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Younger Americans most likely to be grammar Nazis

Most of us oldsters are perhaps too busy shouting at kids to get out of our yards than to bother pointing out the grammar errors of others. In fact, we’re far less likely than people in their 20s to be grammar Nazis. Could it be that our own grammar generally isn’t exactly up to par? (I probably should point that I’m an exception to this pattern. Yes, I’m a card-carrying geezer, but no, I’ve never shouted at kids in the yard. And yes, I’m a high-ranking officer in the Grammar Police force.) HERE‘s an...

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Study shows that right-to-carry laws have spurred an increase in violent crime

It’s an article of faith among some firearms enthusiasts that more guns equal less crime. Indeed, that theory has been a cornerstone of the political argument in favor of laws allowing ordinary citizens to carry weapons in most public places. But research by Stanford University  law professor John Donohue and his colleagues has concluded that  more guns equal more crime. The story is HERE: “The totality of the evidence based on educated judgments about the best statistical models suggests that right-to-carry laws are associated...

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Republican oil mogul says Keystone pipeline is irrelevant to his industry

While the congressional argument over the Keystone XL pipeline approaches critical mass, a Republican who knows a thing or two about the oil industry says the debate has become a waste of time. His name is Harold Hamm, and HERE‘s what he says: “It’s not relevant at all in my opinion. And here we are making it relevant now? Forget it,” the billionaire CEO of Oklahoma-based Continental Resources told POLITICO in an interview Friday… Hamm said his company, which had planned to use Keystone to ship some of its North Dakota crude, is...

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Fox News knows its audience better than they know themselves

When the history of the past several decades is written, there should be a whole chapter devoted to the Fox News phenomenon. I’ve been a student of that subject since its inception, and I’ve seen few descriptions of it that are any better than THIS PASSAGE from an essay by Paul Waldman of The American Prospect: In a way, Fox News knows its viewers better than they know themselves. Don’t forget that the typical Fox viewer is a conservative senior citizen. The median age of the network’s viewers is 68.8, and some shows...

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Guess which party did more fear-mongering during the so-called Ebola crisis

The U.S. news media haven’t been pushing the panic button over Ebola very much now that the midterm congressional elections are behind us. But perhaps you remember way back in October, at the height of the campaign season, when widespread hysteria over Ebola fostered the sense among certain elements of the American public that everything was coming apart. None of this, of course, redounded to the benefit of President Obama or candidates of his party. Indeed, more than a few right-wing extremists directly blamed Obama for what they saw...

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Why does the U.S. continue to bother with pennies?

No other industrial nation in the world continues to clog its system with coins of as little value as the U.S. penny. This video argument against the penny is  three years old, but the points it makes are even more valid...

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Globally, last month was the hottest October on record

In light of the current cold snap here in the American heartland, THIS probably seems counterintuitive: The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) reports that last month was the hottest October in more than 120 years of record-keeping — by far. This follows the hottest September, August, June and March-May in JMA’s records! Projections by NOAA make clear 2014 is increasingly likely to be hottest year on record. And these records occurred despite the fact we’re still waiting for the start of  El Niño. It is usually the combination of the...

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Every president in the past 60 years has taken executive action on immigration policy

Republicans who are warning President Obama that he risks impeachment if he dares to change U.S. immigration policy by executive order are conveniently ignoring American history. THIS EDITORIAL in The Boston Globe explains the matter: Every president since Eisenhower has taken executive action on immigration in one form or another. President Reagan, for instance, deferred deportation of 200,000 Nicaraguans. The White House’s plan reportedly includes allowing parents of children who are citizens or legal residents to get work permits and...

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Conservatives tend to accept global-warming forecasts if they don’t mind the solutions

A new study  from Duke University clearly demonstrates the intellectual inconsistency among Republican global-warming deniers. If you tell conservatives that global temperatures are expected to rise 3.2 degrees through the rest of the century, most of them won’t disagree with that forecast — as long as the measures to do deal with the situation are acceptable. But if those measures are not acceptable to them, three-fourths of the conservatives will say they simply don’t believe the forecast. How dumb is that? There’s...

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This guy says most pundits have misinterpreted midterm election results

It’s been nine days now since a relatively small segment of the American electorate expressed itself in midterm races for House and Senate seats and in various referendums (or referenda, as you Latin scholars might call them). By now, most of us have had our fill of explanations from the chattering classes about what it all meant. I’m inclined, however, to give blogger Ed Kilgore the last word on the matter, especially since his slants differ from conventional political wisdom. The post-election conclusions Kilgore disputes are...

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Republicans who say they’re not scientists are creating an escape hatch on global warming

You’ve probably noticed that Republican politicians increasingly have been prefacing their remarks on global warming lately with the disclaimer that they’re not scientists. What you may not have noticed is that this stratagem is a way of mapping a path these pols can take if and when they have to backtrack on the issue of climate change. Extremists like Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma have denied themselves any such path. Inhofe has long since declared that global warming is a “hoax” and that God will save us all from any...

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Global warming deniers pooh-pooh new U.S.-China deal on climate change

The bottom line here is rather simple: People who don’t believe in man-made global warming to begin with can hardly be expected to endorse a major international agreement on climate change. Accordingly, THIS should come as no big surprise: The U.S. and China reached a historic deal on climate change Tuesday, an agreement that top conservatives have been quick to criticize. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was one of the first to condemn the deal, which ups the United States’ emissions reduction target to 26 to 28 percent...

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