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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 tear wells up in President Barack Obama's eye as he speaks about the youngest victims of the Sandy Hook shootings, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. while speaking about steps his administration is taking to reduce gun violence. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Obama's half-hearted crusade

After months of planning and anticipation, rumor and rumination, President Obama finally issued his executive orders, together with a few regulatory "adjustments," that he says will put a damper on the "gun violence" that he -- and the rest of us -- so abhor.

Police officers arrest protester Asa Khalif during the Mummers Day Parade on New Year's Day in Philadelphia on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. Dozens of activists from the Black Lives Matter movement used the parade to stage a protest. (David Swanson/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

Where is that 'war on blacks'?

One of the persistent narratives of the year just past was that the police are conducting a deadly war on black America. The narrative is pushed by media sensationalists until it becomes conventional wisdom. The narrative is wrong. The facts, collected by nonpartisan sources, say so. Perception, often encouraged by irresponsible reporters and pundits, nevertheless becomes reality, and anger and fear fester.

About 150 Muslim workers have been fired from Cargill Meat Solutions in Fort Morgan, Colorado, after walking off the job to protest a workplace prayer dispute. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Prayer, discrimination and privilege

Everyone is entitled to his faith and his expression of it, but there's a gray area between the inner experience of worship and how its outer expression affects the lives of others. This leads to difficult judgments on how far society must go to accommodate the practice of faith. For Christians in the Age of Obama, the answer is sometimes not very far; for Muslims, a little farther.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves to the audience as he arrives to inaugurate the International Conference on Frontiers in Yoga Research and its Applications in Jigani, near Bangalore, India, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. The conference aims to make an effort to integrate Ayurveda, Naturopathy, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy and modern medicine by bringing prominent researchers and doctors from all these fields on one platform. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

Islamic terrorists open a new front

Just what the civilized world needs, a new front in the war against radical Islamic terrorism: Two terrorists were killed this week in an attack on the Pathankot Indian Air Force Base, a critical installation on the India-Pakistan border, near the troubled Himalaya state of Kashmir.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, leaves the Senate chamber after a roll call vote at the Capitol in Washington, in this Nov. 12, 2014, file photo. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Logjam in the U.S. Senate

If you have been nominated by the president for a federal judgeship, a top job in the executive branch or a government job related to finance and banking, you shouldn't quit the job you have now. There's a backlog of nominees waiting for confirmation votes, and there won't be many of those in the new year.

President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the White House Brady Press Briefing Room in Washington. Obama is slated Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, to finalize a set of new executive actions tightening the nation’s gun laws. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Who lost the Middle East?

Saudi Arabia raised the threat to the peace and stability of the world with its display of more barbarism in the Middle East, executing 47 dissidents on January 2, some on the gallows and some beheaded in the government butcher shop. The execution of a prominent Shia cleric was particularly provocative.

Britain's Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, applauds during the party's annual conference in Brighton, southern England, Sunday Sept. 27, 2015. (Gareth Fuller/PA Via AP)  UNITED KINGDOM OUT  NO SALES  NO ARCHIVE

Disillusion on the left, again

The curious attraction of socialism for intelligent and otherwise level-headed men and women has a certain abused logic. Injustice and inequality often seem to reign without challenge, and some men and women of fertile imagination and an activist view of the world seek a remedy for the trials, tribulations and injustices in this world rather than wait for perfection in the next, as religious faith promises.

Michelle Morrow practices on the shooting range at the Spring Guns and Amo store Monday, Jan. 4, 2016, in Spring, Texas. President Barack Obama defended his plans to tighten the nation's gun-control restrictions on his own, insisting Monday that the steps he'll announce fall within his legal authority and uphold the constitutional right to own a gun. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Riding a hobby horse to the wrong place

President Obama, feckless in the pursuit of the nation's real enemies, is relentless in riding his spavined hobby horse to all the wrong places. He thinks the guns of the law-abiding are more to blame for crime and violence than mental illness, criminality and terrorism. He's determined to do something about it even if he has to ride roughshod over Congress and the people.

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Second World Internet Conference in Wuzhen Town, east China's Zhejiang Province, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. (Chinatopix via AP) CHINA OUT

China, the killer capitalist

China's enormous emerging market, and its investment in the infrastructure to support it, is pulling U.S. policy off course. The Communists in Beijing, as they still call themselves, are some of the toughest capitalists anywhere. The latest evidence is at the World Bank.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. (Amir Cohen /Pool Photo via AP)

More eavesdropping on friends

If we take them at their word, Barack Obama and his not so merry men have demonstrated incompetence once more in "inadvertently" listening in to conversations between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of Congress and other American friends of Israel who saw the president's sweetheart deal with the mullahs in Iran as the disaster that it is. On the other hand, the eavesdropping may have been deliberate.

