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Why do so many right-wingers hate science?

  Yesterday, I wrote here about columnist George Will’s strange disagreement with the massive scientific consensus on global warming. I say “strange” simply because Will is smarter than your average denier of climate science. Today, my target is bigger and includes lots of folks who are George Will’s intellectual lessers. Let’s start with the fact that both sides in the debate over global warming have one thing in common: Hardly anybody really wants it to be true that climate-change trends pose a a...

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Tennessee fires bring to mind nonsense peddled by George Will

  Political columnist George Will is a notorious — and irresponsible — denier of mainstream scientific theories regarding global warming and climate change. To hear him tell it, if the impact of climate change on humans isn’t more calamitous year after year, the science is bogus. Joe Romm, a credentialed scientist, once put it this way, seemingly with Will in mind: “The goal of disinformers and their media allies is to create a straw man whereby those who accept the overwhelming judgment of science are accused of...

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Donald Trump differs from Antonin Scalia’s view of free speech

  When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly last winter, conservative politicians and pundits nearly stumbled over one another in their rush to sing his praises. But none of them, as far as I noticed, said a word about what was perhaps the sainted jurist’s most controversial — and bravest — opinion in a high court case. In 1989, Scalia cast the deciding vote and wrote the majority opinion in a 5-4 ruling overturning the conviction in Texas of an avowed communist who had burned the American flag at a...

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Is this guy a hopeless mental case or what?

  The latest example of Donald Trump’s lack of mental balance arises from his gargantuan ego. Follow me here: Trump thinks the election recount sought by Jill Stein of the Green Party in Wisconsin and perhaps a few other states is a waste of time. In a tweet he posted yesterday, he said this of Stein’s effort: “So much time and money will be spent – same result! Sad” There’s nothing outrageous about his opinion on that matter. Lots of people, including more than a few Democrats, agree with him. But in...

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Arguments favoring Electoral College are lame

  For more than two weeks now, Americans have been debating the relative merits of the Electoral College — as if there were any merits. The simple fact that proponents of the electoral  system cannot avoid is that it makes the votes of some people count for more than those of certain other people. That makes it fundamentally un-American. But that’s all right with most conservatives. After all, it allowed Donald Trump to defeat Hillary Clinton despite his having garnered more than two million fewer votes from the general...

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Cheer up! The happy season is at hand

  Have the prospects of a Donald Trump presidency bummed you out? Has the rise of the alt-right movement brought on a wave of the blues? Have you become convinced that American politics are on the verge of terminal madness and that society is on the brink  of collapse? Well, social research suggests that relief, temporary though it may be,  is on the way. Happy days will soon be here again, political trends not withstanding. Studies show that the three major holidays of the season — Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s...

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Reminder: The War on Christmas starts this Friday

    The day after Thanksgiving is not just Black Friday, the start of the holiday shopping season. It’s also opening day of the annual War on Christmas — or perhaps I should call it the War on the War on Christmas. There is no actual War on Christmas, at least none that should concern us. But there is a fevered battle against an imaginary War on Christmas, with Fox News Channel leading the charge. Phony as it is, I love the War on Christmas. It lays bare the persecution complex among certain Christians who seem to think...

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No, we need not respect Donald Trump’s presidency

  A conservative panelist on one of the cable news channels — CNN, I think it was — said the other day that all good Americans should “respect” Donald Trump’s impending presidency. Sorry, pal, but “respect” is exactly the wrong word. I’ll only acknowledge that Trump will soon be inaugurated as our 45th president, but I’m not ready to respect him in any way, shape or form — and with plenty of good reason. For starters, he finished second to Hillary Clinton in the popular vote, by...

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Should I apply for a job with the Trump team?

  You may have noticed that a few people who have denounced Donald Trump in no uncertain terms — Mitt Romney, for example — are now under consideration for appointment to important jobs in the new administration. Last spring, Romney called The Donald “a fraud” and “a phony,” among other things. But now the Mittster is said to be a possible appointee to the post of secretary of state. Certain other erstwhile critics of Trump are similarly situated. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who bad-mouthed the...

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Don’t expect an especially snowy winter this year

  Without bothering to check the weather forecasts for the coming winter season here in the nation’s heartland, I’m guessing that we won’t see the heavy snows so many of us remember from decades ago. We’re in the latter half of November now, and I’m sure the news wires are carrying plenty of official and semi-official predictions of the weather we can expect once winter arrives. But I’m studiously avoiding such stuff. Rather, I’m looking only at the big picture in trying to make a point...

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My war against “media” as a singular is all but lost

  On several occasions over the years, I’ve written here about the ungrammatical and misleading use of the word “media” as a singular rather than a plural. But the misuse has become so widespread that it’s now considered acceptable in some, perhaps even most, quarters. Well, it’s not acceptable to me. “Media” is a Latin word, and it’s plural. Using the word as a singular (“the media is…”) only invites the notion that the media are a monolith. They’re not. There are all kinds of media, many...

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Donald Trump has few, if any, firm beliefs

  Trying to figure what Donald John Trump will do in the White House is a daunting task, to put it mildly, and likely will become more so as his presidency becomes a reality. The fundamental problem here is that Trump frequently changes his mind — and usually without bothering to explain the changes. In the 17 months since he announced his presidential candidacy, his positions on everything from immigration to taxes to the minimum wage have shifted and then shifted again. And when he’s questioned about these shifts, he often...

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