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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.

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.”

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.

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.

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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.

Migrant children Nor, Saleh and Hajaj Fatema from Syria sleep outside the Swedish Migration Board, in Marsta, Sweden. Interior Minister Anders Ygeman says Sweden could deport between 60,000 and 80,000 asylum-seekers in coming years. (Jessica Gow/TT News Agency via AP, File)

Scandinavia learns a hard lesson

The rewards of pride and piety have suddenly expired in Scandinavia. The northern democracies, accustomed to dispensing unwanted tutelage in sanctimony, have canceled their welcome for the wave of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa trying to break down the door to Europe.

FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2015 file photo, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, right, makes a point as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas listens on during the Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas. Ted Cruz once proudly wore a belt buckle reading “President of the United States” borrowed from George H.W. Bush. He campaigned and worked for, and helped write a book lavishing praise on, that former president’s son, Dubya. And the endorsement of George P. Bush, the family’s latest rising political star, lent credibility to Cruz’s then little-known 2012 Senate campaign. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

How to fix the debates

Donald Trump has a knack for drawing attention to a problem, but rarely has a way to fix it. He has done that again, largely by accident, with his row with Fox News over the Republican debates.

In this Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016 photo, Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party, DPP, presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen raises her hand as she declares victory in the presidential election, in Taipei, Taiwan. (AP Photo/Wally Santana, FIle)

Good news from Taiwan

The Republic of China (Taiwan) has become an economic powerhouse, the fifth largest in Asia and in the top 20 in the world, and even more important, its political institutions are stable. Real growth has averaged about 8 percent over the past three decades. The older labor-intensive industries have steadily moved elsewhere, replaced by technology-intensive industries.

The grim news comes with less than a year left for President Obama to put the Affordable Care Act on firmer footing as he seeks to head off what is likely to be a last effort at repealing the act after November's elections. (Associated Press)

Obama's not-so-hot report card

Not everyone can win a popularity contest, which is why not everybody can be the president. As difficult as winning may be, staying in the good graces of the electorate is even more difficult. Seven years after climbing to the top of the heap, public-opinion has put President Obama in his rightful place: well below average. The judgment of his countrymen can be cruel, but it happens to every president.

For Fox News, Donald Trump's absence could be disastrous. The candidate said his presence has helped the previous debates set records for viewership. "Without me, they'd have no ratings," he said in a Twitter post Tuesday as the feud erupted. (Associated Press)

Will he, or won't he, show up?

Conventional wisdom once held that a front-runner shouldn't debate his challengers because meeting them on the same stage gives them stature. So why do a favor for a challenger? That's why Ronald Reagan wouldn't debate George H.W. Bush in 1980. He sat on his lead, lost to Mr. Bush on caucus night and breathed new life into a challenger who began the race as a footnote in most early polls.

Homecoming: A U.S. government plane met with a Dassault Falcon of the Swiss army air force at Geneva airport in Switzerland to bring back to the U.S. American hostages who were recently freed from lengthy imprisonments in Iran. (Associated Press)

The price of freedom

Freedom is priceless, or used to be. A longstanding American policy decrees that the United States will never negotiate with terrorists, and will never pay ransom for hostages. That rule has been honored in the breach -- never is a long time -- but the rule has never been more enthusiastically abused than during the Obama years.

FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, file photo, more than 30 oil drilling rigs are idle in a Helmerich & Payne, Inc. yard in Odessa, Texas, along Highway 80, as rig counts drop in the Permian Basin. The price of oil continues to fall, extending a slide that has already gone further and lasted longer than most thought, and probing depths not seen since 2003. Lower crude prices are leading to lower prices for gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and heating oil, giving drivers, shippers, and many businesses a big break on fuel costs. But layoffs across the oil industry are mounting, and bankruptcies among oil companies are expected to soar. (Courtney Sacco/Odessa American via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

A new energy 'crisis'

Big Oil, particularly in the Middle East, never had it so good, and now some of the sheiks sound like they've never had it so bad. A gallon of Perrier, Poland Spring or Mountain Valley Water costs more than a gallon of crude, and Big Oil ain't seen nothin' yet. The shale revolution continues to shake up old assumptions and change things as revolutions always do.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Dordt College, on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Sioux Center, Iowa. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

'Politics ain't beanbag'

It was back in 1895 that Finley Peter Dunne's fictional Mr. Dooley first observed that "politics ain't beanbag," but nothing has happened since to throw doubt on Dooley's words. In fact, this year's Republican presidential campaign sounds a lot like something Mr. Dooley would have truly enjoyed.

President Barack Obama speaks in Detroit. During an interview with Politico posted on its website Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, Obama was extremely cautious in discussing the presidential campaign to avoid showing explicit favor in the Democratic race. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

Unsustainable overspending

Compound interest, so the saying goes, is the most powerful force in the universe. It can turn a meager investment into a rich treasure with the passage of time. It can also transform manageable debt into a crushing financial burden that can never be repaid. Sadly, that could be the fate of the United States due to persistent overspending, according to the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) Summary of the Budget and Economic Outlook.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he speaks at the Justice Department in Washington to discuss the Aug. 9, 2014, shooting in Ferguson, Mo. AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

A racket in the chicken house

Some of the chickens of Eric Holder, the former attorney general, and President Obama are fluttering over the chicken house again, looking for the roost. One of those chickens, as persistent as a tough old Dominecker hen, is the Holder scheme called "Fast & Furious."

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas speaks during a campaign stop at the Freedom Country Store, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016, in Freedom, N.H. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

For the love of Christ

Evangelical Christians have a passion for spreading the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ "to the whole world," and that's a wonderful thing. This passion has led Christians of various denominations to build hospitals, found colleges and universities, establish orphanages and educate the poor and impoverished.