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    New Hampshire Primaries: Slouching Toward the Brokered Convention

    It's still early, with only two-fifths of the returns in from New Hampshire tonight. But Sanders is comfortably ahead of Clinton and, on the Republican side, chaos is comfortably ahead of consensus.

    Recently, on one of Mike W's threads, I argued that:

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    A New Hampshire Primary Memory

    It's the New Hampshire primary today. I grew up in New Hampshire, and I remember those elections fondly.

    One of my my favorite memories, which I've blogged about a few years back, involves my Mom getting into it with Al Haig on the campaign trail back in the 80s. Haig was, of course, a retired general, former Supreme NATO commander, Nixon's last Chief of Staff and Reagan's first Secretary of State. Mom was a police lieutenant.

    So, Mom, who was interested in the question, asked Haig a question about women playing combat roles in the military.

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    After Iowa: Republicans Still in Trouble

    The day after the Iowa Caucus, the conventional pundit wisdom is that the Republican position improved and that the Democrats are somehow (and here things get a little cloudy and ill-defined) in trouble. This is because the conventional wisdom is 1) relative, 2) obsessed with direction, and 3) amnesiac. So the Republican result gets spun as positive, because things are relatively better for the GOP and moving in the right direction, so that's "good." We forget all about the fact that last week -- just last week!

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    I Was Wrong About Hillary

    Back in 2000, when Hillary Clinton was still First Lady and running for the US Senate, I thought she would be a bad fit for the job. Clinton was clearly very smart and talented, but I believed that her particular gifts made her a natural Cabinet Secretary: the very job that she couldn't hold as the sitting President's spouse.

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    This Election Is About George Bush

    The Republican primaries have been chaotic, unpredictable, and in some ways unprecedented. They seem to get crazier every week. (If you predicted six months ago that Donald Trump would still be ahead just before the Iowa caucuses, you're part of a small minority. If you predicted six months ago that front-runner Trump would be boycotting a Fox News debate on the eve of the Iowa caucuses, well, you don't exist. No one saw that one coming.) But this election is not about Trump, or Cruz, or Jeb Bush.

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    It's Not Stop Trump. It's Stop Cruz.

    The big headline today is that Sarah Palin, Martyr Queen of the Resentful Bozos, has endorsed Donald Trump in Iowa. But the even bigger news in some ways is that the Republican Governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, came out to attack Ted Cruz today, saying that a Cruz win would be bad for Iowa. That's a Tea Party figure AND an establishment Republican both weighing in, on the same day, to keep Ted Cruz from winning Iowa.

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    David Bowie Lived to 69 (Alan Rickman, Too)

    My social media feed, like yours, is full of mourning this week: not simply for the great and beloved David Bowie, but also for the brilliant Shakespearean actor Alan Rickman (likewise beloved from many films), the poet C. D.

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    Your New Year's Public Domain Report for 2016

    Happy New Year! It's Public Domain Day, the first day of the calendar year, on which people in other countries get new works of art and learning added to the public domain for everyone to use. And on the first day of the new year we in the United States get ...

    Zilch. Nada. Niente. Nothing.

    Again.

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    Don't Ever Call the Cops: The Tamir Rice Story

    The Tamir Rice story, and the irresponsible decision not to prosecute his killers, is breaking my heart. And while the worst sufferers are Tamir's family, I have found myself thinking, ever since he died, about the poor soul who called 911. That person was just trying to do the right thing, but the positive, neighborly gesture led to disaster. Calling 911 brought the Cleveland Police, and because the police came a child died. Everything would have better if the police had not come.

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    The Christmas Star

    It's Christmas, the second-most-important Christian holiday and the most important holiday for many Americans. Tonight is Christmas Eve. But for some families, every year, Christmas comes at a moment that seems dark and difficult. Many of my friends are in my thoughts tonight, and my own family is grieving.

