The story of how Northern Illinois almost became part of Wisconsin

  You may have noticed that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump have done much, if any, campaigning here in Illinois since prior to the state’s primary election last winter. The reason is simple: The  Democratic presidential  ticket is universally expected to carry the Prairie State by a wide margin in the general election, which means that spending time and money in this state would be a waste of resources for either candidate. That situation pleases me. As a Clinton supporter, I’m confident that my vote will be on the...

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Weather and climate are not always the same thing

  Every once in a while, I hear or read of some global-warming denier making the argument that the changeability of weather forecasts in the short term betrays the claims by climate scientists that potential disaster lies just a few decades away as the planet heats up. The fundamental problem with such skepticism is that weather and climate often are not the same thing. Most TV meteorologists are not climatologists. Sometimes it’s more difficult to predict whether Sunday’s ballgame will be rained out than whether melting glaciers will...

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Right-wing conspiracy theories aren’t always wrong

  Pay attention, conservatives. I’m here to tell you that not all of your favorite theories about the so-called fiendish schemes of us liberals are completely without basis. In no order of importance, here are two  examples: More than a few right-wingers are convinced that liberals want to rid our public schools of any respect for religion. But it’s not really that simple. Yes, some libs do, in fact, have such intentions. But sensible lefties — and more importantly, the courts and the Constitution — are more...

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Eisenhower and Reagan would be pariahs in today’s GOP

  The situation in which the Republican Party finds itself these days with the divisive Donald Trump as its presidential nominee has brought to mind how much the GOP has changed in recent decades. Five years ago, I offered the following analysis amid the rise of the Tea Party movement: If you measure them by the ideological standards that prevail in their party these days, Ronald Reagan and Dwight Eisenhower, the only two-term Republican presidents in the second half of the 20th century, were both squishy moderates if not actually...

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Republicans have only themselves to blame

  With less than four weeks remaining until Election Day, Republicans are facing a potential disaster at the ballot box. GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s poll numbers are falling precipitously, and party leaders are said to be worried as well about down-ballot races for the U.S. Senate and House. If the bloodbath occurs, the aftermath will begin with an orgy of finger-pointing. Trump’s people will blame the party establishment, establishment types will blame Trump’s reckless rhetoric and Republicans in general...

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Here’s a tired old myth about climate change

  In an article about Donald Trump I was reading the other day, there was a comment from some gullible fool to the effect that the scientific community was warning just a few decades ago that global cooling is more imminent than global warming. His gist was that the fuss over climate change is mostly nonsense since lots of the so-called experts have quickly changed their minds or were never of one opinion on the matter to begin with. There are other global-warming deniers who have delighted for years now in peddling the myth that...

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