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FILE - In this Wednesday, May 13, 2015, file photo, Google's self-driving Lexus car drives along street during a demonstration at Google campus on  in Mountain View, Calif. As Google cars encounter more and more of the obstacles and conditions that befuddle human drivers, the autonomous vehicles are likely to cause more accidents, such as a recent low-speed collision with a bus. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)

Taking a flyer on driverless cars

With more than 250 million vehicles clogging the American road, the joy of that open road is quickly giving way to the anguish of the gridlocked highway. The driverless car is supposed to unsnarl the backups and prevent thousands of traffic deaths caused by human error.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. **File (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

The 1 percent economy

Is this really the best that the great American economic engine can do? Is this really morning in America, as Hillary touted in her speech last month to the Democratic National Convention (stealing that famous line from Ronald Reagan’s 1984 campaign)?

Huma Abedin, an aide to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, talks on the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Tuesday, July 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Fast and loose with secrets

Examples of the carelessness — perhaps criminal carelessness — of Hillary Clinton as secretary of State continue to leak from the thousands of emails just now coming to light. Some of the examples of carelessness are more, well, careless than others.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. **File  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Hillary the conspiracy theorist

Politicians will say anything, but when Hillary Clinton took to the microphone last week in Reno to warn against a candidate who believes in paranoid conspiracy theories about the presidency, no one could figure out whether she was talking about Donald Trump or herself.

Former New Mexico governor, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson arrives to a cheering crowd of several hundred during a campaign rally Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Protest without a point

The successful presidential candidate has to assemble a coalition with others with overlapping but rarely identical desires and interests, which means his most ardent partisans naturally see him as imperfect and inconsistent. Voters, alas, rarely get to choose between a candidate they admire unreservedly and a candidate they don’t like at all.

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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.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. speaks to a crowd of supporters at Modesto Centre Plaza in Modesto, Calif., on Thursday, June, 2, 2016. (Andy Alfaro/The Modesto Bee via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

The Democratic dilemma

Hillary Clinton, suddenly on the run for her life in California, suffers a problem that won't go away even if Bernie Sanders finally concedes and goes home to New England. To beat Donald Trump in November she must unite the quarreling factions of a party that makes the Republican coalition look like a resigned if not entirely happy family.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a side event entitled: "Mayor’s Focus Session: Cities’ Response to Migration" at the the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Tuesday, May 24, 2016. World leaders and representatives of humanitarian organisations from across the globe gathered in Istanbul on May 23-24, 2016 for the first World Humanitarian Summit, focused on how to reform a system many judge broken. (Isa Terli/Pool Photo via AP)

Human rights and wrongs

The United Nations convened the first World Humanitarian Summit last month in Turkey, drawing 55 heads of state and 9,000 participants from 173 nations, and the delegates sounded a righteous alarm over a world aflame. There was much yah-yah and considerable argle-bargle. Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general of the U.N., set the uplifting tone.

President Barack Obama gestures while speaking at Concord Community High School in Elkhart, Ind. Wednesday, June 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The president's perfumed language

Almost anything this White House says is what Tom Sawyer called "a stretcher," unless it's a fib, or sometimes a lie. Perhaps it's not willful. Barack Obama seems to think that if he says something, it must be true.

ADVANCE FOR THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2016, AND THEREAFTER - In this May 17, 2016, photo, a plane takes off from San Francisco International Airport from behind fencing at the Millbrae Gate, in San Francisco. An Associated Press investigation has documented perimeter breaches at many of the busiest airports in the U.S. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Insecurity by the Bay

The wheels of justice turn slowly in some places, and in San Francisco, fortunately, they're grinding in reverse if only for the moment. Baghdad by the Bay, as a favorite columnist once called the city celebrated for gaiety and frivolity, is proud to be "a sanctuary city" to harbor selected criminal suspects. Now even in "Baghdad" some of the citizens are finally fed up with politicians who defy federal immigration law to enable the lawless and the hunted to hide.

