Hitchens On Crass Responses To The Proposed Ground Zero Islamic Center

Noting the shadiness and creepiness of public remarks by Feisal Abdul Rauf, the imam behind the plan to build a mosque blocks away from the former site of the Twin Towers, Christopher Hitchens is nonetheless repulsed by the tactics adopted by his opposition.  Starting with Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, he writes: [Read More...]

William Shatner As Stanley Milgram In The 1975 Film “The Tenth Level”

Stanley Milgram was the psychologist who performed the famous obedience experiments which involved getting normal people to go through with administering (what they thought were) extraordinarily painful shocks to other people out of deference to calm but firm orders from an authority figure.  Now Mind Hacks points our attention to The Tenth Level a fascinating bit [Read More...]

How Did American And British Accents Diverge?

Common ancestry surprises are not just for species: Reading David McCullough’s 1776, I found myself wondering: Did Americans in 1776 have British accents? If so, when did American accents diverge from British accents? The answer surprised me. I’d always assumed that Americans used to have British accents, and that American accents diverged after the Revolutionary War, [Read More...]

World War II Riddled With Cliches And Implausible Plot Turns

Via Yglesias, comes this review of World War II: But then there are some shows that go completely beyond the pale of enjoyability, until they become nothing more than overwritten collections of tropes impossible to watch without groaning. I think the worst offender here is the History Channel and all their programs on the so-called [Read More...]

Twain Uncensored

The unabridged Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1, delayed by Twain’s request for a century, is coming this fall. The New York Times describes choice passages: Twain excoriates “the iniquitous Cuban-Spanish War” and Gen. Leonard Wood’s “mephitic record” as governor general in Havana. In writing about an attack on a tribal group in the Philippines, [Read More...]

The Treaty Of Tripoli

Article 11: Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Read More...]

George Washington’s Letter To Touro Synagogue

The first president of our secular republic writes: To the Hebrew Congregation in Newport Rhode Island. Gentlemen, While I receive, with much satisfaction, your Address replete with expressions of affection and esteem; I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you, that I shall always retain a grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced in [Read More...]

“It Can’t Happen Here”

PZ Myers calls our attention to Sinclair Lewis’s 75 year old words to warn us about how precious and precarious our freedom from theocracy and all other forms of tyranny really is: In 1935, Sinclair Lewis wrote a novel called “It Can’t Happen Here,” about an America taken over by a populist dictator. His hero [Read More...]

Conscientious Objector

Edna St. Vincent Millay: Conscientious Objector I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death. I hear him leading his horse out of the stall; I hear the clatter on the barn-floor. He is in haste; he has business in Cuba, business in the Balkans, many calls to make this morning. [Read More...]


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