The Invisible Threat of White Christian Terrorism

InvisibleMan

Just after New Year's, a gang of self-proclaimed militia members led by two sons of Cliven Bundy (yes, that Cliven Bundy) announced that they'd seized a building in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Ostensibly, this was a protest on behalf of two ranchers who'd been sentenced to prison for setting fires on federal land. They vowed to occupy the refuge "for years" if necessary and promised violence if police tried to remove them, saying they were ready to "kill and be killed". Ammon … [Read more...]

Turning the Corner on Climate Change

MiamiBeach

The future is bleak for Miami.Built on low-lying swampland, it's one of the most vulnerable places on the planet as storms strengthen and seas rise. The city is already suffering from streets that flood at high tide and saltwater seeping into drinking wells. With just a few feet of sea-level rise, which may be unstoppable at this point, most of South Florida will vanish beneath the waves. As a famous Rolling Stone article puts it, Miami is "doomed to drown", possibly sooner than we … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Do Not Adjust Your Set

OnAirSign

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VIIThe morning after the riot at Rearden Steel, Dagny is woken out of a sound sleep by the insistent ringing of her doorbell ("She had worked at the office till four A.M. and had left word not to expect her till noon" - such shameful weakness! since when do Randian protagonists require eight hours of sleep?). When she answers the door, it's Jim, in a panic:"He's gone!" he cried."Who?""Hank Rearden! He's gone, quit, vanished, … [Read more...]

Threads of 2015

As the last hours of 2015 pass, it's time to revisit the themes and ideas that I kept returning to over the year. These are the most significant:A Violent YearParis suffered not one, but two atrocities. In January, there was a bloody terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo, committed by fanatics who slaughtered artists for the imaginary crime of blasphemy. I mused about whether terrorism is courageous and reacted with disbelief when Pope Francis condoned the violence. Then, in November, there … [Read more...]

New on the Guardian: Loud Fear, Quiet Hope

Sprouts

In 2015, our attention was riveted by crisis, disaster and violence, and politicians flourished by pandering to bigotry and xenophobia. But behind these discouraging headlines, there's a quiet trend of progress unobtrusively transforming the world.That's the topic of my latest column in the Guardian, Buried in the darkness of 2015: the seeds of hope for a better 2016. To find out more, read the excerpt below, then click through to the full piece:In 2015, the brutal violence of the … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: Reusable Rockets

SpaceXRocketLaunch

The news was nearly overshadowed by Christmas, but Elon Musk's SpaceX pulled off an incredible feat of technology this week:The company's Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral to carry a set of communications satellites into orbit. While the second stage of the rocket delivered its payload, the initial booster stage turned around and returned to earth, firing its engines to stabilize itself as it touched down for a soft landing. After two previous near-miss attempts that ended … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Fanfare for the Common Man

WashingtonMonument

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VIThere's a scene in this chapter that I'm going to pass over briefly. In it, Hank Rearden is invited to a conference in New York where a cabal of prominent looters proudly announce their Steel Unification Plan, in which every steel maker will be paid based on the number of furnaces he owns. Hank points out that this plan will force him to produce at a loss, since he owns fewer furnaces but produces more steel than his competitors. Since he knows that they … [Read more...]

Welcome Stranger: A Humanist Sermon

CloudGateCityReflection

I've said in the past, and will have occasion to say again, that the world is slowly becoming a better place despite the tragedies and outrages that parade before our eyes. But just because the overall picture is brightening doesn't mean that there aren't real and lingering dark spots that ought to command our attention. One is the continuing civil war in Syria and the exodus of people, mostly Muslim, it's scattered across Europe and the United States.Last month, I mused about the astounding … [Read more...]

Open Thread: Star Wars

I saw The Force Awakens last night, and I have thoughts, so here's an open thread to discuss the movie. Warning: spoilers ahead!As Lore Sjoberg once said, the best Star Wars will always be the one that reverts you to the wide-eyed 8-year-old you were when you saw it for the first time. By that standard, this movie delivers the goods. It doesn't just hit all the nostalgia buttons, it plays them like a symphony: the scavenged, used-future technology, the desert and ice planets, the colorful … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Antiheroism

BlackHat

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VII've been contemplating the concept of the antihero in literature. It's always struck me as an odd term. Just going by etymology, you'd think it meant the opposite of a hero, but it doesn't. All it means is a different kind of hero - someone who has more obvious character flaws, or a different moral code, than traditional, white-hat, truth-justice-and-the-American-way heroes.What would it mean for someone to really and truly be the opposite of a hero? … [Read more...]


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