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A billboard welcomes Pope Francis, at St. Mark's Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, April 27, 2017. On Friday, Francis is scheduled to begin a two-day pilgrimage to Egypt aimed at lifting the spirits of Christians in the Middle East, whose numbers have rapidly dwindled in recent decades due to war, displacement and emigration. The visit will include a meeting with Egypt's president and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar as well as a Mass in a stadium on the outskirts of Cairo. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

The war against the Christians

Persecution of Christians continues in certain parts of the world, mostly in the Middle East and throughout South and Southeast Asia, but it rarely gets much attention even in the Western media. Even many churchmen in the West turn a blind eye.

FILE - In this June 21, 2017 file photo, Ricky Dubose, left, and Donnie Russell Rowe enter the Putnam County courthouse  in Eatonton, Ga.   When the two inmates escaped from a prison bus leaving two dead guards in their wake, the reward for information leading to their capture rose quickly. During a prison transfer early on June 13,  Dubose and Rowe overpowered Sgt. Christopher Monica and Sgt. Curtis Billue, authorities said.  (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, Pool)

What a deal!

A judge in Tennessee has offered repeat offenders of minor crimes a deal: He'll reduce their jail time if they submit to sterilization. Those who take the deal get 30 days off their sentences. If they agree to take a class on the dangers of doing drugs with children in the home, he'll take off another two days of jail time.

Protecting the open mind

In his 1987 best-seller "The Closing of the American Mind," the late Allan Bloom lamented "how higher education had failed democracy and impoverished the souls of today's students." It's worse now, thanks in no small part to militant left-wing students who, not content to close their own minds, insist on the right to close the minds of others.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at a news conference to announce an international cybercrime enforcement action at the Department of Justice, Thursday, July 20, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Reforming government robbery

There's nothing "civil" about civil asset forfeiture. It's a law enforcement practice of seizing assets of suspects, who may or may not have broken the law, and it invites abuse. But Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to expand it.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., gestures to employees as he takes a tour of the manufacturing floor at a New Balance athletic shoe factory Thursday, July 20, 2017, in Lawrence, Mass. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

A resurgence of the arsenal

President Trump has taken the "Made in America" stamp on American consumer goods and put it to wider use as a slogan to inspire an economic and manufacturing renaissance. He's not the first. Bob Hope was the face of a similar campaign four decades ago, with limited success. For consumers weary of goods with "Made in China" invariably stamped on them, this is a welcome thing.

President Donald Trump listens during a "Made in America," roundtable event in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, July 19, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The Supreme Court tries again

The more the U.S. Supreme Court equivocates on deciding what President Trump's attempt to regulate the admission of refugees to the United States actually means, the more the court becomes the U.S. Court of Supreme Confusion. Lawyers are supposed to use precise language to reflect precise thinking, but often they don't.

FILE - In this June 15, 2017, file photo, newly developed robot for underwater investigation at the Fukushima's damaged reactor, moves in the water at a Toshiba Corp. test facility in Yokosuka, near Tokyo. The underwater robot on Wednesday, July 19, 2017, captured images and other data inside Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant on its first day of work. The robot is on a mission to study damage and find fuel that experts say has melted and mostly fallen to the bottom of a chamber and has been submerged by highly radioactive water. (AP Photo/Shuji Kajiyama, File)

The nuclear-free fantasy game

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for. The Bible tells us so. One of the things on anybody's wish list is a nuclear-free world. But without assurance that the hope will be redeemed such wishes are the stuff of idle delusion. That goes double for the expectation that the Trump administration's recertification of the deal proscribing Iran's nuclear program, and the United Nations' nuclear weapons ban, will give wing to the dove of peace.

'Banned in China'

The lot of a censor in China is not always a happy one. Not for lack of trying, Beijing's suppression of published opposition to its one-party Marxist rule is in trouble.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said the parliamentarian's guidance is not a ruling. (Associated Press/File)

Republicans flee the health care fight

If the Republicans in the U.S. Senate were a baseball team, they would be the 1962 New York Mets. The Mets won only 40 games that summer, losing 120, the most inept performance since 1899 when a team called the Cleveland Spiders also won only 40 games. As the Mets stumbled to the end of the disastrous season, their manager, Casey Stengel, cried out in desperate frustration: "Can't anybody here play this game?"

Gov. Kate Brown reacts to a moment in a video played after the House of Representatives enacted Sine Die to adjourn the legislative session at the state Capitol in Salem, Ore. on Friday, July 7, 2017. The Oregon Legislature has adjourned the 2017 session that saw the passage of record-funding for schools, a long-term transportation package, gun restrictions, cost-free abortions and health care funding for Medicaid and undocumented immigrants. (Anna Reed/Statesman-Journal via AP)

Oregon's abortion business gets weirder

Oregon's state motto is "Alis volat propriis," Latin for "She flies with her own wings." It's nice sentiment, full of boast and swagger, but the bird aspires to be a cuckoo, with two left wings making it difficult to fly straight.

