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Has Sean Spicer unwittingly revealed Donald Trump’s fear of the Russia scandal?

  At his daily briefing Tuesday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer seems to have conveyed more information than he intended. Spicer got into an awkward dust-up with veteran reporter April Ryan when she asked a question concerning investigations of the possible ties between Donald Trump’s election campaign and the Russian government. He implied that the matter is a baseless obsession among the biased media and said there’s really nothing to it. Reports of this exchange have focused mainly on Spicer’s...

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Five years ago, I first scoffed at the thought of Trump becoming president

  On Jan. 31, 2012, months before Mitt Romney nailed down the Republican nomination as his party’s choice to challenge Barack Obama’s bid for a second term in the White House, I wrote this: Donald Trump, the notorious Birther buffoon and reality TV star, is again desperately trying to attract attention amid all the media buzz over this year’s presidential race. We haven’t heard much from The Donald in a political context since his offer to host a Republican presidential debate last month was humiliatingly declined...

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Chuck Schumer should read my blog

  Earlier this afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer demonstrated the political ignorance that results from his apparent failure to regularly read this blog. Pity the poor fool. If all of America’s politicians closely followed my scribblings, this would be a better country. In a statement concerning some current controversy in Washington, Schumer said that Congress, in its relationship with the White House, “is intended to be separate and equal.” The New York lawmaker is wrong on that matter, as I’ve...

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Pining for the good old days is a tricky exercise

  When I think back to the days of my childhood more than 65 years ago, I try to be honest with myself and remember that those times weren’t always as idyllic as they sometimes seem in retrospect. I’ve managed to remember that some of the endless summer days so fondly recalled by so many people actually were pretty boring. Conversations among kids in our neighborhood often amounted to little more than woefully asking one another what we could do to amuse ourselves. But we tend to forget those doldrums when we think back on...

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Polls in November election were not as wrong as you’ve been told

  To hear some people tell it, the major national political polls missed the mark so badly in the November presidential election that their continued existence should be called into question. The truth of the matter is that the final national numbers posted by most of the big polls were pretty close to the actual results — well within the pollsters’ stated margins of error. To wit, the last of the major pre-election polls foresaw, on average, that Hillary Clinton would carry the national popular vote by about 3 percentage...

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Neil Gorsuch should, but won’t, refuse to take stolen seat on Supreme Court

  Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s nominee to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court, seems likely to win Senate confirmation — and it’s a shame. When Scalia died suddenly early last year, then-President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy on the high court. Obama said: I simply ask Republicans in the Senate to give him a fair hearing and then an up-or-down vote. If you don’t, then it will not only be an abdication of the Senate’s constitutional duty, it will indicate a process...

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Trump’s biggest problem is his lack of humility

  FBI Director James Comey confirmed before Congress on Monday what every American with an ounce of intelligence already knew, namely that President Trump’s claim that he was “wiretapped” at the orders of his predecessor, Barack Obama, is unsupported by proof. Trump made the allegation a few weeks ago in a series of tweets, but he failed to offer even a shred of evidence. Comey said there is no such evidence as far as his agency and other government intelligence agencies can determine. Nor is there any evidence...

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Here’s evidence that I was born at just the right time

  The death of rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry the other day reminds me that I was born at a culturally advantageous time. When the rock culture first emerged, it was said that this new music appealed mainly to teenagers. That observation was reinforced in my mind by the fact that I became a teenager at the birth of this musical phenomenon. I turned 13 in 1955, the same year that Chuck Berry recorded his first hit, “Maybelline.” All the members of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, legendary British rock bands, also were...

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Here’s how Rockford almost became part of Wisconsin

  Twice this week, I’ve posted essays on how World War I had profound effects on the Rockford area. Well, I’m sticking with the historical theme in this little-known story of how the Rockford area nearly became a part of the state of Wisconsin: When Europeans “discovered” North America, a period of disputes followed among England, France and Spain over control of the Rock River region. After the British were defeated in the American Revolution, Illinois became part of the Northwest Territory, and then, in 1809, a territory...

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Trump’s bigoted rhetoric trips him up in federal court

  It’s safe to say, I would think, that very few Americans have noticed how Donald Trump’s public statements of bias against the Islamic faith apparently played an important role in yesterday’s ruling by a federal judge in Hawaii blocking implementation of the government’s revised travel ban against citizens of six Muslim-majority countries. In a strongly-worded 43-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson pointed to comments made by Trump and his advisers as evidence that his order was intended to...

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World War I profoundly changed Rockford

  (This is the second of two posts about the changes Rockford experienced when the United States entered World War I a century ago. The first post told of federal prosecution of local opponents of military conscription, among other matters.) Prior to April of 1917, the United States in general and Rockford in particular were content to thrive on the industrial boom spawned by the European conflict, but there was no groundswell for American military involvement. In fact, the nation re-elected Woodrow Wilson as president in 1916 on his...

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Rockford’s role in the war to end all wars

  A scene from 100 years ago this coming spring: It was an odd hour for a parade, but at 9 p.m. sharp on the warm night of June 6, 1917, some 200 men, women and children stepped onto East State near 6th Street in Rockford and began walking west toward the Rock River. By the time the group crossed the State Street bridge, 500 antagonists had joined the procession from behind. When the marchers got to the Church Street side of the Winnebago County Courthouse, where the jail was located, thousands of people filled the yard and surrounding...

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