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Evidence suggests that political polls tend to undercount Democrats

Republicans have complained from time to time that polls are biased against them, but now there’s evidence that the opposite might actually be the case. It could be that many of the major polling outfits are undercounting Democrats. Nate Cohn has a long piece on this matter HERE: Polls show that the Republicans have an advantage in the fight for control of the Senate. They lead in enough states to win control, and they have additional opportunities in North Carolina and New Hampshire to make up for potential upsets. As Election Day...

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Friendly tip to creationists: Believe what you want, but don’t say evolution is just a theory

When Pope Francis mentioned his belief in the theory of evolution the other day, the story got more play in the media than it probably deserved. Francis is not the first pope to express such sentiments, and Catholic schools have been teaching Darwinism for many years. But at least the prominence afforded the pope’s remarks served the useful purpose of reminding the world that not all Christians subscribe to the theory of young earth creationism, the belief that the world was created in six days about 6,000 years ago. Now, you may have...

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Does more widespread education lead to less religion? Not necessarily

The widespread notion that an increase in a person’s level of education inevitably leads to a decline in religious fervor is challenged HERE: Globally, we’ve seen a massive rise in education, without a uniform change in religious beliefs. In 1970, only about 40 percent of children worldwide enrolled in secondary education; four decades later, the rate had climbed to 73 percent. In developing nations, the increases have been substantial: In sub-Saharan Africa, enrollment rates have grown from 13 percent to 41 percent. In Pakistan, the average...

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Does either party have momentum going into the mid-term elections?

George H.W. Bush called it “the Big Mo” and  saw it  as a portent of his eventual victory in the presidential election of 1988. He was referring, of course, to his feeling that momentum was on his side as Election Day drew near. But, while Bush’s sense of momentum was correct, there have been other instances where Big Mo was just an illusion. For example, Mitt Romney and more than a few of his supporters thought that momentum was on his side at this point  two years ago. They were wrong. As this year’s mid-term U.S. ...

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Highly-respected medical journal says broad Ebola quarantines do more harm than good

As you’ve no doubt heard by now, the governors of several states have imposed 21-day quarantines on health care workers returning to America from regions where they may have cared for patients with Ebola virus disease. This strategy probably is politically popular, but it’s strongly opposed by most medical experts, including editors of the  estimable New England Journal of Medicine, who say it’s ” like driving a carpet tack with a sledgehammer: it gets the job done but overall is more destructive than...

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Fox News peddles blatant falsehood about so-called voter fraud

Fox News Channel has long been the ratings leader among cable news outlets — mainly because it knows how to rile its core audience, which consists mostly of viewers who are at least 69 years old. The formula is simple: Give the gullible geezers a steady of diet of stuff that will anger them even more than the kids who are always playing in their yards. A perfect example was afforded the other day by Fox anchor Megyn Kelly (above),  who told her viewers that Democratic officials in Colorado have come up with a dastardly scheme that...

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Should we get rid of daylight-saving time?

We’re all going to turn our clocks back this coming Sunday, which brings to mind the joke about having to bother getting up at 2 a.m. to make the change as mandated by law and custom. But seriously, folks, daylight-saving time is a wonderful institution, if only because it’s always been a subject of controversy — and I like controversies. On the other hand, if you divide the human race into day people and night people, I guess I’m one of the latter, which suggests that I should oppose DST. Maybe I’m actually of...

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Republican opposition to government spending has spawned a decline in public infrastructure

Nobel economist Paul Krugman NAILS IT: America used to be a country that built for the future. Sometimes the government built directly: Public projects, from the Erie Canal to the Interstate Highway System, provided the backbone for economic growth. Sometimes it provided incentives to the private sector, like land grants to spur railroad construction. Either way, there was broad support for spending that would make us richer. But nowadays we simply won’t invest, even when the need is obvious and the timing couldn’t be better. And don’t tell...

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It’s naive to say that American politics weren’t as nasty in the good old days

Most eligible voters won’t bother to vote in next week’s midterm elections, and probably less than 6 in 10 will participate in the presidential election two years hence. Of course, such apathy is a national disgrace and is unparalleled among the world’s largest industrial democracies. Countless Americans have died to secure their countrymen’s right to vote, but millions of potential beneficiaries of such sacrifices seem not to care very much. For sheer ignorance, my favorite excuse for such apathy is the oft-heard...

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Republicans never deliver on their promises to impeach Obama or sue him or whatever

I have to admit, I’m afraid, that Republican politicians have been pretty good at placating the angry hordes of Obama-haters with solemn promises that they’re going to sue the guy for something or other or might even impeach him one of these days. All of this rhetoric has given rise to persistent confidence on the part of the more naive wingnuts that Obama’s presidency will never last through two terms. I’ve received countless comments on my blog to the effect that America surely will rise up and send this unpatriotic...

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The NFL is a socialistic enterprise, and the Packers are the league’s most socialistic team

I’ve always wondered how politically conservative fans of the National Football League reconcile their advocacy of unbridled free enterprise with their enthusiastic support  of a blatantly socialistic enterprise. This hypocrisy is especially conspicuous among fans of the Green Bay Packers, the most socialistic of all NFL teams. As we ponder this situation, let’s stipulate at the outset that socialism is more of an economic arrangement than a political one. Let’s acknowledge that all governments, even conservative ones, are at...

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Have we lost our democracy in America?

Timothy Egan ventures an answer to the question above: How did we lose our democracy? Slowly at first, and then all at once. This fall, voters are more disgusted, more bored and more cynical about the midterm elections than at any time in at least two decades… You can trace the Great Breach to Justice [Anthony] Kennedy’s words in the 2010 Citizens United case, which gave wealthy, secret donors unlimited power to manipulate American elections. The decision legalized large-scale bribery — O.K., influence buying — and ensured that we would...

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