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The rock ‘n’ roll generation is getting pretty old

  Media coverage of today’s death of musician Prince Rogers Nelson, commonly known simply as Prince, briefly took me by surprise. Every once in a while, I have to remind myself that virtually  everyone who’s younger than I has grown up with rock music as the soundtrack of their lives. I tend to forget that fact, perhaps because rock arrived on the cultural scene the same year I became a teenager and was dismissed by more than a few critics as a passing fad. I sometimes forget that rock was once just kids’ music —...

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Much of our world is ruled by laws of probability

  A conversation I had with a friend the other day about the science of political polling inevitably led to one of my favorite subjects — the laws of probability. Most people seem to be unaware of the extent to which laws of probability apply to the business world. The polling industry is just one example. Many other businesses, from gambling casinos to advertising to weather forecasting to who knows what else, consciously and willfully take into account the laws of probability. It’s a truly fascinating subject, as I’ve...

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Ted Cruz seems to think states should have a right to ban interracial marriage

The legality of interracial marriage in America is so widely taken for granted these days that most folks probably think that state laws against it were fairly commonplace only many, many years ago, during the worst times of segregation in our country.  But I’m old enough to remember when such laws prevailed in nearly half the states. It may surprise you to learn that 22 states had laws against interracial marriage when I graduated from high school. And 16 states still had such laws when I was 24 years old in 1967. That was the year...

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Even if only gradually, political loyalties in America are constantly shifting

When I was a kid more than half a century ago, states of the Deep South were still fiercely loyal to the Democratic Party. The region was widely known as the Solid South — solidly Democratic, despite the party’s gradual post-war shift toward the cause of civil rights. But, that was then, and this is now, as the old saying goes. The South has long since become a stronghold of conservative Republicanism, at least for the most part. There are many reasons for this shift, including the GOP’s so-called Southern Strategy of nearly...

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Democrats should prefer Trump over Cruz as the GOP nominee

  As things stand now, it seems likely that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic standard-bearer against Republican nominee Donald Trump in the November general election — and that’s the best possible scenario progressives can hope for. Trump would be better than Ted Cruz for Democratic prospects in several respects. He’s more widely hated than Cruz among Republicans, especially the establishment types. And he’d be a greater drag on the whole GOP ticket. In more than a few locales, down-ticket Republican...

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Democrats should prefer Trump over Cruz as the Republican nominee

As things stand now, it seems likely that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic standard-bearer against Republican nominee Donald Trump in the November general election — and that’s the best possible scenario progressives can hope for. Trump would be better than Ted Cruz for Democratic prospects in several respects. He’s more widely hated than Cruz among Republicans, especially the establishment types. And he’d be a greater drag on the whole GOP ticket. In more than a few locales, down-ticket Republican candidates are...

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