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Note to news media: False equivalence is not objective journalism

  Some years back, James Fallows of The Atlantic addressed what he called “the flawed understanding many journalists have of objectivity.” He wrote: The thinking is that pointing out that one political party is responsible for the Senate’s dysfunction would be taking sides, which would call their objectivity into question. The irony is, by pretending both sides are equally at fault for the dysfunction and refusing to report on the objective facts of the situation, they’re misleading readers and handing a huge advantage to one side....

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Global warming is stoppable — but not reversible

  Several  U.S. government agencies are reporting this week that July of 2016 — last month — was the hottest month on record since at least 1880. That makes 10 consecutive months of unparalleled global warming. One might argue, as more than a few scientists do, that the situation is a factor in the current flooding in the American South and forest fires in the American West, as well as other problems around the globe. It also raises questions addressed not long ago by Andy Skuce, a retired Canadian geoscience consultant,...

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Trump disaster likely will deepen GOP’s long-term crisis

  One of my favorite political proverbs, as I’ve noted on several occasions here, is that demography is destiny. Demography, if you don’t know, is defined as the statistical study of human populations. Political demography is the study of how certain population groups — whites, blacks, men, women, old people, young people, etc. — vote and otherwise react to political stimuli. Political scientists pay a lot of attention to demographics. It helps them assess the practicality of campaign strategies and forecast the...

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Too many Americans think they’re more patriotic than most other people

  American gymnast Gabby Douglas has been faulted by pseudo-patriotic phonies for failing to put her hand over her heart as she stood at attention the other day during the playing of her county’s national anthem at the Olympics in Rio. How predictable. Reliable pains in the derriere that they are, these self-appointed guardians of patriotic decorum can always be counted upon to assert themselves in such situations. They see it as a way to cast themselves as the truest and blueist of Americans. Fortunately for the rest of us, these...

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Remember when wingnuts didn’t want these Olympics held in Chicago?

  Like millions of other Americans and  people around the world, some of you readers probably are enjoying TV coverage of the current Summer Olympic Games in Rio.  But you may not remember when Chicago made an unsuccessful bid to host this year’s edition of this quadrennial sporting spectacle. In retrospect, I’m not especially disappointed  that Chicago lost out. The Olympics strike me as a somewhat risky investment of tons of money for any city to make, and I have my doubts that the Windy City would have ended up happy that...

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The rise of Donald Trump suggests that William F. Buckley is sorely missed

  While plowing through some old stuff the other day, I came across a blog post of mine from a few years ago on how the conservative movement has changed over the decades. It  got me thinking about how William F. Buckley, a conservative intellectual who died eight years ago at the age of 82, might have reacted to the dimwitted right-wing crap peddled these days by the anti-intellectual likes of Donald Trump. The centerpiece of my blog post was an excerpt from something Kathleen Geier wrote in The Washington Monthly. She said this: I...

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