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Child’s Play

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In a week when one of Osama bin Laden’s former concubines revealed that the terrorist was reserving his greatest love of all for Whitney ­Houston—she of the arguably jihad-friendly belief “that children are our future”—juvenile behavior seemed to be in evidence everywhere. Iran, suddenly the most popular kid in the Middle Eastern clique, flirted with the U.N. but refused to play nice when asked for a time-out on enriching uranium. A pouty ­President Bush declared that France would never be America’s BFF unless Jacques Chirac coughed up more than 200 troops to patrol southern Lebanon. The rejuvenated Yankees swept five games from the ­second-place Red Sox; wunderkind Boston general manager Theo Epstein whined that he hadn’t signed Bobby “Mr. August” Abreu because the dog had eaten his checkbook. Viacom dumped Tom Cruise for jumping on Oprah’s furniture. A sibling pair of hipster bank robbers who’d pulled off three city heists were nabbed when the brother tattled on his little sister outside a West Side methadone clinic. Meanwhile, there was reason to worry about actual children’s futures. JonBenet Ramsey’s sad story was back in the news. A Harvard study showed that kids are fatter than ever, and at younger ages. New York State’s number of “persistently dangerous” schools—such as, say, the one where two 12-year-olds were found wrestling over a loaded gun last year—more than tripled. Millionaire Senate candidate KT McFarland’s teenage daughter was busted for taking a five-finger discount on bikinis and jeans at two Hamptons boutiques. A 12-year-old Staten Islander playing in the Little League World Series dropped the F-bomb on national TV and received both a paternal smack from his coach and a stern talking-to from his parents. “My family’s upset,” he admitted. As Osama might say, quoting Whitney, “If I fail, if I succeed / At least I live as I believe.”

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