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In this Aug. 14, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump walks across the tarmac from Marine One to board Air Force One at Morristown Municipal Airport in Morristown, N.J. Bombarded by the sharpest attacks yet from fellow Republicans, President Donald Trump on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, dug into his defense of racist groups by attacking members of own party and renouncing the rising movement to pull down monuments to Confederate icons. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Illusion in a slogan

Putting “America first” is what Americans expect of every president, and despite its isolationist history in the months leading up to World War II, the words “America first” can put a lump in many an American throat. “America first” was one of the slogans Donald Trump rode into the White House.

"He doesn't deserve to be treated this way," said President Trump of former Arizona County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Mr. Arpaio was convicted in federal court earlier this year. (Associated Press)

A pardon for Sheriff Joe

President Trump is “seriously considering” pardoning Joe Arpaio, the Arizona sheriff who was convicted July 31 of misdemeanor contempt of court for ignoring a judge’s order to quit detaining those he suspected of being illegal immigrants.

In this Sept. 30, 2016 file photo, a marijuana bud is seen before harvesting at a rural area near Corvallis, Ore. A bill signed Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has reclassified personal-use possession of cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs as a misdemeanor from a felony. The measure was supported by law enforcement groups and takes effect immediately. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File)

A pot hole in the culture

What’s good for American children is good for America’s future. A growing number of states are forgetting that — if not in word, then in deed. The trend toward increasing legalization of marijuana is resulting in rising numbers of kids requiring medical treatment or hospitalization for narcotic intoxication.

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Merck CEO Ken Frazier during a "Made in America," event regarding a pharmaceutical glass packaging initiative in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Thursday, July 20, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

An economy back on track

The American economy has been in a funk for a decade. Donald Trump was elected largely on his promise to see the economy regain traction and resume speed on the road to prosperity. There are encouraging signs that his strategy of releasing the regulatory brakes is working. Combined with changes in immigration policy, the years in the doldrums may soon be at an end.

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FOR USE MONDAY JULY 10, 2017 AND THEREAFTER - FILE - In this July 6, 2017 file  photo, Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, gives a speech following the Illinois House voting to override Gov. Rauner's veto and pass a budget for the first time in two years at the Illinois State Capitol, in Springfield, Ill. Democratic Comptroller Susana Mendoza's staff estimates she will be able to cover expenses in August. The law allows for borrowing or taking $1.5 billion from other state funds in the interim. (Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP)

Marching to the poorhouse

Money makes the world go 'round, and the lack of it usually brings everything to a halt. Congress is grappling with long-promised tax reform and the naysayers warn against getting in the way of the tsunami of revenue to the Treasury, urging legislators to stay the course. Some might call it staying the curse. Only if there really is a free lunch is there nothing to worry about.

FILE In this Monday, June 18, 2012 file photo President Barack Obama participates in a bilateral meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin during the G20 Summit, in Los Cabos, Mexico. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Sounding off overseas

Squeezing out one last burst of applause is risky for any entertainer, as any old vaudevillian could have told Barack Obama. The idea is to leave the fans in the cheap seats yelling for more. But Mr. Obama, the original snowflake -- always at risk of melting and dead certain that he's unique in history — scorns the tradition of a president expected to go home after his time is done.

FILE--This June 15, 2017, file photo shows the headquarters of Oregon's Driver and Motor Vehicles Division in Salem, Ore. The Oregon Legislature on Thursday, July 6, passed a bill to allow local motor-vehicle offices to issue state driver's licenses and other forms of identification that comply with federal requirements borne out of 9/11 security concerns. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File)

Mysteries of sex at the DMV

Members of the D.C. Council are sometimes puzzled by why the rest of the country doesn't take seriously their schemes to make Washington the 51st state. As city-states go, the District of Columbia is neither Florence nor Venice.

The wolf at the door

The Children's Hour at the White House is over, and it's time to get serious about North Korea. The consequences that nobody wants to think about are finally at hand. The peril is great and the hour is late.

President Trump and the first lady Melania Trump wave from the Air Force One upon their arrival Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, July 5, 2017. Trump arrived in Poland ahead of an outdoor address in Warsaw on Thursday and energy talks with European leaders. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)

Independence Day for affordable energy

Donald Trump has called the last week of June as Energy Week, but if the trend holds 2017 could be remembered as Energy Year. Americans love exploiting the gasoline abundance that emboldened Fourth of July holiday drivers to hit the road in record numbers. When the brakes are released, the great American economic machine is ready to gas up and take off.

Russian President Vladimir Putin walks in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, July 4, 2017. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Living with Putin

Marcus Wolf, the East German intelligence operative who managed to put a Soviet spy in West German Chancellor Willy Brandt's bed, isn't much impressed by Vladimir Putin. Mr. Wolf scoffed at Mr. Putin's claim that he lived in Dresden for 15 years as the liaison between the Soviet KGB and Communist East Germany's spies. Mr. Putin couldn't have been that important, he said, if he had not known him.

From left, Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-NY, Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif., and Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., gather in unity to speak out against President Donald Trump's tweet about a female cable TV anchor during a news conference, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 29, 2017. Earlier, Pelosi called it "so beneath the dignity of the president of the United States to engage in such behavior." (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The dilemma of the Democrats

Despite all she can do about it, Nancy Pelosi looks less like a bird of paradise than an albatross. The Ancient Mariner would recognize her in a San Francisco minute. Losing that special election in Georgia, which the Democrats had counted on to give them momentum heading into the midterm congressional elections next year, was the last of several bitter disappointments.

