The appeal of ISIS

The sudden appearance of ISIS as a major force in the Middle East has taken many people, including me, by surprise. I had initially thought that this was just one more group to seize the headlines, the latest to claim the mantle of the leader of those forces whose aim is to rid the area of foreign military presence, like al Qaeda in the past, to be replaced by a new group in a year or so.
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America’s enemies have taken over the Pentagon

Climate change skeptics have suggested that those who warn about it are engaged in some diabolical plot to foist changes in the US that are harmful. The fact that there is a worldwide overwhelming consensus within the scientific community that this is a real danger and that we are already past the time when we could reverse the effects and now must settle for limiting the damage does not faze them in the least. They have pooh-poohed it as alarmist rhetoric and fear mongering. The more who warn of it, the wider the conspiracy is in their minds.
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Filling a gap in racial slurs

Racial slurs are horrible things (as are gender and sexual ones) and cover a wide range of people. But Michael Mark Cohen, a professor of American Studies and African American Studies at the University of California Berkeley and who describes himself as white and middle-class, noticed that there is one group of people who do not suffer from having one assigned to them.
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When the US had universal childcare

The US is rightly criticized for being one of the most backward countries in the developed world when it comes to providing health care and social benefits. So I was surprised to read that at one time, it actually provided universal child care through what is known as the Lanham Act. The law was designed to fund war-related infrastructure projects but got reinterpreted when a new need arose in 1943.
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Film review: Kill the Messenger and the Contra-cocaine-CIA scandal

I saw this yesterday and it was excellent. The filmmakers wisely decided to make the entire film cover the two year period 1996-1997 which saw Gary Webb break the series of stories titled Dark Alliance for the San Jose Mercury News that exposed the shady links between the US-backed Contras in Nicaragua, the CIA, and the drug dealers who were ravaging the black communities in the inner cities of the US by flooding them with crack cocaine. (See my earlier posts on this story and film here and here.)
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