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Yes, let’s teach public school students about religion

  Having recently dissed Vice President-elect Mike Pence for suggesting that creationism should be taught in science classes in public schools, I should qualify my rejection of the idea. Creationism has no legitimate place in a science curriculum — except perhaps as an example of nonsense. But religion deserves a sharper focus in the classroom than it currently receives in public schools. Of course, valid history is going to touch upon the profound role of religion in the rise of virtually every civilization. American history alone...

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Mark my words: Trump is doomed

    My record in making predictions about Donald Trump’s political career is not an enviable one, I have to admit. I publicly said he wouldn’t run for president, but I was wrong. I also missed the mark in predicting that he wouldn’t win the Republican nomination, and I missed again when I said he would never defeat Hillary Clinton in the general election. But here’s where I redeem myself: The Donald is not going to serve a full four-year term in the White House. He’ll either be impeached or forced to...

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“Inherit The Wind”

  Vice President-elect Mike Pence recently suggested that the Bible be taught in science classes in public schools, which brought to mind this story: A colorful censorship controversy in the spring of 1963 drew national attention to Harlem High School  in the Rockford suburb of Loves Park when dramatics teacher Ruth Ann Johnston decided to stage a student production of “Inherit The Wind.” The play is a fictionalized treatment of the celebrated trial of John T. Scopes, a high school teacher in Dayton, Tenn., who was arrested...

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Get ready for the total solar eclipse

  Most American don’t yet know about this, but as summer draws nigh, there will be lots of buzz concerning the phenomenon on Aug. 21 when the moon will completely blot out the sun for observers in 12 states — including Illinois. Partial solar eclipses are fairly common, but total eclipses are visible somewhere on Earth only once every year and a half or so.   The last one visible in the continental United States occurred about 38 years ago. We have lots more media and technology these days, which means that this one will...

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The crackpot cometh

    The American body politic seems afflicted by a discernible sense of dread as the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as our 45th president draws near. The Donald pretends that he won a thumping mandate in the November election, but it’s just not true. His principal rival got millions more votes than he did. Moreover, the general populace is concerned that Trump is not up to the challenges he will face as the nation’s chief executive. The results of a poll conducted just last week dramatize the situation. Jeffrey M. Jones...

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The Second Amendment often is misinterpreted

As one who spends much of his time reading and listening to political rhetoric from across the spectrum, left-wing and right-wing alike, I’m especially fond of the nonsense I frequently encounter about the U.S. Constitution. .  Take, for example, the popular claim that the Second Amendment guarantees almost every American the sacred right to own and bear almost any type of firearms. That’s an easy one to knock down. . A few years ago, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last year and who was a great hero to...

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