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Twin sisters Jessica Torres, left, and Danielle Novoa hold an American flag during the Hope Border Institute prayer vigil for the victims of Saturday's mass shooting at a shopping complex,  Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. (Mark Lambie/The El Paso Times via AP)

'Do something,' but something smart

It has happened again, and again. Not one, but two mass shootings over the weekend have triggered a desperate national outcry for action to stop the carnage. With a Texas-sized massacre in El Paso followed by another in Ohio, Dayton-area mourners punctuated a vigil led by Gov. Mike DeWine with chants of "do something." Indeed, something must be done, or possibly many things. Whatever the remedy, though, liberty must not be trampled along the pathway to security.

President Donald Trump, front, shakes the hand of Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax as prepares to address a commemorative meeting of the Virginia General Assembly at Jamestown Settlement on the 400th anniversary of the meeting of the original House of Burgess in Jamestown, Va., Tuesday, July 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Pouting and posturing in Jamestown

It once was said that partisan differences ended at the water's edge. Jamestown, Virginia, the site of the first permanent English settlement in the Americas, dating back to 1607, is on the coast, but that water's-edge constraint was thrown overboard last week by Virginia Democrats.

From left, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Andrew Yang, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio participate in the second of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Wednesday, July 31, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Running to ruination

It takes uncommon stamina to run a marathon, and to finish. Winning takes something else again — endless tenacity juiced with the irrepressible confidence of, well, Donald Trump. The contest for the U.S. presidency requires these attributes, plus a four-leaf clover for good luck. With Democratic contenders for the 2020 election now catching their breath following their party's second series of televised debates, it's clear some contestants have the inside track and others are tripping over their shoelaces. This week's second round of debates demonstrated all are on the wrong track.

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks during the first of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Defying the conventional wisdom

It's long been political conventional wisdom that governors tend to make the best presidential candidates — think Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. So far, not this time around, however. Several Democratic governors past and present are vying for their party's nomination for the presidency. Yet they've made nary a splash. In the debate in Detroit earlier this week, former Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado and current Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana were nothing but also-rans, outshone by not only Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts but also new age guru Marianne Williamson.

Multiple groups, including Rose City Antifa, the Proud Boys and conservative activist Haley Adams protest in downtown Portland, Ore., Saturday, June 29, 2019. (Dave Killen/The Oregonian via AP)

Antifa spells anti-America

There is nothing improper about righting wrongs. Every generation has its moment to be impetuous and impatient to make the world a better place. Some actually succeed, but many fail owing to the all-too-human tendency to see an angel in the mirror and a monster on the street. Antifa, the self-proclaimed anti-fascist movement, is but the latest example of high-minded idealism gone bad. It has become the hate it hates.

In this July 20, 2019, photo, former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks at a campaign event in an electrical workers union hall in Las Vegas. Biden is proposing a sweeping criminal justice agenda that would reverse key provisions of the 1994 crime bill he helped author and which rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination have blamed for mass incarceration of racial minorities. (AP Photo/John Locher)

A bill to be proud of

In his roughly 700 years in Washington, former Vice President Joe Biden has had one bona fide achievement that he should be proud of: The 1994 crime bill that he co-authored. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act came at a time when the United States was reeling from decades of high crime rates — major American cities, including Washington, D.C., were rife with open-air drug markets and the violence that came with them.

A mail carrier for the United States Postal Service drives away after delivering mail to an apartment complex on Thursday, June 14, 2018, in Aventura, Fla. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Reforming the Postal Service

Have the folks who run the U.S. Postal Service heard the one about the first thing you do when you're stuck in a hole is to stop digging? A private corporation regulated by the United States government, it's perpetually in the red, this time to the tune of nearly $4 billion.

Former special counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Intelligence Committee hearing on his report on Russian election interference, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Wednesday, July 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

A performance to remember

Most of us have seen a bad play or two; even the Great White Way produces the occasional turkey. But it's still striking to reflect that the congressional Democrats who presided over Wednesday's hearings with former special counsel Robert Mueller actually rehearsed their roles beforehand. In the event, so bad was the performance that one wonders whether their rehearsals were straight out of Mel Brooks' "The Producers" — like Leo Bloom and Max Bialystock, it's as if they were hoping to bomb.

Former special counsel Robert Mueller, accompanied by his top aide in the investigation Aaron Zebley, right, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee hearing on his report on Russian election interference, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, July 24, 2019 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The do-over delusion

Beating a dead horse is an exercise in futility. Hammering on Robert Mueller, author of the vaunted Mueller Report, has proved no more productive. The special counsel, who searched for damning evidence proving Donald Trump's involvement with Russia's attempt to interfere with the 2016 presidential election, has spoken, and spoken again. No matter how many times Democrats demand a do-over, the results won't change. President Trump deserves better, and so does the nation.

ADVANCE FOR USE SUNDAY, JULY 14, 2019 AT 12:01 A.M. ET AND THEREAFTER. This March 29, 2017 photo shows Mission Concepcion which was dedicated in 1755 in San Antonio, Texas. A university research team and the Archdiocese of San Antonio are fast-tracking a study in 2019 that seeks to keep the historic church at Mission Concepcion comfortable and structurally sound for another 300 years. (Billy Calzada/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)

Handling a higher calling

Human thoughts seek to freely roam to the farthest corners of imagination and emotion, but there are plenty of bids to rein in their expression. Freedom to speak one's mind is on a shortening leash and, ominously, religious expression is encountering increasing hostility as well. Mounting government efforts to regulate manifestations of the human-divine connection are disturbing. How much more unprepared is officialdom likely to be in dealing with a different sort of higher calling: The coming phenomenon of human beings under the influence of artificial intelligence.

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks at the 25th Essence Festival in New Orleans, Saturday, July 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Partisan affiliation above all else

A funny thing about politics today. The Democratic Party's presidential candidates are sprinting left as fast as Michael Johnson in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics — desperate, they seem to be, to pander to a liberal base clamoring for "free" college, "free" health care, open borders along the Rio Grande, and an apparently gender-less, or at best, "gender fluid" world. (Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts recently helpfully informed her 2.8 million Twitter followers that her preferred pronouns are "She/her." Now if only she were similarly clear on the matter of her ethnic heritage.)

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