Senate confirmation hearings put nominees on notice that, as a Michigan state legislator reportedly once said, "I'm watching everything you do with a fine-toothed comb." Loretta Lynch, a talented lawyer and seasoned U.S. attorney, should be confirmed as attorney general. Her hearing, however, should not be perfunctory.
We know, because they often say so, that those who think catastrophic global warming is probable and perhaps imminent are exemplary empiricists. They say those who disagree with them are "climate change deniers" disrespectful of science.
Standing at the intersection of three foreign policy crises and a perennial constitutional tension, Bob Corker, R-Tenn., incoming chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, may be the senator who matters most in 2015.
Mighty oaks from little acorns grow, so last year's most encouraging development in governance might have occurred in February in a U.S. District Court in Frankfort, Kentucky. There, a judge did something no federal judge has done since 1932. By striking down a "certificate of necessity" (CON) regulation, he struck a blow for liberty and against crony capitalism.
In 1968, a singularly traumatic year -- assassinations, urban riots, 16,899 Americans killed in Vietnam -- Vice President Hubert Humphrey, the ebullient Minnesotan, said his presidential campaign was about "the politics of joy." This was considered infelicitous.
Barack Obama has made a geopolitical irrelevancy suddenly relevant to American presidential politics. For decades, Cuba has been instructive as a museum of two stark failures: socialism and the U.S. embargo. Now, Cuba has become useful as a clarifier of different Republican flavors of foreign-policy thinking.
Scott Pruitt enjoyed owning a AAA baseball team here, but he is having as much fun as Oklahoma's attorney general, and one of the Obama administration's most tenacious tormentors. The second existential challenge to the Affordable Care Act began here.
The Battle of Palmito Ranch near Brownsville, Texas, on May 13, 1865, is called the last battle of the Civil War, but the Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) might consider that judgment premature, given its conflict with the state's Department of Transportation and Department of Motor Vehicles. This skirmish is of national interest because it implicates a burgeoning new entitlement -- the right to pass through life without encountering any disagreeable thought.
"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."
-- Mr. Micawber in "David Copperfield"
WASHINGTON -- By history's frequently brutal dialectic, the good that we call progress often comes spasmodically, in lurches propelled by tragedies caused by callousness, folly or ignorance. With the grand jury's as yet inexplicable and probably inexcusable refusal to find criminal culpability in Eric Garner's death on a Staten Island sidewalk, the nation might have experienced sufficient affronts to its sense of decency. It might at long last be ready to stare into the abyss of its criminal justice system.
Intellectually undemanding progressives, excited by the likes of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. -- advocate of the downtrodden and the Export-Import Bank -- have at last noticed something obvious: Big government, which has become gargantuan in response to progressives' promptings, serves the strong. It is responsive to factions sufficiently sophisticated and moneyed to understand and manipulate its complexity.
WASHINGTON -- In 2010, Plymouth, Conn., was awarded $430,000 for widening sidewalks and related matters near two schools. This money was a portion of the $612 million Congress authorized for five years of the federal Safe Routes to School program intended to fight childhood obesity by encouraging children to burn calories by walking or biking to school. Really.
America's Newtonian Constitution might again function according to Madisonian expectations if a provoked Congress regains its spine and self-respect, thereby returning our constitutional architecture to equipoise. But this is more to be hoped for than expected. Even without this, however, the institutional vandalism of Barack Obama's executive unilateralism still might be a net national benefit. It will be if the Republicans' 2016 presidential nominee responds to Obama's serial provocations by promising a return to democratic etiquette grounded in presidential self-restraint.
Before the tryptophan in the turkey induces somnolence, give thanks for living in such an entertaining country.
Seen through the prism of subsequent national experience, Nelson Rockefeller resembles a swollen post-war automobile -- a land yacht with tail fins, a period piece, bemusing and embarrassing. He remains, however, instructive.