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Stranded vehicles stand loaded with goods after the Jammu-Srinagar highway remained closed, at Jammu, India, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017. The Jammu-Srinagar national highway remained closed for vehicular traffic for the second day Tuesday following landslides triggered by rains, officials said. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)

Unhappy motoring ahead

After years of slow but steady decline, traffic fatalities on the nation's highways and byways are increasing again. If the death and injury toll continues to rise in the years ahead, it's likely the fault of government supervision gone awry.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, and U. S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., shake hands prior to a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. McCain met Erdogan after attiendng the Munich Security Conference 2017 in Munich, Germany. (Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Press Service, Pool via AP)

The McCain-Trump feud

John McCain and Donald Trump have never been close, and they don't share agreement now on a variety of foreign policy and defense questions. They have engaged in several testy exchanges in the past, but their mutual antipathy now goes beyond testiness. Mr. McCain, a senior senator and former presidential nominee of the Republican Party -- and with the eminence that those credentials accord -- traveled across the Atlantic the other day to deliver what one analyst calls "a calculated, planned attack on Trump's entire system of beliefs." This is without modern precedent, and it was out of bounds.

The resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has opened up a vicious fight over the integrity of the intelligence community. (Associated Press)

Finding the Flynn leak

Washington is aflame with speculation over who is responsible for the spy-versus-spy mischief that led to cashiering Michael Flynn, the president's national-security adviser. The president appointed Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his successor Monday, but the controversy over the Flynn episode will not go away.

President Donald Trump during a campaign rally Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, in Melbourne, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

The premature obituary

Sometimes blood in the water is just the residue from a bowl of strawberries. When Andrew Puzder withdrew his name from consideration as secretary of Labor last week, following the cashiering of Mike Flynn as the president's national security adviser, President Trump's critics were satisfied at last that the end was near, the Trump administration is collapsing and that there must be a miracle around the corner to deliver them from their broken dreams and gossamer wishes. The water had turned pink.

A large crowd gathers for the rally outside the Lackawanna County Courthouse in Scranton Pa., Sunday Feb. 19, 2017, to focus on protecting the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid. (Jason Farmer/The Times & Tribune via AP)

The rose by another name

The courts continue to wrestle with homosexual nuptials and the meaning of "participation." The Washington state Supreme Court last week held that a florist in Richland, Wash., had no right in the law to refuse to provide flowers to two men for their same-sex wedding because to participate in such a rite would violate her deeply held religious beliefs.

About 50 fast food workers protest the nomination of former Hardees CEO Andrew Puzder to lead the U.S. Department of Labor on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, outside the current headquarters of the fast food chain in downtown St. Louis. Fast food workers claim Puzder is unfit for the position because of his policies toward employees as Hardees boss. (Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

Trump's missing free market warriors

Andy Puzder's withdrawal for consideration as Donald Trump's secretary of Labor might have been premature but for the easy surrender of the Republicans in the Senate to a left-wing slander campaign. Mr. Puzder's replacement, R. Alexander Acosta, is a labor lawyer without any real-life experience in hiring workers, but he looks confirmable. However, this leaves the new administration with almost no sound voices for free-market ideas.

"I think it's very, very unfair what's happened to Gen. Flynn, the way he was treated, and documents and papers that were illegally, I stress that, illegally leaked," President Trump told reporters on Wednesday. (Associated Press)

The swamp strikes back

Hercules cleaned the Augean Stables by diverting the course of two rivers through the gates to carry off the grunge and dreck. Donald Trump will need more than a river to collect the dreck as he drains the swamp that is Washington.

Then-President-elect Donald Trump walks Labor Secretary-designate Andy Puzder from Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J., in this Nov. 19, 2016, file photo. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Democrats finally get a scalp

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. And then try some more. The Democrats finally got a Cabinet scalp Wednesday, when Andrew Puzder withdrew his name from consideration as secretary of Labor. Democrats had earlier unsuccessfully targeted Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for honorary termination with extreme prejudice, and missed.

Before the missiles whistle

The rogues are restless. The mischief of the bullies doesn't flag from one administration to the next. Projectiles light up the sky from remote launch pads in far-off places, and where there are missiles, there must be a reliable, extensive shield against them.

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, arrives for the President Donald Trump, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe joint new conference in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) ** FILE **

Flynn's out, but the moles are not

Michael Flynn is gone as the president's official national security adviser, and now the important back story moves to the front. What is this curious episode really all about? Nothing is ever as it seems in Washington.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer wants more specifics about the philosophy of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. (Associated Press)

Searching for departed Democrats

Democrats have been meeting over the past few days at "retreats" near Washington to figure out what happened to them last November. They're trying to plot a strategy to destroy the president they despise and to overcome a ballot-box disaster that has left them with fewer officeholders, from top to bottom and across the 50 states, than they've had in a century.

Vice President Mike Pence administers the oath of office to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, accompanied by his wife Betty, Friday, Feb. 10, 2017,  in the in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

No retreat from Obamacare repeal

He's not an obstetrician, but Dr. Tom Price better know how to deliver. The Atlanta physician and member of Congress survived a bruising confirmation battle en route to a 52-47 party-line Senate confirmation to become the new secretary of Health and Human Services. He's the point man for the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, which was President Trump's most important domestic pledge to voters. Success or failure will determine soon whether the doctor -- and his boss in the Oval Office -- are heroes or goats. The clock is ticking.

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