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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton laughs during a campaign stop in Charleston, W.V., Tuesday, May 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The ‘friend’ of West Virginia

The loose lips that sink ships, as in a memorable World War II cautionary slogan, can sink a careless candidate, too. West Virginia was a reliable blue state in 1999 when Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore were preparing for what would become an epic battle for the White House. West Virginia looked safe for the Democratic nominee; the state had not voted for a Republican in 36 years.

President Barack Obama greets guests after awarding the 2016 National Teacher of the Year to Jahana Hayes, Tuesday, May 3, 2016, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Slouching toward a war

The endless wars in the Middle East continue. America and the West, despite the most fervent wishes, can’t escape them. Despite President Obama’s insistence that he has pulled America out of the conflicts, an American role continues. It’s the curse of big power.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at Williamson Health and Wellness Center in Williamson, W.Va., Monday, May 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Hillary steps off the reservation

Words, words, words. Words are the evil that makes life miserable. Some people think if only we could abolish words, everyone would live in perfect peace, happy harmony and sweet silence. Hillary Clinton demonstrated the other day just how destructive words can be. She thought she was needling her wayward husband, and it turned out she was cutting herself.

In this Aug. 3, 2012, file photo, former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling looks on after being introduced as a new member of the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame before a baseball game between the Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park in Boston. Schilling is defending himself after making comments on social media about transgender people, saying he was expressing his opinion. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson, File)

Shunning a baseball legend

Rewriting history was a full-time job in the old Soviet Union, with bureaucrats in the Kremlin staying up late to eliminate public figures from the nation’s collective memory, depending on whomever collided with a whim of the dictator of the day. Out-of-favor comrades of Lenin, Stalin and others were arrested, tried in kangaroo courts, and executed.

President Barack Obama speaks at the International Jazz Day Concert on the South Lawn of the White House of the Washington, Friday, April 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Obama’s legacy in the Pacific

Among the reliable allies of the United States in the modern era, dating from the end of World War II and the arrival of the Cold War in Asia, few have been more reliable than Japan. Friendship between Japan and the United States remains the keystone of American strategy for peace and stability in the region.

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton pauses while speaking during a campaign event at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Hillary's costly '13 Hours'

Despite everything President Obama and Hillary Clinton do, Benghazi just won't stay buried. The most explosive debacle of the Obama presidency, which dramatically exposed the folly and deceit of Mr. Obama's strategy of "leading from behind," comes now to the silver screen. The movie threatens to severely damage the presidential plans of his former secretary of state.

In this Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, photo, Cornelio Bonilla pumps gas at Best Food Mart gas station in Gainesville Ga. 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. (AP Photo/Kevin Liles)

Burn, baby, burn

Oil is a complicated global commodity, but it operates on a simple fact: A surplus like the world enjoys now leaves more green in the pockets of consumers. As the center of gravity in the global marketplace, however, oil shakes the fortunes of nations as the price of oil soars and plunges.

FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2007 file photo, the flags of member nations fly outside of the United Nations headquarters in New York. The worsening war in Syria, allegations of child sexual abuse by U.N. peacekeepers and the mishandling of the Ebola epidemic cast a spotlight on the inadequacies of the United Nations in a globalized world, operating with a power structure that hasn't changed since 1945. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

A new job for the president

About this time in every president's final term, he starts looking for work. Most presidents start collecting string for writing their memoirs, or raising money to build libraries as shrines to themselves. Harry S. Truman thought a seat in Congress might be appropriate for ex-presidents, and John Quincy Adams actually got himself elected to the House of Representatives.

President Barack Obama speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama's no-buy list

Given a choice between doing something and doing nothing, something usually wins, even when something is the wrong thing to do. In addition to moving himself to tears in recalling tragic shootings during his presidency, Barack Obama has taken wrong steps to prevent new ones with his executive order changing background checks for gun purchasers.

President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Jan. 20, 2015, as Vice President Joe Biden applauds and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio listens. (Associated Press)

President Obama's last hurrah

By President Obama's lights, he has saved the best for last. In a leaked peek at his final State of the Union address Tuesday night, he says that he wants to focus on "the big things" that will have importance "in the years to come." Among these are his "successes" in handling of the economy, climate change and gun control.

The price of uncontrolled immigration

The waves of migrants flooding across Europe, from North Africa through the Middle East to Pakistan and even Bangladesh, now threaten the very existence of the European Union. The promise of cheap and easily abused labor, which glittered like so much fool's gold in the eyes of the business elites, suddenly looks like the promise of a nightmare.

Multiculturalism reconsidered

Ageneration ago the Europeans, who had bled themselves white in war after war, usually in the service of chauvinistic nationalism, decided they could save the day with a new concept called multiculturalism. The concept was vague but expansive, which celebrated ethnic and other cultural differences and sprinkling them with holy water.

In this frame from a Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016 video provided by the Philadelphia Police Department, Edward Archer runs with a gun toward a police car driven by Officer Jesse Hartnett in Philadelphia. Archer, using a gun stolen from police, said he was acting in the name of Islam when he ambushed Hartnett sitting in his marked cruiser at an intersection, firing shots at point-blank range, authorities said. (Philadelphia Police Department via AP)

Another town, another attack on a cop

When a religious zealot fires 13 shots at a Philadelphia policeman, hitting him three times, and says he did it in the name of radical Islam and the mayor says no, religious belief had nothing to do with the shooter's motives, who should we believe? The mayor or our very own eyes and ears?

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.