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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.

The candidates and the Court

The Republican presidential candidates have mostly ignored one of the most important issues the man (or woman) elected in November will face in his or her first term — filling vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court. Hillary Clinton, however, has no reluctance to say that she will apply a litmus test in selecting nominees, and suggests that Barack Obama would be a good addition to the High Court.

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at a town hall-style campaign event, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

A nation of dog-whistlers

Modern America is an ethnic minefield, and everyone must mind his step. It’s getting more dangerous as the presidential campaign moves toward crucial primaries in the bigger states. The unwary among us can step on one of those mines and blow holes in the peaceable land, and all unaware.

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.”

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during a campaign event at Clark Atlanta University Friday, Oct. 30, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Bridging the gender pay gap

America has been the land of opportunity since the first settlers set foot on the continent. But now social engineers with no appreciation for that inheritance are determined to trade equal opportunity for equal outcome.

When something precious dies

The impeachment of a government official is serious and solemn business, not to be undertaken lightly. The Internal Revenue Service commissioner, John Koskinen, who obstructed the congressional committee investigating how the IRS targeted conservative political organizations, deserves it.

China's ruling Communist Party announced Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015,  that it will abolish the country's decades-old one-child policy and allow all couples to have two children, removing remaining restrictions that limited many urban couples to only one, the official Xinhua News Agency said. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

Birth of a catastrophe

After decades of brutal enforcement, China has announced the end of its one-child per couple policy. Introduced in 1979, this attempt to control population has prevented the birth of up to 400 million persons in the world's most populous country.

A guard tower looms over a federal prison complex which houses a Supermax facility outside Florence, in southern Colorado, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015. The prison is among those being assessed by a team of Pentagon officials as potential sites to house Guantanamo detainees amid the Obama administration's stalled effort to close the controversial facility. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Reforming criminal 'justice'

Nearly everyone thinks the American criminal justice system is broken, and needs fixing. Prisons are overflowing, often with men and women who were convicted of crimes that are crimes only in the imaginations of legislators who write the laws, and prosecutors who put as many people in prison as they can only to pad their resumes. Prosecutors are usually judged not for how they serve justice, but on how many men and women they put away.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) ** FILE **

Protecting the sea lanes of Asia

The Permanent Court of Arbitration, an agency at the United Nations that listens to disputes about the UN's Law of the Sea, has agreed to hear the Philippines' case against China for building military bases on reefs in the South China Sea a thousand miles south of its Mainland.

"While I was proud of our candidates and the way they handled tonight's debate, the performance by the CNBC moderators was extremely disappointing and did a disservice to their network, our candidates, and voters," RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. (Associated Press)

How to reform the presidential 'debates'

It's not clear just who's running the Republican debates, but the outrage of Reince Priebus over last week's gong-show moderators is understandable, and about time. The chairman of the Republican National Committee suspended the party's "partnership" with NBC News for a debate next February, close to crucial Iowa caucuses.

President Barack Obama speaks to the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Chicago, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune via AP) ** FILE **

The incremental road to disaster

The one great lesson from the Vietnam War is that waging war by increment is a recipe for disaster. It never works because armies are not designed to wage war piecemeal. You do a puppy no kindness by cutting off his tail an inch at a time.

Jeb Bush, second from left, is flanked by Mike Huckabee, left, Marco Rubio, center, Donald Trump, second from right, and Ben Carson during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

The campaign gets serious

The Republican debate this week may have been the actual beginning of the 2016 Republican campaign for the presidency. All that has gone before was mere entertainment. The "real" candidates began to emerge and the CNBC-TV moderators, as bad as they were, helped with separating the wheat from the tares. The sifting and winnowing is finally under way.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, left, and Hillary Rodham Clinton laugh during the CNN Democratic presidential debate, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher) ** FILE **

The consequences of a 'living wage'

Everyone wants a raise, but only a few of us expect to get it by government edict. Some workers at the bottom of the payroll will see a larger paycheck — if they don't get a pink slip first. It can get cold in the real world because despite all the government can do there's still no free lunch.

In this Oct. 24, 2015, photo, Republican presidential candidateBen Carson greets audience members after speaking outside the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity at Iowa State University during a campaign stop in Ames, Iowa. Carson and the other Republican presidential candidates are getting ready for the third GOP debate on Oct. 28, in Boulder, Colo.(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The doctor is in

Ben Carson represents the best of America. Whether he should be the president of the United States is another question that is not under consideration here. But his ascent to the top of the public-opinion polls tells a lot about both the man and the country he wants to lead.

