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Our national anthem is an awful song

  Every time I hear “The Star Spangled Banner” in person or on television, I’m reminded of my lifelong argument that America needs a better national anthem. Oh, I know, I know. I’m inviting the wrath of the pseudo-patriots to whom dissing the anthem  is tantamount to burning the American flag. But don’t misunderstand me. I’m all in favor of showing proper respect whenever the anthem is played or sung at a public event. I’m just as quick as the next guy to stand up, take off my hat and put my hand over my heart on...

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Time for my annual complaint about the F-word

  Ordinarily, I don’t post anything on this subject until later in the summer, but I’m prompted to go early this year because of something I heard the other day on ESPN. It was a rambling bit of nonsense by some moron who apparently felt a need to use the word “football” in almost every sentence he uttered. This is a fairly common penchant among people associated with the gridiron culture. They seem to fear that their credentials will be called into question if they don’t use the F-word at least six times a...

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Cubs belatedly make a gesture of justice to Steve Bartman

  For more than 65 of the nearly 75 years of my life, I’ve been a big fan of the Chicago Cubs — but I almost gave up on them in 2003. That was the year that the Cubs’ bid for a World Series berth was foiled when a fan at Wrigley Field named Steve Bartman supposedly  interfered with a foul fly down the left-field line in the sixth inning of a game in the National League Championship Series. The popular theory is that Cubs left-fielder Moises Alou would have caught the ball if Bartman hadn’t got to it first. More...

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Peggy Noonan gets tough

    There was a time a few years back when I took great pleasure in occasionally poking fun at Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, who frequently substitutes the vibes she’s feeling for analysis of any hard political facts. She wrote, for example, on the eve of the 2012 presidential election that her magic vibes were telling her that the suddenly chirpy Mitt Romney would vanquish the relatively dour Barack Obama at the ballot box. Of course, it didn’t turn out that way, but Noonan never followed up with an...

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Trump is doomed

  Donald Trump has served fewer than 200 days as president, but it now seems that the end already is in sight. Even congressional Republicans are growing tired of The Donald’s erratic performance. Indeed, some of them are warning that their patience with this man’s nutty behavior has reached its limits. Just this morning, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said “there will be holy hell to pay” if Trump fires Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He also said that removing special counsel Robert Mueller without...

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Whatever happened to the Tea Party movement?

  In 2009, there arose in America a briefly popular political fad dedicated as much to bad-mouthing the nation’s new president, Democrat Barack Obama, as to campaigning in favor of conservative economic principles. It was the Tea Party movement? Remember? Oh, yeah. The Tea Party.  It’s been a while since you’ve read or heard anything about the Tea Party, right? Let me refresh your memory. This short-lived political movement seems to have taken its name from a rant offered one morning early in  2009 by Rick Santelli of...

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Trump performs a political miracle

  If someone had told me a week or two ago that President Trump could make me feel sympathy for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a certifiable right-wing looney, I would have scoffed at the very notion. But it’s happened. And it somehow reminds me of the old saying about how the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Here’s the situation: In the early days of the new administration, Sessions recused himself from the investigation of possible ties between the Trump team and the Russian government. It was the honorable thing to do,...

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Regarding Rush Limbaugh’s peculiar political influence

  At about this time next year, the legendary Rush Limbaugh will celebrate the 30th anniversary of his debut as a national influence in talk radio — an influence that is widely misunderstood, I would argue. History shows that El Rushbo’s status as the king of his medium has not exactly made him a kingmaker when it comes to presidential politics. There have been eight presidential elections since Limbaugh’s national program was started in 1988. He was too new to the medium and the country at large to carry much sway in...

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O.J.’s parole vindicates the system

  It’s my guess that many Americans are not in agreement with the decision by a parole board in Nevada to let O.J. Simpson out of prison after serving nine years for an armed robbery in Las Vegas. The case involved a hassle over possession of sports souvenirs and memorabilia that Simpson said belonged to him. It’s also my guess that details of the Vegas robbery don’t really matter to most  folks, whether they’ll admit or not. What gets them is that O.J. beat the rap in the murder of his wife Nicole and her friend...

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Who are the best and worst presidents in your lifetime?

  Since I’m probably older than most of my readers, I have more U.S. presidents from which to choose in answering the question in  the headline above. I have another advantage in this regard: The first of the 15 presidents in my lifetime, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was the best. And the latest of those chief executives, Donald Trump, is the worst — after only six months on the job. All the others have been comparatively mediocre in retrospect — which is to say that FDR was very good, and The Donald is very bad. Of course,...

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Donald Trump is not my commander in chief

  A friend of mine and I were arguing the other day about the political  skills — or lack of them — of the current occupant of the White House when my opponent said something that probably makes perfect sense to far too many Americans. “Donald Trump is our commander in chief,” he declared, “and we owe him respect.” I responded that Trump is not my  commander in chief and is not the commander in chief of most Americans. The guy acted as if I had just spit on the flag. “Barack Obama was not my...

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Trump’s first six months as president have been a disaster

  On Thursday of this week, Donald Trump will reach the half-year point of his presidency — and his record thus far has been nothing to brag about. The Donald’s standing in the polls tell the story: No previous president has had lower approval numbers at this juncture. One hardly knows where to begin itemizing Trump’s failures and missteps. The available choices are numerous. But I would start with his peculiar love affair with Russia and Vladimir Putin. Indeed, the Russian thing still has the potential to undo the...

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