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National Commentary

Twitter suggests Scotland may go it alone

Opinion polls remain inconclusive as to whether Scotland will decide to secede Thursday, as the final hours tick by before a referendum. Still, an analysis of Twitter messages by academics at Oxford University has shed a little more light, suggesting that the momentum is with those who favor independence.

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.

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.

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.

Contests and Promotions

A delay does not a hero make

President Barack Obama wanted to try out another experiment in unilateral government, was persuaded it would hurt Democrats in the coming election, and backed up. The trick he had in mind — finding ways to make some illegal immigrants legal without the approval of Congress — now won’t happen until after November. Then, however, we just might get a storm for which no shelters are yet constructed.

Roger Goodell’s quest to measure up

Proudly displayed on the wall of the Commissioner of the National Football League is an instant replay, of sorts — a freeze-frame of Commissioner Roger Goodell’s personal hero, in his most famous performance.

The wrong lessons from the next war

WASHINGTON — Whether President Barack Obama’s plan to combat the Islamic State actually degrades and destroys the organization may take years to determine, but the debate in the coming weeks over that policy will tell us whether America can have a public discussion about the use of military power during a time of high anxiety.