Killed for eating beef

The more politicians try to appease religious groups, the worse things get as the groups demand more and more. This seems to be a global problem affecting pretty much all religions. In the US we see Christian groups seek one exemption after another from following the rules that everyone else must follow by saying that not being allowed to do so means that their religion is being persecuted. Paradoxically, these claims of persecution become worse when these religions are in the majority because they can get politicians to pander to them, as we see with Christian extremists in the US, Buddhist extremists in Sri Lanka and Myanmar, Hindu extremists in India, and Muslim extremists in many Muslim-majority countries.
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Why do we continue to go through this over and over again?

Richard Glossip was due to die yesterday in Oklahoma for his conviction for being the brains behind a murder in 1997. Glossip has had last-minute reprieves before, raising the hopes of him, his family and friends, lawyers, and death penalty opponents, only to see them dashed. All of them had seemed resigned to the fact that he had run out of options and the fight was over. Then just an hour before he was to be killed, governor Mary Fallin issued a 37-day reprieve in order to study whether the method of execution was appropriate. Liliana Segura and Jordan Smith explain background to the latest events.
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Government once again avoids a shut down at the last minute

Congress has agreed to a short-term budget continuing resolution that will keep the government functioning until December 11, 2015. As expected, outgoing speaker John Boehner, as part of the resignation deal he had made with the Freedom Caucus, brought the bill to the floor for a vote and it passed 277-151. Meanwhile the Senate had passed it earlier 78-20.
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The end of the road for the Ten Commandments monument in Oklahoma?

The long-running saga of the Ten Commandments monument that stood on the grounds of the Oklahoma state capital may finally be coming to an end. After years of lawsuits that the state lost, threats by Satanists and Flying Spaghetti Monster devotees to put up their own monuments if it did not come down, digging in the heels by the governor, and threats of impeaching the state supreme court for ruling that the presence of the monument violated the state constitution, it looks like the end is near>.
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The difference between Trump and Sanders

It is true that the strength of Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary race has caused as much surprise as Donald Trump seizing the leadership of the Republican race. The lazy pundit class has tried to draw more parallels, suggesting that Sanders and Trump are mirror images of each other, each appealing to the extreme elements of their respective parties.
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The crazies have found a new dark plot

Yesterday brought news from NASA scientists that they had evidence of flowing water on Mars

Liquid water runs down canyons and crater walls over the summer months on Mars, according to researchers who say the discovery raises the chances of being home to some form of life.

Scientists are unsure where the water comes from, but it may rise up from underground ice or salty aquifers, or condense out of the thin Martian atmosphere.

“There is liquid water today on the surface of Mars,” Michael Meyer, the lead scientist on Nasa’s Mars exploration programme, told the Guardian. “Because of this, we suspect that it is at least possible to have a habitable environment today.”

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Austerity as cover for class war

Yanis Varoufakis is a Greek economist and academic who was appointed minister of finance in the government of the Syriza party led by Alexis Tsipra that came to power in January on an anti-austerity platform. Varoufakis was an outspoken critic of the harsh measures that were imposed by the IMF and the European Union and resigned in July when he felt that he had burned his bridges with his negotiating partners in those organizations and could not support the bailout package.
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