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The brain-scanning MRI machine that was used at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, for an experiment on tracking brain data is seen on campus Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014.  (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Taxing health and progress

Dreaming up innovative products that make living easier and even save lives requires creating something unimagined out of vision and thin air. That’s why President Obama’s tax on medical devices has never made sense. It steals the seed corn that talented scientists and engineers need to fund their ideas, and it hobbles efforts to build a healthier and more productive nation. The medical device tax is a drag on progress, and even some “progressives” understand that.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, center, speaks at the funeral of the top public prosecutor Hisham Barakat, killed in a terrorist attack, as he was surrounded by Barakat's family members in Cairo, Egypt. (Egyptian Presidency via AP, File)

Adrift in the Middle East

President Obama has a problem with his eyes. He doesn’t easily discern the difference between friend and foe in the Middle East. He has redeemed his campaign promise “to put some light” between the United States and Israel, though he confuses “light” with destructive space. Worse, the administration has alternately ignored reality, supported the wrong side, imposed a military assistance embargo, only to lift it, all to damage the Egyptian relationship with the United States.

America has trashed many of the rights inherited from the British

This being the season for celebrating the Declaration of Independence, we might reflect on what made the American Revolution unique in history. The men who confronted the British at Concord Bridge and fired “the shot heard round the world” did so to defend the rights their forbears won in Britain over the course of several hundred years.

John Adams, the first to hold the job, dismissed the vice presidency as "the most insignificant office" ever invented. Mather Brown's oil painting of Adams was finished in 1788, while the future vice president was serving as a diplomat.

An anniversary to remember

Had a Declaration of Independency been made seven months ago, it would have been attended with many great and glorious effects. We might before this hour, have formed alliances with foreign states. We should have mastered Quebec and been in possession of Canada.

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Boys dressed as shepherds take part in the Children's Holy Thursday Procession, in Tunja, Colombia, Thursday, April 2, 2015. In this annual procession, now in its 55th year, children depict the key moments of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

The Passion

Straightaway in the morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered Him to Pilate.

FILE  In this March 31, 2015 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. President Barack Obama on Wednesday authorized a new U.S. government approach to deterring cyberattacks: financial sanctions against malicious overseas hackers and companies that knowingly benefit from the fruits of cyber espionage.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Going green with the globalists

The jolly green giant has a fan in the White House. President Obama has signed us up to salute the United Nations' climate change agenda. By pledging allegiance to the Global Climate Treaty, the president won't actually accomplish much in weather control beyond enriching the likes of Al Gore and his friends in the renewable energy industry. Playing God is just another day in the Oval Office for the spender in chief, but it requires the American taxpayer to worship with dollars at the altar of environmental extremism.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks Jan. 2, 2015, after taking the oath of office at the District of Columbia Mayoral Inauguration ceremony at the Convention Center in Washington. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Mayor Bowser's all-inclusive budget

Knockoffs of the State of the Union addresses are all the rage now — we're waiting for someone to make a State of the Precinct Address. Mayor Muriel Bowser delivered her first State of the District Address this week, and, following script, there was a recitation of the accolades bestowed on the nation's capital. We're cool with foodies, the tech community, the entrepreneurs and the city is in the top five cities in new construction.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks question during a news conference, Tuesday, March 31, 2015, in Indianapolis. Pence said that he wants legislation on his desk by the end of the week to clarify that the state's new religious-freedom law does not allow discrimination against gays and lesbians. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Bad faith in Indiana

The row over Indiana's religious liberty law breaks new ground in the war between religious liberty and the liberal political agenda. If there's no conflict, you have to make one up. This contretemps blew up out of nowhere, and inquiring minds want to know how and why it happened.

The U.S. Capitol building is seen through the columns on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, May 5, 2014. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

A challenge to Congress

When Richard Nixon signed the legislation establishing the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970, he was praised for his vision and commitment to conservation "going forward," though that cliche had yet to be coined. A few critics -- "outliers," in another cliche waiting to be born -- warned that the EPA could grow into a nightmare of a bureaucracy, but no one paid attention. Jeremiahs are rarely popular at the picnic.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday, March 29, 2015. Netanyahu said he has "deep concern" over a pending nuclear deal the West appears close to signing with Israel's arch-enemy Iran. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty, Pool)

Virginia’s lawyers scratch Israel

This is the season for despising Israel and the Jews. The terrorists of Hamas dispatch agents of evil into the country bent on mayhem and sabotage. Palestinians fire rockets at Israeli children from launchers stationed at schools, hospitals and other places where they can find protection among the children, the lame, the halt and the helpless. President Obama contributes tone and tint to the campaign, determined to reward Iran with a sweetheart deal to protect its nuclear-weapons program, which it has promised to use to wipe Israel and the Jews "off the face of the earth." Mr. Obama, bent on revenge for censure and criticism, merely wants to wipe the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, off the face of Israel.

President Barack Obama speaks at the dedication of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston, Monday, March 30, 2015. The $79 million Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate dedication is a politically star-studded event attended by President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and past and present senators of both parties. It sits next to the presidential library of Kennedy’s brother, John F. Kennedy. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The nuclear mirage in Iran

Many a lost traveler in the desert has spied an oasis in the sand and sun only to discover that it was only a mirage. In similar desperation, President Obama sees a good deal with Iran on the horizon, where he would put an end to the strife in the Middle East and finally earn the Nobel Peace Prize his admirers in Sweden gave him in a similar fit of euphoria as he took his first oath of office.

