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Getting Africa’s health systems to be self-reliant

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania — After a storied history of revolutionary defiance toward America — in which Tanzania played host to Angela Davis, Huey Newton and Malcolm X — this country can hardly get enough of the U.S. of A. Rumors still float among cabbies and tour guides that George W. Bush bought land here during his 2008 visit and plans on returning. When President Barack Obama came in 2013, a main road, running scenically along the Indian Ocean, was renamed in his honor: Barack Obama Drive.

Twitter as America’s conscience

WASHINGTON — Denizens of social media were rankled during Sunday night’s Academy Awards telecast when actor Sean Penn made a crack about Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and green cards.

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.

Reversing course in Illinois

CHICAGO — The most portentous election of 2014, which gave the worst-governed state its first Republican governor in 12 years, has initiated this century’s most intriguing political experiment. Illinois has favored Democratic presidential candidates by an average of 16 points in the last six elections. But by electing businessman Bruce Rauner, it initiated a process that might dismantle a form of governance that afflicts many states and municipalities.

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.

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The riddle of war

WASHINGTON — There’s a very 2001 feel to President Barack Obama’s request for authorization to use military force and the nauseating sense that we’ll be at war indefinitely.

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.

War authorization’s difficult debate

WASHINGTON — Americans, a litigious people, believe that rules for coping with messy reality can be written in tidy legal language. This belief will be tested by the debate that will resume when Congress returns from a recess it should not have taken, with a war to authorize. The debate concerns an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against the Islamic State and also against …