    This will be our last Christmas with Mom. My mother is in hospice. She spoke during the fall about wanting to make it to Christmas, and she has. I am immensely thankful. I am very sad. We have her; we will lose her. The two truths are not separate.

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    Terrorism, Elections, and Keeping Faith with America

    What I would love, more than nearly any other possible thing, is for the Republican presidential to shut their mouths about how frightening Daesh is. That's exactly what Daesh wants, and it is shameful that Trump, Carson, Christie, Cruz, and the rest give Daesh that satisfaction. It is still more disgraceful still to give terrorists any advantage in the hopes of gaining political advantage oneself. But my biggest question is, where is their national pride? When did the Republican candidates forget they were Americans?

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    "College-Ready Seventh Graders"

    So, a funny thing happened in Ohio higher education. I don't blog about things that happen at my university, but this decision didn't happen at my university. It happened in the State Legislature, with a new law that affects every public college in the state. And of course, decisions about this law weren't made by people who actually teach college. Obviously, we are too biased, and probably too corrupt, to help make wise decisions about educating young people. That needs to be left to politicians.

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    America Needs More Refugees

    The cheap fear-mongering about Syrian refugees loses sight of some basic facts. The United States has taken in refugees before, and that decision has worked out really, really well for us. In fact, taking in refugees has been great for America, and we should take in more whenever we get a chance.

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    Profiles in Cowardice

    My thoughts are with Paris today, and with Beirut. We were in the airport, waiting for a delayed flight, when the news broke Friday evening, and so the Paris new broke to us through cable TV and the Beirut news did not reach us at all. There is too much to say about these crimes. For now I can only say that the United States has, at this point, precisely the news media that terrorism wishes us to have.

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    Brett Foster Goes Out Singing

    I was blogging today about art, especially about poetry and about grief, but that post was interrupted by the news of an old friend's death. My own thoughts about grief can wait. I will still be thinking them tomorrow. Today I give way to the beautiful, kind-hearted poet and scholar Brett Foster, who has passed out of this world. He was a better man than I have ever been, and I will miss him.

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    Joseph's Pyramids and American Popular History

    Yes, Ben Carson, who is officially running for President, is happily telling people that the pyramids are not actually pharaohs' tombs, but grain storage built by Joseph from the Book of Genesis. Never mind that there are (for example) sarcophagi in the pyramids. And never mind that the Bible doesn't actually say anything about Joseph building pyramids or in fact building anything (Genesis Ch.

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    Praise for the Foremothers

    This is how it works: men and women do things - write books, build institutions, start movements - that change your life forever, and the men get into the history books. The women mysteriously fall out of the story, over and over. How many times have you heard or read the words, "Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to be free"? How many of you can name the writer off the top of your head? That's what I'm talking about.

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    Where Is the GOP's Mr. Reliable?

    Last month when I blogged about the Republican primaries, I was struck by the fact that no front-runner has emerged as the role of the safe, electable choice. Primaries frequently resolve into contests between an establishment choice who runs on electability and an outsider or dark horse who runs on ideological closeness to the party base or, to pick up the dating metaphor from my earlier post, the primary becomes a choice between the safe, reliable suitor your parents want you to marry and the exciting boyfriend or girlfriend with shakier prospects.

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    What Is a "Good" College? Two Tentative Answers

    Sometimes, because of my job, people ask me advice about choosing colleges. It's always nice to be helpful, but talking about college reputations can be a minefield. Obviously, you learn quickly that you should never put any college or university down, but that's not enough. People can also get very prickly when you don't praise a particular college enough.

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    Dr. Cleveland's Rule for Evaluating Rumors of Affairs

    So, the latest Republican self-immolation in the House apparently has now also spun off nasty little rumors of an affair between two Members of the House. Let me say, straight off, that I don't give a damn whether or not that's true. My issue with today's Republicans is not the conduct of their private lives, but the scandalous and shocking conduct of their public lives.

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