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Al Gore speaks to people before a meeting on climate change during the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Dueling disaster thrillers

Ill winds are supposed to bring somebody good, so Al Gore, the circuit-riding global-warming preacher with manuscripts of novels and sequels in his saddle bags, is entitled to his snit. He can blame literary misfortune on Harvey, Irma and Jose.

A vintage coal-fired steam engine pushes a passenger car up the Cog Railway on a 3.8-mile journey to the summit of 6,288-foot Mount Washington in New Hampshire, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. Tourists visiting the northeast's highest peak were rewarded with summer-like weather on the first weekend of autumn. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

Warmed again by coal

Gentlemen, start your thermostats. Ladies, too. The Obama war on coal, which cost Hillary Clinton the vote in once-reliably Democratic West Virginia, is over. Maybe the war on nuclear energy, too. Americans might soon heat their homes without choosing between the warmth and food and medicine.

U.S. First lady Melania Trump greets First lady Brigitte Macron, left, wife of President Emmanuel Macron of France, after she addressed a luncheon at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.  (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

The right stuff from a first lady

First ladies are usually, but not always, eager to establish themselves as separate but equal personalities. Some of them are content to be the “wife of,” but nearly all of them leave their mark on a presidency, even if only their husbands know the details of how and when the mark was applied.

FILE - In this Jan. 26, 2016 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is joined by Joe Arpaio, the sheriff of metro Phoenix, at a campaign event in Marshalltown, Iowa. Prosecutors in former Sheriff Joe Arpaio's now-pardoned criminal case face a deadline Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, for explaining why they now believe the case should be dismissed and all rulings should be thrown out. Judge Susan Bolton set the deadline after she found that prosecutors hadn't offered any legal authority to back up their argument. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Showtime in the Senate

Now is the time for all good Republicans to put up or shut up. There’s no more time for big talk about repealing and replacing Obamacare. The hot air sent spiraling into the cosmos over the eight years of the Obama administration, by big talkers safe in the expectation that whatever they did would get only a veto, was enough to raise the temperature of this planet and maybe Saturn and Pluto as well.

President Donald Trump walks to his seat after speaking during a luncheon with African leaders at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Premature applause for the Trump trio

The point of political affiliation, like fan loyalty, is to join a team to win. Donald Trump promised voters weary of being beaten like a drum that if he were elected they would soon “get sick of winning.” That hasn’t happened. Yet. So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that most Americans are cheering the president for linking up with the Democrats to post some victories. They might restrain the high-fives, though. Those triumphs come with a hefty price tag.

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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.

In this image from video provided by C-SPAN, Wall Street Journal reporter Jay Solomon is interview on the C-SPAN program Washington Journal on Sept. 23, 2014 in Washington. The Wall Street Journal on June 21, 2017, fired Solomon after evidence emerged about his involvement in prospective business deals, including one involving arms sales to foreign governments, with an international businessman who was one of his key sources. Solomon was offered a 10 percent stake in a fledgling company, Denx LLC, by Farhad Azima, an Iranian-born aviation magnate who ferried weapons for the CIA. It was not clear whether Solomon ever received money or formally accepted a stake in the company. Solomon did not immediately comment. (C-SPAN via AP)

Upholding a media standard

Newspaper reporters aren't expected to be purer than Caesar's wife (not even the wife of a Julius Caesar passing as Donald Trump), but a reporter who doesn't measure up to his newspaper's established ethical standards can expect to pay for it.

Sunshine on the wall

Congressional Democrats love to spend money on solar power and infrastructure projects, and President Trump has given them something to think about -- using the sun to power and pay for his border wall.

Democratic candidate for 6th Congressional District Jon Ossoff, left, concedes to Republican Karen Handel while joined by his fiancee Alisha Kramer at his election night party in Atlanta, Tuesday, June 20, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The bad day for the Democrats

The morning after an election is always a time for poring over the entrails of the campaign, and Wednesday the Democrats spent the whole day trying to figure out how they could spend $25 million on a special election in Georgia, and still lose.

FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2017 file photo, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown delivers her inaugural speech to Oregon legislators in the Capitol House chambers in Salem, Ore. A $670 million health care tax package has passed the Oregon Legislature and now heads to Gov. Kate Brown, providing enough funds over the next two years to prevent Medicaid recipients from losing health care and avoid closing a newly-built psychiatric hospital with hundreds of patients. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, file)

Getting to the heart of health care

It's still there. Like chewing gum stuck to the bottom of a shoe, Obamacare refuses to let go. No other Republican promise made over the past eight years, repeated endlessly during 2016 presidential election campaign, was more popular than the assurance that Barack Obama's namesake legislation would expire with his term of office. Six months into Donald Trump's presidency, the promise remains unredeemed. That may soon change. With the hammer of repeal and replacement about to drop, two words of advice: Don't miss.

FILE - In this June 13, 2013 file photo, then-FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. President Donald Trumps closest allies are attacking the integrity of those involved in the widening probe of Russian interference in the U.S. election, accusing special counsel Mueller of driving a biased investigation. And Trump himself took aim at the senior Justice Department official responsible for appointing Mueller, accusing him on Twitter of leading a Witch Hunt.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

No stacking the deck

Robert Mueller III has always got high marks for probity, integrity and honesty, but as a Washington lawyer of considerable talent he should know that sometimes it's the perception that counts most. Mr. Mueller is asking a skeptical capital to take too much on faith.

FILE - In this June 13, 2017 file photo, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La. speaks at Republican National Committee Headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington. Liberal groups resistant to Republican policies say they have no plans to change their tactics or approach after a gunman apparently driven by his hatred of President Donald Trump opened fire at a GOP baseball practice, grievously injuring a top Republican congressman and several others. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Sitting ducks in Congress

Sitting members of Congress should not be sitting ducks. Last week's shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise and several Republican staff members at a baseball field in suburban Washington revealed them to be exactly that. They can thank the District of Columbia's excessive and spiteful firearms restrictions. Laws hindering their ability to carry a concealed weapon should be relaxed to enable members of Congress and other law-abiding Washingtonians to protect themselves.

In this March 24, 2017, file photo, vials filled with samples of marijuana are arranged at the Blum medical marijuana dispensary, in Reno, Nev. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner, File)

Disappointment in Potlandia

Curing cancer and eliminating heart disease would be nice, but what the government -- federal, state and local -- would like most of all is a new source of revenue, i.e., something new to tax.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parilla addresses the media during a news conference in Vienna, Austria, Monday, June 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

Greater expectations for Cuba

There's more to life than pursuit of the dollar. It's not a message necessarily expected from a billionaire president, but in reversing his predecessor's Cuba policies, President Trump reminded the world that prosperity grows in the sunshine of freedom, and dwindles in the darkness where democracy dies.

Sen. Chris Murphy, Connecticut Democrat, speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington in this Sept. 4, 2013, file photo. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Calm now, more hysteria later

Keeping calm to carry on is not always regarded as a virtue in Washington, where there's always a television camera nearby or a reporter with a pad and a pencil at the ready. Making partisan noise is the name of the game with an infinite number of players. Never let a crisis go to waste, and all that.

FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2012, file photo, a Sacramento police officer makes a traffic stop in Sacramento, Calif. State lawmakers are considering a proposal that would outlaw suspending a driver's license as a penalty for not paying traffic fines. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Some of our cruisers are missing

No good deed goes unpunished, as the folk saying goes, and the Los Angeles Police Department has solved the mystery of what happened to three of their police cruisers. Three teenage cadets, 15, 16 and 17 years old, saw an opportunity for a joy ride, and took it.