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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., arrives at the Capitol at the start of the third day of the government shutdown, in Washington, Monday, Jan. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

An impasse resolved, for now

That was no way to run a railroad, nor the government of “the greatest country on earth,” either. The leaders of both Republicans and Democrats were getting a harsh and angry earful from the country, with the noise getting louder every hour. Push had come to shove, and both won.

FILE - In this Jan. 16,2018 file photo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy speaks before signing the first executive order of his administration in Trenton, N.J.  Funding for women's health and pay equity legislation will be the first bills Murphy pushes for, he said soon after taking over for Republican Chris Christie.  (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

Life in a petri dish

Democrats are highly selective in their condemnation of the “1 percenters.” They’re all for 1 percenters like New Jersey’s new governor, Phil Murphy. He vows to steer the state sharply to the left.

President Donald Trump gives the thumbs-up as he arrives on Marine One at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, as he returns from Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The healthy president

Waiting for someone to die, whether to claim an expected inheritance, outlast a rival for the affections of a wife or mistress, or to vacate the White House, requires stamina and patience. From the day Donald Trump shocked the world and appalled the elites, the Democrats and their media allies have been searching for a deux ex machina, a miracle to get him out of the way of decent folk.

FILE - In this Friday, Oct. 20, 2017, file photo, people stand in line near an Apple Store at an outdoor shopping mall in Beijing, China. On Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, Apple announced it is planning to build another corporate campus and hire 20,000 workers during the next five years as part of a $350 billion commitment to the U.S. economy. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

Apple brings it home

The announcement on Wednesday that Apple Inc. will bring $350 billion in cash parked overseas — that’s billion with a B — home to the United States, to invest here and create as many as 20,000 new jobs, is likely to be the economic story of the year.

This frame from video released by the Chelsea Manning Senate campaign on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018 shows Chelsea Manning in a campaign video. Manning on Sunday confirmed via Twitter that she is a candidate for U.S. Senate. (Chelsea Manning For US Senate via AP)

Seeking refuge in the U.S. Senate

Chelsea Manning, who used to think she was Bradley Manning, and who was once a private first class in the U.S. Army before he became a traitor, now thinks he can be a U.S. senator from Maryland. Maryland may not be quite that deep shade of blue, but it’s a brave new era in the Democratic Party, where feverish Democrats think Donald Trump is insane and Bradley Manning is a woman because he says he is.

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In this undated photo provided by General Motors Holden, cars are assembled on the production line in Adelaide, Australia.  The Australian auto manufacturing era ends after more than 90 years on Friday, Oct. 20, 2017 when General Motors Co.'s last Holden sedan rolls off the production line in the industrial city of Adelaide. The nation has already begun mourning the demise of a home-grown industry in an increasing crowded and changing global car market. (General Motors Holden via AP)

No requiem for the internal-combustion engine

Standing on principle is admirable, but sitting on a Plan B just in case is smart. Automakers are doing both to navigate the obstacles they face in building vehicles both powerful and clean. It's only wise strategy — the future of the fuel is fuzzy.

FILE - In this Nov. 8, 2017 file photo, Vice President Mike Pence speaks in Floresville, Texas. Pence will be keynoting two days of Republican Governors Association meetings beginning Wednesday, Nov. 15, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

The Mike Pence puzzle

To the titans of wisdom, morality and politics (as a bunch of little guys of press and tube think of themselves), Mike Pence is a puzzlement. They just can't get a handle on the man.

In this Aug. 29, 2016 photo, Marilyn Smolenski uses a mock gun to demonstrate how to pull a handgun out of the concealed carry clothing she designs at her home in Park Ridge, Ill. Interest in clothing that allow women to carry a firearm concealed is rising. Pioneers in the industry say they allow women to avoid looking frumpy and still carry a firearm safely and effectively. (AP Photo/Tae-Gyun Kim)

Liberating good guys with guns

The right to self-defense is fundamental to a free people. So says the Second Amendment, and Americans hearing it loud and clear are the proud owners of guns enough to arm nearly every man, woman and child. When ne'er-do-wells turn their weapons against the innocent, it's responsibly armed citizens who must provide defense in the absence of the police. That's why rules that force concealed carry permit holders to leave their firearms at home when they travel are foolish rules. Congress must finish the job of empowering the good and responsible man and woman with a gun.

