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No more chants! No more chants!

  As a young political activist back in the 1960s, I did my fair share of marching and protesting for or against one thing or another — civil rights, the war in Vietnam, whatever. In Chicago, Washington, New York and elsewhere, I marched and marched. It was the least I could do in support of the causes I favored. Generally, there were only two things that ever soured the experience for me. One was violence, of course, which only rarely occurred in the marches I attended.  And the other was stupid chanting with which I didn’t...

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Basically, global warming and climate change are cause and effect

  Only in a world where millions of people don’t believe the scientific fact of biological evolution would I feel a need to explain the following situation: The myopia and conspiratorialism  of global-warming deniers are such that we shouldn’t be surprised when those folks say there’s something fishy about scientists seeming to have substituted the term “climate change” for “global warming.” I’ve even read cockamamie arguments that the so-called substitution was prompted by the realization...

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Early advice on how to deal with Black Friday shopping problem

  Ever the forward-looking blogger, I’m here to remind you that the day after Thanksgiving — Black Friday, as it’s known — will arrive six months from today. It’s never too early to plot our strategies for dealing with that most fateful day on our shopping calendar. Accordingly,  I’m going to pass along an idea that’s far better than any advice you might receive regarding so-called door-buster sales or any of the other gimmicks America’s merchants might employ at the outset of the...

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Popular stereotypes of Republicans and Democrats often are wrong

  If you’re like most Americans, you probably don’t know as much about rank-and-file Republicans and Democrats as you think you do. The popular stereotypes in your mind probably are greatly exaggerated. What’s more, these inaccuracies tend to be especially pronounced if you’re a Democrat thinking of Republicans in general or a Republican thinking of Democrats in general. The simple truth of the matter is that our minds tend to be cluttered with distorted pictures of members of the parties on the opposite side of...

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Democrats and Republicans are not equally paying attention to election campaign

  As was the case at this point four years ago, Republicans are following news of the presidential campaign more closely than Democrats — by a margin of eight percentage points, according to a new Gallup poll. It’s hard to say what this gap might portend for the results of the November election, but the Democratic candidate won the race in 2012. Another factor to consider is that while more women are likely to vote in November, more men are paying closer attention to the race at this point. The Gallup organization says THIS...

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Again, let me reassure you that Hillary will defeat Trump

  In recent weeks, as Donald Trump’s lock on the Republican presidential nomination became more apparent, I have offered several arguments here that he won’t have a chance of overcoming Hillary Clinton in the general election. Perhaps the most persuasive of these cases is the one in which I pointed out that there simply are not enough angry white males to outweigh the demographic benefits Democrats enjoy in presidential elections. Hillary, the likely Democratic nominee, almost certainly will prevail among women, blacks,...

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The Olympics have become a festival of disgrace

  There was a time when I, like most Americans and others around the world, greatly enjoyed watching the quadrennial Summer Olympics and, to a lesser degree, the Winter Games as well. But no more. It wouldn’t bother me if they cancelled the whole corrupt enterprise. Or at least they could scale it down to something far more modest and more truly dedicated to the principle, as the Olympic Charter puts it, that “the goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to...

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Politics is an especially tricky business in this age of short attention spans

  If you’re middle-aged or older, you’re probably aware that the attention span of Americans in general — including you — has been declining in this age of multiplying media and countless intellectual stimuli. It’s small solace to me that my own loss of memory is probably attributable not just to advancing age but also to this explosion of media. The filing cabinet between my ears has long since become overloaded, mainly with trivia, rendering some of its contents less accessible than they used to be. Now,...

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Trump’s ugly rhetoric encourages bigots all over the world

  Let’s face it: Donald Trump has become a hero to people in far-flung places around the globe. But they’re the wrong kind of people, and Trump is the wrong kind of hero. The Donald has become America’s chief exporter of its ugliest product — bigotry.  Just as his followers here at home tend to be more racist than the Republican electorate on the whole, according to polls, his appeal abroad is strongest among the principal peddlers of hatred in foreign lands. This does not serve Trump’s vaunted objective of...

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The pessimism peddled by politicians and the media is mostly bogus

  More than a few politicians have one thing in common these days: They tend to exaggerate the extent to which the world in general and America in particular are on the brink of big trouble if not total collapse. No, I won’t plead guilty to this charge in connection with climate change. I’m convinced that the serious dangers posed by global warming are real, and I think we ignore them at our own peril. Aside from that matter, however, I think too many politicians and too many media outlets are unduly peddling fear to a...

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Americans who spew hatred of Muslims are aiding the cause of terrorism

  Whenever anyone like me argues against Islamophobia or points out that most Muslims in America and the rest of the world are not terrorists, Donald Trump and others of his ilk dismiss us as foolish advocates of political correctness. But the reality is not that simple. The fact of the matter is that hatred of Muslims, especially here in America, only aids the cause of terroristic Islamic extremists. Muslim crazies are telling their more moderate and peaceful brethren that Americans hate Islam and want to destroy it. The bigoted...

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Bernie’s failure to renounce the neo-brownshirts among his followers is shameful

  Sen. Bernie Sanders has been a welcome voice of reason and reform in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, but the same cannot be said of some of his supporters — especially of late. As Hillary Clinton has moved closer to clinching the nomination, some of Sander’s followers — Berniacs, as I call them — have been misbehaving. Some have vowed to do anything to prevent a Clinton victory in the November election, even if her Republican rival is the detestable Donald Trump. The term “sore...

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