Changing Minds Takes Empathy (and Civility)

I used to follow the liberal writer Matt Bruenig's columns on politics and economics, but I stopped reading a while ago. Although I agreed with him more often than not, he radiated an attitude of aggressive contempt for anyone who disagreed with him that I found insufferable. That's why I wasn't surprised to hear about this:After multiple conversations, Matt Bruenig and Demos have agreed to disagree on the value of the attack mode on Twitter. We part ways on the effectiveness of these … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Nth Doctor

Atlas Shrugged Part III: Who Is John Galt?Part of what adds to the general aura of amateurishness around the Atlas trilogy is that the third movie has a completely different cast than the second (which had a completely different cast than the first). Obviously, if it had been either a critical or commercial success, the actors would be more eager to reprise their roles. As is, it seems like everyone associated with the films couldn't cash their paychecks and get out of town fast … [Read more...]

Who Died and Made You King of Atheism?

This video sums up everything that's wrong with the way the atheist movement presents itself:Bill Maher spilled the beans about a concept for a movie called The Kings of Atheism that Maher says he is creating with Michael Moore.... The Kings of Atheism movie will feature Maher and other famous atheists on a tour throughout the Bible belt.Bill Maher and Michael Moore, on Maher's show, announced their plan to collaborate on a comedy tour-slash-documentary that involves them and some … [Read more...]

How Catholic Hospitals Flout the Law

I've often written about the life-endangering refusal of Catholic hospitals to perform abortions, even when a pregnant woman is facing sepsis or hemorrhage and nothing can be done to save the fetus (see here, here and here). Now the ACLU in partnership with MergerWatch has released a new report, Health Care Denied, that reveals the full scope of the problem (HT: Butterflies and Wheels):Today, one in six hospital beds in the United States is in a Catholic hospital. In some places, such as … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Take Our Word For It

Atlas Shrugged Part III: Who Is John Galt?There was a third Atlas Shrugged movie.If you weren't aware it existed, that's understandable. The first movie was made with a respectable $20 million budget and bombed horrendously, earning back less than one-quarter of that. The second movie was made with just half the budget, and it showed. Despite opening on three times as many screens, it bombed even worse than the first one. You'd think that by this point, a Randian supercapitalist would … [Read more...]

God’s Endorsement Isn’t Worth Much

There's only two conclusions we can draw from the 2016 Republican primary: either God doesn't exist, or he has a hell of a sense of humor.I was thinking of this last week, when Ted Cruz dropped out after his crushing loss in Indiana. Cruz, more than any other candidate in the race, exemplified the attitude that God has a very specific political platform and had chosen him to implement it. Cruz's father, Rafael Cruz, is a bona fide dominionist who believes that Christians have a divine … [Read more...]

Why Donald Trump Will Lose the Election

The battle lines of the 2016 campaign are set. Barring a miracle, it will be Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton.Trump's rise has confounded the pundits who predicted it could never happen, that surely the Republican party would unite to deny him the nomination. His crass remarks and missteps, which hurt him not at all, cemented the sense of a candidate immune from normal political laws. As a result, many people are treating his primary victory as a paradigm-shattering event that overturns … [Read more...]

SF/F Saturday: The Top 100 Women Authors

My familiarity with the classics of sci-fi and fantasy is patchy, and I've been trying to make it more systematic. As part of that goal, I want to diversify my reading selections, and pay adequate attention to the excellent women and minority authors who are too often overlooked in favor of the white male authors who've historically dominated the field.So, I was very pleased to see this top-100 list of SF/F novels by female authors from BookRiot. I was curious to see where I stacked up in … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Exeunt Omnes

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter XAfter three years and 160(!) posts, we've finally come to the very last scene of Atlas Shrugged. In our previous installment, Ayn Rand lowered the curtain on Eddie Willers, inexplicably abandoned by his closest friends to die in the desert. In this closing scene, she takes us to Galt's Gulch to show what the capitalists are doing instead.It's a quick scene, with just a few lines devoted to each of the protagonists. But in those few lines, like a … [Read more...]

The Clock of the Long Now

I recently became aware of the Long Now Foundation, a futurist group whose mission is to plant the seeds of long-term thinking in society. It's a cause I have a lot of sympathy for, so it's worth publicizing what they do.The foundation is headquartered at The Interval, a cafe and public forum in San Francisco's Fort Mason. On display there is their library, a scale model of their 10,000-year clock (more on that in a moment), and all kinds of other curiosities. A screen above the bar shows a … [Read more...]


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