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President Barack Obama speaks during the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Wednesday, July 27, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The biggest ego in town

President Obama is not the incarnation of Demosthenes, or even William Jennings Bryan, as he seems to think, but he’s not bad on a good day with the right subject matter. His favorite subject matter, which is not necessarily the people’s choice, is about him.

Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby said she has no regrets in bringing charges against the six officers. (Associated Press)

Justice in Baltimore

Marilyn Mosby, no Blackstone she, has made such a mess in Baltimore that the city won’t live it down for decades. The Baltimore state’s attorney announced this week that she was dropping all charges against the remaining Baltimore police officers she charged with murder in the 2005 death of Freddie Gray.

A voter marks a ballot for the New Hampshire primary inside a voting booth on Feb. 9 in Manchester, N.H. (Associated Press)

The other battle at the ballot box

Party conventions, first of the Republicans in Cleveland and this week of the Democrats in Philadelphia, first and foremost are about whose name goes on the top of the ballot. Before any votes are cast on Nov. 8, though, questions must be settled about identification rules determining who gets to cast a ballot. Voter identification laws, popularly called ID laws, have proliferated.

California delegates hold up signs as they cheer during the third day session of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Wednesday, July 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Dreaming the impossible Democratic dream

The Democrats had better pack a good lunch on their way to the post-convention campaign. It’s going to be an all-day job. They must persuade voters to avoid looking at Barack Obama’s disaster of “hope and change” while Hillary Clinton pushes the party’s platform of more of the same. The platform, as adopted in Philadelphia this week, is an exercise in the old shell game.

President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks about the mall shooting in Munich, Germany, before addressing law enforcement officers from around the country at the Advancing 21st Century Policing Briefing in the South Court Auditorium of the White House complex in Washington, Friday, July 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The price of trusting Iran

Barack Obama may be the last man in America who actually trusts the holy men in Iran, and a secret codicil, or amendment, he made to his infamous nuclear agreement with them reveals just what happens when a president has no understanding of “the art of the deal,” or the people he makes deals with.

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President Barack Obama speaks at the Treasury Department in Washington, Tuesday, June 14, 2016, following a meeting with his National Security Council to get updates on the investigation into the attack in Orlando, Florida and review efforts to degrade and destroy ISIL. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The only strategy that works

The FBI continues to sort through what it did right, and what it did wrong, in its early dealings with Omar Mateen, the Orlando killer. That's good, but what the White House should be doing is sorting through what it has done wrong in the fight against the Islamic State, or ISIS or ISIL. The president's strategy, to put it kindly, has been confused.

Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gestures during a panel discussion on national security, Wednesday, June 15, 2016, at the Virginia Air and Space Museum in Hampton, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Do the lives of infants matter?

People who walk in the middle of the road risk getting run over, and Hillary Clinton is not making that mistake twice. Joining Barack Obama's eight-year campaign to steer the nation to the left side of the road, Hillary has declared abortion a fundamental component of keeping women healthy. As a corollary, the lives of infants don't matter.

President Barack Obama pauses while addressing the White House Summit on the United State of Women in Washington, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

The unpresidential president

Donald Trump gets a lot of advice, some of it friendly and most of it not, about how he should "act presidential." We, too, have offered suggestions about how he could look and speak more like a president, now that there's a real possibility that he could become one.

Protestors call for a $15-an-hour minimum wage as McDonald's shareholders meet at the company's corporate headquarters, Thursday, May 21, 2015, in Oak Brook, Ill.  (Chuck Berman/Chicago Tribune via AP)

The $15 menu

The "dollar menu" at McDonald's has vanished, but there's a new $15 menu. It's called the government-mandated minimum wage. In a sagging economy, overpaid and underseasoned McJobs are attracting the best and the brightest straight out of the likes of Harvard, Yale and Stanford.

Saudi Arabian Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman listens in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, during a meeting between Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and President Barack Obama, in this May 13, 2015, file photo. Saudi Arabia said Tuesday, Dec. 15, that 34 nations have agreed to form a new "Islamic military alliance" to fight terrorism with a joint operations center based in the kingdom's capital, Riyadh. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Revolution in the desert

Forever is a long time, but it doesn't last forever, not even in the Middle East. The Saudis are taking the first baby stops to overhaul their notoriously autocratic regime.

WITH STORY BRITAIN EU FUTURE - In this Friday, June 26, 2015 file photo, British Prime Minister David Cameron pauses before speaking during a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels.  Opinion polls suggest a vote could go either way on June 23, 2016 when Britain chooses whether to leave the 28-nation bloc it joined in 1973. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)

Brexit and a turn to the right

Arguments over the role of Britain in Europe will continue beyond the outcome of the referendum June 23 on whether Britain should leave the European Union, which appears more likely than it did a fortnight ago. A stunning new public-opinion poll shows a dramatic 10-point swing in public opinion, and what the British call "Brexit," or "British exit," now favors leaving, and by a substantial margin.

President Barack Obama speaks to members of the media in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, June 13, 2016.  Obama said there's no clear evidence that the shooter at an Orlando nightclub was directed to conduct his attack or part of a larger plot. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Massacre in Orlando

Orlando is the home of Disneyworld, but it's clear that Mickey Mouse has a second home at Barack Obama's White House. In the wake of the Sunday attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, with 50 dead and 53 others left wounded, President Obama presented the grim face that Americans have come to expect after such acts of horror.