A June 20, 2015 photo provided by the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden shows Harambe, a western lowland gorilla, who was fatally shot Saturday, May 28, 2016, to protect a 4-year-old boy who had entered its exhibit. (Jeff McCurry/Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden via The Cincinatti Enquirer via AP)

Satire by the nuts

Satire overtakes reality, and sometimes does it with ease. Some people forget the species they belong to. When zookeepers in Cincinnati reluctantly shot a 425-pound gorilla to save a 4-year-old boy, some animal-rights nuts arose as one to denounce the zoo, and carried placards at a candlelight vigil asserting that "gorilla lives matter."

Insecurity by the Bay

The Washington Times

The wheels of justice turn slowly in some places, and in San Francisco, fortunately, they're grinding in reverse if only for the moment. Baghdad by the Bay, as a favorite columnist once called the city celebrated for gaiety and frivolity, is proud to be "a sanctuary city" to harbor selected criminal suspects. Now even in "Baghdad" some of the citizens are finally fed up with politicians who defy federal immigration law to enable the lawless and the hunted to hide.

Journalist Katie Couric poses for a portrait to promote the film, "Under the Gun", at the Toyota Mirai Music Lodge during the Sundance Film Festival on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP)

A Bronx cheer for Katie

Katie Couric is, as she says, a renowned television reporter and anchorperson. She has worked for CBS, NBC and ABC, and now she's something called a "global news anchor" at Yahoo. She has been a host of NBC's "Today Show," presided over the CBS Evening News and, no surprise, she made it to the Television Hall of Fame.

Culture warriors can save U.S.

As President Obama's corrosive legacy continues to bulldoze the best interests of the American people, we are painfully reminded of just how insidious overwhelming government can be. It is not so different from the tyrannical government that inspired the American Revolution.

FILE - In this May 24, 2016, file photo, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. Forty-one Secret Service employees have been disciplined for reviewing private agency records, including a failed job application of Chaffetz who was leading a congressional probe of the agency. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

The price of liberty

Privacy and the security of letters and papers were once regarded as the inviolate rights of free men, even sometimes guarded to foolish lengths. On the eve of Pearl Harbor in 1941, Cordell Hull, the secretary of State, rebuked the interception of communications between Japan and its embassy on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington. "Gentlemen," he said, "don't read the mail of other gentlemen."

Richard Nixon           Portrait by Norman Rockwell/Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery

'Peace is the right memorial'

Memorial Day in America has traditionally been a time when we pay our respects to those who gave their lives, over a century ago, in a tragic civil war. In a broader sense, it has come to stand not only for the sacrifice of those who served in the War Between the States, but for all of those who have given their lives in arms since the birth of our nation.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe speaks with reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington after a meeting with the Virginia congressional delegation on May 24, 2016. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Terry McAuliffe's failing memory

There must be something in the water. Governors and other high officials in Virginia once enjoyed a sterling reputation among honorable public servants. Governors in Illinois established a colorful tradition of moving directly from the governor's mansion to a cell in a federal prison.

FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2016 file photo, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. The IRS says the agency's commissioner won't appear at a House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, May 24, 2106,  examining whether he deserves to be impeached. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Overdue impeachment at the IRS

Honesty and loyalty are both virtues, but politics can put them at odds. The Internal Revenue Service commissioner has sacrificed honesty for loyalty, and congressional Republicans say he lied to hide the facts behind the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups, all to help Democrats re-elect President Obama in 2012.

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 17, 2016, following a House Republican caucus meeting. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Puerto Rico debacle

House Speaker Paul Ryan, who needed a lift after losing his arm-wrestle with Donald Trump, is being celebrated for striking a deal with President Obama and the Democrats for a plan to rescue Puerto Rico. The House will vote soon. The Hill, a newspaper on Capitol Hill, touts the deal as Mr. Ryan's first major bipartisan "big win." But is it?

President Barack Obama pauses during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Shima, Japan, Wednesday, May 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Trouble with words

Men and women (and mostly men) have always had trouble with what to call each other. Juliet in her frustration at the prospect of separation from Romeo asked the question, what's in a name? "That which we call a rose," she observed, "by any other word would smell as sweet."