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Cash for clunkers

Successful politicians know how to avoid a conflict of interest. Unsuccessful politicians can't recognize one when they see one, or if they do, figure they can duck when sticks, stones and subpoenas fly. Then there are the Clintons. Bubba wrote the book on how to duck and weave. Hillary is learning, with difficulty. She doesn't have the good ol' boy's wink and smile.

FILE - In this June 6, 2013 file photo, a sign stands outside the National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. There was a break in the case of a man who fired shots on several occupied vehicles and the headquarters of the NSA when he returned to the scene of the first shooting, police said Wednesday. The 35-year-old Prince George's County man was arrested Tuesday night near Arundel Mills mall, where shots were fired Feb. 24. A man driving away from a gas station near the mall was injured by glass shot out from his car, police said.  (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Taming the surveillance state

The Patriot Act was fashioned with good intentions, but it has been dragooned to serve bad purposes. It was enacted during the national panic that followed the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 to protect Americans from the enemy. Now it's employed by government busybodies to treat Americans themselves as the enemy.

**FILE** The skyline of Washington, D.C. (Associated Press)

What’s not in your wallet?

There's nothing like a "best and worst" list at tax season to remind a taxpayer that the IRS isn't the only government revenuer putting on the squeeze. States and cities take a bite, too.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush walks with former campaign staff member Rufus Montgomery, right, while visiting the Georgia Capitol, Thursday, March 19, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

No more spring training

The major leaguers are packing up in Florida and Arizona, getting ready to head north for "the Show" after weeks of sharpening a batting eye or perfecting a curve ball in the sunshine of the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues. So, too, are the presidential wannabes. They've been toying with each other (and us) for weeks, saying they're "thinking about running," or talking about "exploratory committees," and now they're going to have to get real, too.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, speaks at a news conference at the statehouse in Santa Fe following the end of a New Mexico's Legislative session Saturday, March 21, 2015. Partisan bickering prevented lawmakers from funding a variety of different state projects and left many bills on the floor and in committees. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)

Good news in New Mexico

Ronald Reagan, an eloquent proponent of federalism, called the several states the laboratories of democracy. The Gipper was on to something. State governments have a unique freedom to innovate, to experiment, to move "outside the box" to search for solutions to thorny public policy problems. The institutional bureaucracies, creatures of Congress, and special interest groups that pepper Washington policymakers with their demands can't do it half as well. The states not only have rights the federal government doesn't, but they have unique talents as well.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldana holds up a counterfeit flask during a counterfeit ticket and merchandise news conference for NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

Immigration out of control

Statistics can be a cure for insomnia, but sometimes they can deliver the jolt of a thunderclap. Here's a thunderclap with a number on it: 165,527. That's the number of illegals in the United States who have been convicted of a crime and were turned loose by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security.

Becky Domokos-Bays, the Director of Food and Nutrition Services at Alexandria City Public Schools, holds up a tray of food during lunch service at the Patrick Henry Elementary School in Alexandria, Va., Tuesday, April 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Indigestion in the lunchroom

Hardly anyone has a fond memory of the school cafeteria. The gray meat, if meat is what it was, and peas, Jell-O and oily pizza are best forgotten. Many have tried to improve school lunches but sometimes a tater tot is best left a tater tot. Enter Michelle Obama, the first lady of the steam table. Her good intentions have only done for the school lunch what Obamacare has done for health care, with loud fanfare, more government guidelines and greater costs. With government "help," the lunchroom offers only more kale.

FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2015 file photo, the Homeland Security Department headquarters in northwest Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015. on Wednesday, President Barack Obama signed a law funding the Homeland Security Department through the end of the budget year. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

A bureaucracy at bay

No department of the government has a mission more important than the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), created after Sept. 11, 2001 to defend and protect the towns and cities, the farms and factories of the American homeland. It ought to be one of the most attractive places in Washington to work, inspired by pride and sacrifice to deliver a job well done. But it isn't. It's one of the worst.

Hillary Clinton is the keynote speaker at the American Camp Association, New York and New Jersey’s Tri State CAMP Conference at the Atlantic City Convention Center, in Atlantic City, NJ, Thursday, March 19, 2015. (AP Photo/The Press of Atlantic City, Michael Ein)

Birds of prey on the hunt

Poor Hillary. She never got to be the homecoming queen in high school and she's still trying to make up for it. Since leaving the State Department, she has doubled down in regal style at every turn to draw a caricature of herself that is beginning to look like ruining the last chance that she will have to be the president of the United States.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, watches Honda Motor Co.’s interactive robot Asimo demonstrate, along with the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation "Miraikan" Chief Executive Director Mamoru Mori during her visit to the the museum in Tokyo, Monday, March 9, 2015. Merkel is in Japan on Monday and Tuesday as part of a series of bilateral meetings with G-7 leaders ahead of a June summit in Germany. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

On the planet of the apps

Barack Obama promised that his presidency would be a time of "hope and change," and he made good on half of it. Hope is still missing, but there's plenty of change. Mr. Obama might say that Americans are still clinging to the God and guns of the past and do not appreciate the whirlwind we're reaping. The unfolding trends are stretching the boundaries of human identity in ways Mr. Obama and his "progressives" (as liberals want to be called now) could not have imagined. Yogi Berra warned us that "the future ain't what it used to be."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prays at the tunnel section of the Western Wall in Jerusalem Wednesday, March 18, 2015. Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Party scored a resounding victory in Israel’s election, final results showed Wednesday, a stunning turnaround after a tight race that had put his lengthy rule in jeopardy. (AP Photo/Emeil Salman)

Mr. Netanyahu’s remarkable triumph

Food, shelter and a comfortable life are as important to the Israelis as to everyone else, but survival comes first. That's the clear and unequivocal message in the remarkable triumph of Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel on Tuesday. His victory, unexpected to anyone paying attention only to the polls and the skeptical international media, was decisive, complete and emphatic.

President Barack Obama speaks at The City Club of Cleveland, Wednesday, March 18, 2015, in Cleveland. Obama visited Cleveland, in the all-important presidential battleground state of Ohio, delivering a speech focusing on middle-class economics and to draw contrasts with Republicans over federal spending. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

The galloping pace of waste

It's a dubious distinction, but government productivity set a record in one category last year: improper payments. Federal printers wrote $125 billion — that's billion with a "b" — in checks to Americans who didn't deserve them. This is the solid argument for shrinking the size of the bureaucratic Leviathan. President Obama has redistributed the mountains of waste and the oceans of red ink, rather than reduce them. It's business as usual in Washington, where frittering away other people's money is good sport.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting of the Victory Day celebrations organizing committee in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, March 17, 2015. Russia's foreign minister says the leader of North Korea is among 26 world leaders who have accepted invitations to Moscow to take part in celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany. (AP Photo/Sergei Ilnitsky, Pool)

When dictators go missing

When Russian President Vladimir Putin vanished from sight in early March all the explanation were colorful rumors. The maximum leader was a victim of a coup, he was attending the birth of his "love child" (the warmer, fuzzier Vlad), he was having cosmetic surgery (bullies on steeds need Botox, too). Or he was dead.