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A bleak anniversary in Egypt

The Egyptian regime of Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi again demonstrated its violent and cynical nature last weekend, as the country marked the fourth anniversary of the popular revolution that overthrew former ruler Hosni Mubarak. More than 20 protesters were killed by police, including liberal human rights activist Shaimaa al-Sabbagh, who was shot in the back as she walked toward Cairo’s Tahrir Square to lay flowers. Five witnesses who tried to give testimony about her slaying were charged with staging an illegal protest.

A season of wretched excess

WASHINGTON — Beer, Benjamin Franklin supposedly said but almost certainly didn’t, is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Without cannonballing into deep theological waters, perhaps Deflategate proves the same thing.

Crafting a flight plan

Some people intend to be national security threats. Others are just drunk. In the case of Monday’s drone crash on the southeast corner of the White House grounds, the immediate problem seems to have been an inebriated pilot. But the underlying issue is the federal government poorly regulates the booming drone industry. The right response is not overreaction but rather tightening rules and procedures in some ways — and loosening them in others.

Our debt delinquency

President Barack Obama sounded a triumphant note about the federal government’s fiscal condition in his State of the Union address last week, boasting that the budget deficit has fallen by two-thirds since 2009, his first year in office. He then went on to outline new plans for tax and spending increases, framed as “middle-class economics,” with nary a word about how he would bring down the country’s national debt over the long term. Whereas he entered the White House promising that “some of the hard decisions” about entitlement reform would be “made under my watch, not someone else’s,” Obama seems inclined to declare victory in the debt battle and pull out.

Bud Selig’s winning legacy

WASHINGTON — The business of baseball and the nation’s business used to be conducted in Washington with similar skill. The Washington Senators were run by Clark Griffith, who said: “Fans like home runs, and we have assembled a pitching staff to please our fans.” Today, however, Washington’s team is a model of best practices. The government? Less so.

False hope in Syria

U.S. officials are celebrating a modest victory in the war against the Islamic State in Syria — the apparently successful defense of the Kurdish town of Kobane, on the border with Turkey. Under siege since early October, Kobane has little strategic value but came to be seen as a test of whether the United States and its allies could stop the expansion of the Islamic State and the humanitarian crimes that accompany it.

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Cut emissions the cheaper, smarter way

Whether Republican state leaders like it or not, the Environmental Protection Agency is going to require them to cut their states’ greenhouse-gas emissions. They can choose to do it the easy way or the hard way. One Virginia Republican is proposing they choose the easy way — and the smart way.

A welcome legal review of marijuana use

A federal judge has done what Congress and the Obama administration have failed to do — open a discussion on whether marijuana should continue to be listed as a Schedule 1 drug, a classification that is supposed to be used only for the most dangerous, addictive drugs, such as heroin and LSD.

The fight for the middle class

WASHINGTON — When you strip away all the layers of cockiness, preachiness and delusion in President Barack Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address, you find more cockiness, preachiness and delusion underneath.

To Obama, family leave is a family value

In rolling out the issues he hopes will define the final two years of his administration, President Barack Obama has proposed two workplace initiatives: requiring companies with 15 or more employees to provide them seven days of sick leave per year to their full-time workers, and encouraging states to establish paid family leave programs for new parents or workers tending to family members with significant health issues. As with most such proposals, the devil will be in the details, but we believe the president is on the right track.

Vermont’s Sanders has mountains to climb

WASHINGTON — The young man who answered the phone in the Senate office of Vermont’s Bernie Sanders told the caller, a would-be campaign contributor, that it is illegal for funds to be accepted on federal property. He advised the person to contact Sanders’ political operation, which might become a presidential campaign.

Free trade, and US role in Asia

We’ve faulted President Barack Obama for his less-than-full-throated support of free-trade agreements that enjoy the nominal backing of his administration. There was no such cause for complaint about his State of the Union address Tuesday night, however, in which he called on “both parties to give me trade promotion authority to protect American workers with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe.” In practical terms, that means Obama believes his negotiators are close to cementing market-opening pacts with 11 Pacific Rim nations — most importantly, Japan — and with the European Union and that passing a bill authorizing an up-or-down congressional vote on the final agreements will strengthen his hand at the bargaining table.