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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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Closing the income gap

Glaring, and growing, inequality of wealth and income is one of the most troubling issues facing the United States and other democratic, capitalist societies. So far, this threat to social stability and political legitimacy has proved as intractable as it is worrisome. The lawmaker and the party that devise an effective solution could deserve a grand electoral prize.

Obama puts war on hold

President Barack Obama’s neglect of the anti-terrorism march in Paris seemed reflective of a broader loss of momentum by his administration in combating Islamic jihadism. Five months after the president launched military operations against the Islamic State, fighting in Iraq and Syria appears stalemated. The training of Iraqi army units for a hoped-for counteroffensive is proceeding slowly and, according to a report by The Washington Post’s Loveday Morris, looks under-resourced. Weapons and ammunition are in such short supply that trainees are yelling “bang, bang” in place of shooting.

Mitt’s third run would be no charm

WASHINGTON — After his third loss, in 1908, as the Democratic presidential nominee, William Jennings Bryan enjoyed telling the story of the drunk who three times tried to enter a private club. After being tossed out into the street a third time, the drunk said: “They can’t fool me. Those fellows don’t want me in there!”