Empathy and epistemic closure

The wonkier blogs of the left and right have been discussing what they're calling "epistemic closure" among American conservatives. It's a criticism of the way the activist, indignant right has begun to cut off and cauterize whole realms of thought and inquiry — purging dissent, punishing questioners, banishing internal critics. The recent conservative opposition to [Read More...]

Growing grapes at 11,000 feet

Simple Answers to Stupid Questions: Fox News asks, "Has Noah's Ark been found on Turkish mountaintop?" No. No it hasn't. * * * * * * * * * Here in America we have two major political parties. One of them is officially opposed to empathy. Peter Baker of The New York Times discusses the [Read More...]


A federal judge has ruled that the establishment by Congress of a National Day of Prayer conflicts with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. I'm not a constitutional scholar, but I believe the legal term for this ruling is "no duh." I happen to like the idea of a day of prayer, and of [Read More...]


I'm singing and I'm playing but my lips don't have to move "Reflected," Bradly Richards"Reflected (On My Side)," Lone Justice"The Refugee," U2"Regular Guy," Dropkick Murphys"Rehab," Amy Winehouse"Relapse," Adam Again"Relax," Frankie Goes to Hollywood"Release," Aztec Camera"Release," Allison Crowe"Relief Next to Me," Tegan & Sara"Remarks to Mr. McLuhan," Mark Heard"Remarks to Mr. McLuhan," Ramona Silver"Remedy," The Black [Read More...]

Pope Urban Novak II

Michael Novak, without a hint of irony or self-awareness, argues for a willingness to declare pre-emptive war on Iran in order to protect "the Christian Holy Places" in Israel and the West Bank. He seems oblivious to the fact that he is employing the language and the argument of the Crusades. What if the mad [Read More...]

William Gheen loves poultry

William Gheen, the head of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, loves chickens. I mean he really loves them. Obsessively. Carnally. That's why I am officially calling for William Gheen to make his chicken-stuffing lifestyle public knowledge in the interest of political integrity and national security. William Gheen copulates with chickens, and while many people in [Read More...]

Confederate History Month

I find, since reading over the foregoing Narrative, that I have, in several instances, spoken in such a tone and manner, respecting religion, as may possibly lead those unacquainted with my religious views to suppose me an opponent of all religion. To remove the liability of such misapprehension, I deem it proper to append the [Read More...]

Walking the dog

Making the rounds of the neighborhood with the Yorkie-poo, I've met many of our neighbors. The odd thing about meeting in this way is that the humans don't exchange names, just the names of our respective dogs. As a result, I've come to know many people on the block only as "Gumbo's family" or "Hercules' [Read More...]