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Why are Republican politicians so afraid of climate science?

You may have noticed lately that Republican politicians who don’t want to face the uncomfortable realities of global warming and climate change have taken to prefacing their remarks on the subject with the lame disclaimer that “I’m not a scientist, but…” As if that kind of cowardice isn’t bad enough, we also have THIS: Now, it seems, they are trying to go one better. They are trying to prevent even scientists from being scientists. Last week, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, headed by...

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Poll: Voters would be more comfortable with a gay presidential candidate than an evangelical

There is a wealth of fascinating stuff in the results of the latest monthly political poll commissioned by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News. Consider, for example, responses to hypothetical questions about how voters would feel about a presidential candidate who happens to be gay or one who claims to be an evangelical Christian. The gay candidate scores higher than the evangelical on both of the positive responses (“enthusiastic” or “comfortable”), and the evangelical candidate scores higher on both of the negative...

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For all his so-called expertise on the subject, Paul Ryan knows very little about poverty

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan — the Janesville Genius, as I mockingly call him — pretends that he knows more about poverty in America than almost anyone else. But he doesn’t. In fact, much of what he claims to know is simply wrong, as we see HERE: [F]or all Ryan’s rhetoric on poverty, he’s also the author of a series of budgets that would absolutely wreck programs for the American poor, inflicting massive human suffering on the nation’s most vulnerable residents. It’s never been exactly clear how Ryan would...

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Another politician foolishly denies that he’s a politician

You’re familiar, I’m sure, with the old joke about the first indication that a politician is lying is when his lips are moving. But what can we say about a politician whose first really big lie is his claim that he’s not a politician? Neurosurgeon Ben Carson launched his presidential candidacy yesterday with just such a lie. “I am not a politician,” he told an audience of admirers in his native Detroit. Of course, Carson is not the first Republican presidential candidate to make such a declaration. Michele...

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The most misleading word is advertising is “free”

The worst four-letter word starting with “F” is not the one that most readily comes to mind. Rather, it’s “free.” For the life of me, I’ll never understand why the government doesn’t police use of the word “free” in marketing and advertising. The word almost never lives up to its definition — at least not in advertising. If you have to buy something to get something else for “free,” then  that something else is not actually free. It’s blatantly dishonest to suggest...

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Federal aid to poor people is nowhere near as lavish as you might think

The recent problems in Baltimore have given rise in some quarters to discussions of values and opportunities and class distinctions. Yes, there also has been much talk about racial matters, but the fundamental problem of inequality in income and opportunity goes well beyond racial differences. The conversation also involves misunderstandings of just how much the federal government is paying to help the poor among us. Nobel economist Paul Krugman POINTS UP some of the popular falsehoods in that regard: And it’s also disheartening to see...

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Forty-five years ago today, an event in Ohio indirectly changed Rockford politics

On this date in 1970, four students at Kent State University in Ohio were shot and killed by members of the National Guard at an antiwar demonstration — setting in motion a chain of events that influenced politics in the Rockford area. A little background: President Richard Nixon went on television on April 30 to announce an American military “incursion” into Cambodia. This move was condemned in many quarters as a widening of the Vietnam War. In Congress, lawmakers raised cries of protest. And on college campuses — big...

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Republican chair of House Science Committee peddles non-facts on climate change

When it comes to scientific matters, U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, is not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer. Not even close. So, of course, his party has made Smith chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, which gives him a platform to spout nonsense on all kinds of issues about which he knows little or nothing. Consider, for example, a recent op-ed written by Smith and titled “The Climate Change Religion.” Most of the claims made in that piece don’t hold up to fact-checking by...

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What will Fox News do now with the Baltimore story? The answer seems predictable

Now that the local prosecutor is bringing criminal charges against six Baltimore police officers in connection with the alleged murder of Freddie Gray, a question arises: Where will the racists at Fox News go with the story now? I’ve already discerned a few hints this morning, and I think a full-blown strategy will emerge in the next few days, The prevaricators at Fox, especially the prime-time commentators, likely will advance the notion that the cops charged in the case have been framed to placate the “thugs” who’ve...

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Baltimore prosecutor says Freddie Gray was murdered; cops charged with crimes

The controversy in Baltimore took an explosive turn this morning when the local prosecutor said Freddie Gray’s death was a homicide. A variety of criminal charges have been brought against police officers involved in the case. HERE‘s the early news, and lots more will follow as the day goes on: The state’s attorney of Baltimore, in a unexpected announcement, said Friday that she had probable cause to file homicide, manslaughter and misconduct charges against the police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, who died after...

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Too many people don’t understand the meaning of scientific consensus

Let me stipulate at the outset here that I am not a scientist. Far from it. But I try my best to understand science, and I become frustrated by people who reject scientific consensus without a shred of good evidence — or any evidence, in some cases — simply because it runs counter to their political, cultural or religious beliefs. It’s that way with evolution and global warming. I know people who can’t bring themselves to embrace either concept — but also can’t offer scientific reasons for their dissent....

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Televangelist makes one big mistake in predicting that the world will end this year

It has come to my attention that televangelist John Hagee (above) is predicting that the world will end sometime this year — owing, I’m informed, to “four blood moons” or some such phenomenon that captures his imagination. I’m not going to tell you that Hagee’s sense of this matter is completely wacky. He might even be right. For all I know, the world might end before you have a chance to read this blog post. But Hagee is making the same mistake all famous doomsayers make: He’s going public with his...

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