Why Donald Trump is a problem for Republicans

There is no chance that Donald Trump will ever become the nominee of the Republican party for president, despite the fact that he has surged to #2 in some polls. Even within the Republican party there is a limit (the crazification factor of 27%) to the number of people who will support an out-and-out buffoon and he has to share that vote with the likes of Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum. At the very worst, the party establishment will deliberately torpedo his candidacy if he becomes a real threat.
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Covington and Burling and the big banks return the favor

While Eric Holder did a lot of good work in the civil rights area while serving as Attorney General in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2015, his performance when it came to prosecuting the big banks that were responsible for the financial collapse was nothing short of scandalous. He was the one who backed the idea that the banks were too big to fail and he refused to criminally prosecute the top executives of those banks for their crimes, allowing the banks to pay fines without admitting guilt and thus allowing the top executives to get huge bonuses instead of going to jail.
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Will the persecution of Christians by unelected judges never end?

It was bad enough that on June 26, a day that will live in infamy, the US Supreme Court rammed same-sex marriage down the throats of righteous Christians, but just four days later the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled by a 7-2 margin in the case of Prescott et al. v. Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission that the Ten Commandments monument that was placed on the state capital grounds in 2012 has got to go. (I had not been aware that someone drove a car into the old monument last November and wrecked it and a new one was constructed and put up this January.)
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The Greece referendum and the future of national sovereignty

So the Greek public followed the lead of their prime minister Alexis Tsipras and his Syriza Party and voted overwhelmingly 61.3%-38.7% to reject the bailout deal demanded by the so-called troika of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission backed by Germany and France. The Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, considered a key architect of the Greek strategy to fight the troika’s terms and had thus enraged them, resigned following the successful outcome of the vote so as to clear the way for fresh talks to begin.
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Ohio gets ridiculed by The Daily Show

Ohio, the state I live in, can claim to be the birthplace of many presidents but none of them covered themselves with great glory. That does not mean that the people of Ohio are not capable of jealously guarding the right to name random national landmarks after them, as Jordan Klepper discusses with reference to an Alaskan mountain that the native Athabascan population has always referred to as Denali though officially it is called Mount McKinley.
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Iceland repeals blasphemy law

Via Darren Smith, I learn that Iceland has repealed its blasphemy laws. The bill that was introduced by the Pirate Party (how cool is it to have such a party in parliament?) and passed by an almost unanimous vote repealed Article 125 that stated that, “Anyone who publicly ridicules or insults the dogmas or worship of a lawful religious community in Iceland, shall be fined or imprisoned for up to 3 months.”
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Women and comedy

There is this weird idea among some people, despite abundant evidence to the contrary, that women are not as funny as men. Christopher Hitchens put his foot in it in 2007 in an essay titled Why Women Aren’t Funny and though he got some well-deserved flak for what seemed like deliberate obtuseness, perhaps in order to buff up his self-image of being a contrarian provocateur, it did not seem to change his mind.
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James Taylor and Carly Simon sing Mockingbird

I don’t know who had the brilliant idea of taking a familiar gentle lullaby and converting it into a really rocking song, one of my favorites that I never tire of hearing. It is a tribute to the person who did the arrangement and to two wonderful singers, seen here belting it out in a rousing live performance in 1979. Any baby listening to it is more likely to dance in their crib than fall asleep.
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A majority of Americans think god especially loves the US

As America celebrates the anniversary of its declaration of independence from England today, we will hear many expressions of patriotism. Mixed in with all of them will be sentiments that suggest that America is god’s favorite country. These sentiments are repeated all the time in public life and are pretty much obligatory for any politician in the US running for elected office. Anyone who as much as hints that perhaps god does not care much for national boundaries would be doomed to defeat.
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Book review: How to Defeat Religion in 10 Easy Steps (2015) by Ryan T. Gragun

The title of this new book provides further evidence, if one needed it, of the self-assurance that the atheist community now exhibits. We have come a long way from the days when atheists were unable to speak of their lack of faith due to feat of persecution. That state of affairs still exists in a few places, mainly in some Muslim-majority countries, but in the rest of the world nonbelievers have progressed steadily: from being in the closet, to coming out to publicly, to making the intellectual case for atheism, to taking more or less for granted that atheism is the better way of understanding the world. The final stage is looking at practical ways to help atheists deal with coming out, discussing morality and death and other important and existential questions from an atheist perspective, and taking the battle to religion with the confidence that they can defeat it.
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