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A voter marks a ballot for the New Hampshire primary inside a voting booth on Feb. 9 in Manchester, N.H. (Associated Press)

The other battle at the ballot box

Party conventions, first of the Republicans in Cleveland and this week of the Democrats in Philadelphia, first and foremost are about whose name goes on the top of the ballot. Before any votes are cast on Nov. 8, though, questions must be settled about identification rules determining who gets to cast a ballot. Voter identification laws, popularly called ID laws, have proliferated.

California delegates hold up signs as they cheer during the third day session of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Wednesday, July 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Dreaming the impossible Democratic dream

The Democrats had better pack a good lunch on their way to the post-convention campaign. It’s going to be an all-day job. They must persuade voters to avoid looking at Barack Obama’s disaster of “hope and change” while Hillary Clinton pushes the party’s platform of more of the same. The platform, as adopted in Philadelphia this week, is an exercise in the old shell game.

President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks about the mall shooting in Munich, Germany, before addressing law enforcement officers from around the country at the Advancing 21st Century Policing Briefing in the South Court Auditorium of the White House complex in Washington, Friday, July 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The price of trusting Iran

Barack Obama may be the last man in America who actually trusts the holy men in Iran, and a secret codicil, or amendment, he made to his infamous nuclear agreement with them reveals just what happens when a president has no understanding of “the art of the deal,” or the people he makes deals with.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in Springfield, Ill., in this July 13, 2016, file photo. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

The descent into depravity

Radical Islam descends to a level of barbarism beyond the imagination of civilized man. Women and children, and 87-year-old priests, become favorite targets. They can’t easily fight back, though the heroic priest slain on his knees before the altar at a Roman Catholic Church in France tried, and gave up his life defending his parishioners.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during a meeting with World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan, not shown, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Monday, July 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, Pool)

The clouds on the horizon

When China spits, Asia swims. Everybody east of Suez learns that ancient tribute to the size and ambitions of the Middle Kingdom. Now Asia hears the harsh hocking noise that sounds suspiciously like China clearing its throat.

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President Barack Obama pauses while speaking to members of the media in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, June 13, 2016, after getting briefed on the investigation of a shooting at a nightclub in Orlando by FBI Director James Comey, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, and other officials.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Barack Obama, the condolence man

President Obama tries to project a sunny outlook on the world, mostly by denying that anything bad is happening anywhere. But he's having a hard time of it staying ahead of the radical Islamic terrorists who, he says, don't really exist.

Within hours of his speech, Sen. Ted Cruz was fundraising off it, vowing that his own political movement will continue. He still has two years left before he needs to seek re-election to the Senate. (Associated Press)

Ted Cruz and an act of betrayal

Ted Cruz might have thought he was opening his 2020 campaign for president with his remarkable snub of the party and its nominee for president, but he was more likely making a deal with the undertaker.

FILE - This April 28, 2010 file photo shows the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal-fired power plant in Colstrip, Mont. The Colstrip plant, a coal plant serving utility customers across the Pacific Northwest, has agreed to shut down two of its four units by 2022 under a settlement announced Tuesday, July 12, 2016, with environmentalists who sued over alleged air pollution violations. (AP Photo/Matt Brown, file)

Foolishness over fossil fuels

The masterminds who put their heads together to "improve" the planet sometimes only bump those heads together. Environmentalists have confidently -- and arrogantly -- declared that their "green" policies are based on "settled science," but evidence continues to trickle in to dispute that. On paper, saving the world is as elementary as ridding it of fossil fuels. Experience, however, teaches that "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Melania Trump stands at the podium during the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Monday, July 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Melania Trump's home run

Stealing the published words of others is never a good idea, particularly in Washington, but whether it's a felony or a misdemeanor usually depends on who the sinner may be. Democrats often get by with plagiarism, Republicans usually don't.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump addresses the Republican National Convention on its second day in Cleveland, Tuesday, July 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Promises to keep

The first requirement of leadership is the courage to take a stand against determined opposition. The Republican platform adopted at the opening of the party's National Convention in Cleveland is a firm foundation on which America can honor its exceptional heritage and build a better future. These are things that Barack Obama and the Democrats promised and failed to deliver.

 Downey Baptist Church in Downey, Iowa. (David Scrivner/Iowa City Press-Citizen via AP)  NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT

A state religion for Iowa

Christ told his followers, in the 22d chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, to "render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and render unto God the things that are God's." This is so plain and simple that even a cave man could understand it, but a number of busybody bureaucrats in Iowa have decided that everything belongs to Caesar. It's a skirmish of the war on faith and the people of faith.

Baltimore state's attorney Marilyn Mosby, center, arrives at a courthouse before opening statements in the trial of Lt. Brian Rice, one of six members of the Baltimore Police Department charged in connection to the death of Freddie Gray, in Baltimore, Thursday, July 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

A tale of three cities

Human passions are easily stirred by considerations of race, and such emotions can lead to very different places. The moving spectacle of Dallas leadership trying to soothe the racial anger that triggered the killing of five white police officers stands in contrast to the proceedings in Baltimore, where city officials are determined to make cops, black and white, pay for the death of Freddie Gray.

View of the famed Promenade des Anglais scene of the Thursday's attack in Nice, southern France, Sunday, July 17, 2016 three days after a truck mowed through revelers. French authorities detained two more people Sunday in the investigation into the Bastille Day truck attack on the Mediterranean city of Nice that killed at least 84 people, as authorities try to determine whether the slain attacker was a committed religious extremist or just a very angry man.(AP Photo/Francois Mori)

Destroying radical Islam

The intelligence and law-enforcement authorities continue to sort out the career of Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the author of the latest unspeakable outrage in France, and Omar Mateen, who inflicted the greatest mass killing in American history. Still to be sorted out is the confusion over strategy in Washington. To put it down to "confusion" is the kindest interpretation. Willful blindness and incompetence might be other interpretations.

In this June 16, 2016 photo, CIA Director John Brennan testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the Senate Intelligence Committee.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The 28 pages on 9/11

The U.S. House Intelligence Committee finally released 28 pages of the long-suppressed findings of its investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, and the interesting stuff appears to have been written between the lines. A reasonably talented sixth-grader can connect some of the dots.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in Hampton, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Mortal wounds for TPP

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP in the jargon of the trade negotiators, looks dead. The cosmeticians at the mortuary say so. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are competing to preside over the funeral but U.S. Trade Ambassador Michael Froman says he and his colleagues are hearing encouraging noises from various members of Congress. He thinks that the deal may soon move forward.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks during the Innovation Showcase, Thursday, July 14, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

The Pence choice

Unless he changed his mind overnight -- and "Surprise" and "Unpredictability" are his middle names -- Donald Trump finally picked his running mate and by all accounts it's a good one. Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana is the real goods.