The lesson of Lois Lerner

Almost any prosecutor, so courthouse wisdom goes, can persuade a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, with or without cheese. Barack Obama's prosecutor, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, was "persuaded" to throw out the case against Lois Lerner, the high-ranking officer at the Internal Revenue Service who targeted Tea Party groups for special attention in the run-up to the 2010 and 2012 elections.

In a public opinion survey published Oct. 8 by the independent Levada Center pollster, more than 70 percent of Russians said they backed President Vladimir Putin's decision to launch airstrikes against forces opposed to Syrian President Bashar Assad. (Associated Press)

Trying to recreate Soviet Russia

Vladimir Putin never sleeps, unlike his most famous counterpart elsewhere. He has refigured the Russian domestic scene in the Soviet image, one that gladdens the hearts of the remaining Soviets who never thought they would see his like again.

President Barack Obama speaks about his Clean Power Plan, Monday, Aug. 3, 2015, in the East Room at the White House in Washington. The president is mandating even steeper greenhouse gas cuts from U.S. power plants than previously expected, while granting states more time and broader options to comply. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Green is the color of climate science

The business of Washington is politics, but politics doesn't sell without "good optics." The White House that passed out white lab coats to a phalanx of doctors backing Obamacare in a Rose Garden photo-op, is lining up big-name companies now to pledge allegiance to "a low carbon-dioxide future" in advance of next month's climate change conference at the United Nations.

Rep. Paul Ryan had been reluctant to give up his role as head of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee and precious weekends with his family, so he demanded support from every wing of the party by Friday. (Associated Press)

The team we like

"Personnel is policy," most of the time, and whom a president, governor, senator or mayor surrounds himself with is a good way to judge whether he will stay true to his convictions, beliefs and values once comfortably in office. Once elected, such officials tend to attract either "yes men" or advisers with rogue agendas while taking care to appear to be reliable "yes men."

China's President Xi Jinping, attends a joint press conference with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, at 10 Downing Street, London, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015,  on the second day of his state visit to the UK. China's state visit to Britain moved from warm toasts and ceremony to cold, hard cash Wednesday, with business deals including a major Chinese investment in the U.K.'s first nuclear power station since the 1980s. (Suzanne Plunkett /Pool Photo via AP)

Concern in the Taiwan Strait

There might be a lesson in Taiwan for political parties in democratic states elsewhere about what to do when stuck with a bad candidate and an approaching election. Taiwan, where politics is always about survival, will elect a new president in January and the ruling Kuomintang, direct descendants of Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists who fled the Mainland Communists in 1949, was saddled with a nominee running 20 percentage points behind in the public-opinion polls.

This picture released by Cubadebate on its website early Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, shows Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Havana, Cuba, on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012. Castro has written an article on Sunday in state-media criticizing those who spread rumors he was on his death bed. (AP Photo/Alex Castro, Cubadebate)

Light on the opening to Cuba

Children, ex-wives and discarded mistresses can be the ruin, or at least the headaches, of dictators. Fidel Castro's son, a photographer, has confirmed the fears of the critics of Barack Obama's "opening to America" in an interview with a Chilean radio station. Alex Castro, the regime's official photographer, went to Chile to promote his photographic books at an international book fair.

This image provided by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows a close-up of the red planet Mars. (AP Photo/NASA) **FILE**

Mars is calling

If you're not moving forward, you're falling behind. Like the hare that snoozed during his race with the tortoise, America is conceding leadership in human achievement in space. American astronauts conquered space decades ago, but now its astronauts must hitch rides aloft with the Russians.

House Benghazi Committee Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., left, and the committee's ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., have a heated discussion on the dais on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, as Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testified before the committee. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

A failed Benghazi responsibility

The tragedy in Benghazi is a profound public issue. Four American lives were squandered. A sovereign but woefully unprotected American diplomatic station on foreign soil was attacked by terrorists. The American people were sold a false narrative (a lie, in plain English) for weeks about the true nature of the attack.

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Just the facts, Ma'am

Capitol Hill often resembles a three-ring circus, but there must be no clowning around at the face-off Thursday between Hillary Clinton and the House Select Committee on Benghazi. Hillary's future as the face of the Democrats could rise or fall on the credibility of her answers to questions about her role in the events leading up to the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.