July 2015

“A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything” ― Friedrich Nietzsche.

Ultra-Orthodox Jew stabs gays.

Yishai Shlissel, an ultra-Orthodox Jew stabbed several people at Jerusalem’s Gay Pride parade. It’s his second bite at the apple. He had already received a 10-year sentence for doing the like at the same event a decade ago.

It raises two questions. How does this religious zealot find justification when his God’s ten commandments explicitly ban murder but are silence on homosexuality? And why isn’t he stabbing adulterers?

Two, how do you differentiate between religious fundamentalism and insanity? (h/t Daily Mail)

Ultra-Orthodox stabs people at Jerusalem's gay pride parade.

Yishai Shlissel

Propaganda as History.

In ‘1984’, George Orwell incisively observed, “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” It was an observation springing from the Soviet Union’s habit of ‘disappearing’ people, no longer in favor, from the historical record. And a teaching an official history that celebrated the wonders of the Communist State.

America is not approaching Soviet level disinformation. But in a nod to the power of propaganda the AP History board has rewritten the AP History outline to more celebrate American ‘exceptionalism’. The shift was not inspired by a change in academic philosophy – or the discovery of new facts – but by pressure from conservatives who thought the old guidelines weren’t ‘positive’ enough.

First conservatives tried to shoehorn fake science into schools; now they are shredding history. (h/t The Washington Post)

Not committing a crime is better than being punished for committing a crime.

Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, who in fairness is often sensible, opined that charging the cop who killed Sam Dubose with murder proves the ‘system is working’. Yes, Officer Ray Tensing has been charged with murder in the killing – but the system will be working when armed cops don’t shoot unarmed men.

Chad reintroduces the death penalty.

In a move designed to confront an increase in terrorism by Boko Haram Chad has reintroduced the death penalty. It wasn’t explained how the death penalty deters suicide bombers.

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The Two Americas – Rarely the Twain Shall Meet.

July 30, 2015

“History is written by the rich, and so the poor get blamed for everything” ― Jeffrey D. Sachs Martin Luther King talked of ‘two Americas’. Two Americas divided by wealth and opportunity. And it isn’t only that the rich can buy more stuff than the poor. They can also buy better criminal justice and political results. Rob […]

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What’s the Worst That Could Happen? How to Make a Choice.

July 29, 2015

“The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks” ― Christopher Hitchens. Will an increase in the minimum wage lead to economic Armageddon and mass firings – or will it lift millions out of poverty? Many have an opinion and luckily there are ‘experts’ they can cite […]

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Election 2016: Trump May Make the Most Noise – But There Are Other GOP Candidates.

July 27, 2015

“Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear” ~ William Gladstone. Marco Rubio spins his inexperience. Challenged by the fact that he is competing in Election 2016 with former and sitting Governors, and elected politicians with far more experience, Marco Rubio has discovered relevant expertise in […]

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Harry Truman and His Very Modern Take on the GOP

July 26, 2015

“Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home–but not for housing. They are strong for labor–but they are stronger for restricting labor’s rights. They favor minimum wage–the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all–but they won’t […]

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Gun Zealots Put Kids in Danger.

July 22, 2015

“A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject” ― Winston S. Churchill  In Mobile, Alabama, a boy, 3, was shot by his brother, 6. He is in hospital in critical condition. He’s not alone. People are shot accidentally every day – by themselves and by others. Most of the […]

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The One True Science vs. God only Knows How Many Gods.

July 19, 2015

“For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring” ― Carl Sagan. What is the difference between science and religion? Consider this: If man’s knowledge of religion and science disappeared, man would recreate both. What form religion would take is a mystery. […]

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Argument By Anecdote. It’s Easier than the Heavy Lifting of Actually Thinking.

July 18, 2015

“If we are not prepared to think for ourselves, and to make the effort to learn how to do this well, we will always be in danger of becoming slaves to the ideas and values of others due to our own ignorance.” ― William Hughes Donald Trump characterised undocumented Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists. […]

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The Lesson of the GOP Base’s Embrace of Donald Trump.

July 17, 2015

“Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious” ― Oscar Wilde The most unsettling thing about Donald Trump is not Donald Trump. The man may be a world class mouth – spouting racist paranoia or cynically trumpeting an issue he calculates will resonate with the base. And he has tapped a wellspring of deep fear and […]

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