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Home Depot’s breach should spur us to fight cyberattacks vigilantly

Home Depot, which calls itself “the world’s largest home improvement retailer,” can add a new distinction. It is now the scene of the world’s largest known theft of consumer credit card information. A cyberattack has put at risk the data of about 56 million customers between April and September. This exceeds the approximately 40 million credit accounts breached at Target stores, the previous all-time high.

Provide Ukraine with the military aid it needs to deter Russia’s aggression

For the sake of the cameras, President Barack Obama assured Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko at a White House meeting Thursday that “not only do we support Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence in words, but we’ve also been supporting it in deeds.” If only that were true. The reality is that the beleaguered Ukrainian leader left Washington backed by considerable rhetoric from the Obama administration but little with which he can turn back the continuing Russian aggression against his country.

The economy is improving, but not everyone is sharing in the better times

Amid other good news about the U.S. economy — a declining unemployment rate, lower child poverty — the Federal Reserve has just reported that the net worth of U.S. households rose $1.4 trillion, to $81.5 trillion, during the second quarter of 2014. This means that families’ assets, such as homes and stocks, have risen roughly $23 trillion in value since the depths of the “Great Recession” in 2009. Credit the market on Wall Street and recovering real estate prices, both partly attributable to the Fed’s easy-money policies.

Immigration stutter-steps

President Barack Obama’s zigs and zags in pursuit of immigration reform are a long-unfolding narrative now assuming epic dimensions. In the latest installment, Obama has postponed the unilateral reforms he promised to have unveiled by now. He did so not for any high-minded purpose but rather to avoid dealing mortal blows to the re-election of a handful of Democratic senators who begged the president to hold off.

Finally combating Ebola

With people dying in the streets of the Liberian capital, President Barack Obama has at last ramped up the U.S. response to the worst outbreak ever of the Ebola virus in West Africa. The fresh surge of support announced Tuesday represents a welcome change of course. No one knows if the package outlined by Obama at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be sufficient, but at least the United States has started to act like the world’s indispensable nation.

Short on firepower

In launching two previous wars in Iraq, the United States assembled formidable coalitions of dozens of countries. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria and Oman were among the Arab states that deployed substantial ground forces during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Though derided by some as a “unilateral” U.S. action, the 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq was supported by troops from 39 countries, nine of which deployed more than 1,000 soldiers.

EU surprises Putin for once with new, sensible sanctions

For the first time since Russia annexed Crimea six months ago, the European Union has surprised President Vladimir Putin instead of the other way around. Despite a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine, and despite Russia’s apparent withdrawal of troops from the region, the EU decided Thursday morning to impose new sanctions on Russia, starting Friday.

Police rake in bonanzas from people who have committed no crime

The police can take your car and everything in it — including the cash you are transporting to buy a used truck, a fixer-upper house or equipment for your restaurant — even if you’re not guilty of any crime. Getting your property back can take months and cost thousands. Sometimes authorities will offer to give those who complain half their money back, which makes little sense if the cash is free from association with a serious crime — or if it isn’t.

The global complacency on Ebola must end

The Ebola epidemic now sweeping West Africa is a public health catastrophe, yet the world’s response has been to treat it like a faraway monsoon or volcano, perhaps frightening but not something that much can be done about. This complacency is wrong-headed and dangerous. The catastrophe is worsening by the day because of the actions and inactions of people, those on the ground and those far away.

What is Congress doing about cyberthreats and hackers?

The recent disclosures that hackers had made off with nude celebrity photos stored on Apple’s iCloud and credit card information collected by Home Depot were just the latest in a seemingly endless series of headline-grabbing data thefts. But the timing was propitious, given that the Senate is resuming work on a long-overdue bill to protect online data and corporate networks by letting government and the private sector share more information about cyberthreats. Sadly, this year’s version and the House’s counterpart have at least as many problems as their predecessors, putting far too much trust in the government and the private sector to do the right thing.

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Russia sees a military solution in Ukraine even if the West doesn’t

President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have been insisting for months that there is no military solution to the crisis in Ukraine. Unfortunately, Russian President Vladimir Putin did not agree with them. When Ukraine’s army appeared on the verge of recapturing the last cities held by “rebel” forces marshalled and supplied by Russia, the Kremlin chief dispatched several thousand Russian regulars and hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles across the border, according to NATO officials. By Thursday, the Russian forces were on the outskirts of the key southern city of Mariupol, threatening to open a land corridor to the occupied province of Crimea.

US still missing 3.9 million prime-age jobs

Friday’s U.S. jobs report, which showed nonfarm payrolls increasing by a meager 142,000 jobs and the unemployment rate falling 0.1 percentage point to 6.1 percent in August, will undoubtedly rekindle a familiar debate: How much more should the Federal Reserve do to put people back to work?

McDonnell’s disgrace is also Virginia’s

In the end, it didn’t take long. After months of legal wrangling and public spinning; after five weeks of courtroom testimony; after two hours of a judge’s instructions in the legal niceties of the case, the jury in Robert and Maureen McDonnell’s trial knew public corruption when it saw it. Scarcely 48 hours after they got the case, the jurors rendered their verdict with no minced words: The McDonnells are guilty.

Common Core makes states answer for dumbed-down education

There is nothing sacred about Common Core, the educational standards that are attracting renewed criticism as the school year begins. The standards, which are intended to ensure that students graduate from high school prepared to do college-level work, were not handed down from the heavens on stone tablets. They are a major improvement over previous standards in most states, but they remain a work in progress.

Ukraine deserves support from NATO countries

As Russian soldiers and tanks advance across southeastern Ukraine, the Obama administration and the NATO alliance are making a show of defending several nations that lie far away and that are not presently under attack. President Barack Obama is due Wednesday in the Baltic republic of Estonia, and a NATO summit on Thursday and Friday is expected to approve several measures, including a new rapid-reaction force, to bolster the defenses of Estonia and other Eastern European nations that have joined NATO in the past 15 years.

NFL takes the right steps to discourage domestic violence

Video footage of Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice dragging the unconscious body of his soon-to-be wife from an elevator in Atlantic City was shocking and upsetting. Equally disturbing was the National Football League’s weak response to this clear-cut case of domestic violence. So it was unexpected — and refreshing — to see NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell revisit the issue with an acknowledgment he had erred with the lenient punishment and the announcement of tougher penalties for domestic violence offenses.