Using its giant economy as a draw, Beijing has both courted and intimidated the smaller nations on its periphery. China has advanced aggressive territorial claims in the battle to control the vital shipping lanes of the South China Sea, but Chinese President Xi Jinping also has reached out to leaders in Southeast Asia. (Associated Press)

Brave new bad-credit world

If you admire efficiency, you have to respect the Communists in China. They're a step or two ahead of American liberals in their drive to mold and manipulate the peasants and sheep to do their bidding. American liberals only demonize (so far) those who disagree with them; the Chinese demonstrate that it's possible to consign such idolatrous types to outer darkness with neither arrest nor beating.

Connecticut state police recruits practice with their new .45-caliber Sig Sauer pistols during. (AP Photo/Dave Collins, File)

Yes to legal guns

All presidents want to leave a lasting imprint on history, a legacy, with a record of their wise words and good deeds. Sometimes a president with a spotty record comes along and tries to fake a good legacy, which can be difficult since what a president does speaks so loud that no one can hear what he says. Barack Obama is trying to write such a legacy with executive orders.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye, right, shakes hands with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida prior to a meeting at the presidential house in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, Dec. 28, 2015. The foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan said they had reached a deal meant to resolve a decades-long impasse over Korean women forced into Japanese military-run brothels during World War II, a potentially dramatic breakthrough between the Northeast Asian neighbors and rivals. (Chun Jean-hwan/Newsis via AP) KOREA OUT

Halting steps in an Asian dance

Familiarity breeds contempt, and family squabbles are the worst, to be avoided if at all possible. That goes for nations as well as individuals. Perhaps no two strong societies have had as much contact over the centuries as Japan and Korea, contact at the price of considerable fuss and friction.

President Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Going after Leviathan with a knife

Bigger is not always better. Bigger government is nearly always badder. That's what Americans are saying in a new Gallup Poll about the danger of overweening authority. There's a near-universal recognition that the institutions erected "in order to form more perfect union" are instead facilitating expensive flapdoodle. Small wonder that a majority say the nation is on the wrong track.

President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the Brady Press briefing room at the White House, in Washington, Friday, Dec. 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

The view from Pluto

Any doubts about whether President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and their aides had taken up residence on another rock in the universe -- perhaps Pluto, which recently lost its status as a planet -- vanished with the arrival of a State Department report on American foreign-policy "successes" of 2015.

Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson poses for a photograph before speaking with The Associated Press in his home in Upperco, Md., Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

No place that's home

The warm and comfortable feeling of "home" is partly a state of mind, but it's as tangible as the familiar squeak of a front door or the welcoming hug of a loved one. The man bereft of the sights and sounds of home is a restless soul, never knowing the affirmation of belonging in a place "where everybody knows your name." For many Americans, the land of the free and the home of the brave doesn't feel much like home anymore.

Associated Press

Of women, hair and shoes

Women, God love 'em, have always been obsessed by what they wear at head and foot: hair and shoes. They're very particular, which pleases men, inappropriate as that might be. Compliments offend some women today, but they're still universally particular about their hair and their shoes. There's never enough time to deal with either one.

U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Associated Press)

Guantanamo and common sense

There's grumbling at Guantanamo, the lawyers tell the London Guardian. The remaining prisoners are miffed at President Obama because they think he's not doing enough to spring them before he returns to organize the Chicago community, which sorely needs it.

The Utah Red Hills Renewable Park. (PRNewsFoto/Scatec Solar North America)

Subsidizing the sun

Sunshine is free but solar power isn't. American taxpayers have been subsidizing the cost of turning sunlight into electricity for a decade, and just as the sun was beginning to set on life support, the solar industry prevailed in a plea for more government welfare. Lawmakers could have held the feet of the welfare kings and queens to the fire and forced it to compete on a level playing field, but crony capitalism thrives on Capitol Hill.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (Associated Press)

Feeling good is only temporary

Feeling good about themselves, and not self-preservation, is the first instinct that drives a lot of unwary politicians on the left. Last week Attorney General Mark Herring of Virginia announced that the commonwealth would no longer grant reciprocity to residents of 25 other states who are allowed by their states to carry a concealed gun.