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Thanks, or something

WASHINGTON — Before the tryptophan in the turkey induces somnolence, give thanks for living in such an entertaining country. This year, for example, we learned that California’s Legislature includes 93 individuals who seem never to have had sex. They enacted the “affirmative consent” law directing college administrators to tell students sexual consent cannot be silence but must be “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement” and “ongoing throughout a sexual activity.” Claremont McKenna College requires “all” — not “both,” which would discriminate against groups — participants in a sexual engagement to understand withdrawal of consent can be any behavior conveying “that an individual is hesitant, confused, uncertain.”

New face, fresh ideas in Pentagon

If the resignation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel augurs a move by President Barack Obama to shake up his national security team and reconsider his strategy in crisis areas such as Syria and Ukraine, then it will be welcomed. So far, there’s not much sign of it. Hagel has been a weak leader at the Pentagon who, at least in public, has been less of a force in policy discussions than some of the generals who report to him. But his thinly disguised dismissal came after reports he had raised sensible questions about Obama’s overly constrained approach to fighting the Islamic State.

‘Emperor’ Obama’s immigration frustration

Republican fury over President Barack Obama’s drastic executive action on immigration distracts from the most obvious solution: the sensible compromise senators from both parties passed more than 500 days ago, only to have it bottled up by Speaker John Boehner in the House.

Net neutrality and the Internet balancing act

Everyone from giant Internet service providers to lone “Twilight” fan-fiction writers seems to love “net neutrality.” But few who genuflect toward the phrase can make real sense of the bureaucratic battle raging in and around the Federal Communications Commission and its frequently maligned chairman, Thomas Wheeler.

Judge’s decision does not protect the public

We have judges and the justice system to protect the public. We need protection both from people who steal property valued at $495,000, as well as from judges who cannot fulfill their responsibilities to protect the public from such theft. If judges cannot properly serve the public, then they are part of our problem by encouraging such criminal behavior.

Portman-Shaheen legislation could be a jump-start in the Senate

When a carefully built, bipartisan energy bill failed in the Senate in May, it was one of the worst instances of unwarranted Washington gridlock. By the same token, precisely because it is so sensible and enjoyed such bipartisan support, it offers one of the most obvious ways for Congress’ new leaders to break Washington’s holding pattern on policy and to help the country.

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We could be entering politics’ dark age

So-called dark-money groups spent 27 percent more on this year’s elections than they did in 2010, thanks to reckless Supreme Court decisions and regulatory failures allowing unlimited, undisclosed political contributions. The groups hide donors behind the tax code, disguising themselves as “social welfare” organizations. In fact, they are an increasingly powerful and poisonous political force.

Speeding up a trade deal

Now that Republicans have gained control of Congress, no policy area is riper for bipartisan action than trade. President Barack Obama’s trade representative, Michael Froman, is deeply engaged in trade-expansion talks with 11 Asia-Pacific nations, including Japan. A bipartisan legislative framework for speeding passage of a finished agreement has already been written.

Rethinking Hillary 2016

WASHINGTON — Now that two of the last three Democratic presidencies have been emphatically judged to have been failures, the world’s oldest political party — the primary architect of this nation’s administrative state — has some thinking to do. The accumulating evidence that the Democratic Party is an exhausted volcano includes its fixation with stale ideas, such as the supreme importance of a 23rd increase in the minimum wage. Can this party be so blinkered by the modest success of its third recent presidency, Bill Clinton’s, that it will sleepwalk into the next election behind Hillary Clinton?

Why Obama won’t end up vetoing lots of new bills

A strange amnesia has settled over much of the political world. I can’t count the number of articles I’ve read saying that the new Republican Congress is going to pass all sorts of legislation President Barack Obama will veto. The latest example: George Will’s syndicated column urging the Republicans to pass several bills even if it results in “a blizzard of presidential vetoes.”

Lena Dunham’s bare, naked truth

WASHINGTON — Lena Dunham, creator of the sensational HBO series “Girls” — and now the object of overwrought child abuse accusations by boys on the right — seems the perfect antidote to election fatigue.