WASHINGTON — Last week the headlines should have abounded with the year's good news. It was the economy: gross domestic product was up some 3 percent and, for the last quarter, nearly 4 percent; unemployment was down to a 17-year low, with black unemployment at the lowest level since such statistics were compiled. The stock market was soaring, up some 40 percent since Donald Trump was elected, and inflation was low. 

WASHINGTON -- My friend and colleague Donald Rieck, president of The American Spectator Foundation, died late last week in an automobile accident. He leaves two charming and very young children. He also leaves many friends throughout the conservative movement and shocked colleagues at The American Spectator. He was 50 years old.

WASHINGTON -- I never expected to come to the defense of The New York Times, but here I am ready and willing to defend what I have hitherto called the Bad Times, as opposed to the Good Times, that being the Washington Times. The New York Times has always been biased, but with the rise of Donald Trump, it has become unbearably biased. Even the obituaries are biased. 

WASHINGTON -- On the occasion of my 50th anniversary of founding and editing The American Spectator, I feel moved to reflect on the parlous condition of the magazine business. We celebrated our anniversary this week, and naturally I composed my reflections before the event. What makes this column something more than an occasion for indulgence is that the sickly condition of magazines is, of a sudden, a hot news item.

WASHINGTON -- Labor Day weekend passed with soggy weather in Washington. It was not as soggy as in other parts of the United States, but it kept me indoors most of the time, so I decided to give some thought to the one American president who I associate with Labor Day, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. To be historically correct, I should associate President Grover Cleveland -- a conservative Democrat -- with Labor Day, for he was the first to make it a national holiday. For some reason, it is associated with FDR -- at least in my mind.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is in trouble again with his Moral Superiors. His problem, of course, is that he cannot throttle his B.S. Detector. It seems he acquired a B.S. Detector at some point in life that has usually served him well. It certainly did during his long years in business, and it has during his brief time in politics. Now, however, it is problematic.

I have experienced defeat in presidential politics many times. Actually, I expect most Americans have. You win some, and you lose some. I first experienced defeat in 1964 when then-Sen. Barry Goldwater went down, though I was not even old enough to vote. I experienced it in 1968. I experienced it again in 1976, when my candidate was Ronald Reagan.

Luigi Barzini, my old pal and the author of so many fine books all written from his aerie above Rome -- his finest of which, The Italians, he wrote in English -- once jolted me by saying, "You Americans talk too much." Of course, he said it with affection. Back in the days of the Cold War, he was one of the few European intellectuals who really understood and admired America. What provoked him, however, was the famous euphuism of American politicians.

On the Russia-Trump imbroglio, let us be clear. We are now months into it. A dozen or so culprits have been fingered, some being actually quite amusing. You will be seeing more of the fat British music promoter Rob Goldstone, who has been photographed wearing a baseball hat emblazoned with the letters "C*NTY." He is too good to be ignored.

I have recently been reminded of one of my earliest conclusions about the American left. I arrived at that conclusion when it was relatively civilized. In those days, we called it American liberalism, but even then it was fla fla. My conclusion was that when any entity falls under the dominance of liberalism, it loses all sense of its fundamental purpose. A city loses all sense of its purpose, which is governance. A university loses all sense of its purpose, which is education.

I have returned! From Europe, that is, and I hope I met with no Russian agents while there. The soi-disant liberals are in a snit about the Russians. Apparently, Donald Trump Jr. and the mysterious senior White House adviser Jared Kushner met with an agent of the Kremlin in June of last year, and they did not report their meeting to The Powers That Be.

Last weekend, while visiting the New Jersey shore, I heard an astonishing number of vacationing Americans -- all well-intentioned, to be sure -- greet their fellow vacationers with a cheerful "have a happy Memorial Day." That cannot be right. The more I think about it, that greeting sounds as misguided as saying "have a happy Good Friday" on that solemn day.