The truth about Alan Gross

As part of the deal to improve relations with Cuba, that government released Alan Gross from its prison and sent him back. Gross has been portrayed as a naive and innocent individual, a do-gooder trying to help ordinary Cubans and who, while engaged in perfectly innocuous activities on the island, was caught in the net of an oppressive government and unjustly held. That has been the dominant media narrative about Gross. At the State of the Union address, he was one of the president’s guests of honor and was given a shout-out during the speech.
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The State of the Union is boring

Two days ago, president Obama gave his state of the union speech that I, as is my usual practice, did not watch. I really hate meaningless political rituals. Apparently he listed several progressive proposals and was not at all conciliatory towards the Republicans or their agenda, even making pointed digs and laughing and winking at them, which has infuriated them.
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Death of Saudi king brings out the usual hypocrisy

If there is one thing that most people agree on, it is that Saudi Arabia has one of the most brutal, intolerant, and anti-democratic government and judicial systems in the world. So what happens when its long-time ruler dies? Shouldn’t we say “good riddance” and hope that he will be replaced by someone who offers even the hope of positive change.
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The power of Satan to frighten the religious

The Satanists have been on a roll recently in showing that political pandering to the religious is a double-edged sword and that any special privileges given to Christians necessarily means that other religions should be able to walk through that same open door. Other groups like the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster have tried to do the same thing but with less success which prompts the question of why it is that the Satanists are more effective at using this tactic to expose the hollowness of those who claim they are fighting for general religious freedom when in reality they are pushing for special privileges for just their own religion.
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The Nightly Show tackles the Bill Cosby rape allegations

The second episode of Larry Wilmore’s new show was entirely about the rape allegations against Bill Cosby, with Wilmore saying right off the top that he thinks Cosby did behave in a manner largely consistent with what his accusers claim. Wilmore is definitely not going to play it safe and this might be the distinctive feature of his show, where people can go to hear frank discussions of major topics, leavened with humor, and by people who are not the usual suspects one sees on such shows. [Read more…]