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No, the two parties are not equally bad

  A warning to readers: Don’t misinterpret the headline above. I’m not going to argue here that Republicans are worse than Democrats or that conservatives are worse than liberals. That kind of thing is not the point of this post. Rather, my argument is against false equivalence in our political judgments. But this is not the same as something I posted a few weeks ago when I took issue with false equivalence in the practice of journalism, especially as a substitute for true objectivity. This time, I’m annoyed with false...

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Behold the many right-wing myths about immigration

  Your typical supporter of Donald Trump embraces so much nonsense about the immigration “problem” in America that one hardly knows where to begin debunking it all. My personal favorite is the popular notion that illegal immigration is a crime. It’s not, as I’ve pointed out on previous occasions. In and of itself, illegal immigration is a civil matter, which means it’s ruled by civil law, not criminal law. Immigration cases are heard in front of an administrative law judge, not a criminal judge. Many...

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Trump likely will find some excuse to skip the debates

  One month from tomorrow, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are scheduled to begin a set of three campaign dates over the course of just 13 days — but I have my doubts that it will ever happen. I hope I’m wrong about this, but I expect that Trump will come up with some lame rationale for skipping the debates. His campaign brain-trust (if that’s the word for it) probably will persuade him that there’s more to lose in laying bare his lack of knowledge of the issues than in finding even a contrived  excuse for...

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When will a big earthquake strike here in the American heartland?

  You probably have heard by now that an earthquake today in Central Italy has flattened small towns and killed scores of people. The death toll and damage estimates likely will climb sharply in the coming days. Most Americans react to tragedies like this with the thought that big quakes in our country are mainly a West Coast phenomenon. It’s a mistake, however, to think that such a thing can’t happen here in the heartland. The truth is that four of the biggest earthquakes in North American history occurred in late 1811 and...

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This looks like an especially good year for Chicago

  As things stand now in late August, this year of 2016 is likely to end with Chicago covered with plenty of glory. Political polls currently indicate that our next U.S. president will be Chicago native Hillary Rodham Clinton. Her two-term predecessor, Barack Obama, a product of Chicago politics, seems likely to leave office with positive approval ratings, which is no mean feat. In sports, the Chicago Cubs are the best team in baseball at this writing and in good shape to win their first World Series in more than a century. The baseball...

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The curious overuse of the F-word

  It’s that time of year again when I’m obliged to register my annual complaint about a certain pet peeve — namely the odd penchant among people associated with the gridiron culture to use the word “football” seemingly six times in every sentence. I’ve been beefing about this for years now, and a search of the Internet shows that I’m not the only person annoyed by it. But the problem persists. Broadcasters, coaches, players and others involved in the sport have to remind themselves every few seconds that the game is called “football.”...

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