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Editorial

Hillary Clinton’s use of private email reflects poor judgment

Hillary Rodham Clinton has served as first lady, a senator from New York and secretary of state. She is no newcomer to the corridors of power. Her decision to exclusively use a private email account while secretary suggests she made a deliberate decision to shield her messages from scrutiny. It was a mistake that reflects poor judgment about a public trust.

Worthy of a response

The concerns about a prospective nuclear agreement with Iran raised by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a speech to Congress on Tuesday are not — as the White House was quick to point out — new. They had, for example, been spelled out in Senate hearings. Netanyahu’s decision to repeat this case before a joint meeting of Congress in defiance of the White House and leading Democrats risked turning what should be a substantive debate into a partisan scrimmage.

US needs to rework its byzantine food safety system

The job of keeping our food wholesome has become more difficult as food itself has become more complicated. Because processed foods include ingredients from many sources, it is hard to trace the origin of pathogens. A package of ground beef, for instance, is no longer put together by a butcher pushing a single hunk of meat through a grinder; these days it includes trimmings from many cattle and multiple slaughterhouses. That means even a small quantity of meat contaminated with E. coli has the potential to taint tremendous amounts of hamburger meat sent out across the country.

Wasted energy on pipeline

Climate change warriors of all stripes were focused on the White House on Tuesday, where President Barack Obama vetoed a bill that would have authorized construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Like all the other attention slathered on this overblown issue, the focus was misplaced. It would have been better placed on the Capitol, where Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., without much fanfare, reintroduced a bill that would address the nation’s greenhouse-gas emissions in a serious way.

Illogical governing

Whatever its merits or shortcomings, a federal judge’s decision last week blocking the Obama administration’s immigration policy offered congressional Republicans an escape path from the corner into which they had painted themselves by imperiling funding for the Department of Homeland Security and its 240,000 employees. Thus far they have not shown the wisdom to accept this gift.

Backup plans for the Earth

What happens if humans fail to cut carbon dioxide emissions enough to prevent worsening climate change? A new report from the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences contemplates some very unattractive — but potentially necessary — backup plans.

Thailand’s rule by force

Nine months after staging a coup against a democratically elected government, Thailand’s military has little to show for it. The economy is stagnant, one of the worst performing in Asia. The national “reconciliation” the generals promised is nowhere to be seen: There are hundreds of political prisoners, and a criminal prosecution of ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is underway. Martial law remains in effect, making it illegal to hold any gathering without permission and crippling free expression.

A poor exchange

Five years ago, President Barack Obama declared the United States should double exports by 2015. At that time, the Federal Reserve was expanding its balance sheet and holding interest rates near 0 percent, the combined effect of which was to weaken the dollar. Americans understood that there was no overt coordination between Obama and the Fed. A foreign observer, however, could easily have concluded that Washington was manipulating its currency to meet a specific economic goal at the expense of other countries. Indeed, many alleged just that.

Immigration policy in limbo

To think, as we do, that President Barack Obama overstepped his authority by shielding more than 4 million illegal immigrants from deportation, with no assent from Congress, does not mean that a federal judge should have license to invalidate the president’s order on the basis of tendentious logic.

China’s fear of the Web

The digital revolution is still unfolding, disrupting, intruding — and being suffocated. Around the globe, societies are being transformed by the fastest and most comprehensive means of sharing information mankind has ever known. For many people, including in the United States, it seems a never-ending race to the top, an astounding surge of innovation and progress. But there are downsides, too.

Internet law and order

In the war over net neutrality, it’s clear where the country should end up. Americans should pay for the bandwidth they consume, and they should consume any legal content they want, without interference from the network operators that transport the packets of information into their homes. That’s not just the way to maintain the free flow of information and services on which the Internet thrives; it’s also the way to encourage service providers to improve their networks rather than just manage traffic on their existing wires.

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Little League’s scapegoats

As they were stripping the Jackie Robinson West team of its national championship, Little League International officials wanted everyone to know certain things, primarily about themselves. That they had no choice; that they cared deeply about the integrity of the program; that they feel “horribly.”

Finally, a health care alternative that’s worth discussing

A viable Republican substitute for the health care act used to be the yeti of Capitol Hill: often talked about, never seen. But it has suddenly become real. Last week, three leading Republican members of Congress offered a realistic plan for reform, one that accepts the need to provide all Americans access to health insurance.

The FCC needs to do as much as it can to whittle down Title II

Since the Federal Communications Commission set out to preserve the free and open nature of the Internet more than a decade ago, there’s never been a question about the importance of that goal. Instead, the often bitter debate has been over how to achieve it. The latest proposal from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler — to impose the strictest rules yet on Internet service providers, including mobile networks — will almost certainly draw challenges in the courts and from Republicans in Congress. But Wheeler and his allies make a persuasive case that the more permissive approach favored by Comcast, AT&T and other ISPs won’t protect consumers and competition in the long run.

How patient should Fed be in raising interest rates? Very

With a pretty solid recovery now under way and the unemployment rate way down from its recession-era peak, the Federal Reserve is wondering when to start raising interest rates. It has said it will be “patient” — which investors have taken to mean “not before the middle of this year.” That might not be patient enough.

A TPP reality check

As the Obama administration and a Republican-majority Congress work toward eventual approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim nations, opponents of the proposed pact are issuing increasingly shrill warnings. The latest is that the deal will endanger not only U.S. jobs but also U.S. health care — and health care around the world. According to the critics, U.S. efforts to protect the pharmaceutical industry’s intellectual-property rights and commercial interests could result in higher drug prices and lower access — not only along the Pacific Rim but also in the United States. The TPP means “worse health and unnecessary deaths,” Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics, warns.