Things are looking up for atheists

A recent survey by the Pew finds that feelings towards atheists and Muslims are getting warmer, with younger people leading the way.

While Americans still feel coolest toward Muslims and atheists, mean ratings for these two groups increased from a somewhat chilly 40 and 41 degrees, respectively, to more neutral ratings of 48 and 50.

However, the mean ratings given to particular religious groups still vary widely depending on who is being asked. For example, young adults – those ages 18 to 29 – express warmer feelings toward Muslims than older Americans do. Moreover, young adults rate all of the groups in the study within a relatively tight range, from 54 degrees for Mormons to 66 for Buddhists. By contrast, older Americans (ages 65 and older) rate some religious groups, such as mainline Protestants (75) and Jews (74), very warmly, and others, such as Muslims and atheists (44 degrees each), much more coolly.

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What kind of person does something like this?

The random viciousness of some people never ceases to astound me. Take this story.

Pinnacle Park reopened Tuesday after being closed since the weekend for public safety. Nails were found hammered into tree roots along 2 miles of park trails.

The 1,100-acre forested park is owned by the town of Sylva, with a total of 18.5 miles of trails popular with hikers and trail runners. More than 60 spikes were found along a 2-mile section of trail, said town manager Paige Roberson Dowling.
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More ghastly details of US torture practices revealed

That excellent news source ProPublica has published internal CIA cables that outline the torture that was done to Abu Zubaydah when he was picked up following the 9/11 attacks. The article describes in detail what he was subjected to as well as his own account of his reactions during the process, and it makes for sickening reading. To make it worse, the person who oversaw this barbarous treatment is Gina Haspel, who has just been named by Donald Trump to be deputy head of the CIA.
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Who’s a good boy?

Apparently Donald Trump’s campaign advisors had supposedly ‘cracked the code’ for keeping him off Twitter and are passing on the idea to the White House staff. They believe that he feels compelled to tweet when he thinks he is being criticized for something, and so they seek out praise of him by looking on friendly sites like Fox, Breitbart, Daily Caller, Washington Times. and Infowars and feeding those comments to him.
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Is the bar for conservative acceptance really this low?

It has long been obvious that raising the banner of ‘fighting political correctness ‘ gives conservatives the freedom to attack marginalized groups without fear of being called bigots or racists. Add the bonus of attacking liberals and Democrats, season it with some good old American jingoism, and and you become a darling of the right-wingers.
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John Oliver on Trump and Russia

The one thing that Donald Trump is doing right is that he does not want to escalate conflicts with Russia. Those who are ramping up the antagonism towards Russia may not remember how bad and dangerous the Cold War was, with mainly the arms manufacturers benefiting from it. But we should not confuse a good relationship between the two countries, which is a good thing, with a personal friendship between the two leaders, which may or may not be good depending on what common interests they share.
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Sporadic blogging for the next week

I will be visiting with my grandson for the coming week and am finding him so fascinating that it is hard to find the time to blog. It turns out that being a new grandfather is all that it is cracked up to be. So blogging will be sporadic for the next week.

But what I can report is that even though he is just one month old, he acts more rationally than the current president of the USA.