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Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro signals the date of a failed coup led by late President Hugo Chavez during a parade marking its anniversary in Caracas, Venezuela. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Waiting for Obama

Reality is writing a harsh chapter in the long and tortured history of Venezuela. What happens there is not just the occasional outside intervention to keep the peace. International companies, and not just American companies, are getting clobbered by the hapless manipulation of currency by a government rapidly moving toward chaos.

In this Feb. 9, 2016, photo, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at her first-in-the-nation presidential primary campaign rally in Hooksett, N.H.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Unhappy days are here again

Those are birds of prey beginning to circle over Hillary Clinton and her campaign, and nervous Democrats are beginning to think the unthinkable. Maybe the party just won’t buy another Clinton.

FILE - This May 13, 2015, file photo, shows Google's new self-driving car during a demonstration at the Google campus in Mountain View, Calif. The federal government's highway safety agency agrees with Google: Computers that will control the cars of the future can be considered their driver. The redefinition of "driver" is an important break for Google. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)

Self-driven cars are on the way

Machines with a mind of their own are the future, and self-driving automobiles will soon be sharing the road with cars and trucks with real drivers. Labor-saving devices are always welcome, and driving on roads in the congested communities where most Americans live is certainly a chore.

President Barack Obama delivers remarks to the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, inside the House chamber at the Illinois Capitol in Springfield, Ill. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Obama’s slick oil tax

When every problem looks like a shortage of cash, every solution looks like a tax. President Obama sees a $10 surcharge on every barrel of oil the nation consumes as the key to fixing America’s transportation system. The dramatic decline in global oil prices has put money back into the pockets of Americans, and predictably, the president intends to seize what he imagines is his “fair share.”

A child jihadi armed with a rocket-propelled grenade has threatened to execute President Obama in a chilling new video released by the Islamic State terrorist group. (Screen grab of Islamic State video via The Daily Mail)

No game for children

Innocence, once lost, vanishes forever. Spoiling a child’s only opportunity to laugh and play without the cares of adulthood is a crime. Many children are swept into the violence their parents unleashed across the world, and the fortunate ones cheat death only to endure wasted childhood years and a joyless life.

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Importance of music understated

Throughout history music has played an important role in human development. It is \a primary element in nearly all of hummanity's diverse cultures. Scientists are discovering that in addition to the positive effects on human health, music enhances intelligence. Research shows that music is to the brain what physical exercise is to the human body.

President Barack Obama speaks at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. The annual event brings together U.S. and international leaders from different parties and religions for an hour devoted to faith. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama's curious religious concerns

President Obama's selective attitude toward religious persecution is puzzling, even to those who are eager to give him the benefit of every doubt. He's eager to reassure peaceful Muslims in the United States that they are welcome among us. It's right and good for him to do that, though he could have moderated his hectoring tone.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in Derry, N.H. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Hillary's tin-ear disease

Willie Sutton, the famous bank robber of a bygone age, and Hillary Clinton are two of a kind. Someone, probably a psychology major working on a term paper, once asked Willie why he robbed banks. He answered simply, "because that's where the money is."

Protestors against asylum seekers being deported, gather for a rally in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. Australia was resisting mounting international pressure not to deport child asylum seekers, with a minister warning on Thursday that allowing them to stay could attract more refugees to come by boat. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)

Australia's migrant tide

The immigrant surge throughout the world is not just south to north. Migrants are surging to Australia, too, and Australia's highest court has ordered a temporary respite from a migrant threat like that in Europe and North America.

President Barack Obama closes his eyes while a prayer is made at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. The annual event brings together U.S. and international leaders from different parties and religions for an hour devoted to faith. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The profits of doom

"Doomsayer" is probably not on Al Gore's resume but it's as descriptive as "almost president." It perfectly describes the attention he has attracted in the decade since he took to the stage at the Sundance Film Festival and set off global warming fears with his agitprop film, "An Inconvenient Truth."

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Herds of Asian elephants in Malaysia's Taman Negara National Park in Pahang state are apparently larger than feared, according to an examination of the dung they leave behind.

A dilemma for Jumbo

Liberty and freedom are man's natural desires, but like everything else liberation is complicated, as man and elephant are learning in Myanmar, or Burma as it was called for centuries. Myanmar is making its way back into the real world after sitting it out in isolation for almost a hundred years.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the deployment of S-400 missiles in Syria as he and other officials in Moscow escalated a war of words with Ankara after Tuesday's shootdown, which Turkey claims was justified on grounds that two Russian fighters ignored repeated warnings to change direction after entering Turkish airspace. (Associated Press)

The threat to peace accelerates

Despite his deteriorating economy, Russia's Vladimir Putin is taking an increasingly aggressive tone of support for the Assad regime in Syria. He has tried to keep the Damascus corpse alive but can show little evidence of success against his opponents, some of whom have ties to international Islamic terrorism.

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, poses for photographs after a campaign event at the Johnson County Fairgrounds, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016 in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Looking for the magic

Iowa isn't about actually winning, but persuading the political correspondents and prospective voters in the states following to think they see a winner. It's not even about delegates won, or the order in which a candidate finishes, but whether the result can be spun as a victory.

Oregon State Police man a roadblock at the intersection of highways 395 and 20 outside of Burns, Ore., Wednesday morning, Jan. 27, 2016. Authorities were restricting access on Wednesday to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters being occupied by an armed group after one of the occupiers was killed during a traffic stop and eight more, including the group's leader Ammon Bundy, were arrested. (Dave Killen/The Oregonian via AP)

Western ways matter

There's nothing like a fatal shooting to rile a community. The chain of events that led to the death of a rebellious rancher along a country road in Oregon last week is still under investigation, but for Americans who yearn for the wide-open spaces of the West, freedom's last refuge, the tragedy spells oppression. To them, Western lives matter.

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks at a town hall in Sioux City, Iowa, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The scramble for the top

The Iowa caucuses rarely produce the winner in November, but they always produce panic in the camps of the losers. It's an exaggeration to say the caucuses Monday night decided anything but temporary winners, but winning is always better than losing.

In this Jan. 25, 2016, photo, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign event at the Knoxville School District Administration Office in Knoxville, Iowa. Battling across Iowa ahead of the first-in-the-country vote on Feb. 1, Clinton and Bernie Sanders are dueling on fertile populist ground: resentment against Wall Street, bailed-out big banks and a financial system seen as rigged. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Baggage to New Hampshire

The Clinton defense, first used by Bill and employed again now by Hillary, is getting a little frayed but it's difficult to give up something that has worked so well in the past.

A nun from Little Sisters of the Poor based in Scranton, Pa., holds her rosary beads as she participates in a "March For Life" walk on Friday, Jan. 22, 2016, in Dunmore, Pa.  Friday marked the 43rd anniversary of the United States Supreme Court's decision to legalize abortion.  (Butch Comegys / The Times & Tribune via AP)  MANDATORY CREDIT

Relief for the Little Sisters

One of the most important human rights issues has reached the Supreme Court, which will decide whether the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Roman Catholic order, has the right to dispense charity according to its own code.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves after speaking during a campaign stop on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, in Gilbert, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

Now to the real show

Soon the voters in Iowa will get a little relief from the invasion of candidates, their handlers, and the tsunami of reporters, pundits and assorted wise men who have trudged through snow and ice to make sure that no burp of the body politic goes unheard or unremarked. Iowans will get their state back, and to relish once more the silence of the cornfields.