Surprising level of support for Target boycott

Online petitions to boycott something or other are not uncommon and so I was not surprised when one was started to boycott the department store chain Target when it announced that their stores would allow people use the bathroom that is consistent with the gender presentation. But I was surprised at how quickly the number of people signing on reached one million, just one week after the American Family Association announced the boycott move. (Remember: Any organization with the world ‘family’ in the title is likely to be a bigoted group.)
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Another MSF hospital hit by airstrike

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Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is one of the few organizations that provide medical services in war-stricken regions of the world, often being the first ones in and the last ones to leave. They take care to let all the combatants know that they are there and avoid any hint of favoring one side or another, so that there is no excuse for attacking them. But despite all those precautions, yet another one of their field hospitals, a pediatric one this time, was hit by a horrific airstrike, killing possibly up to 50 people.
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Why do autopsies take so long?

The sudden and unexpected death of Prince at the young age of 57 naturally arouses curiousity as to the cause. Although he was a Jehovah’s Witness and reportedly abstained entirely from recreational drugs and alcohol, the fact that he was part of the popular music world immediately fueled speculation that drugs were involved. He supposedly had prescription painkillers, needed because he refused to have double hip replacement surgery due to the fact that it would require blood transfusions that are prohibited by his religion, and an overdose of these might be a possible cause.
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Who wrote the plays attributed to Shakespeare?

The 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death on April 23rd has brought to the fore once again the question of whether the man identified as the author actually wrote the plays. Over 3,000 people, some of them quite eminent, have signed on to a document titled Declaration of Reasonable Doubt About the Identity of William Shakespeare that examines the case for and against him. Two eminent Shakespearean actors Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance have added their voices to the list of skeptics.
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How the Biblical myths came about

Many of us nonreligious people know that pretty much all of the stuff in the Bible are myths that have very little historical foundation, except on the few occasions when it makes contact with events that have independent corroboration and these occur much later in the narrative, beginning with the Assyrian conquest. Independent scholarship in the fields of archeology and other areas have found scant evidence to support the early and foundational stories of Abraham, Moses, the exodus, and the like.
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Talking sense about bathrooms

Stephen Colbert talks some much needed sense about public bathrooms, a topic that has been much in the news these days. I totally agree with him, especially on the issue of chit-chat. I never initiate conversations with other people in public bathrooms, though at work there are often people one knows who feel that it is a good time to exchange news and pleasantries. I reply if they speak to me but get the hell out of there as quickly as possible.
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Republicans really, really love Trump

Donald Trump’s rapid rise in the polls last year to become the leader of the race for the Republican nomination initially caused concern but not too much alarm within the party establishment. Then as his rise stalled and his poll numbers stagnated at around the 35% from January through March of this year, his plurality in the polls was shrugged off as his ceiling of support, his leadership position as an artifact of the field being crowded with 17 hopefuls that was splitting the anti-Trump vote and that as candidates dropped out, their supporters would slowly coalesce around one of the other candidates, preferably the party’s preferred candidates like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, and that Trump would slowly lose ground and then disappear.
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There is nothing like changing symbols to drive people crazy

If you had asked me which person’s face was on which US currency note, I would have been stumped. The only thing I was sure of was that it was some white guy from the distant past. Like most people, I am more concerned about the number that denotes the value rather than the ornamentation. But some people are sure upset about the decision to replace Andrew Jackson with abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the front of the $20 bill, seeing it as yet another sign of that dreaded ‘political correctness’ that is ruining America.
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