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No more chants! No more chants!

  Something I saw on cable TV this afternoon reminded me of a point I’ve made previously on this blog — the ridiculousness of most chants at protest demonstrations. The scene today was outside the arena in Philadelphia where the Democratic National Convention is unfolding this week. Die-hard supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders were chanting a message woefully out of step with currently political reality. “Bernie beats Trump!” they shouted. “Bernie beats Trump!” I think they were referring to a recent...

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For bitter backers of Bernie, here’s a lesson in political math

  It’s safe to say, I’m sure, that the overwhelming majority of supporters of Bernie Sanders do not want Donald Trump to become president. But it’s also safe to say, I’m afraid, that some of Bernie’s disappointed backers will unwittingly support Trump’s cause without actually voting for him. You see, Trump will benefit not only from votes for him but also from votes for minor-party candidates and from votes that are not cast at all. A candidate doesn’t need a majority of the popular vote to win...

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Trump is peddling nonsense about crime

  There is perhaps no subject in America that more readily lends itself to political distortion than crime rates. Donald Trump is fully aware of this, as evidenced by the incessant fear-mongering in his political rhetoric. In his big speech last night at the Republican Convention, The Donald did his best to misrepresent the overall picture of crime in the past few decades. The truth of the matter is that crime stats tend to fluctuate from time to time and from locale to locale. This makes the causes of crime difficult to pinpoint and...

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In politics, the enemy of my enemy is sometimes my friend

  Like anyone else with at least half a brain, I greatly enjoyed the spectacle at the Republican Convention Wednesday night when the insufferable Ted Cruz gave the proverbial finger to the even more insufferable Donald Trump. Ordinarily, a loser in the race for a party’s presidential nomination is allowed to speak at the convention only for purposes of burying the hatchet and endorsing the nominee in the general election. But that wasn’t the case with Cruz. Trump’s people seem to have blundered in inviting Cruz to speak...

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At this point, Hillary seems likely to win the election

  As an opinionated political writer for more than 50 years, I’ve always endeavored to keep my biases out of my presidential-election predictions. The result has been that I’ve correctly forecast the defeat of several candidates for whom I have voted. And only one of my final predictions has proved wrong –the storied election of 2000, when George W. Bush defeated Al Gore with help from the U.S. Supreme Court. In most cases, there’s nothing especially tricky about picking the winner of a presidential election. You...

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Mrs. Obama cribbed from Mrs. Trump’s speech — eight years in advance!

  Most Americans had already gone to bed or had shifted their attention to non-political matters when it was revealed last night that Melania Trump’s address to the Republican National Convention included several passages that also were used by Michele Obama in a speech of 2008. Oh, the shame of it all! Of course, the liberal media are trying to suggest that whoever wrote the passages at issue for the Trump woman plagiarized them from Mrs. Obama’s speech. But true-blue patriotic Americans know better, don’t we? The...

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The season of poll-watching will soon hit high gear

  When the national political conventions of this week and next are finally behind us, the American public and the news media will pay increasing attention to what the presidential polls are telling us. But it’s a tricky business in almost every respect. Accurate polls are increasingly difficult to conduct, especially in this age of cell phones. And most of the media do a poor job of interpreting poll results. Consider this situation: As of this morning (Monday, July 18), the latest editions of six national polls show Hillary...

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Enough already with the foolish push for term limits

  This Independence Day weekend is as good a time as any to make my fundamental case against the mistaken notion that term limits would help cure some of the nation’s political problems. Term limits are a terrible idea, as I’ve argued on countless occasions. And on most of those occasions, I’ve invoked the words of Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of modern Republican conservatism (at least he was before the GOP went completely bonkers in recent years). In his presidential farewell address in 1989, Reagan rightly pointed out that...

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“Born in the USA” is NOT a patriotic song

  It’s a pretty safe bet that Bruce Springsteen’s familiar anthem “Born in the USA” will blare from loud speakers at more than a few Independence Day celebrations on this holiday weekend, as it has for more than 30 years. Similarly, lots of radio stations will include it on their playlists in a spirit of patriotism. I feel the need, however, as I have in various forums over the years, to counter the notion that this Springsteen piece is in any way patriotic.  It’s not. Rather, it’s the sarcastic lament of an embittered Vietnam vet...

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Random stuff guaranteed to pique your interest

  Here’s a collection of observations, questions, curious facts, random musings and other such stuff that I’ve mentioned in my blog over the years. Some of them are updated to fit the passage time: –The oldest teens at the dawn of the rock ‘n’ roll era are now turning 80 years of age. –The youngest voters when Ronald Reagan was first elected president will turn 54 this year. –My paternal grandfather, my dad’s dad, was born during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. –Does anyone who...

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Notice to warming deniers: Weather and climate are different things

  Global-warming skeptics love to make the argument that the changeability of weather forecasts in the short term disproves claims by climate scientists that potential disaster lies just a few decades away as the planet heats up. The fundamental problem with such skepticism is that weather and climate are not the same thing. TV meteorologists are not climatologists. Sometimes it’s more difficult to predict whether Sunday’s ballgame will be rained out than whether melting glaciers will cause sea levels to rise by the time your toddler is...

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Obama’s poll numbers have never been as low as any of the last five GOP presidents

With about seven months remaining in his presidency, Barack Obama’s job-approval rating is not exactly great, but neither is it too shabby. The latest edition of Gallup’s three-day tracking poll shows that 50.9 percent of Americans approve of the job Obama is doing, while 45.2 disapprove. That’s a far cry from his highest rating — 69 percent — which came during the early months of his presidency. But it’s a lot better than his all-time low of 38-percent approval registered about five years ago. Perhaps the most interesting aspect...

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