This is an undated image made available by the World Wildlife Fund Finland of a Saimaa Ringed Seal as it rests on a rock in Lake Saimaa, Finland. Wildlife conservationists in Finland are giving endangered seals in Europe's fourth largest lake a spot of online fame _ they plan to stream encounters with some of the estimated 360 remaining seals in southeastern lake of Saimaa, in a bid to raise awareness of their plight.  (Ismo Marttinen/WWF Finland via AP)

To the Finland Station

While the United States debates whether it has "a Russian problem," and who's responsible for it, 6 million wary Finns know they have such a problem. It's inherited, and they're fearful again of a wrestling match with an old foe.

The cloud over next year

If anybody can blow a sure thing, the Republicans can, but 2018 is not shaping up yet as an opportunity for the Democrats to regain control of the U.S. Senate. Democratic candidates are raising money by the barrel, but more in partisan hope than realistic expectation.

U.S. President Donald Trump calls out to the crowd as he arrives to enter his presidential viewing stand, Sunday, July 16, 2017, during the U.S. Women's Open Golf tournament at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Restoration of the judiciary continues

Restoring the federal judiciary to its constitutional moorings is what many Americans call Job 1, and it was on this issue they put aside their considerable reservations about Donald Trump, swallowed hard, considered the alternative, hoped for the best, and cast their votes for him. On this score, he has redeemed their faith.

In this June 28, 2017, photo, marijuana plants grow at the Desert Grown Farms cultivation facility in Las Vegas. Frenzied activity at these facilities have been focused on one goal: Getting ready for the start of recreational marijuana sales Saturday in Nevada. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Where there's smoke there's revenue

The potheads and the revenooers of Nevada are in the throes of a marijuana emergency. It's not that the potheads are smoking too much of it. It's that the revenooers can't get enough of it to the potheads. There's plenty of pot but there aren't enough drivers to transport the weed to the legal market.

The Pascagoula River floods streets as Tropical Storm Cindy drops heavy rains, Saturday, June 24, 2017, near Escatawpa, Miss. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Zealotry is no substitute for science

On its way out the door last January, the Obama administration took care to satisfy the demands of helpful special interests, issuing many new and often loosely written environmental rules. One of these, the "Waters of the United States" rule, which attempted to declare everything short of milady's bathtub a navigable river or stream, and subject to regulation by overly zealous bureaucrats, has been ruled out of order. But others just as absurd have not.

More youths, cheaper coverage

A recent Gallup survey found that the number of uninsured Americans increased by 2 million this year ("U.S. uninsured up by 2M this year as gains erode: Survey," Web, July 10). Coverage losses were most prominent among young adults.

This is a Feb. 2017 image of the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica made available by the Antarctic Survey on Wednesday July 12, 2017. A vast iceberg with twice the volume of Lake Erie has broken off from a key floating ice shelf in Antarctica, scientists said Wednesday. The iceberg broke off from the Larsen C ice shelf, scientists at the University of Swansea in Britain said. The iceberg, which is likely to be named A68, is described as weighing 1 trillion tons (1.12 trillion U.S. tons). (British Antarctic Survey via AP)

Confronting the temperature taboo

The New York Times has discovered peril in the Arctic. "Explorers and fishermen find climate moderating about Spitzbergen and the Eastern Arctic," the newspaper reports, and seal hunters and explorers who sail those icy seas "point to a radical change in climactic conditions, and hitherto unheard of temperatures in that part of the earth."

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2016 file photo, President Barack Obama talks with Russia's President Vladimir Putin at the opening session of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Lima, Peru. When U.S. and Russian presidents meet, the rest of the world stops to watch. For decades, summits between leaders of the world powers have been heavily anticipated affairs in which every word, handshake and facial expression is scrutinized. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Arsonists to put out the fire

Barack Obama is back at last from his new career of hanging out with the 1-percenters, eager to headline a big-dollar fundraiser for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee at a private home in Washington. The Democratic Party has all but disappeared in many state capitols, but where's there's a pulse, there's wan hope.

FILE - In this Dec. 3, 2013, file photo, Missouri Sen. Eric Schmit, leads a meeting at the Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo. Schmitt, now the Missouri State Treasurer, offered strong criticism of the state budget of Illinois on Tuesday, June 11, 2017, in St. Louis. The first-term Republican spoke at a news conference along the Mississippi River in St. Louis, urging Missouri lawmakers to avoid the pitfalls that have befallen neighboring Illinois. (Kile Brewer/The Jefferson City News-Tribune via AP, File

When the wolf is at the door

In a normal, minimally competently run state, the adoption of the state's budget is news among the ads for toenail fungus cures on Page 12, along with the usual items about dog biting man. Setting budgets, after all, is a routine responsibility of the state, like building roads and keeping the public schools open. Alas, that's more than residents of Illinois can expect.

In this July 7, 2017, file photo, France's President Emmanuel Macron talks with U.S. President Donald Trump after the family photo on the first day of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)

Treason, anyone?

Hysteria is never a substitute for argument, even when the prey is Donald Trump. This is a caution lost on the hysterics who, try as they might, cannot dispatch the president to the island of lost presidents. So they keep raising the ante of speech and fantasy.

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