What the hell is wrong with these people?

Although I did not pay much attention to them, I had of course heard of the Duggar family, stars of a reality show called 19 Kids and Counting, referring to the number of children that the parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar had. You could not avoid reading about them. From the little bits of news that crossed my path, they seemed like a bunch of insufferable Christians who looked down on everyone who did not follow in their religious, home-schooled, sex-puritan ways. But they were feted by right wing Christian types, including politicians, as upholding true Christian values.
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The consequences of our irrational war on drugs

One of the features of the so-called war on drugs was that it targeted and punished crack cocaine users (who were mostly poor black people in the inner cities) much more severely than powdered cocaine users (who were usually more affluent white suburbanites). These laws also harshly punished people who just used marijuana for recreational purposes almost like they were hardcore drug users and pushers, and we ended up punishing large numbers of people who were no danger to society, not to mention subjecting entire communities to invasive random searches.
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The abusive practices of the chicken cartel

On his show Last Week Tonight, John Oliver exposes how the chicken industry is dominated by four major companies (Pilgrim’s, Tyson, Perdue, and Sanderson Farms) that use their monopoly power to create hellish conditions, not just for chickens of which we are all aware, but also for the chicken farmers who work for them on contracts that are incredibly exploitative. And Congress protects these abusive companies.
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Ernie Chambers finally gets Nebraska to vote to end the death penalty

To my surprise, the legislature of the state of Nebraska just voted to abolish the death penalty. While sentiment against the death penalty has been slowly rising with time, it still has not reached a majority and Nebraska is a pretty conservative state. Republican governor Pete Ricketts, a strong supporter of the death penalty, is expected to veto the legislation but the margins by which it passed suggest that the veto will be over-ridden. If so, it would be the first conservative state to abolish the death penalty since 1973. 31 other states still have the death penalty.
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Review: 1971

Last evening I watched the documentary 1971 about the burglary in that year of an FBI office in the Philadelphia suburb of Media, PA by eight people who took away the files, separated out and sent to various people those files that exposed wrongdoing by the FBI, such as infiltrating and spying on peaceful groups and carrying out what were called ‘dirty tricks’ to try and destroy the lives of people that the government thought of as its enemies. The burglars were never caught and only revealed themselves a couple of years ago. (I wrote about this earlier.)
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Hands-free cell phone use should be banned

More and more jurisdictions are cracking down on the use of cell phones by drivers. To read or text while driving is of course insane, but talking on the cell phone is also bad and is being increasingly banned. Up to now, the use of hands-free devices has not come under much criticism and laws banning cell phone use have exempted them. Some new cars even have such a system built in, adding to the suggestion that its use is safe.
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