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Blowing billions

Spending $17.9 trillion is hard work. Dispensing cash at a rate of $1 million per hour would require 2,040 years to rack up a sum as large as the national debt. It’s not that big-spending bureaucrats are lazy, but that their hard work has created their own special expertise at wasting money.

FILE- In this Sept. 10, 2014, file photo, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory speaks to members of the media in Raleigh, N.C. In a letter dated Oct. 6 to French officials, McCrory said the plain packaging proposal may detract from more effective ways of curbing cigarette use. The French bill requiring neutral cigarette packs by 2016 is slated for debate in French Parliament next year. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

Races for the statehouse

With little mystery about the prospects of continued Republican control of the House of Representatives, attention is focused on the Senate, where there is a lot of uncertainty. This focus gives short shrift to the important races for the statehouses, where Democrats are looking for bright spots but where the Republicans may produce several surprises.

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George Orwell

Sweeping away consumer choice

Politics can be a grimy business. Beginning Monday, the grit and grime on the Continent will rise to new levels as the latest European Union rules take effect and all ships, cargo planes and trains will be subject to unprecedented scrutiny.

Leonardo DiCaprio hugs Secretary of State John Kerry after Kerry introduced him at the second day of the State Department's "Our Ocean" conference at the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Climate change cools off

Al Gore goofed. Instead of talking up "climate extremes," he should have spoken about the dangers of an increasingly mild climate. Washington is likely to wrap up the month (and the summer) with the mercury having topped 90 degrees only once or twice.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, left, and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi speak during the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium at the Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park near Jackson, Wyo. Friday, Aug. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/John Locher)

EDITORIAL: Licensing unemployment

Janet Yellen has a knack for understatement. The chairman of the Federal Reserve said Friday that the recession might have "caused persistent changes in the labor market's functioning." That's a polite way of telling the millions in the unemployment line to get used to it.

FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2012 file photo, former Vice President Al Gore, Current TV Chairman and Co-Founder, participates in the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena , Calif. Former Vice President Al Gore is suing Al Jazeera America, saying the news network is withholding tens of millions of dollars that it owes for buying Current TV from him and other shareholders for $500 million last year. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok, File)

EDITORIAL: Al Gore vs. Al-Jazeera

How do you say "buyer's remorse" in Arabic? The Qatari royal family likely feels the pangs of regret for paying the princely sum of $500 million to Al Gore and friends to give Al-Jazeera America a slot on satellite-TV and cable channels.

CORRECTS DATE - President Barack Obama, right, smiles as he and former NBA basketball player Alonzo Mourning, left, prepare to ride in a golf cart while golfing at Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown, Mass., on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Obama is taking a two-week summer vacation on the island. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

The Obama tee party

Trouble in the St. Louis suburbs has rescued President Obama's vacation. He can play all 18 holes at the country club now, safe in the knowledge that he's distracting voters from all the scandals, mismanagement and foreign and domestic policies that are the legacy of his administration.

President Barack Obama, left, points to Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., center, and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., right, after signing the Dodd Frank-Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in a ceremony in the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, Wednesday, July 21, 2010.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

EDITORIAL: Economic strangulation with red tape

President Obama knows nothing about making the economy grow. On his watch, America's gross domestic product has inched forward at an annual average of 1.2 percent, according to World Bank data. We're outclassed not only by Brazil, China and India, but by Mali, Guatemala, Swaziland and Vanuatu.

Georgia democratic gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter, left, chats with his grandfather former President Jimmy Carter and grandmother  Rosalynn Carter after attending church in Plains, Ga, Sunday, June 8, 2014. The younger Carter is hoping that a large fundraising effort this weekend will help his campaign. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

EDITORIAL: A Carter gay-rights 'secret' in Georgia

Jason Carter wants to follow in his famous grandfather's footsteps. Mr. Carter, a Democrat, is running for governor of Georgia, a position Jimmy Carter held for a term before moving on to the White House. Jason Carter is willing to say pretty much whatever it takes to win.

Travis County Special prosecutor Michael McCrum announced that Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been indicted by a grand jury in Austin, Texas on Friday, Aug. 15, 2014.  Gov. Rick Perry, 63, was charged with abuse of official capacity, a first-degree felony, and coercion of a public official related to his effort last year to force District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to resign after her drunken driving arrest. (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Rodolfo Gonzalez)

The 'case' against Rick Perry

Prosecutors in Texas could have done the nation a service with the indictment of Gov. Rick Perry of Texas. The indictment of him is so transparent as vindictive prosecution that it will surely topple by its own weight, and beyond that, it could focus needed light on the urgent need for prosecutorial reform.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, right, assigned Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, left, to defuse violent protests sparked by the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

The wrong way to restore peace in Ferguson

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, called out the National Guard on Monday to restore order to the streets of Ferguson. Heavily armed soldiers will take the place of even more heavily armed police officers who had been assigned to prevent looting as the mobs gathered to riot.