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LANE FILLER: The illogical defense of Adrian Peterson

To me, the whole “My parents did (insert anything from the banal to the psychotic here) and I turned out fine” rationale doesn’t hold a lot of water. That’s particularly true in the case of NFL running back Adrian Peterson, accused of beating his son with a tree branch, and the people coming out to support him with the “My parents beat me with a tree branch and I turned out just fine” spiel.

DOYLE MCMANUS: Old echoes in America’s new Middle East policy

Here’s the nightmare scenario that kept Obama administration officials awake at night this summer as they watched the black-masked guerrillas of Islamic State sweep across Iraq: First, the insurgents could invade Baghdad, toppling Iraq’s government and forcing a Saigon-style evacuation of the U.S. Embassy. Then they could move into Jordan, a close U.S. ally that has maintained a peaceful border with Israel for a generation. From there, they could even threaten Saudi Arabia, the linchpin of the world’s oil markets.

Beefing up trade could cool India-China tensions

Relations between China and India — the world’s two most populous countries, neighbors and rivals — have long been prickly. But when China’s President Xi Jinping travels to Gujarat and New Delhi this week for his first bilateral meeting with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he will have a unique window of opportunity, with some help from Modi of course, to change the dynamic of that relationship decisively.

On Islamic State plan, voters aren’t divided on party lines

Last week, President Obama laid out his plan for attacking the Islamic State, and the immediate response from Republicans was almost uniformly negative. That wasn’t surprising, given that one of the opposition’s duties is to say that the president is wrong about everything, but if you expected that all Republican voters would fall in line with their leaders, you’d be wrong. A poll from the Pew Research Center taken after the speech shows a remarkable level of agreement about this new military undertaking.

Waiting for the new shows

One of the many, many things I love about fall is the slate of brand new television shows it brings with it. That particular phenomenon is about to unfold and I find myself in a bit of a whirl about it. I absolutely can’t wait for a couple of shows to return and I am really excited to see how a couple of new ones turn out.

New anti-semitism in Germany isn’t the same

It should surprise no one that representatives from across Germany’s political establishment, including the President and Chancellor, turned out for a rally against anti-Semitism in Berlin on Sunday, given the country’s history and a series of ugly anti-Israel protests this summer. The small size of the crowd was less expected, but Germany isn’t sliding back into the habits of the 1930s — today’s anti-Semitism has an altogether different source.

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Scots aren’t the only angry ones wanting independence

This week’s referendum in Scotland could result in the U.K. losing almost one-third of its landmass, and 8 percent of its population, and, very likely, its present prime minister. In a summer rich with shocks, the breakup of a United Nations Security Council member suddenly seems more likely than the long-predicted fracturing of Iraq.

Do better tomorrow

Mistakes happen. It’s a fact of life. Sometimes they’re little mistakes: The chicken cooked too long and now it’s dry. Sometimes they’re huge mistakes that make us want to crawl back under the covers and stay there until a week or two has passed.

Clapped out

In his 1973 opus “The Gulag Archipelago,” Russian novelist and historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn relayed a story from a Soviet party conference during the rule of Joseph Stalin, noted dictator and late-night cinema enthusiast . The Communist leader had just given a rousing speech — or at least I assume it was rousing, given what happened next: