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President Donald Trump speak to reporters before leaving the White House in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Trump at two years on

Two years down and two to go. Like him or loathe him, Donald Trump is the force of nature his supporters hoped he would be and his detractors feared he would be. There’s no reason to think he will change his ways of getting things done leading up to the 2020 presidential election. If the voters could get his solid results without the nonstop drama, Donald Trump would be a shoo-in for a second term.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., center, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., second from right, and others walk down the House steps to take a group photograph of the House Democratic women members of the 116th Congress on the East Front Capitol Plaza on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 4, 2019, as the 116th Congress begins. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Dealing with expensive ignorance

Ours is the era of the Twitter celebrity. Gun control activist David Hogg, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and of course President Trump owe their celebrity to Twitter, giving most of them (the president excepted) celebrity and fame just for being famous. None would have ascended to such fame but for the social networking platform. Twitter is said to be losing money — gobs of it, in fact — but it’s a kingmaker. Or at least a prince-and princess-maker.

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In this May 21, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump, right, holds a bilateral meeting with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Trump sided with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries Tuesday in a deepening diplomatic crisis with Qatar, appearing to endorse the accusation that the oil-rich Persian Gulf nation is funding terrorist groups. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Peace in the Middle East

Donald Trump isn't the first man to point out that life in the Middle East is built largely on a mirage of fantasy and resentment. But he is the first man in a long time to do something about it. Moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is simply a long-overdue recognition of the reality that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and the Jews aren't going anywhere.

In this May 9, 2018, file photo, CIA nominee Gina Haspel testifies during a confirmation hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Gina Haspel confirmed

In the end, the resistance didn't work. Despite much hemming and hawing, the nomination of Gina Haspel to be the director of the Central Intelligence Agency passed the Senate this week. The vote was 54 to 45, with six Democrats supporting her. Two of those Democrats are members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner of Virginia and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Their support sealed the success of the nomination earlier in the week.

A bad week for Democrats

The blue wave that Democrats are counting on to win the day in November, and the Congress with it, just can't seem to break out of the swamp. This week's party primaries were counted on to produce candidates moderate enough, or at least sane enough, to restore credibility to Democratic prospects. It didn't happen quite that way.

FILE- In this Sunday, April 29, 2018 file photo released by Saudi Press Agency, SPA, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, is greeted by Saudi King Salman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Iran's rivals long have wanted to scuttle the nuclear deal with world powers, but its destruction could backfire and spark even more unrest in parts of the Middle East as Saudi Arabia threatens to launch its own nuclear weapons program in response. (Saudi Press Agency via AP)

With a little help from a friend

It's rare for the list of everyday annoyances to get shorter, not longer. But shrink the list did when the high price of oil crashed a decade or so ago, leaving Americans with a happy jingle in their pockets. Now several factors are converging to drive up the price of oil again, and motorists are feeling familiar pain in the wallet. Dread may return with every fill-up. The difference this time, though, is that the United States has new oil reserves in the Earth's fractures beneath North Dakota, and now maybe Saudi Arabia wants to be a pal.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman listens as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the opening ceremony of the new US embassy in in Jerusalem, Monday, May 14, 2018. Amid deadly clashes along the Israeli-Palestinian border, President Donald Trump's top aides and supporters on Monday celebrated the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem as a campaign promised fulfilled. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

This year, in Jerusalem

The world did not end when President Trump withdrew from the Paris climate scheme, nor did the heavens fall when he insisted that the United States deserves a fair shake in the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo bids farewell to senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chul, director of the United Front Department, which is responsible for North-South Korea affairs, right, and Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong, left, on his departure from Pyongyang, North Korea, Wednesday, May 9, 2018. Pompeo met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il earlier and secured the release of three American prisoners ahead of a planned summit between Kim and President Donald Trump. Translator in center.  (AP Photo/Matthew Lee, Pool)

The carrot and the stick

Diplomats should not be confused with donkeys, but the carrot and the stick are useful tools to encourage both diplomat and donkey to do the right thing. Though a novice, President Trump has aggressively wielded these implements to deal with rogue regimes in Iran and North Korea. The sight of three Americans freed from North Korean prison returning to American soil is evidence that change, limited but real, is at hand.

President Donald Trump addresses the crowd during a Republican campaign rally Thursday, May 10, 2018, in Elkhart, Ind. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Mr. Trump's bold diplomacy

There was no end of gnashing of teeth and furrowing of brow when President Trump declared in December that he would honor a campaign promise, routinely made and routinely broken by several of his predecessors, to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the actual capital of Israel.