A copy of the Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

President Donald Trump pauses as he speaks during the Celebrate Freedom event at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, Saturday, July 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

A crazy capital summer

Another day, another breach of civility and manners. Donald Trump lashes out at a television tag team for throwing spitballs at him. Yawn. The president's press agent trades insults, or at least schoolyard yahs-yahs, with a reporter at the White House. Maxine Waters, having given up on impeachment, now wants to send the president into exile, where she does not say, but either Upper or Lower Slobbovia would do.

In this Sept. 1, 2015, file photo, from left, Brad Steinle, Liz Sullivan and Jim Steinle, the brother, mother and father of Kate Steinle who was shot to death on a pier, listen to their attorneys speak during a news conference on the steps of City Hall in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

Sanctuary for the law-abiding

Anniversaries can be an occasion for remembrance and celebration, but some recall only pain and regrets. Saturday marked two years since Kate Steinle was slain on a stroll with her father on the San Francisco waterfront by an illegal immigrant who had been deported five times. This is an anniversary marked by the passage, in the U.S. House of Representatives, of legislation called Kate's Law, to prevent such tragedies. No one gets a guarantee that life won't include a raw deal, but no one should be a victim to an uninvited and lawless "guest."

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump watch the limousine carrying South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook arrive on the South Portico of the White House in Washington, Thursday, June 29, 2017. Trump and the first lady is hosting Moon and his wife for dinner. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Getting ready for the Donald

Angela Merkel, the good German who is determined make Europeans do what's good for them, wants to take Donald Trump to her woodshed at the economic summit of 20 right-thinking nations next week in Hamburg. The Donald must be taught the error of his ways and who but Europe's sternest nanny to do it. There should be lots of noise from the woodshed.

President Donald Trump meets with what the White House identifies as "immigration crime victims" to urge passage of House legislation to save American lives, Wednesday, June 28, 2017, in the Cabinet Room at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Upholding wrong-headed precedent

A judge doesn't have to be waiting for an appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court to set an example for what a conscientious president is looking for. With vacancies in 106 federal district courts and 19 in appeals courts, President Trump might look to Pensacola, Fla., for a living example of the kind of judges he's looking for.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet with President Trump to discuss a controversial U.S. missile defense system and nuclear issues with North Korea. (Associated Press)

A porcupine makes a difficult pet

If North Korea were a zoo and not a prison camp, appropriate signage would read: "Please don't pet the porcupine." When South Korea's new president arrives at the White House on Thursday, Donald Trump should remind his guest that predecessors who ignored the need for due diligence learned a lesson more painful than a mere porcupine prick. The smart approach to Pyongyang is to keep a healthy distance.

FILE - In this June 22, 2017 file photo, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine speaks amid a crush of reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. Somewhere along the way, the Republican crusade to repeal "Obamacare" also turned into an effort to limit the future growth of Medicaid. That bit of mission creep is complicating prospects for the GOP, and could lead to deadlock.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Saving Obamacare repeal, again

"Measure it twice and cut it once" is always better than "measure it once and cut it twice." That's Mitch McConnell's strategy for getting the health-care repeal and replace legislation through the U.S. Senate, and if it invites sneers from the Democrats and the pundits and other dealers in calumny, so what. Stitching together smart legislation is never easy. The Fourth of July is not a deadline.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama, center, talks to his staff during his visit at Tirta Empul temple in Bali island, Indonesia, Tuesday, June 27, 2017. Obama and his family arrived last week on the resort island for a vacation in the country where he lived for several years as a child. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

Obama's loyal ladies

Once the bloodhounds are unleashed, there's no telling where the trail will lead. Sometimes the scent of scandal circles back to where it started. Democrats may regret the day they pointed a finger at Donald Trump, insisting that he must have cheated to beat Hillary Clinton. Now two staunch Obama administration loyalists, Loretta Lynch, the former attorney general, and Susan Rice, who was Barack Obama's national-security adviser, can hear the baying of the hounds. The baying is getting louder.

Mocking demands from Pyongyang

Learning to read social cues that say a red line has been crossed is a valuable skill, and some despots never learn it. Like the abrasive oaf with a reputation as an equal opportunity offender, North Korea has signaled it wants to strike a deal with the United States. Having just sent home a young American visitor with fatal injuries, the regime is in no position to approach the U.S. with anything but an abject apology — and the release of the other three Americans still being held hostage.

President Donald Trump listens as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks in the Rose Garden at the White House, Monday, June 26, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A limited victory for Trump

The U.S. Supreme Court didn't quite hit a home run Monday, but the justices hit a sharp double and a couple of singles that showed that there's life yet in the lineup. The president got a little help to protect the nation from terrorists, schoolyard safety was held to be as important for children in private schools as in public schools, and the court hinted that help might be on the way for a Colorado wedding-cake baker who doesn't want to join the celebration of same-sex weddings.

Another day, another investigation

Gone are the days when the losers went home after an election, to nurse their wounds, catalog their mistakes, and get ready for another round. Now an election is never over, and special prosecutors and their regiments of lawyers, egged on by the media, continue the campaign by "other means."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels on Friday, June 23, 2017. European Union leaders met in Brussels on the final day of their two-day summit to focus on ways to stop migrants crossing the Mediterranean and how to uphold free trade while preventing dumping on Europe's markets. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

Angela Merkel's welcome mat

Only the hard-hearted would slam the door against a refugee. Their stories are heart-breaking and their courage in seeking a better life in a new home is remarkable. Nevertheless, refugees in uncontrolled number are a headache for everyone. Germany, held up as a nation with a big heart, is learning the cost of Angela Merkel's big heart. More than a million refugees have arrived since 2015.