A free-speech challenge, with icing

Nowhere on the left end of the political spectrum is the call for "tolerance" more deceitful than among the organized sexually confused. Tolerance, Jonathan Capehart, a gay (but not very cheerful) editorial writer for The Washington Post, tells a television interviewer, should not be a two-way street. "It's a one-way street." Tolerance for me, but not for you.

In this Oct. 28, 2013, file photo, former FBI Director Robert Mueller is seated before President Barack Obama and FBI Director James Comey arrive at an installation ceremony at FBI Headquarters in Washington. A veteran FBI counterintelligence agent was removed from special counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating Russian election meddling after the discovery of an exchange of text messages seen as potentially anti-President Donald Trump, a person familiar with the matter said Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Another wisp of thin smoke, but no fire

The world customarily slows down in December — except at the mall — to gather itself for a new year. But 2017 has not been a typical year. The world is upside down, turned inside out and spinning like a child's top. The centerpiece of the clown show is the relentless Democratic campaign to bring Donald Trump's presidency to ruin. The destruction of Michael Flynn is little more than collateral damage.

Craig Warner of Palo Alto, Calif., leaves a bell at a memorial site for Kate Steinle on Pier 14 Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, in San Francisco. In this fiercely liberal city, city leaders remained attached to San Francisco's sanctuary city status despite a not guilty verdict in a killing that sparked feverish immigration debates because the man who fired the gun was in the country illegally after being deported five times. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

The further tragedy of Kate Steinle

The San Francisco jury that would not recognize Jose Garcia Zarate as guilty of the murder of Kate Steinle not only mocked simple justice, but further identified San Francisco as a city exiled from the American mainstream, and intensified the debate on whether like-minded cities and counties can declare themselves outside the laws that govern everyone else.

In this Aug. 12, 2017 file photo, white nationalist demonstrators, right, clash with a counter demonstrator as he throws a newspaper box at the entrance to Lee Park in Charlottesville, Va. The deadly white nationalist demonstration in Virginia has brought new attention to an anti-fascist movement whose black-clad, bandana-wearing members have been a regular presence at protests around the country in the last year. Members of the antifa movement were among those protesting the Charlottesville rally last weekend. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Bad news for hooligans

The antifa movement has had a free ride in American public opinion since its hooligans first came to public notice in the riots at the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Va.

2017 AP YEAR END PHOTOS - Opposition lawmakers brawl with pro-government militias who are trying to force their way into the National Assembly during a special session coinciding with Venezuela's independence day, in Caracas, on July 5, 2017. At least five lawmakers were injured in the attack. (AP Photos/Fernando Llano)

From revolution to ruin in Venezuela

Not so long ago Venezuela, which stumbles along as if on a national breadline, was the wealthiest country in Latin America. And why not? It has the world's largest proven oil reserves and abundant fertile farmland. Its governmental institutions were once efficient and largely free of corruption. With a few good funerals, times could be good again.

Vice President Mike Pence speaks to a gathering of Republican governors in Austin, Texas, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, at the J.W. Marriott. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman via AP) ** FILE **

Discretion makes a comeback

That's Vice President Mike Pence getting the last laugh in the wake of the torrent of sexual-misconduct charges against Washington politicians, journalists and entertainment industry titans who are suddenly not so titanic.

ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY, OCT. 29, 2017, AND THEREAFTER - In this Aug. 3, 2017, photo, packages pass through a scanner at an Amazon fulfillment center in Baltimore. While jobs have been lost in brick-and-mortar stores, many more have been gained from e-commerce and warehousing. Amazon accounts for much of the additional employment. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The automation nation

Human progress is bound only by the limits of human imagination, and the boundaries are disappearing at warp speed. Information technology is lending an invisible hand to major sectors of human activity, and robots are muscling in on the rest. Whether it's all, or just mostly, to the good is a subject for ethicists, philosophers and theologians. For everyone else, the challenge is simply how to adjust.

Police officers patrol by an entrance to King's Cross underground train station in London, Friday, Jan. 7, 2011. More police officers were being deployed at transport hubs in London amid continuing fears of a terrorist attack, British media reported Thursday. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Clearing up confusion

Some of our "genders" are out of control. It was never like this when everyone had not a gender, but a "sex," for better or worse. Anyone confused about which could look at a driver's license, or a student ID, and there it was, in black and white. But this was not good enough for the arbiters of political correctness.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., center, is flanked by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., left rear, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., as the Senate Budget Committee met to work on the Republican tax bill, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A Christmas quarrel

Christmas lights usually signal a season of goodwill. But in Washington, they're more like the check-engine light on a dashboard, warning that time to fix the nation's finances is running out. Before the holidays give way to a new year, critical decisions on tax reform and budget levels must be made. The capital Christmas rush features a deathly struggle between congressional Republicans and their Democratic nemeses. Failure to reach a resolution would produce the sort of gloom that suffuses Charles Dickens' tale of Ebenezer Scrooge.

The fuel of holiday cheer

Black Friday is the holy grail of retail, but there's no day that the nation's cup doesn't runneth over with black gold. American oil and natural gas are flowing like rivers, poised to power the nation's economy to new prosperity. Having just given thanks for the nation's bounty, Americans are rushing into a high-octane season of gift-giving, with every reason to anticipate more prosperity in 2018.

People sit on an independence heroes' monument after watching a ceremony marking the 214th anniversary of the battle that led to Haiti's independence from France, in Cap Haitien, Haiti, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. During the ceremony, the Haitian president officially reintroduced the army some 22 years after the national army was disbanded. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

Going home to Haiti

How long is "temporary?" Like the answer to so many of life's questions, it depends. The man who sits down on a red-hot stove, "temporary" seating will be a very short time. "Temporary" applied to a government program can mean a very long time. The temporary buildings built on the National Mall to accommodate the federal bureaucracy during World War II, for instance, were not razed until the Nixon administration did it more than two decades later.

Pamela Bresnahan, Chair, Standing Committee On The Federal Judiciary American Bar Association, is sworn in during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on nominations on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

A standard of fool's gold

Sen. Harry Reid's legacy as a Democratic majority leader is that he eliminated the Senate tradition of requiring two-thirds of the senators to confirm judicial appointees, making it easier for President Obama to pack the courts with liberal activist judges.

In this photo taken with light reflections on a pot German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends the weekly cabinet meeting of the German government at the chancellery in Berlin, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Frau Merkel's migraine

The reckoning is at hand for Angela Merkel in Germany. None of the political parties came close to winning a majority in the September voting, and trying to put together a workable coalition has given Frau Merkel — and Europe — a headache the size of a continent.

Judiciary Committee members, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, left, talks with ranking member Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on nominations on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. (Associated Press) **FILE**

'Packing' the judiciary

When what goes around comes around, only the quick and nimble escape a painful smackdown. The Democrats in California have had remarkable success over the years packing the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals with judges who have small appreciation for the Constitution as it was written, and now that may be changing.

Turkeys, worms and Schadenfreude

Republicans and other conservatives who are tempted to indulge excessive Schadenfreude over the woes of Charlie Rose, Al Franken and their sordid fellows, taking delight in their pain and humiliation, should remember Iron Law of Politics No. 3, that nothing recedes like success. Giving too many hoots and hollers at turkeys over this holiday season is great fun, but the universal truth about worms is that they eventually turn.