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National Commentary

A tale of two carbon taxes

Australia has repealed its carbon tax, leaving climate advocates in the U.S. and abroad feeling disheartened. While the repeal has long been anticipated — Prime Minister Tony Abbott campaigned to scrap the tax and has been gearing up to repeal it ever since he took office — it nonetheless strikes at the heart of supporters of a price on carbon.

Obstructed by the Constitution

President Obama’s plan to transform the U.S. health-care market is once again in trouble. This time, two Republican-appointed judges on a federal appeals court have invalidated a key portion of the program.

A flawed solution to gridlock

Would the dysfunction of U.S. politics be dispelled if we got rid of partisan primaries? That’s the contention of Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. In an op-ed for The New York Times, Schumer argued that the primary system in most states, in which voters choose nominees for their respective parties who then run head to head in November, gives too much weight to the party faithful, who are inclined to select candidates who veer either far right or far left. The cure Schumer proposes for this ill is the “jungle primary,” in which all primary candidates, regardless of party, appear on the same ballot, with the top two finishers, again regardless of party, advancing to the general election.

Human Matters: One credo crucial to a well-lived life: Pay attention

Sooner or later in long-term therapy, most adult patients will drift — or dive — toward their family history. They begin to take a more comprehensive, more honest and accurate inventory of realities they faced as children. The strength and weaknesses, health and unhealth, justice and injustice of the families in which they were reared. Because all families have some combination of all of those things.

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Dying days of financial reform?

This week marks the fourth anniversary of the most wide-sweeping financial reform since the Great Depression (known as Dodd-Frank). To avoid another 2008 would be great, but at this date and rate, astonishingly, only half the provisions have been implemented.

Rick Perry’s kid-size standoff at Texas border

WASHINGTON — Texas Gov. Rick Perry recognizes that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. Tuesday, wearing his smart glasses, his hands chopping the air, he called out the National Guard to go to the border to deal with the influx of more than 50,000 children crossing into the U.S. illegally.

Malaysian Air can use crisis to root out problems

TOKYO — What a difference four months can make. In March, Malaysian leader Najib Razak was widely criticized for mishandling the search for aMalaysian Airlines jet that disappeared with 239 people on board. His government’s unsteady initial response to the Flight 370 tragedy deeply tarnished the Malaysia brand.

When Gaza fighting is over, there is a way to change for the better

Since this is the third mini-war between Israel and Hamas in less than six years, some of the consequences being predicted by pundits sound pretty familiar. Such as: Israel’s offensive in Gaza will have the effect of destroying “moderate” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Or: Hamas is actually “winning by losing,” gaining new support among Palestinians and across the Middle East by standing up to Israel. Or: The stories of civilian casualties and accusations of “disproportionate” force are devastating Israel’s standing in the West.