FILE  In this March 25, 2015 file photo, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. waits on the floor of the House Capitol Hill in Washington for the arrival of Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani, who was to speak before  a joint meeting of Congress. Reid is announcing he will not seek re-election to another term. The 75-year-old Reid says in a statement issued by his office Friday that he wants to make sure Democrats regain control of the Senate next year and that it would be "inappropriate" for him to soak up campaign resources when he could be focusing on putting the Democrats back in power. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

The end of a Senate era

Harry Reid still has one good eye, and it's enough to read the handwriting on the wall. Announcing that he won't run for a sixth term, he said Friday that he wants to "go out at the top of my game." That's a face-saving way of saying he doesn't want to go out feet first.

Some of the parents of the kidnapped school girls sit outside a compound during a meeting in Chibok, Nigeria. At least 11 parents of the more than 200 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls will never see their daughters again. Since the mass abduction of the schoolgirls by Islamic extremists three months ago, at least 11 of their parents have died and their hometown, Chibok, is under siege from the militants, residents report. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba, File)

The missing girls of Nigeria

Almost a year has gone by since Boko Haram, a radical and violent subsect of Islam, kidnapped 276 Nigerian schoolgirls from the Nigerian village of Chibok. Hopes of a rescue were raised when the Nigerian army called a truce between government forces and the militant Islamist group in October, but few believed a swift or good outcome was likely. So far there hasn't been one. Good faith, alas, rarely survives in Africa.

Islamic State won't stay in Middle East

Last summer I wrote several letters urging U.S. forces to take out the Islamic State before the terrorist group strikes America. I argued that the Islamic State might have its sights set on Capitol Hill or Hollywood. Given the terrorists' twisted logic, they believe these two iconic landmarks are the symbols of American hedonism and must be destroyed.

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2015 file photo, Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate will begin consideration of Lynch's nomination to be attorney general next week. Democrats have been pressing for the Senate to act on President Barack Obama's selection of Lynch, who is the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York.  (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

The Lynch nomination

The longer the United States Senate puts off the vote on her confirmation the less likely Loretta Lynch will become the attorney general. Some Democrats, in particular Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, have played the usual race card but so far none of the groups that specialize in expressions of outrage have said much, if anything.

Corizon can serve DC jail well

Your recent article, "DC Jail medical contract sparks city council criticism" (Web, March 18), may leave readers with a faulty impression of our company and what's at stake in the pending D.C. City Council vote to approve our award.

President Barack Obama waves from Air Force One upon his arrival at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, Thursday, March 26, 2015, in Birmingham, Ala. The president will speak at Lawson State Community College, about the economy.  (AP Photo/ Hal Yeager)

A late education on the left

Liberals and conservatives don't often come together on important issues because they commute from different planets. Pundits of various stripe bemoan the lack of common values and ponder why Democrats, Republicans, conservatives and liberals seem to have lost respect not only for each other's views, but for each other.

Former President Bill Clinton hugs his daughter, Chelsea Clinton, during the closing session of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. At right is Chelsea's husband, Marc Mezvinsky. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Cash for clunkers

Successful politicians know how to avoid a conflict of interest. Unsuccessful politicians can't recognize one when they see one, or if they do, figure they can duck when sticks, stones and subpoenas fly. Then there are the Clintons. Bubba wrote the book on how to duck and weave. Hillary is learning, with difficulty. She doesn't have the good ol' boy's wink and smile.

FILE - In this June 6, 2013 file photo, a sign stands outside the National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. There was a break in the case of a man who fired shots on several occupied vehicles and the headquarters of the NSA when he returned to the scene of the first shooting, police said Wednesday. The 35-year-old Prince George's County man was arrested Tuesday night near Arundel Mills mall, where shots were fired Feb. 24. A man driving away from a gas station near the mall was injured by glass shot out from his car, police said.  (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Taming the surveillance state

The Patriot Act was fashioned with good intentions, but it has been dragooned to serve bad purposes. It was enacted during the national panic that followed the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 to protect Americans from the enemy. Now it's employed by government busybodies to treat Americans themselves as the enemy.

**FILE** The skyline of Washington, D.C. (Associated Press)

What’s not in your wallet?

There's nothing like a "best and worst" list at tax season to remind a taxpayer that the IRS isn't the only government revenuer putting on the squeeze. States and cities take a bite, too.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush walks with former campaign staff member Rufus Montgomery, right, while visiting the Georgia Capitol, Thursday, March 19, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

No more spring training

The major leaguers are packing up in Florida and Arizona, getting ready to head north for "the Show" after weeks of sharpening a batting eye or perfecting a curve ball in the sunshine of the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues. So, too, are the presidential wannabes. They've been toying with each other (and us) for weeks, saying they're "thinking about running," or talking about "exploratory committees," and now they're going to have to get real, too.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, speaks at a news conference at the statehouse in Santa Fe following the end of a New Mexico's Legislative session Saturday, March 21, 2015. Partisan bickering prevented lawmakers from funding a variety of different state projects and left many bills on the floor and in committees. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)

Good news in New Mexico

Ronald Reagan, an eloquent proponent of federalism, called the several states the laboratories of democracy. The Gipper was on to something. State governments have a unique freedom to innovate, to experiment, to move "outside the box" to search for solutions to thorny public policy problems. The institutional bureaucracies, creatures of Congress, and special interest groups that pepper Washington policymakers with their demands can't do it half as well. The states not only have rights the federal government doesn't, but they have unique talents as well.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Sarah Saldana holds up a counterfeit flask during a counterfeit ticket and merchandise news conference for NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

Immigration out of control

Statistics can be a cure for insomnia, but sometimes they can deliver the jolt of a thunderclap. Here's a thunderclap with a number on it: 165,527. That's the number of illegals in the United States who have been convicted of a crime and were turned loose by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security.