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It seems that the Republican effort to repeal Obamacare is pretty much over

Don’t expect Republicans in Congress to shout about it from the rooftops, but it appears that they’ve dismounted their favorite legislative hobby horse: They’re no longer trying to repeal Obamacare.- The story is HERE: After five years and more than 50 votes in Congress, the Republican campaign to repeal the Affordable Care Act is essentially over. GOP congressional leaders, unable to roll back the law while President Obama remains in office and unwilling to again threaten a government shutdown to pressure him, are focused...

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Snubs of Cheap Trick and certain other worthies delegitimizes Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

The world would be a better place, methinks, if the Baseball and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame did not exist — at least not in the way they’ve been operated. Both of these Halls of Fame too often have enshrined undeserving candidates and snubbed eminent worthies. I’ve addressed the problems with the Baseball Hall in previous posts; my focus here is on the Rock and Roll Hall. A good starting point is THIS PASSAGE from a piece the other day on Salon.com: Last week, Billboard ran an illuminating article about the process by which...

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On two counts, public attitudes on economic issues seem to bode well for Dems in 2016

In a recent national poll — and for the first time in more than five years — a plurality of Americans (49 percent) gave President Obama positive marks for his handling of the economy. That same poll also showed that a sizable majority of Americans, even most Republicans, express concern about the growing economic gap between the rich and everyone else. Both of those survey results would seem to be good for Democratic Party prospects in next year’s elections, as Ed Kilgore explains HERE: So it may well be that Hillary...

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Most Americans see global warming as a threat to future generations but not to themselves

Researchers at Yale and Utah State universities have unveiled a statistical technique that allows them to measure Americans’ attitudes about global warming even down to local levels. This effort shows, for example, that majorities in 99 percent of the nation’s 3,143 counties agree that global warming is happening. But most folks in nearly 80 percent of counties say they aren’t convinced that “human activities” are the principal cause of  the  warming. To me, the most interesting findings were THESE: Residents of...

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The first three months of this year were among the hottest on record

If I have to remind you that the weather where you live is not necessarily an indication of conditions around the globe, I probably should also tell you that you needn’t bother reading this post. You’ll only find that it’s way over your head. For the rest of you, HERE‘s the deal: NASA reported Tuesday that this was the hottest three-month start (January to March) of any year on record. This was the third warmest March on record in NASA’s dataset (and the first warmest in the dataset of the Japan Meteorological Agency)....

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Hillary’s so-called email scandal poses virtually no big political problem for her

History shows that none of the trash thrown at Barack Obama by his critics, pathological and otherwise, during his first term as president prevented his re-election to a second term in 2012. That’s an important political lesson: So-called scandals don’t hurt you much if they’re important only to the people who don’t like you anyway. And so it is with the case of Hillary Clinton’s overblown email scandal. In and of itself, that issue is not likely to turn many voters against her. The people who think it will...

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Marco Rubio should not have cited 1999 as an example of the bad old days

Poor Marco Rubio! He’s really not ready for political prime time, let alone the presidency of the United States. In announcing his candidacy for the White House the other day, Rubio went to great lengths to portray himself as future-oriented and not a politician of the past — like anyone named Clinton or perhaps even Bush. “Too many leaders” are “busy looking backwards,” he said. “So they do not see how jobs and prosperity today depend on our ability to … compete in a global economy. And so our leaders put us at a disadvantage by...

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Why don’t Hillary haters argue that a woman president would be unconstitutional?

Not that right-wing opponents of Hillary Clinton would seek any advice from a liberal such as I, but I can’t resist passing along a little item that came to my attention this morning that might appeal to certain political operatives. The folks at Reality Chex, a lefty website, notice that there’s a masculine pronoun in Article II of the U.S. Constitution that conceivably could be cited in a challenge to Hillary’s qualifications for the post of chief executive of the federal government. The pertinent section reads as...

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Polling analyst Sam Wang has good news for Hillary and bad news for Jeb

During the presidential election cycle of 2012, my favorite polling analysts were Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight and Sam Wang of the Princeton Election Consortium, both of whom foresaw a victory for Barack Obama well ahead of the election when the more traditional media were predicting a cliff-hanger. These two number-crunchers and perhaps a few others of their pedigree will be worth following as the 2016 presidential race picks up steam. Wang, who is far less well-known than Silver, is out today with a piece that deals with various matters,...

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Unfortunately, most Americans are unaware that today is Thomas Jefferson’s birthday

When I was a schoolboy back before there was a President’s Day on our national calendar, most of us kids of that time were familiar with the February birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. But nothing was ever said back then, nor is anything said these days, about the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, whose place in American history is at least as monumentally  important as those of Lincoln and Washington. Jefferson was born 258 years ago today in the British American colony of Virginia, the third of 10 children of parents with...

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Are the personality traits of presidential candidates important in the final analysis?

It occurred to me the other day that I’ll very likely end up voting for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election despite the fact that her personality holds no great appeal for me. After all, I like to consider myself old enough and wise enough to distinguish superficial personality impressions from positions on issues that really matter. It’s pretty much a lead-pipe cinch that Hillary’s stances on the issues will be preferable to those of any Republican rival for the presidency. In a general sense, my attitude is...

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Antipathy toward Obama among Republicans becomes ever more ugly and un-American

In the 50-plus years I’ve been following American politics, I’ve never seen the likes of the Republican campaign of invective against Barack Obama. No president in my lifetime, not even Richard Nixon, has been the target of such naked hatred. And the weirdest thing about this Obamphobia is that it’s not shared by any sizable majority of Americans. Just the other day, the Gallup poll showed that Obama’s approval/disapproval ratings among the populace in general were about even. Nor have his approval ratings ever fallen...

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