I’m just weary to my bones

Wherein I amend my earlier discussion of Thomas Wentworth Higginson, the timid poetry editor who was also a beast in the streets for abolitionism. Also: Historical models for full-on Harriet-Tubman/Robin-Hood style resistance; Mark 9:38-41 in practice; Melania’s money-making scheme; and a look back at “A Thief in the Night.” [Read more…]

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Jumping away from conclusions is a Bad Thing

It’s all inscrutable and unknowable and mysterious, they say. You cannot read minds or look into the hearts of others to see their intent. So you can never prove they’re cheating. Now pay up, because their six aces beats your two pair. [Read more…]

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Media bias should be Good News

This is how news works. It is inescapably “biased” in that it is presented and received as either Good News or Bad News. And most of the time, no one complains about the bias implicit in all such judgments because everyone agrees. What kind of sicko wouldn’t agree that a family losing their home is Bad News? And who could be so demented as to not understand that the family surviving the fire is Good News? [Read more…]

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Smart people saying smart things (12.15)

“The premise for empathy has to be equal humanity,” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reminds us. Daniel Schultz on what it is that you’re leaving if you leave white evangelicalism. Plus: Rebecca Traister on “identity politics;” John Broich on journalists and autocrats; and Church World Service on how you can help refugees. [Read more…]

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Smart people saying smart things (11.11)

When I saw people tweeting the lyrics of “Everybody Knows,” I thought it was because they were so apt and incisive in this moment of history. Took me a while to realize it was because Leonard Cohen had died. Also: Adam Serwer on the media and Trump’s lies; John Scalzi on package deals; Masha Gessen on the man who ran for autocrat, and won; and words I needed from W.H. Auden. [Read more…]

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‘The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers’

Beware of anyone who wants to eliminate all arbiters of law, legitimacy, and truth. Beware of anyone who dismisses law, or fact-checking, or academics, or science, or data. If they see those arbiters as a threat, then they likely see truth and reality as an obstacle. They’re probably trying to lead you somewhere unreal. [Read more…]

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Needed some sand in my flip-flops

I’m back from an impromptu mini-vacation down the shore — tan, rested and ready for September (once I go out and buy a new Trapper Keeper). Here’s some stuff I came across on my spotty Wildwood wifi, including: RIP Gene Wilder; the Family Research Council’s white supremacy spokesmodel; and what we can learn from press coverage of Colin Powell’s charitable foundation. [Read more…]

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Now we get moose and squirrel

Yes, it’s a picture of Donald Trump with Boris and Natasha, because we shouldn’t forget Trump’s scandalous links to Russian oligarchs and Ukrainian despots, even if those aren’t among the top 10 or top 20 worst things about Donald Trump. Plus some other stuff, including: Clinton Foundation, under a microscope, looks clean; EpiPen and Insulin makers gouging consumers (and insurers); Mat Staver, law professor; and religious liberty in white America. [Read more…]

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