Gallup: Favorable view of pope declines among Americans, especially conservatives

In advance of a September visit to America by Pope Francis, the Gallup organization is reporting that the pontiff’s favorability ratings have declined in this country. The drop is especially precipitous among American conservatives, whose favorable views of Francis have dropped by 27 percentage points since last year. Still, Francis’ overall favorable rating of 59 percent is far better than that for his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI in a poll taken five years ago. HERE‘s what the Gallup report says: After Pope Francis was...

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Des Moines newspaper’s call for Donald Trump to abandon his candidacy is ridiculous

Let’s stipulate from the outset here that Donald Trump’s chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination are exceedingly slim, and his prospects for actually taking up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue simply don’t exist. The American electorate is not that crazy. But let’s not pretend that Trump’s candidacy serves no useful purpose. On the contrary, The Donald’s bid for the presidency is good for the nation on several counts. Mainly, it points up all the flaws and charms and fun of the entire...

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Even this most dire climate forecast ever won’t likely convince the die-hard deniers

Regular readers of this blog are aware that I follow the issue of climate change rather closely, as evidenced by my numerous posts debunking the nonsense peddled by people predisposed to casting doubt on scientific consensus. It’s not mere coincidence, I should note, that there’s a distinct overlap of global-warming deniers and those who reject Darwinian theories of evolution. Indeed, the attitudes among some people on both matters is largely based on religious zeal. The long record of stubbornness on the part of these folks...

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How in the world can Obama be blamed for the tragedy in Chattanooga?

From time to time, I surf through the right-wing blogosphere just to see what’s on the minds of people of that ilk — especially the generally overwrought folks who post comments on their favorite websites. Yesterday was the latest such occasion, and the timing could hardly have been more propitious. It was soon after the tragedy in Chattanooga, Tenn., where four U.S. Marines were shot and killed by a young man who turns out to have been a Muslim. The wingnuts were in especially high dudgeon. I expected, of course, that lots of the...

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Does Illinois Republican Mark Kirk think ugly rhetoric will save his Senate seat?

The consensus among political pundits these days is that Sen. Mark Kirk, the Illinois Republican, likely will lose his re-election bid next year to Democrat Tammy Duckworth, a disabled veteran of the war in Iraq. It should come as no surprise, then, that Kirk would seize every effort to attract the attention of the voting public. But his strategy in that regard went way too far the other day when he resorted to shockingly reckless rhetoric in condemning the Obama administration’s agreement with Iran on the issue of nuclear weapons. In a...

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Republicans denounced the deal with Iran before they knew what it said

My Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines the term “knee-jerk” as follows: “Reacting in a readily predictable way.” It’s a perfect term for the Republican reaction to the agreement reached with Iran the other day by the United States and certain other major nations. We all knew what the Republicans would say, didn’t we? We all knew that the GOP’s warmongers would hate the agreement, didn’t we? We all knew that almost any deal brokered by the Obama administration would elicit the...

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