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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.

High Court ruling a win for free speech

Depending on who you listen to, the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent 5-4 McCutcheon v. FEC decision on campaign finance laws is either a resounding victory for free speech or the end of democracy as we know it. The truth is probably somewhere in between, though we think it is much closer to the former.

Posturing over the Holocaust

Last fall, the top executives of the Israeli and French national railways signed a wide-ranging accord, deepening their long-term partnership and committing the French to help the Israelis nearly double their rail passenger capacity by 2020. The partnership between Israeli Railways and SNCF, the French railway, dates back to 2000 and has not been the subject of controversy in Israel.

Serving up more regulations

One area where Barack Obama’s presidency was supposed to break with liberal orthodoxy was on the issue of regulation. In his first term, the president appointed the distinguished law professor Cass Sunstein as the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Sunstein was notable as the co-author of the book “Nudge,” which suggested a regulatory approach dubbed “libertarian paternalism” (a contradiction if ever we’ve seen one), which aims to gently steer citizens towards making better choices rather than prohibiting them outright from making bad ones.

That old-time whistle

There are many negative things you can say about Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee and the GOP’s de facto intellectual leader. But you have to admit that he’s a very articulate guy, an expert at sounding as if he knows what he’s talking about.