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Seven days in June

One week ago today, the social and political buzz among Americans was focused mainly on Donald Trump’s announcement of his presidential candidacy and anticipation of an encyclical from Pope Francis on climate change. Otherwise, nothing terribly earth-shaking seemed to be going on. Nightfall, however, brought a tragedy, the aftermath of which is still reverberating in ways that could not have been predicted. A racist madman shot and killed nine especially fine people in an iconic black church in Charleston, S.C. — and America...

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Is Donald Trump paying the Wall Street Journal to toot his horn?

Here’s the situation: New Hampshire ranks 42nd out of the 50 states in population. It has fewer residents than the combined Illinois counties of DuPage and Kane, which are mostly just suburbs of Chicago. Politically, New Hampshire is a swing state, but it has voted for the Democratic candidates in the last three presidential elections. New Hampshire is important in presidential politics only because it has the first primary election. Still, winners of either party’s primary in the Granite State don’t always win the White...

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Rampant anti-intellectualism poses a serious threat to America

Writing this post gives me a strange sense that  it’s pretty much a useless effort. Most, if not all, of the people who read this are not the problem. There’s also the risk that a complaint about anti-intellectualism only makes me seem to be a self-styled smarty-pants. Nobody likes a person like that, right? So, tell yourself that I’m only disinterestedly passing along THIS PIECE: America is killing itself through its embrace and exaltation of ignorance, and the evidence is all around us. Dylann Roof, the Charleston shooter...

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There’s a Latin term for why some people wrongly blame Obamacare for everything

Most of us, at one time or another, have a tendency to blame a certain problem on a certain something that preceded it — no matter if there really isn’t any cause-and-effect relationship. Just because the weather turned bad only after you arrived at the picnic doesn’t mean it’s your fault. This kind of reckless laying of blame seems to apply in certain criticisms of Obamacare. Ed Kilgore EXPLAINS: This is known in logic as the “post hoc ergo propter hoc” (after this therefore because of this) fallacy, which is...

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In the wake of Charleston, the gun lobby is again serving up its Kool-Aid

Responses to last week’s tragedy in Charleston, S.C., are predictable in several respects, but none more so than the propaganda peddled by the gun lobby and parroted by certain gullible people. Even proposals for stronger background checks on gun buyers, which Americans overwhelmingly support, prompt an outpouring of falsehoods from the gun lobby aimed at frightening people with talk of a plot to violate their rights. Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, has more on this matter HERE: [M]any...

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Let’s put Obama’s public use of the N-word in context, shall we?

In a radio interview in the wake of last week’s tragedy in Charleston, S.C., President Obama said this: Racism, we are not cured of it. And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say nigger in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don’t, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior. Predictably enough, some pathological Obamaphobes say the president’s public use of the N-word betrays him a racist in...

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More stuff here on why the liberal label is coming back into fashion

Last month, I wrote HERE about evidence that Americans generally have become as likely to call themselves liberal as conservative these days. There are two basic causes for this phenomenon. Demonization of the L-word by Republicans has lost much of its effectiveness, and Americans increasingly are embracing liberal views on the political and social issues of the day. There’s more on the matter in THIS COLUMN  by Dana Milbank published yesterday in The Washington Post: It used to be assumed that “the public doesn’t like the word...

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Will Charleston tragedy become politicized? Of course it will — and it should be

Among the tons  of  stuff I’ve read today about last night’s deadly shooting spree in a church in  Charleston, S.C., there have been a few complaints among conservatives that the tragedy likely will lead to political debate. But why should that come as a surprise to anyone? Why shouldn’t the matter be politicized? After all, the incident raises political questions: Might the tragedy have been avoided if gun-control laws were stronger? Was lingering sympathy for the Confederate cause a factor? Has the body politic done enough...

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Survey: How doctors feel about Obamacare depends on their political affiliations

If you think your own opinions on the Affordable Care Act will be better informed if you check with how health-care professionals feel about the matter, think again. Those folks are at least as sharply divided on the issue as everyone else. That’s the principal finding of THIS POLL: When it comes to health care politics, it looks like doctors and nurses are just as partisan as the rest of us. A survey released Thursday found that as a whole, primary-care providers are slightly more likely to view the Affordable Care Act unfavorably than...

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They should put a likeness of Rockford College grad Jane Addams on $10 bill

The Treasury Department announced Wednesday that a redesign of the $10 bill will include the face of a woman in place of Alexander Hamilton. The new plan is a substitute for an earlier proposal to put a woman on the $20 bill. The public is invited to submit suggestions regarding which woman should be so honored. My vote goes to Jane Addams, social reformer, educator, author, lecturer, feminist, suffragette, pacifist, political radical, acquaintance of kings and presidents, and a servant of the powerless and dispossessed. She was alternately...

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Right-wingers predict doom if Supreme Court makes gay marriage legal everywhere

As things stand now, gay marriage is legal in 37 states, and polls show that most Americans have no problem with that. But die-hard homophobes are still hoping that the Supreme Court will not declare that same-sex couples have a right to marry in any state. A decision in that regard is due any day now. Various hard-line opponents of gay marriage are warning that all hell will break loose if the court rules the wrong way. HERE are a few excerpts from a collection of such warnings: “[W]e’re going to stand for [traditional] marriage...

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It seems that Barack Obama is much less a narcissist than Ronald Reagan was

In a  comment I ran across on Facebook yesterday, an acquaintance of mine declared in familiar — and grossly mistaken — right-wing fashion that President Obama “is a narcissist.” What a laugh. Of course, there’s at least a whiff of racism in that narcissism rap against Obama. It suggests that the black man in the White House is a bit uppity. But never mind that angle. Let’s focus instead on the roots of the narcissism charge against Obama and the lack of evidence to support it. This whole business arose a...

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