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Apr 17 2014

Is growth always good?

It seems to be almost axiomatic these days to think of economic growth as an unfettered good. But must it always be so? Johann Hari in the April 2010 of The Progressive magazine wrote in a review of a book about John Maynard Keynes, whose influential work has been used to fuel growth, about what that famous economist thought about when we might know that it might be time to call a halt to growth.
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Apr 17 2014

Parody of Aaron Sorkin’s TV shows

Aaron Sorkin is the creator of popular shows such as The West Wing and The Newsroom that have his signature style such as the walk-talk in which characters in positions of importance are moving around and talking over each other at times of crisis, behaving with a great sense of urgency, mixing the personal with business, interspersed with somewhat preachy messages and moralizing.
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Apr 17 2014

Swear words

I don’t use swear words in my normal conversation or in my writing. But I have no objections to other people using them and those words do not shock or offend me. It is just not my style. But custom dictates that in certain situations, certain words should not be used, the most famous example in the US being the seven words you cannot use on radio or broadcast TV and which comedian George Carlin exploited heavily in one of his most famous standup routines, and for which he was arrested many times, like Lenny Bruce before him.
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Apr 16 2014

Equal time for creationists

Religious people are upset that their views on creation are not being given sufficient deference in the TV series Cosmos and that the shows promote (oh, the horror!) evolution. The website Funny or Die has got hold of an alternative show that gives their side of the story. As you can see, the Biblical version of creation is pretty succinct.
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Apr 16 2014

Update on Mount Soledad cross case

Readers may recall the long and tortured saga of the huge cross erected on land near San Diego as part of a veterans’ memorial for which I gave the timeline. In a ruling on December 15, 201e, a US District Court judge reluctantly said that although he disagreed, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled in such a way that he saw no alternative other than the cross must come down by March 15, 2014 unless there was a further appeal.
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Apr 16 2014

Great moments in marketing

If you are marketing a juice that consists of 99% apple and grape juice, 0.3% pomegranate juice, and 0.2% blueberry juice, what would you put on the label? If you are Coca-Cola, you call it “Pomegranate Blueberry” of course, because then you can take advantage of the fact that currently pomegranate juice is being marketed as the hot new healthy item, whether that is true or not.
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Apr 16 2014

Putting humanism to work for the common good

The organization Foundation Beyond Belief is organizing its first annual conference Humanism at Work to be held in Chicago, IL on July 18-20, 2014.
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Apr 16 2014

Hobby Lobby owner branches out

Steve Green, the president of the company Hobby Lobby that has a case pending in the US Supreme Court where they argued that they did not have to comply with the contraception mandate of the Affordable Care Act because of the religious objections of the owners, has even greater ambitions for the role of religion in public life. He has financed a new curriculum that he wants public schools to adopt that consists of a “four-year public school elective on the narrative, history and impact” of the Bible. One school district in Oklahoma has already adopted it.
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Apr 16 2014

Problems of the American university

One problem that has received plenty of attention is the astronomical rise in the cost of higher education that is either preventing some from thinking of college at all or resulting in them graduating with crippling debt that strongly inhibits their career choices and lives. A graduate with large student loans is more likely to be tempted by a soul-killing but high-paying job than one who is free and clear. The rise in college costs has far outstripped inflation.
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Apr 15 2014

Call for higher taxes on the rich

Today is tax day in the US, the deadline for filing one’s returns. Reader Norm sent me this short clip by Robert Reich where he explains how it can be that the rich and super-rich pay taxes at a much lower rate than do the middle and classes, thanks to a whole bunch of measures that have been thoughtfully inserted into the tax code by the people they purcahsed, also known as the members of Congress.
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