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President Donald Trump pauses during a news conference with the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday Sept. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Thrown off the gravy train

The Environmental Protection Agency's gravy train just ain't what she used to be. Green groups are awestruck, agog and maybe even aghast at the news that the Trump administration has put a political operative to work vetting applications for EPA grants worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Washington State University College Republicans President Amir Rezamand, right, and his predecessor, James Allsup, second from right, who resigned after attending the Confederate monuments protest in Charlottesville, Va., talk with unidentified students during a small rally for Free Speech organized by the Washington State University chapter of Young Americans For Liberty on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017 in Pullman, Wash. (Geoff Crimmins/The Moscow-Pullman Daily News via AP)

Regulating free speech

"Everybody talkin' 'bout heaven ain't goin' there," as the ancient spiritual of the black church in America warns, and that goes double about free speech. "Free speech" sounds good to just about everybody, but actual free speech is a brew too strong for everybody. Many meddlesome do-gooders applaud government-regulated speech and call it free speech. Everybody's free to say what the government says is OK to say. What's not free about that?

Vautrot's Cajun Cuisine shows the severe damage caused inside and out following heavy flooding, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017 in Bevil Oaks, Texas. (Kim Brent/The Beaumont Enterprise via AP)

Fixing flood insurance in Harvey's wake

Hurricane Harvey took the most devastating flooding in the city's history to Houston, and the cost of repairing the damage will be astronomical. Sadly, the federal flood insurance program is already underwater and Harvey will only add to the flood of red ink. It's clear that Congress must reform the program so the premiums property owners pay more closely reflect the flood risk. Until that happens, nature's frequent fury will continue to undermine the finances of everyone.

FILE- In this Tuesday, April 5, 2016 file photo, an employee sorts Legos in the the new LEGO flagship store unveiled as part of the new Les Halles shopping mall during the press visit in Paris. Danish toy maker Lego said Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, it will cut 1,400 jobs, or about eight percent of its global workforce, after reporting a decline in sales and profits in the first half of 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

The maximum price of the minimum wage

It's easy to be generous with someone else's money. Politicians get away with it because the average American does not understand fundamental economics. Raising the minimum wage by law is popular because many people think no one has to pay the costs. When someone posts a reminder of how the world works, the ignorant scream.

People hold up a banner during an event to protest President Donald Trump's decision to revoke the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, in Las Vegas. President Donald Trump on Tuesday began dismantling the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, the government program protecting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Waking up from an impossible dream

Complicated problems defy simple solutions, especially when the problems are deliberately created. The dilemma over what to do with children brought into the United States by their illegal-immigrant parents, the so-called "Dreamers," is Exhibit A. They stand illegally on American soil in the impassive eyes of the law, but they're already American in their hearts. President Trump's decision to enact an "orderly wind-down" of executive amnesty for these Americans-of-the-heart sets the stage for a fair-minded solution to a long-standing immigration quandary.

Sen. Claire McCaskill

Fear stalks Democratic incumbents

A Texas politician once sneered that "the middle of the road is for yellow lines and dead armadillos." But it's also a haven, if only a temporary one, for politicians suddenly afraid of the life they've cultivated at the edge.

When a shoe doesn't fit, wear it anyway

Summer's nearly over, the first hurricane of the season has arrived with catastrophic force, and men will have to put away their white slacks and black-and-white spectators when they take them off Monday night. So it's time to think about shoes.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt (Associated Press)

Tales from the red-tape factory

The Environmental Protection Agency regards itself as the dispenser of the good and the just, protector of the snail darter and keeper of the land and everything on it. Anyone who questions this article of the faith can expect trouble.

Dancing on the debt ceiling

Washington knows how to turn melodrama into farce. That's the lowdown on the debt ceiling debate about to be served up on Capitol Hill. It would be a laugh if it were not so serious. The oft-repeated argument that the nation must keep overspending in order to stay on course leaves the sane shaking their heads. But without a correction of direction, the unpayable bill will come due and there will be no last laugh.

It's 4th and long for Colin

Dr. Johnson observed that "patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels." Perhaps, but scoundrels have moved on. Crying "racism" when there is no racism is the work of modern scoundrels, and most of them are on the left.

White nationalist demonstrators use shields as they clash with counter demonstrators at the entrance to Lee Park in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 12. (Associated Press)

The Charlottesville disease continues

Two weeks after the fact, the continuing hysteria over Charlottesville is more about the temperature of President Trump's denunciations (there have been several) of Nazis, Klansmen and other white supremacists than about the riot itself.

Lou Ferrigno

A super-hero to the rescue

Combative times require sturdy leaders, and the only reality we have comes from the world of entertainment. The word that Lou Ferrigno, aka the Hulk, may be joining the Trump administration via the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition,is just plain good news.

FILE - In this Sunday, April 9, 2017 file photo, two Swiss guards stand in front of St. Peter's Basilica prior to a Mass to be celebrated by Pope Francis, in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. The head of the Swiss Guards says the elite corps that protects the pope and the Vatican is ready to confront any terror attacks, following renewed threats against Rome by supporters of the Islamic State group following the Barcelona attack. Commander Christoph Graf told Swiss Catholic website cath.ch this week that "perhaps it is only a question of time before an attack like that happens in Rome. But we are ready also for this." (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino, File)

A stroll into danger

April in Paris. Autumn in Rome. White nights in Stockholm and Oslo. All suggest long, languorous walks through Europe's great capitals. In Europe as nearly everywhere else, the cliche is true: the best way to see a city is on foot.

In this April 20, 2017, photo, cigarettes overflow from an ashtray inside the home of suspected child webcam cybersex operator, David Timothy Deakin, from Peoria, Ill., during a raid in Mabalacat, Philippines. Children's underwear, toddler shoes, cameras, bondage cuffs, fetish ropes, meth pipes, stacks of hard drives and photo albums cluttered the stuffy, two-bedroom townhouse. In his computer files, there were videos and images of children engaged in sex acts. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

A choice, and a risk

Only a hermit in a mountain cave in the wilds of the Montana outback hasn't heard that smoking is hazardous to health, his, others and maybe even the health of the grizzlies. Since the U.S. Surgeon General warned everyone in 1964 that puffing the wicked weed is deadly as well as anti-social, no one can plead ignorance of the risk of lung cancer, other diseases, and a painful, premature death,

Hundreds gather in front of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church as they make their way to La Lomita Chapel during a prayer walk in protest construction of President Trump's proposed border wall Saturday Aug.12,2017 in Mission, Texas. (Delcia Lopez/The Monitor via AP)

Obstructing the border wall

President Trump took his determination to build the border wall this week to Arizona, ground zero for illegal immigration, and threatened to shut down the federal government if Congress doesn't include a down-payment on the wall in the budget this year.

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