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Today is not really Presidents Day — at least not nationally in any official sense

Of all the holidays we observe in America, Presidents Day is the goofiest. Congress has never set aside this date as Presidents Day. Rather, a bill passed by Congress in 1971 and signed into law by then-President Richard Nixon designated the third Monday in February as the birthday of George Washington. But this isn’t really Washington’s birthday, either (nor does this day ever fall on Washington’s birthday). He was actually born on Feb. 11, 1731 on the Old Style Calendar (which was changed to Feb. 22, 1732 on the New Style...

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It’s simply cowardly of Scott Walker to duck the question of whether he believes in evolution

In the presidential campaign seasons of 2008 and 2012, candidates for the Republican nomination were asked in televised debates whether they believed in evolution. Some did, and some didn’t. And the question made some of the candidates at least a little nervous. You see, the issue of evolution is a little tricky among some Republican politicians. They realize that many rank-and-file members of their party are evolution deniers. A poll commissioned by the Pew Research Center a little more than a  year ago showed that a 48-percent...

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Another example of how MSNBC blabber Chris Matthews is not exactly a heavy thinker

Few people on television annoy me as much as Chris Matthews of MSNBC, even if he’s supposedly a liberal. Among Matthews’ many faults is his habit of asking guests questions he merely wants to answer himself. And then, of course, there are his many interruptions and his tendency to shout rather than speak in a conversational tone. Did I mention that I don’t like this guy? Well, I don’t. Just the other day, Matthews did a perfect — and sincere — impression of the kind of self-styled genius you might encounter...

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Scientists predict megadroughts for much of America in coming decades

Well, at least I can take solace in the likelihood that I’ll be gone before THIS gets really bad: In the Southwest and Central Plains of Western North America, climate change is expected to increase drought severity in the coming decades… [T]he mean state of drought in the late 21st century over the Central Plains and Southwest will likely exceed even the most severe megadrought periods of the Medieval era in both high and moderate future emissions scenarios, representing an unprecedented fundamental climate shift with respect to...

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Neo-Confederate hate group will celebrate anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination

According to Wikipedia, The League of the South describes itself as a Southern nationalist organization, headquartered in Killen, Alabama, which states that its ultimate goal is “a free and independent Southern republic.” The group defines the Southern United States as the states that made up the former Confederacy. It claims to be also a religious and social movement, advocating a return to a more traditionally conservative, Christian-oriented Southern culture. It advocates a “natural societal order of superiors and...

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News Flash! The Constitution says nothing about three co-equal branches of government

It’s been a while since I’ve addressed this issue, but I heard some congressperson on TV this morning refer to the federal government’s “three co-equal branches,” which prompts me to reiterate a point I’ve made here on several previous occasions: Yes, the notion that the Constitution created three co-equal branches of government is an article of faith among most Americans.  It’s popularly viewed as the provision that gives us our system of checks and balances. But it’s not true. In reality, there’s no mention of  “co-equal branches” or...

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Today is the 206th anniversary of one of history’s great coincidences

On this date in 1809, two giants of history — Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln — were born. The influence these two very different men had on the world is almost immeasurable. Consensus holds that Lincoln, the immortal emancipator, was the greatest of our American presidents, and Darwin, the scientific genius, popularized  theories of evolution. In a sense, there are parallels in the achievements of Lincoln and Darwin. They both changed the way the world sees the human condition. This shared date of the births of Lincoln and...

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Illinois Republican wants his party to give up its fight with Obama on immigration

    Not often enough, but every once in a while the junior U.S. senator from Illinois shows a bit of political courage and good sense. HERE‘s an example: Republican Sen. Mark Kirk said Wednesday that his party made a mistake by picking a fight over President Barack Obama’s immigration actions, and said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) should bring up a “clean” bill to keep the Department of Homeland Security funded. “I generally agree with the Democratic position here. I think we should...

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No, no, no, no, no, and no!

At a U.S. Senate committee hearing on vaccinations the other day, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat, asked the director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases these questions: “Is there any scientific evidence that vaccines cause autism?” “Is there any scientific evidence that vaccines cause ‘profound mental disorders’?” “Is there any scientific evidence that vaccines have contributed to the rise in allergies or auto-immune disorders among kids?” “Are there additives or preservatives in vaccines that...

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Big news about Brian Williams and Jon Stewart is a reminder that “media” is a plural, not a singular

Yesterday’s nearly simultaneous reports on big changes in the respective careers of two very different newscasters, Brian Williams and Jon Stewart, reminds me that the word “media” is not a singular, no matter that most people use it that way. Granted, this popular misuse of “media” as a singular has become so widespread that it’s now considered grammatically acceptable. Well, it’s not acceptable to me. It’s a Latin word, and it’s plural. As I’ve argued here on previous occasions, using “media” as a singular (“the...

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Surprise! Big Business seems none too eager to see the Supreme Court get rid of Obamacare!

The lords and masters of the right-wing noise machine might be surprised to learn — if they haven’t already noticed — that much of the business community is siding with the Obama administration or otherwise isn’t bothering to involve itself in a Supreme Court case in which the very survival of the Affordable Care Act is at stake. As I see it, this doesn’t bode well for the Republican cause in this matter. There’s more about all of this HERE: We generally think of Big Business and Corporate America aligning...

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Remember where you heard it: Brian Williams will be out at NBC by the end of the week

Good riddance! NBC News anchor Brian Williams will soon be out of work as a result of his exaggeration of his experiences as a correspondent in the early days of the U.S. war in Iraq — if not also other prevarications on his part. The equation here is quite simple: The anchor and managing editor of America’s most popular network newscast must be as free of suspicion as Caesar’s wife. Williams fails that test. Consequently, he’s gone — or soon will be. Mind you, this isn’t to say that a news anchor...

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