Monthly Archive: January 2009

Jan 30 2009

Justifying universal and existence statements

My post on how we should implement the Year of Reason by asking religious people why they believe in god provoked quite a spirited back-and-forth in the comments section. In the post, I said that there was no substantive reason that religious people could give in response to the question “Why do you believe in …

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Jan 29 2009

Why journalists should not schmooze with politicians

A week before his inauguration, Barack Obama had dinner at the home of conservative columnist George Will (aka “the man who confuses pomposity with profundity”). Also in attendance were conservative and neo-conservative columnists Bill Kristol (aka, “the man who is almost always wrong”), David Brooks (aka, “the man who can be depended upon to say …

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Jan 28 2009

Bogus exaltation of women

I was on a panel recently that sought to clarify any misconceptions that people might have about the various religious beliefs, or the lack of them. I was the atheist, and the other panelists consisted of people having backgrounds in Islam, Judaism, Mormonism, Scientology, Catholicism, and Protestantism. Each of us were asked to begin the …

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Jan 27 2009

Don’t leave Obama alone!

Irish orator John Philpot Curran said in 1790 that “The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance.” This has since been abbreviated to “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance” and attributed to many people, including Thomas Jefferson. Those who supported Obama during the campaign should take these words to …

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Jan 26 2009

Why bloggers are more interesting than newspaper columnists

Today marks the fourth anniversary of this blog and as is my custom I want to reflect on the nature of blogging and, briefly, my own blog. When I began, I never thought that I would write so much. I have written over a thousand posts and a million words. I also did not anticipate …

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Jan 23 2009

Gaza and the Israel lobby

The main thesis of the book The Israel Lobby and U. S. Foreign Policy by University of Chicago professor of political science John J. Mearsheimer and Harvard University professor of international affairs Stephen M. Walt can be summarized as follows: The US gives Israel a level of unconditional military, economic, and diplomatic support that far …

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Jan 22 2009

Infantilizing people

One of the extraordinary features of the last decade is the extent to which people have accepted as necessary or even desirable the most appalling crimes done by the government. Arbitrary arrest, indefinite detention, torture, sending people secretly to authoritarian countries to be tortured, warrantless wiretaps and other invasions of privacy, have now become seen …

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Jan 21 2009

Obama and Russia, Cuba, and the neoconservatives

Jim Lobe reviews some articles and the book They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons by Jacob Heilbrunn who speculates on what the neoconservatives, those instigators and cheerleaders for the disastrous policies of Bush-Cheney regime, will try to do now: It speculates on the internal splits that the neo-cons are going through …

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Jan 20 2009

Obama on Iraq and Afghanistan

Yesterday I gave my sense of the direction the Obama administration is likely to go on domestic policy. When it comes to foreign policy, I expect continuing trouble in the coming years, perhaps even worse (if you can imagine it) than what we experienced during the Bush years. Obama may be able to fulfill his …

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Jan 19 2009

What to expect from the Obama administration on domestic issues

On the eve of Barack Obama’s inauguration, I want to muse on what we might see in the coming years. There has been considerable hand-wringing amongst some liberal supporters of Obama about the people he has selected so far for his administration, since many of them are warmed over Clintonites and other establishment types. But …

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