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JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (May 19, 2012) The U.S. Navy fight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, demonstrate choreographed flight skills during the annual Joint Service Open House. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Todd Frantom/Released)

Holy Foghorn! No time for Blue Angels

San Francisco is America's most entertaining city, though not always in the way the people who live there think it is. "Baghdad by the Bay," as a favorite newspaper columnist was fond of calling it, did not invent the politics of the absurd, but San Francisco is where the absurdities were perfected.

Secretary of State John Kerry addresses a gathering of the Export-Import Bank at the Omni-Shoreham Hotel in Washington, Thursday, April 24, 2014.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Export-Import Bank strikes back

Government funding for the Export-Import Bank, which was organized during the Depression years to subsidize loan guarantees for major American exporters, has been a target of Republican reformers and their campaign to eliminate corrupt federal agencies that only waste money. But the Ex-Im Bank is regarded as the crown jewel of corporate welfare, and it survived the budget knife only barely last year.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and his wife Jane arrive onstage for a rally in Washington, Thursday, June 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Sanders' socialist origins

"Socialism" has nearly always been a dirty word in American politics, largely because of the movement's onetime ties to the doctrines of Karl Marx, but it has had an appeal to many naive and well-meaning folk, drawn to the prospect of an ideal society, sometimes based on an appeal to the Scriptures or more often, "scientific" socialism based Marx.

Hillary Clinton (Associated Press)

A bad season for the experts

A year ago the chattering class was in unanimous agreement that Donald Trump's candidacy was a joke, and a bad one, ameliorated by the "fact" that there was no way he could win the Republican nomination. The smart guys were just as convinced that Hillary Clinton would dispatch her challengers early to get ready for her coronation in Philadelphia.

The Supreme Court in Washington is seen Tuesday, May 31, 2016 (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The impossible green dream

It's great to have a cause, and almost any will do so long as it's neither caustic nor quixotic. Environmental extremists have a cause that has been, at one time or another, both. Enlisting the power of the federal government to impose a "green" agenda and rob property owners of the use of their land has threatened the well-being of law-abiding Americans.

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Ky. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

A panicked rush to the life boats

Hysteria is rarely pretty and never reassuring, and the hysterics never achieve what they think losing their heads will accomplish. No one wants a surgeon to throw up his hands in disgust if he drops his scalpel, or an airline pilot who runs screaming from the cockpit when the plane encounters severe turbulence.

Ethic cleansing delayed

Some of the Justice Department's ethically challenged lawyers got a reprieve Monday from having to go back to school for a refresher course in ethics. U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen apparently wants them to repeat Truth-telling 101, which is useful but only an elective in most law schools. But there's a risk in telling deliberate fibs, stretchers, and lies to certain judges.

Donald Trump said the press had treated him unfairly, treating his attack on the judge as an attack on all Mexicans and Hispanics. (Associated Press)

The point Trump should have made

Donald Trump paints with a broad brush that soils the target of his invective, others in the general proximity — and himself. His comment that a judge cannot fairly adjudicate a lawsuit against him because he's of Mexican heritage is evidence of a tongue out of control.

"Earth" is a movie composed of re-edited clips from the 11-part BBC/Discovery Channel miniseries "Planet Earth." (Associated Press) ** FILE **

The inevitability of human ingenuity

A cursory scan of the news suggests that the breadth and depth of troubles that bedevil humanity worsens with the passage of time. It's hard not to be discouraged by the "wars and rumors of wars" that the Bible says will be with us always. But gloomy headlines don't tell the whole story. The human condition has improved over time, even if it doesn't attract much attention. It's cause for celebration, or at least an occasional attitude of gratitude.

A United Nations flag (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Hypocrisy blacklist

The word "Orwellian" was coined by George Orwell in his masterwork "1984" to describe the propaganda society, where up is down and down is up, and anyone who notices the absurdity is politically incorrect. Some people have noticed, however, that the present day resembles 1984. The Orwellians are the masters of deceit, often enforced by violence that cowers those it does not kill.

President Barack Obama walks across the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on June 3, 2016, before boarding the Marine One helicopter for the short ride to nearby Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Obama is traveling to Miami for a pair of Democratic fundraisers. (Associated Press)

Looking for answers

Politicians of left and right usually talk in the hazy language of abstract ideology and theory. Most Americans like plain talk about what works and what doesn't, and when something is clearly not working they want to get rid of it and try something better. That's the appeal of Donald Trump. Whether he's the something better everyone is looking for is another matter.

President Barack Obama pauses while speaking at Concord Community High School Wednesday, June 1, 2016, in Elkhart, Ind. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Working in America

Barack Obama traveled to Indiana last week to hold a pep rally about an economy that doesn't have much pep. He raised a few halfhearted cheers but it wasn't clear, exactly, what country he was talking about.

President Barack Obama delivers the commencement address to the Air Force Class of 2016, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, Colo., Thursday, June 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

News from the latrine orderly

President Obama is suddenly tired of being the nation's permanent latrine orderly. He insists, against all the evidence, that he didn't ask for the job and he doesn't understand why everyone thinks he wants to monitor the soap and toilet paper in the nation's toilets.