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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Newt Gingrich is the most enigmatic politician of our time

  When the political annals of these times are written, the name of Newt Gingrich will be filed under such words as “puzzling,” “bewildering,” “confounding” and “inexplicable.” Gingrich has more gray matter between his ears than most of his political contemporaries. He’s authored more books than the typical Republican has even read. But for all his brilliance, he’s been his own worst enemy and has allowed himself to emulate his party’s cheapest right-wing tricks. Worse...

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There’s one subject on which I tend to go along with the crowd

    Of all the great controversies of the day, there is one in particular about which the wisdom I often tout is almost entirely  second-hand. Little or none of it arises from my own intellectual research.  I don’t really understand the fine points about this subject, but I have great respect for the crowd of  credentialed experts on the matter. I refer, of course, to global warming and climate change. The consensus on this stuff among climate scientists is so overwhelming that I am intellectually unable to disagree....

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The suddenly hawkish Trump is a hypocrite

  Even if there’s justification for President Trump’s missile attack in Syria — and I’m not saying there’s not — the gesture reeks of hypocrisy. No less than 18 times in recent years, Trump said the United States should stay the hell out of Syria. Indeed, he’s cautioned against any kind of American military action almost anywhere in the Middle East. In October of 2012, Trump tweeted the following message: “Now that Obama’s poll numbers are in tailspin — watch for him to launch a...

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Why are so many evangelicals deniers of climate change?

    The question in the headline above is especially difficult for a non-religious person like me, but it’s worth tackling by all of us, no matter our religious beliefs or lack of them. Religion and science are a tricky mix in any circumstance. When you add politics to the equation…well, lots of luck. Lauren Markoe, a reporter for Religion News Service, recently wrote that 81 percent of evangelical Christian voters in America cast their ballots last fall for Donald Trump, a climate change skeptic. And there are studies...

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