For some it’s a con, for some it’s a game, and for some it’s a gnostic cult. And sometimes it’s all three at once.

I used to think that the audience supporting any given conspiracy theory was made up of three distinct kinds of people: Cynics, true believers, and hobbyists. That’s in the past tense because I no longer quite believe that. What I’m starting to believe, instead, is that any individual supporter of any given conspiracy is made up of all three of those things. [Read more…]

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Happy cornbread anniversary

Franklin Graham rails against the X-Men as an “attempt to indoctrinate our young people” into greater acceptance of those who are different. That’s not wrong, it just doesn’t mean what he thinks it does. Plus: The history of a song that made history, a maister-wonk on R+L=J, the benefits of abstinence-only sex ed, and a top-notch addition to Patheos’ team. [Read more…]

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This day is not imagination’s child

Texas Republican slaps down right-wing nonsense: “I am horrified that I have to choose between the possibility that my governor actually believes this stuff and the possibility that my governor doesn’t have the backbone to stand up to those who do. I’m not sure which is worse.” Plus: Privatized red-lining, Wanksy to the rescue, Bill Lindsey, Mallory Ortberg, and the 10,000th (10 millionth?) example of so-called pro-lifers demonstrating that they’re more concerned with controlling women that whatever else it is they claim to be concerned about. [Read more…]

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I see you darkly through a glass again

It really took a lot of work to imagine that a law mandating and subsidizing health insurance wouldn’t increase the number of people who have health insurance. Plus: Batgirl, Philomena Cunk, Rick Santorum, subsidizing sprawl, and why pop songs should be about more than one thing. [Read more…]

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Talking to people that I’ve never met

Besides all that lightning, stove, bifocal, swim-fin, Treaty of Paris, fire department stuff, Ben Franklin also invented Net Neutrality. Really. Plus: Oil trains blow up, Roman civil religion, a historical society wants to believe, and a reminder that mosquito bands, homeopathy, and Mickey Kaus are all bunk. [Read more…]

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What if it were all true?

Here’s the premise for a TV show: It’s all true. Everything Pat Robertson says is true. Everything that’s posted on Charismanews is true. All of it. All the writers need to do is conform the fictional reality of the show to the wild reality described every day by Robertson, et. al. [Read more…]

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Why the Republican Party cannot, as Michael Gerson suggests, ‘raise questions’ about climate change

Rather than the absurd claim that climate science is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” Gerson would prefer that his fellow Republicans simple “raise questions about global warming.” OK, great. Please proceed. Raise whatever questions you’d like to raise. Ask away. But the problem here is that asking questions entails the possibility that those questions might have answers. [Read more…]

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Rich people have been pretending to be stupid for so long that they’ve actually become stupid

This study from the Pew Research Center demonstrates that a majority of America’s wealthiest residents are appallingly lacking in not just compassion, but facts, education, intelligence and curiosity. Or, to put it more directly, this study shows that a majority of the wealthiest Americans are ignorant, stupid and dull. The wealthy are not simply hard-hearted. They’re thick-headed. [Read more…]

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