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How would Republicans react if Russia had favored Hillary?

  The big news today is a report in the Washington Post that the CIA has concluded that Russia deliberately tried to help elect Donald Trump as president of the United States. The potential implications of this stuff are far-reaching, to put it mildly. As I see it, a troubling question arises: How would partisan Republicans react if the proverbial shoe was on the other foot — that is, if Russian President Vladimir and his minions in the Kremlin had tried to tip the scales in favor of Hillary Clinton? The answer is predictable,...

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Poll reveals astonishing stupidity among Trump voters

  On Monday and Tuesday of this week, Public Policy Polling conducted a scientific survey of registered voters, the results of which suggest that supporters of Donald Trump generally are only barely able to read a stop sign without moving their lips. A few examples: Most registered voters approve of Barack Obama’s performance as president, but only 5 percent of Trump voters agree. Do you think racism is a factor there? The stock market has risen more than 11,000 points during the eight years of Obama’s presidency, but 39...

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The difference between being intelligent and well-informed

  The older I get, the more I’m humbled by the thought that I’m not as smart as I am well-informed. The truth of the matter, as I’ve learned the hard way over the years, is that a head full of facts doesn’t necessarily make a person intelligent. Yes, the desire to learn and retain information can be a characteristic of intelligence, but it’s not always a conclusion. Somebody whose name I don’t recall once wrote that being well-informed is a by-product of curiosity coupled with a good memory....

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Is death of former Bears player another nail in football’s coffin?

  When I heard the other day that Rashaad Salaam, a Heisman Trophy winner in college and a former running back for the Chicago Bears, had died in an apparent case of suicide at the tender age of 42, the first thought that came to mind was a three-letter abbreviation rather than words. Sounds like CTE, I told myself. Those letters stand for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a term used to describe brain degeneration likely caused by repeated head traumas. Further research on Salaam’s head will determine if CTE was the cause,...

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The Ronald Reagan most of his fans don’t remember

  In the nine years I’ve been writing this blog, one of my favorite subjects has been the astonishing ignorance among worshippers of our 40th president of the United States, Ronald Wilson Reagan. Many of these people, perhaps even most of them, know little or nothing about Reagan’s actual record. They tend to regard him as the patron saint of modern Republican conservatism. But such was not really the case, at least not to the extent that popular myths about the Gipper suggest. He was much less a rigid right-winger than his...

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Whether or not we realize it, we all use redundancies

  Hardly a day goes by when I don’t hear someone on television using perhaps the most common redundancy in the English language: whether or not. The problem with that term is that you don’t need the or not. It suffices to say, for example, that you wonder whether spring will arrive early this year. In an endless effort to improve my own language skills, I try my best to avoid redundancies, but I don’t always succeed. Every once in a while, an offense will sneak into my writings and, more often, into my speech. I...

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