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A contrary view on the Pulitzers

WASHINGTON — On Monday, my Washington Post colleagues celebrated winning the Pulitzer Prize for public service along with the Guardian newspaper for their reporting on Edward Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency.

The real meaning of Easter: Candy

I love Easter candy. I love biting the ears off chocolate bunnies and picking out all the red jelly beans. I even like marshmallow Peeps. And, when you’re in front of the Easter display at the supermarket — thinking, “Creme-filled eggs for a dollar? Must buy them all!” — it’s sometimes hard to remember that Easter is about family and tradition and, yes, even some religion, too.

Understanding our divisions

WASHINGTON — In a 2006 interview, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer said the Constitution is “basically about” one word — “democracy” — that appears in neither that document nor the Declaration of Independence. Democracy is America’s way of allocating political power. The Constitution, however, was adopted to confine that power in order to “secure the blessings of” that which simultaneously justifies and limits democratic government — natural liberty.

At HHS, Sebelius wasn’t the problem

Last week brought the news that Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius is leaving the Obama administration, to be replaced by Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell. Though we’ve consistently opposed HHS policy during Secretary Sebelius’ tenure, we can’t help but feel some measure of pity for the former Kansas governor, who served as the public face of one of the most spectacular public policy failures in American history. While our sentiments might not quite reach the level of sympathy, we can certainly understand why she wanted out.

Jeb Bush’s challenge

WASHINGTON — The human kindling that makes up the flammable Republican base may soon burst into flames, again. Portions of that excitable cohort are looking — some with fawn-like eyes filled with hurt, others with sparks shooting from eyes narrowed like gun slits — askance at other Republicans urging Jeb Bush to seek the 2016 presidential nomination.

Mystery of the air continues to linger

Sometimes it’s easier to just cite a convenient explanation and stamp “Closed” on the case file. That happened this week, on a vastly larger scale, with the baffling disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The Malaysian government announced Monday the plane and the 239 people on board had plunged into the southern Indian Ocean — even though there wasn’t a smidgen of physical evidence that had actually happened.

General Motors, regulator should face tough scrutiny

General Motors knew about the faulty ignition switches in its small cars for more than a decade, yet only issued a recall last month. Twelve deaths have been tied to the defect — a number that likely will grow — and both the automaker and federal regulators who missed the problem need to explain what happened.

Shrinking hopes

Joseph Napolitan, who essentially created the profession of campaign consultant and who passed away this past December, was a wise man. He used to tell Democratic candidates and officeholders he counseled “to never underestimate the intelligence of the voters, nor overestimate the amount of knowledge at their disposal.” His point was that it was the candidate’s and the campaign’s responsibility to inform and educate voters and that if by election day, “the voters still do not understand what the candidate is trying to tell them, then it is the candidate’s fault — not the voters.’ ” That is as true today as it was when Napolitan wrote it more than 50 years ago.

Jobs and skills and zombies

A few months ago, Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, and Marlene Seltzer, the chief executive of Jobs for the Future, published an article in Politico titled “Closing the Skills Gap.” They began portentously: “Today, nearly 11 million Americans are unemployed. Yet, at the same time, 4 million jobs sit unfilled” — supposedly demonstrating “the gulf between the skills job seekers currently have and the skills employers need.”