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This guy says ISIS (or ISIL, if you will) is losing the war

While America’s Obama-haters can scarcely conceal their glee at any sign that the war against the so-called Islamic State is not going well — I mean people like you, John McCain — the truth of the matter might well be that those signs are simply wrong. HERE‘s what Michael Knights is reporting: Many in the world media seem to be concluding, with alarm, that the group known as the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant is at the gates of Baghdad. ISIL has made dramatic gains in Anbar province, Iraq’s perennially troubled...

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Poll indicates that media coverage of Ebola tends to confuse people

On several occasions in recent weeks, I’ve posted evidence here that the American media generally are doing a poor job of covering the Ebola situation. The biggest problem seems to be that television coverage is too often slanted toward scare-mongering in a bid for viewership ratings. And now there’s THIS: A new poll last week revealed disturbing trends about the increasingly dire media coverage of the Ebola story in the United States. Measuring the rising anxiety among news consumers, a Rutgers-Eagleton poll of New Jersey...

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Federal judge with Rockford ties regrets ever supporting voter IDs

Federal Appeals Court Judge Richard Posner (who has ruled on several Rockford cases, by the way) is not the conservative ideologue he was when Ronald Reagan appointed him to the bench in 1981. Five years ago, for example, Posner opined that “the policies of the new conservatism are powered largely by emotion and religion and have for the most part weak intellectual groundings.” Posner’s ideological  evolution has continued apace and reached a milestone of sorts when he changed his mind on the issue of voting rights, as we see HERE:...

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Poll: Tea Partiers and the less-educated are more fearful of Ebola than other Americans

For some reason, THIS doesn’t really surprise me: According to a new national poll, the more educated you are, the less you fear an Ebola outbreak in a major U.S. city, while the less educated, the greater the fear. Well that’s what the latest Reason-Rupe national poll shows anyway, along with the fact that Tea Partiers fear the coming Ebola apocalypse more than Democrats and Republicans. Interesting. So in case you were wondering why your neighborhood preppers have stopped shooting at you when you mistakenly take a run on top of their...

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It’s time that we call out global-warming deniers as threats to national security

One of the implications of a report issued today by top U.S. military officials is that Americans who deny the reality of global warming in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence have no moral right to call themselves patriotic. There’ just no logical way you can equate THIS with propaganda from liberal extremists, as so many right-wingers do: The Pentagon released a report Monday asserting decisively that climate change poses an immediate threat to national security, with increased risks from terrorism, infectious disease, global...

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Columbus Day ain’t what it used to be

When I was a student in a Catholic grammar school many years ago, Columbus Day was a big deal. The nuns made sure we knew that the famous explorer embraced our own religion, and there was no mention of the revisionist history that has cast him in a negative light in more recent years. I also recall an occasion on which  the nuns trundled us off to a movie theater for a showing of a somewhat  fictionalized 1949 flick in which Fredric March played Columbus. But that was then, and THIS is now: His symbolic value as a representative of the...

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Did federal budget cuts slow the search for an Ebola vaccine?

According to a presumably knowledgeable source, the answer to the question in the headline above is affirmative. The story is HERE: As the federal government frantically works to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and as it responds to a second diagnosis of the disease at home, one of the country’s top health officials says a vaccine likely would have already been discovered were it not for budget cuts. Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, said that a decade of stagnant spending has “slowed...

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Bill Clinton remains popular mainly because he loves politics, which most presidents don’t

In their abiding affection for William Jefferson Clinton, most Americans seem to forget that he was impeached by a Republican Congress a mere 16 years ago. You would think that such formal disapprobriation would leave a lasting political scar of disgrace. But you would be wrong. I’ve always considered it one of our nation’s great political ironies that Clinton’s approval rating, as measured by the Gallup poll, hit a high of 73 percent on the very day he was impeached. That was a higher rating than Ronald Reagan ever...

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Five federal judges say GOP claims of voter fraud in Wisconsin are partisan and goofy

Numerous studies in recent years have shown that verifiable cases of voter impersonation fraud are as rare as hen’s teeth. Still,  that hasn’t deterred Republican politicians in various states from pushing preposterous and sometimes racist voter-suppression schemes. But now, such efforts in Wisconsin are the target of blowback from federal judges, as we see HERE: Just 14 hours after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked Wisconsin’s voter ID law for the Nov. 4 election, five appeals court judges Friday issued a blistering opinion...

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Religious identity has more to do with culture, ethnicity and politics than with scriptural principles

Reza Aslan argues HERE that adherents of the same religion often have radically different views depending on their cultural, ethnic and geographical roots: [R]eligion is often far more a matter of identity than it is a matter of beliefs and practices. The phrase “I am a Muslim,” “I am a Christian,” “I am a Jew” and the like is, often, not so much a description of what a person believes or what rituals he or she follows, as a simple statement of identity, of how the speaker views her or his place in the world. As a form of identity, religion...

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A poll of equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans almost always is worthless

Chuck Sweeny made a good point the other day in a front-page story in the Rockford Register Star about a recent poll on the Illinois gubernatorial race between Republican challenger Bruce Rauner and Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn. Sweeny warned readers against complaining that the poll at issue had more Democratic respondents than Republicans. This is a common beef among people who don’t understand the science of polling. These folks seem to think any poll that doesn’t include equal numbers of Democratic and Republican respondents is...

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Bad news for Scott Walker: Supreme Court blocks Wisconsin voter ID law

A scheme by Republican politicians in Wisconsin aimed at suppressing voter turnout has been negated by the nation’s highest court. The story is HERE: The Supreme Court on Thursday evening stopped officials in Wisconsin from requiring voters there to provide photo identification before casting their ballots in the coming election. Three of the court’s more conservative members dissented, saying they would have allowed officials to require identification… The Wisconsin requirement, one of the strictest in the nation, is part of a...

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