The pundits who supported Libyan regime change and now advocating the same for Syria

One of the enduring facts about the American media is that there is a group of influential members of the media and intellectuals who like to think of themselves as liberal but are reliable advocates for the use of military force and especially bombing the hell out of other countries in the name of ‘humanitarian intervention’. These people can be relied upon to cheer wars as long as it can be wrapped up in a gauze, however flimsy, that it will magically result in the emergence of a nation that is democratic and respects human rights and the rights of minorities. Of course, once the whole exercise goes sour as it almost always does, they studiously avert their gaze from the havoc they caused and look longingly for the next war for which they can advocate action.
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The book royalties racket

Like many academic writers, I make hardly any money on my books and write them mainly for the intellectual satisfaction they give me. The world of huge advances that are paid for books by politicians and celebrities occupy a totally different publishing world and is something that I have no knowledge of. I have long been curious as to what purpose such advances serve. What happens to people who get huge advances? Are the author’s royalties kept by the publisher until they have reached the amount of the advance? What happens if the book does not sell enough copies to justify the advance?
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Why are people so afraid?

The first time I heard about what later became known as the case of the elderly man who was randomly selected and shot dead on the street and whose killer posted it on Facebook was when my wife got a telephone alert from the university where she teaches telling people that a shooter was on the loose and asking people not on campus to stay away and those on campus to get into lockdown mode. The puzzling thing was that the message mentioned the location of the shooting and it was several miles away from the university and there was no indication that it had anything to do with the university nor that the shooter was heading towards it. So why the warning?
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The incredible cruelty of petty officials

There are a lot of tragedies in life. But sometimes there are incidents that, in the grand scheme of things may seem relatively minor because they do not involve wars or things like that, but still provoke revulsion because they are examples of people treating other cruelly for no obvious reason when simpler, more humane options are available. And in this class are the actions of petty officials who abuse people because they think they can do so with impunity because the weight of authority is behind them. There are many examples of this, as we have seen in the behavior of the TSA personnel at airports, the Customs and Border Protection agents at borders, and of course the security personnel working for United Airlines who dragged a passenger off the plane.
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Changing the rhythms of life

The ‘natural’ daily rhythm of our bodies is said to be close to 25 hours. But since our lives require a daily routine that corresponds to the clock and not our bodies, we are thus slightly out of sync with the rotation of the Earth, with each passing day increasing the disparity, resulting in things like sleeping extra on our days off from work or school in an effort to make up for it.
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The bold and strange dialogue of Mary Worth

I have written about my love affair with newspaper comics before. From my childhood I have read the comics pages in the newspapers and continue to do so in my local newspaper the Plain Dealer. I used to read every single comic in it but after some time I stopped reading some of them because they were not simply not funny (Marmaduke for example) or because I was not interested in the dramatic ones that had long storylines like Spiderman or Judge Parker.
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Reflections on the March for Science

UPDATE: Here are some signs from the marches around the world. This sign describes me and a lot of the people for whom this may be one of the few or only rally they ever attended.

I just returned from the Cleveland March for Science. I spent my time at the pre-march events in Public Square and waited for the talks but came home when the march proper started. I have little experience with marches and rallies so have no means of comparison and estimating numbers. All I can say is that it exceeded my own expectations. It took quite a long time once the rally ended for the crowd to leave the square on the march, which is a sign of how big the crowd was.
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