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Apr 22 2014

People’s attitude to government prayers

Fairleigh Dickinson University conducted a survey in relation to the of the upcoming ruling by the US Supreme Court on the Greece prayer case that I have written extensively about. It asked 833 people two questions.
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Apr 22 2014

Profiting from police abuse of the poor

In the comments to my post on a local physician Syed J. Akhtar-Zaidi whose bank accounts and other assets had been seized by the overzealous US attorney Steven Dettelbach for this area because they claim he was prescribing pain killers indiscriminately to make money, reader jimmyfromchicago gave me a link to a long article in the New Yorker magazine by Sarah Stillman about these civil forfeiture laws. What she describes is shocking, a terrible violation of any kind of due process protections, where law enforcement is able to confiscate people’s belongings without even charging them with any crime.
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Apr 21 2014

Film review: Philomena (2013)

Over the weekend I watched this film that was nominated for four Academy Awards including best picture, actress (Judy Dench), adapted screenplay, and music score, although it did not win any. It is an excellent film, one of the best that I have seen in recent years, and one that I can strongly recommend to readers.
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Apr 21 2014

Fox News on Obamacare and climate change

The success of the ACA in enrolling people has pretty much unhinged the GOP who had clearly thought that the botched rollout meant that the numbers would be way below the original target. This cartoon pretty much captures their reaction.
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Apr 21 2014

Teen denies urinating in reservoir

Once again we have a situation in which the city of Portland, Oregon dumped all the water in its reservoir, all 38 million gallons of it, because cameras seemed to show that someone has urinated into it. After observing the group of five young men near the reservoir, police went out there and arrested three of the men and charged one of them.
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Apr 21 2014

Reactions to Heaven Is for Real

The newly-released film Heaven is for Real is based on the preposterous story of a young boy who supposedly died for a short while, came back to life, and told his family about what he had seen in heaven and the people he met.
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Apr 21 2014

The evolution of P.G. Wodehouse

I am a huge fan of author P.G. Wodehouse and have read and re-read a large fraction of his oeuvre, a not insignificant feat considering how prolific he was. I am particularly partial to his Blandings Castle series and his Jeeves and Wooster series. While the books are self-contained, they do contain recurring characters so the author provides enough explanatory details from other books to fill in the reader of the state of affairs so that one does not necessarily need to read them in order to follow the plots.
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Apr 20 2014

I just can’t stand it

If the endless “Will she? Won’t she?” speculations about Hillary Clinton running for the presidency in 2016 were not bad enough, we now have the ‘big news’ that her daughter Chelsea Clinton is pregnant. I saw it on news headlines of practically all the news sites that I visit and it received some comment on many blogs as well.
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Apr 20 2014

What can happen to torturers

Unless one has been subjected to torture oneself, it is impossible to get an accurate sense of what it must be like to be subjected to it, which is why one can dismiss out of hand the excuses given by torture apologists that it is little more than fraternity hazing, although that is bad enough. Torture is evil and those who committed it, provided the authorization for it, and gave the orders for it should all be prosecuted.
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Apr 20 2014

Can you spot the missing myth?

Today is Easter Sunday, the day when Christians around the world celebrate the anniversary of Jesus returning to life as a rabbit and distributing chocolate eggs to all his followers. From reader Norm, I received link to this article by a geneticist Victoria Metcalf about whether the story of the Easter Bunny is harmful to children.
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