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US attorney general, Loretta E. Lynch attends a conference on organised crime in Rome, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Counting up the carnage

Putting on a blue uniform has seldom been this hard. Thugs and killers have always despised the men and women who keep the peace, but now their bosses often no longer have their backs. When the badge is bent out of shape to suit the times, civility slides toward the ragged edge of barbarism.

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

Get ‘em where they eat

It’s always for the kids. Every time a local government wants more money from taxpayers, the taxpayers are told that it’s not for lavish salaries or programs of limited value, but “for the kids.” It’s for schools, teachers, first-aid kits, fire extinguishers and stuff like that.

JIM BUNNING-The MLB pitcher was U.S. Senator from the state of Kentucky. Hall of Famer Jim Bunning is seen during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Sunday, July 28, 2013, in Cooperstown, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

A sad note in World Series Week

This week millions of Americans, including political junkies who are sometimes more passionate about baseball than politics (particularly after a nip or two of fine old Kentucky bourbon in the shank of an evening with old friends), will interrupt their arguing over the occasional merits and manifold shortcomings of Hillary and the Donald, to retire to the sport pages and the World Series.

Donald Trump gestures toward Hillary Clinton during the third presidential debate Wednesday in Las Vegas. (Associated Press)

Bursting the limits to growth

“What’s in your wallet?” is more than a punchline in a TV commercial. It’s the question that breadwinners ask themselves every day. How they answer determines whether they’re gaining or losing ground in the race for prosperity.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton greets supporters during a campaign event at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The peril in the polls

Public-opinion polls can be infuriating. They’re often read as if they’re telling us how to vote, rather than a speculation on how what we’ll do. Indeed, some voters who want to be part of a fashionable majority will take them that way, and hitch a ride on a bandwagon.

Related Articles

Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

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.

Maggie Kiser, 2, waves a flag as she is pulled along by her grandfather, Gary White, during the Amarillo Street Neighborhood Parade in Abilene, Texas, Monday, July 4, 2016. (Tommy Metthe/The Abilene Reporter-News via AP)

Redefining patriotism

Patriots proliferate on the Fourth of July, with the red, white and blue all around. But after the fireworks fade from the night sky the Stars and Stripes are often relegated to the back of the hall closet. In 2016, so the pollsters find, many are not so proud to be Americans.

The lady who talks too much

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has always had difficulty getting over herself. She has opinions on many things, and when she's not speaking ex-cathedra, as it were, she's eager to express those opinions elsewhere, as if the public were waiting breathlessly for them. Lately she has even been forgetting her place.

President Barack Obama speaks about the events in Dallas at the beginning of his news conference at PGE National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, July 9, 2016. Obama is in Warsaw attending the NATO Summit. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Iran's nuclear deception

Anniversaries are usually celebrations of happy times, but not every milestone is worth celebrating. Thursday marks one year since Iran sealed its nuclear deal with the P5+1 world powers, and evidence is emerging that the Islamic republic is still working on its weapons of mass destruction.

President Barack Obama during a memorial service at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center with the families of the fallen police officers, Tuesday, July 12, 2016, in Dallas. Five police officers were killed and several injured during a shooting in downtown Dallas last Thursday night. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

President Obama's lecture in Dallas

President Obama flew to Dallas Tuesday to heal broken hearts, and did what he does best — break hearts into smaller pieces. He used the occasion of a memorial service, with the broken families and heartsick friends of the five slain Dallas police officers sitting before him, to offer only his lecture to white folks to repent of their sins.

President Barack Obama listens to Polish President Andrzej Duda offering condolences before making statements following their meeting at PGE National Stadium in Warsaw, Poland, Friday, July 8, 2016. Obama is in Warsaw to attend the NATO Summit. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Obama's legacy of race

Americans elected their first black president eight years ago with Great Expectations, the greatest among them that that the election of a president with a brown face would improve race relations. In fact, it was this "hope" that was the most attractive qualification of Barack Obama. But hope, as he has demonstrated, is not a strategy.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch speaks about recent shootings, Friday, July 8, 2016, at the Justice Department Washington. Lynch called for peace and calm in the wake of the attack on police officers in Dallas, saying that violence is never the answer. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Sacrificing the innocent (maybe)

Caesar's wife was just born too soon. She paid the price of someone else's hanky-panky, actually someone else's attempted hanky-panky. Had she been born a millennium or two later she would have fit right in to a time and place where everything goes.

People surround a memorial in honor of the slain Dallas police officers in front of police headquarters, in Dallas, Saturday, July 9, 2016.  A peaceful protest, over the recent shootings of black men by police, turned violent Thursday night as gunman Micah Johnson shot at officers, killing several and injuring others.  (Ting Shen/The Dallas Morning News via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT; MAGS OUT; TV OUT; INTERNET USE BY AP MEMBERS ONLY; NO SALES

The lesson of Dallas

Some events speak with such loud clarity that no one, neither president nor preacher nor poet, can say anything to add to what everyone feels. President Obama, more eloquent than most, quickly exhausted adjectives speaking from Europe in the wake of the police massacre in Dallas. "Vicious, calculated, despicable and horrible" failed to adequately describe it.

FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 7, 2016, before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to explain his agency's recommendation to not prosecute Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton over her private email setup during her time as secretary of state. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Newspeak arrives in America

George Orwell recognized the seductive drift into a totalitarian society more than six decades ago. He predicted such a society would arrive with a new language he called "Newspeak." This would disguise truth with subtle elisions from word to word, concept to concept, in a simplistic fashion that would be easily propagated. The new language was to become the lingua franca by the year 1950, leading to a new tyranny that would descend by the year 1984.

Protesters march in New York's Times Square Thursday, July 7, 2016, in the wake of the shooting deaths of Philando Castile Wednesday night in Falcon Heights, Minn., after a traffic stop by St. Anthony police, and the death of Alton Sterling, who was shot by Baton Rouge police in Baton Rouge, La., while being detained earlier this week. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Tragedy in Baton Rouge

Ferguson. Baltimore. Minneapolis. Baton Rouge. What these cities, separated by thousands of miles of the American landscape, have in common is that they have become shorthand for police brutality, persuading many Americans that the nation's police are out of control.