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• “Spin” has become an inexorable part of the political process, and if you hear President Obama tell it, his bus tour through Iowa isn’t a campaign trip, saying instead that it’s a way to take the pulse of the country. But it has all the trappings of a political hoorah, and of course that’s what it is. We’re not blaming the president for that, only noticing that when it comes to spin, the White House is as accomplished at it as any politician at any level.

• Speaking of spin, we couldn’t help but chuckle -- although with a dose of disgust -- the explanation of an Arkansas woman who was arrested for allegedly stealing 185 copies of a newspaper so she could clip the coupons for discount shopping. She told police she didn’t think it was illegal. That reminds us of the old Steve Martin joke, “Your honor, I didn’t know it was illegal to rob a bank.” Sure.

• If it seems like Mother Nature has been unusually cruel this year, it’s because she has. This year has equaled 2008 as having the most disasters that cost a billion dollars or more -- nine so far in 2011, with hurricane season still upon us. There are those who claim climate change is only a myth. Those people apparently haven’t suffered though any of these tragedies -- or the overbearing heat that has plagued the South this year.

• When a goodwill basketball game between the Georgetown University Hoyas and the Bayi Rockets, a Chinese team, erupted into a brawl during the second half last week, the term “goodwill” took a backseat. Perhaps chess would be a better sport for the two countries to engage in.

• “Let the wiener wars begin,” Judge Morton Denlow said in Chicago last week as he opened a trial in which the two largest makers of hot dogs are going at it. Sara Lee, which makes Ball Park franks, and Kraft Foods, which makes Oscar Meyer wieners, are suing each over of a broad range of issues, including false advertising. We don’t know how the trial will go, but it certainly has the potential to produce some of the best puns and witticisms in legal history.