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Will Durst — How many turkeys died for your dinner?

We’ve spent such a large portion of the past year cringing at the prospect of potential disasters crouching behind every bush: ISIS, Putin, Trump, Belicheck, lion-killing dentists, that a national holiday right about now is a blessed respite. For one 24-hour period, the whole country can focus on something benign. Unless, you’re a Black Friday shopper. But those are self-inflicted injuries.

Christine M. Flowers — Both sides half right on refugees

I rarely write about immigration, partly because I spend enough time practicing immigration law, and partly because my words are taken with a grain of salt the size of that dinosaur-killing meteor. My conservative friends raise their eyebrows in that, “We love her, but gosh darn, she should get her head checked,” kind of way whenever I champion any form of legalization, while the liberals just flare their nostrils and say, “Yeah, the chick is only interested in getting rich off of the poor illegals.”

Jay Ambrose — Fighting against science and the human good

It’s the right wing that is anti-scientific, it is often said. But for plentiful examples of utterly irrational, even life-threatening disregard of methodically conducted research and solid empirical evidence, look to your left. More specifically, look to zany environmentalist politicians and, right now, especially in Europe, look at what’s being done to ban the blessing of genetically altered foods.

How the widening urban-rural divide threatens America

Of all the growing divides in America, none is sharper than that between city and country. For rural residents, existential issues on the national level are seen as magnified versions of personal considerations: Does the country have enough food, fuel and minerals? Can America defend itself, protect its friends and punish its enemies? These concerns differ markedly from the urbanite’s worry about whether the government will provide services to take care of vulnerable populations or whether those of different races and religions can get along in such a crowded environment. Add all this up and rural residents are more likely to be conservative and thus Republican, their urban counterparts liberal and logically Democratic. Most hot-button issues — deficit spending, defense, same-sex marriage, amnesty, affirmative action, gun control and abortion — break along rural or urban lines.

Christine M. Flowers — Facebook: Where political discourse goes to die

Facebook is a little bit like “Lord of the Flies,” without the exotic island locale. It’s a place where people can gang up on you in a virtual lynch mob if you stray from the communal orthodoxy, and they use the “like” button as rope. You have two choices: be shamed into submission or slink away on a life raft. Mark Zuckerberg’s lucrative social experiment started as a way for college students to meet, aka hook up. But when their parents and grandparents staged an unexpected coup d’etat, filling the screen with pictures of meals they’d eaten at Olive Garden, the kids moved on and the adults (I use that term loosely) were unleashed. All of the simmering resentments that post-dated Bush v. Gore found fertile ground and multiplied.