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It’s hypocritical to oppose Obama on virtually everything and then call him divisive

On the night that Barack Obama was first inaugurated in 2009, more than a dozen Republican leaders met privately in Washington and agreed among one another to fight the new president on anything and everything he might do or say. Since then, GOP politicians generally have shown a distinct inclination to disagree with Obama on almost his every utterance. Then, too, many of them have joined with the right-wing noise machine in questioning Obama’s birthright, his patriotism, his religion and anything else that might come to mind. The...

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Let’s not ignore this other connection between football and domestic violence

The one good thing about the current scandal concerning domestic violence among professional football players is that public opinion seems to be running strongly against tolerance of such behavior. But there’s another angle to this matter that also deserves our attention — domestic violence among football fans. Consider THIS: [T]he latest research suggests that negative emotions triggered by events such as a football loss can lead to more serious crimes and behaviors like domestic violence. In a comprehensive survey of domestic...

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You might want to consider this before encouraging your son to play football

Recent polls indicate that worries about head injuries have resulted in parents becoming increasingly reluctant to have their sons play football. That would seem to be a prudent attitude, as THIS indicates: The National Football League, which for years disputed evidence that its players had a high rate of severe brain damage, has stated in federal court documents that it expects nearly a third of retired players to develop long-term cognitive problems and that the conditions are likely to emerge at “notably younger ages” than in the general...

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When was the last time Congress declared war under terms of the Constitution?

Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the exclusive right to declare war against a foreign country, but that hasn’t happened in nearly 73 years. Since then, however, tens of thousands of Americans have died in various wars waged without any formal declaration as prescribed by the Constitution. And perhaps millions of people in foreign countries, many of them civilians, have been killed by American firepower in these undeclared wars. I used to complain about this situation back in the days of the Vietnam War...

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Judge rightly strikes down ridiculous law against political campaign falsehoods

I don’t know of any polls on this matter, but I suspect that many Americans think there ought to be laws against the use of provably false claims in election campaigns. Well, there is (or was) just such a law in Ohio, but it’s met the fate it deserves, as we see HERE: A federal judge has struck down an Ohio state law that allows the government to regulate political falsehoods. In a Thursday decision, U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black sided with the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List against the Ohio Elections Commission in...

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What do you think of the innocent verdict in the Oscar Pistorius case?

OK, the headline above is a trick question. Unless you followed all the testimony and examined all the evidence in the murder trial of Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, your opinion of the judge’s verdict is worthless — and quite likely is based on ignorance or false impressions. A curious thing about celebrated criminal trials is that so many people claim to know whether a verdict, be it innocent or guilty, is fair. Some people even get rather worked up about such matters and will argue that the system has been disgraced or...

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Whatever happened to the post-Sept. 11 spirit?

The following is adapted from a post of several years ago: Millions of Americans are taking time today to commemorate the  13th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and many of them recall the sense of shock with which they reacted to news of those terrible events. But how many, I wonder, also ponder the disappearance of the national mood that prevailed in the first few weeks and months following the attacks? In those days, unity and patriotism were our watchwords. Every other car on the road had at least one American flag...

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Hawkish Republicans can’t help but squirm when Obama becomes hawkish, too

President Obama outlined a strategy last night to bomb the hell out of ISIS forces wherever they might be found — in Iraq or Syria or anywhere else. But, of course,  this plan naturally makes the more bellicose elements of the Republican Party quite uncomfortable. How dare this Democrat with the foreign-sounding  name assume the mantle of military toughness. That kind of thing is supposed to the exclusive province of the GOP, America’s self-styled Daddy Party. But what can Republican hawks say about Obama’s strategy without...

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Can subliminal exposure to smiles or frowns influence political attitudes

Not long ago, a book by Milton Lodge and Charles Taber told of an experiment by Cengiz Erisen in which groups of people were exposed to certain facts and arguments regarding immigration. HERE‘s what happened: Not surprisingly, subjects’ responses to the policy prompts tended to reflect their preexisting views about each issue. For example, pro-immigration subjects offered 34% fewer negative thoughts and 38% more positive thoughts than those who opposed immigration. However, that difference was dwarfed by the difference between subjects...

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It’s an inescapable fact that even conservative governments redistribute wealth

An exchange I had this morning with a friend brings to mind a challenge I’ve posed to right-wing readers on several occasions over the years: I have asked them to give me even one example of government spending that doesn’t amount to redistribution of wealth. The response has been deafening silence — because there are no such examples to be found. In truth,  every government expenditure at every level — federal, state or local —  is a case of spreading the wealth. The government takes money from some people by way of taxes and...

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GOP lawmaker: We can fault Obama no matter how the fight against ISIS turns out

Republican Congressman Jack Kingston of Georgia (above) has offered this cynical characterization of how his party-mates feel about prospects of President Obama responding to the threat posed by ISIS: A lot of people would like to stay on the sideline and say, ‘Just bomb the place and tell us about it later.’ It’s an election year. A lot of Democrats don’t know how it would play in their party, and Republicans don’t want to change anything. We like the path we’re on now. We can denounce it if it goes bad,...

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Let’s all hunker down, folks, but please don’t call the problem global warming

What do you do when you’re a public official in a locale where climate change poses problems, but terms like “global warming” are verboten? Well, as we see HERE, certain euphemisms are in order: Big cities and small towns are shoring up dams and dikes, using roof gardens to absorb rainwater or upgrading sewage treatment plans to prevent overflows. Others are planting urban forests, providing more shady relief from extreme heat. Extension agents are helping farmers deal with an onslaught of newly arrived crop pests. But in...

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