ISIS Is Bleeding Human History

BurnedBook

On top of all the other atrocities they've committed, we have to add another entry to the list of ISIS' crimes against the human race: their penchant for destroying ancient relics and other historical artifacts in the cities they've conquered. While it's not comparable to the mass slaughter of human beings, this cultural vandalism stands out for its sheer senselessness. Like the Taliban fanatics who dynamited the monumental Buddhas of Bamiyan, or the militants of Ansar Dine who destroyed the … [Read more...]

Constitutional Crisis in Alabama?

BrokenChain

My newest column on AlterNet is up, Right-Wingers' Secession Threats: Fighting Tooth and Nail on the Wrong Side of History. It's an expanded version of my earlier post on Roy Moore and other social conservatives arguing that they shouldn't have to obey laws they don't like. Here's an excerpt:When a U.S. federal judge - an appointee of George W. Bush, no less - ruled in favor of marriage equality in Alabama, Judge Roy Moore didn't take it lying down. The chief justice of the state supreme … [Read more...]

Photo Sunday: Dark Sunrise

DarkSunrise

For us Americans and others who still rely on the antiquated agricultural ritual of Daylight Savings Time, we "spring forward" this weekend. For the next few weeks, we'll be rising in the morning dark once again. But as discouraging as it is to lose an hour, it's a welcome reminder that spring is on its way, that sun and warmth are slowly, patiently creeping back into the world. After a long, bitter winter here on the east coast that's tried our spirits, the thaw can't come soon enough.Image … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Thank You For Riding Taggart Transcontinental

RailroadAd

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter XHaving heard the tramp's conveniently about-to-be-relevant tale, Dagny drifts off to sleep, puzzling over what it might mean. When she wakes up, it's to a sudden, disorienting silence: the train has stopped moving.The sweep of her hand pressed the light switch and the bell to summon the porter. The electric light came on and brought her back to a rational world. She glanced at her watch: it was a few minutes past midnight. She looked out of the rear … [Read more...]

Neil deGrasse Tyson Shows Why Small-Minded Religious Fundamentalists Are Threatened by Wonders of Universe

RoseCenter

This column originally appeared on AlterNet.Neil deGrasse Tyson's new Cosmos series is a worthy reboot of Carl Sagan's original. Following in Sagan's footsteps, Tyson takes viewers on a voyage through the outer reaches of the solar system and beyond, showing how our sun is just one star out of a hundred billion in the majestic spiral of the Milky Way galaxy, and even the Milky Way itself is a speck in the observable universe. As in the original series, he compresses the history of the … [Read more...]

Bangladesh Is Killing Atheists

There's horrific news from Bangladesh: the atheist activist and writer Dr. Avijit Roy was murdered on the street in Dhaka, hacked to death by two assailants wielding machetes as he left a book fair at Dhaka University. His wife Rafida Ahmed Bonna was seriously wounded in the same attack. An Islamist group calling itself Ansar Bangla 7 issued a statement claiming responsibility for the murder.Dr. Roy was the author of books such as The Philosophy of Disbelief and The Virus of Faith, as well … [Read more...]

I Get Religious Mail: If Wishes Were Airplanes

Most of the religious charity solicitation letters that I get have identifiable humanitarian aims, as much as I might disagree with the religious message those aims are wrapped up in. But that isn't the case for the latest specimen, which begs for money to advance a purely religious mission, without even a pretense of serving people's actual needs. (See end of post for the full letter.)This letter was from Wycliffe Associates, an evangelical missionary organization, and concerns the work … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Sixteen Tons

Scrip

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter XThe tramp on Dagny's train reveals how the mysterious meme "Who is John Galt?" came into being, and why he fears he might have been the one who started it:"Well, there was something that happened at that plant where I worked for twenty years. It was when the old man died and his heirs took over. There were three of them, two sons and a daughter, and they brought a new plan to run the factory. They let us vote on it, too, and everybody — almost e … [Read more...]

Book Review: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

SmokeGetsInYourEyes

Summary: Morbid, irreverent and funny, but a subtle and compassionate humanism runs throughout.Caitlin Doughty is a mortician, the creator of a popular YouTube series answering questions about the funeral industry, and the founder of the Order of the Good Death, a "death acceptance" organization dedicated to helping people reconcile with mortality. Her book Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Other Lessons from the Crematory grows out of that mission, offering a disarmingly honest glimpse into an … [Read more...]

What’s Behind the Appeal of ISIS?

Amidst the steady drumbeat of grim headlines in the Middle East, the trend I've been most concerned by is the strange drawing power of ISIS, also known as Islamic State or Daesh, the brutal extremist group rampaging through Iraq and Syria, capturing cities and committing horrendous acts of violence. ISIS seems to exert an almost magnetic attraction, drawing in not just the disaffected, the disgruntled, petty thugs and criminals, but also young Muslims from middle-class Western families, people … [Read more...]


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