In this Saturday morning, May 21, 2011 file photo, Boy Scouts salute during a "camporee" in Sea Girt, N.J. The Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017 Boy Scouts of America announcement to admit girls throughout its ranks will transform what has been a mostly cordial relationship between the two iconic youth groups since the Girl Scouts of the USA was founded in 1912, two years after the Boy Scouts. (AP Photo/Mel Evans) FILE

When boys can't be boys

The Boy Scouts of America have been taught for more than a century to "Be Prepared." But the Scouts have never been prepared for this. Facing a long, steady decline in membership, since the men in charge opened the ranks to a variety of LGBTQ applicants, the organization is doubling down on what they did wrong. They're taking the Boy out of Boy Scouts.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo greets an unidentified North Korean general on arrival at the Pyonyang, North Korea airport on Wednesday, May 9, 2018.  (AP Photo/Matthew Lee, Pool)

A happy homecoming

Donald Trump diplomacy, which so offends delicate sensibilities in the United States and in the ministries of the West, nevertheless continues to pay rewards. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo comes home from North Korea on Thursday with three political prisoners released as a propaganda sweetener in advance of the president's talks with Kim Jong-un about suspending his nuclear weapons program.

Organizers of a conference this weekend in Washington to support the protests in Iran against its hard-line government will feature speeches by (from left) President Trump, former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Trashing a bad deal

Once more, President Trump has done what he said he would do if elected president. Barack Obama's "very bad deal" with Iran is history. Let the hand-wringing begin.

FILE - In this June 9, 2010 file photo, U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement about Iran in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House in Washington. President Donald Trump is weighing whether to pull the U.S. out of Iran's nuclear deal, a 2015 agreement that capped over a decade of hostility between Tehran and the West over its atomic program. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Obama's vanishing legacy

Composing a laundry list of achievements is a big job for any former president of the United States, but few of Barack Obama's predecessors had Donald Trump at work erasing their footprints. Thanks to the Donald's relentless counter agenda, the legacy that the Democratic star plans to earn cash and credit for in his coming memoir will be little more than a memory by the time his book reaches the printer.

FBI Director Robert Mueller listens as he testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 13, 2013, as the House Judiciary Committee held an oversight hearing on the FBI. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Feeding time at the zoo

Every zookeeper knows it's important to keep the animals fed on an orderly schedule. It's dangerous to keep the critters waiting for their grub. They want fresh meat, and want it served on time.

President Donald Trump speaks during a National Day of Prayer event in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Thursday, May 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

A Peace Prize for the Donald

The Nobel Peace Prize has always been more about rewarding a certain kind of Scandinavian liberalism than celebrating actual, identifiable achievement. So it's highly unlikely that the five Norwegians, appointed by the Norwegian parliament, who bestow the prize would give one to President Donald Trump — even were he to abolish all weapons, end all conflicts, and "stop the rise of the oceans." It's highly unlikely the president will call Air Force One from the hangar for a trip to Stockholm.

President of Finland Sauli Niinisto attends a press conference with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis in Helsinki, Finland, Monday Nov. 6, 2017. Heading into a week of meetings with Nordic countries and allies across Europe, Mattis must begin to articulate what has been a murky American policy on how the future of Syria unfolds. (Heikki Saukkomaa/Lehtikuva via AP)

Finis to a 'universal basic income'

Fans of the welfare state mostly the nave waiting for the streetcar to Utopia have dreamed for years of a "universal basic income" for everybody, paid by governments to layabouts and unemployables. The doughty Finns tried it, and to their surprise and disappointment it didn't accomplish anything beyond an expensive lesson in how human nature invariably works. Now they have discontinued their 16-month-old experiment in giving a no-strings-attached "universal basic income" to certain unemployed Finns.

Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, who authorities suspect is the so-called Golden State Killer responsible for at least a dozen murders and 50 rapes in the 1970s and 80s, is arraigned, Friday, April 27, 2018, in Sacramento County Superior Court in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

The risk of diving into the gene pool

Genetic science has dramatically expanded the methods of bringing criminals to justice, but not every measurement is meant for prying eyes, and the dive into the gene pool can turn the lights on the good, the bad, the ugly and everyone in between. But there are costs.

Filthy rich, but not very smart

Sometimes "the filthy rich" among us do great and good things with their money. More than a few American towns and cities have libraries today because Andrew Carnegie, a steel baron of an earlier age, dedicated his wealth to getting them started. Many of Henry Ford's millions were dedicated to improving education, though some of those millions wound up in dubious places. Rockefeller millions and Walton millions have done much to enrich schools, museums and art galleries.

Kim Jong-un changes his tune

When Donald Trump sits down with Kim Jong-un sometime this spring he will do so against the backdrop of Kim's surprising love-in with President Moon Jae-in last week at Panmunjom, when the two leaders hugged, held hands and all but planted kisses on each other to make up for decades of mutual hostility on the Korean peninsula.

President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron walk from the Oval Office to a tree planting ceremony on the South Lawn at the White House in Washington, Monday, April 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

To a real nuclear deal

Human events sometimes seem to spill across the globe without rhyme or reason, but occasionally events converge in harmonic fashion, revealing a stunning opportunity.