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Do you believe in these fundamental scientific facts?

If you’re like me, you take great pleasure in arguing with political conservatives about scientific matters. What makes it so much fun is that the facts are almost always on your side. I say “almost” because scientific knowledge is forever growing and changing. For example, we now know more about the origins of the universe  than we did just 50 or 100 years ago. Lots of the theories we accepted as fact when I was a kid have long since been debunked. I’m not a scientist myself. Far from it. But I try to keep up with the...

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Do Republicans respect the American flag more than Democrats?

  Some caller on a radio program I heard the other day made the claim that Republicans are more patriotic than Democrats as evidenced by their greater respect for the American flag. Of course, that’s nonsense on several counts, but it reminds me of a Cornell University study I came across a few years ago that purported to show that, as the article I saved puts it, “voters of all political persuasions shift toward conservative Republican attitudes and voting behavior” after exposure to images of the flag. That...

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Good evidence that Trump has a mental problem

  The 100th day of Donald Trump’s presidency arrives this coming Saturday, as you probably know  — and it’s driving him crazy. When it became clear recently that the 100-day landmark likely would arrive without Trump having kept most of the promises he made last October in his Contract with the American Voter, he pretended that no such pledges were made. He called the 100-day gauge a “ridiculous standard.” He denied authorship of the so-called contract. He said it was the work of a nameless...

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Mathematical quandary in Trump’s poll numbers

  A friend of mine called this morning with a few questions regarding President Trump’s low approval ratings in the latest polls. If only 2 percent of Trump supporters say they regret having voted for him, the guy asked, how can it be that 40 percent of Americans disapprove of his performance as president? His meager approval numbers suggest that more people would be sorry that they ever supported him in the first place, wouldn’t they? Good questions. And here are the answers: For starters, Trump won in the Electoral College,...

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Let’s pray for a late-April snowstorm

  It probably won’t happen, but it sure would be fun to see a big snowstorm arise in the next week or so somewhere in the continental United States. It would not be unprecedented. Indeed, every once in a while, it happens even in early May. The best thing about unseasonable snowfall is that it gets the climate-change deniers all excited. They see it as solid evidence that the global-warming alarmists have been peddling hooey all along. The deniers are completely oblivious to certain realities as described HERE by NASA scientists:...

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Right-wing reaction to Fox firing O’Reilly is hilarious

  In the wake of Fox News Channel’s dismissal of superstar Bill O’Reilly in connection with his alleged sexual harassment of women, I went slumming in the right-wing blogosphere this morning to gauge the reaction among the political booboisie. It was a creepy experience at first, but it gradually became quite entertaining. There were more than a few comments about Bill Clinton’s scandalous womanizing back in the day, as if his sexual adventures were analogous to O’Reilly’s unwelcome advances on certain...

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Is Bill O’Reilly a victim of political correctness?

  At this writing, the proverbial axe is falling on Bill O’Reilly at Fox News Channel — and many of his fans are blaming political correctness. I beg to differ on that latter point. The PC police have been howling about O’Reilly’s right-wing rants all through his 21-year career at FNC, always to no avail.  But the fates began to turn against Bill-O when The New York Times recently ran a feature piece itemizing the lawsuits filed against him by women alleging sexual harassment. The paper said O’Reilly has...

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The American populace is becoming more multiracial

  Six years ago this spring, I wrote a blog post about a report from the Census Bureau that most births in America in those days were officially designated as non-white. This trend likely is even more that way in 2017. It would do us well, I would argue, to keep this situation in perspective. America has always been a melting pot, and lately it is even more so. One of my regular readers back in 2011 seems to have imagined a note of alarm in my piece about the Census Bureau report. He was wrong, of course, but he made some good points in...

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Political junkies, left and right alike, are a shrinking minority

  “Political junkies,” as I define the term, are liberals, moderates and conservatives who pay a lot of attention to politics, even though they disagree among one another on what it all means. But relatively few of the people who voted in the presidential election this past November would qualify as genuine junkies. In short, the American electorate increasingly is politically illiterate. This recent presidential campaign featured an unprecedented amount of media coverage, but all that information, especially the provably...

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John B. Anderson condemns Electoral College

  In two of the last five presidential elections, the American people have been saddled with chief executives who didn’t win the popular vote — George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald Trump in 2016. The problem arose, of course, from the Electoral College. On the first of those two occasions, former Republican Congressman John B. Anderson of Rockford co-authored with Steven Hill a column about the matter in the Chicago Sun-Times. Here are a few excerpts: Imagine if, after the conclusion of the Super Bowl or the World Series, it was...

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President Trump’s first patriotic season is almost at hand

  As long-time readers of this blog might attest, patriotism is one of the subjects I most frequently deal with here. The reason is simple: Few issues are as fraught with emotion and hypocrisy, both of which are grist for my mill. This year’s summer season of patriotic fervor will be the first since Donald Trump became our president. The situation in the White House makes us a more sharply divided people these days. It’ll be interesting to see how this disunity will effect popular measures of patriotism throughout the...

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Big numbers are misleading

  Over the course of my life — 74-plus years — big numbers have become increasingly common in our daily discourse. A million dollars, for example, ain’t what it used to be. The average annual compensation for professional athletes is well into the millions. Even marginal players are paid seven-figure salaries. Meanwhile, our politicians at the state and federal level regularly speak of billions. To them, a million dollars is mere chump change. And our national debt has soared into the trillions. As these words —...

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