Congresspersons who do not specify religious affiliation

Stephen Colbert interviewed a congressman from California and zeroed in on the fact that in his bio he gives his religious affiliation as ‘unspecified’, like 10 other members of Congress. This is up from six in the previous Congress. Colbert suggests to him that he is in fact a hell-bound heathen but is trying to hide the fact.
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Apple mania

You have to hand it to Apple. When it comes to marketing their products, they are the masters. Even when they produce something that is just marginally better than their previous products and may even be copying what others have already done, they manage to create a media buzz that results in people waiting in line for days to get the new product or paying others to do so, as if there is some special cachet to owning something just a few days before others do.
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A puzzling bit of human psychology

Actress Emma Watson gave a speech on being a feminist and appealed to men to join the HeForShe movement that seeks to create a broad coalition in support of gender equality. It was a good speech, not at all incendiary or even controversial, but as is so often the case these days, all it takes is for a prominent woman to speak out publicly on an issue that advances social justice to result in all kinds of weird people to come out of the woodwork with angry responses and threatening revenge. And the latest vehicle for revenge is to threaten to release nude photographs and they promised to do so with Watson too.
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Cleveland Sunday Assembly

Sunday, September 28 is going to see the launch around the world of a large number of so-called ‘atheist churches’ under the umbrella of the Sunday Assembly movement, including Cleveland, Columbus, and Pittsburgh in this region. The first meeting of the Cleveland group will be at 10:30 am at the Old Town Hall in Strongsville located at 18825 Royalton Road and all are invited. Subsequent meetings will take place on the last Sunday of each month at the same location.
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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the Atlanta Hawks controversy

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is emerging as one of the most perceptive social critics. I have already linked to his thoughtful pieces on the 2014 Academy Award nominees for best film (I happened to agree with his choice but it did not win) and his reflections on the Ferguson shooting which he said was more than about race and was part of a broader class war.
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A nation of over-reactors

The predictable result of somebody jumping over the White House fence and running up to the front door has been, of course, media hysteria. Rather than the Secret Service being commended for their restraint in that they captured the intruder without killing him, some are seeing even that as a failure and saying that the intruder should have been killed. Why? Because this is America, dammit, and anyone who goes on someone else’s property without permission must be shot dead.
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War is good business

Defense industries make money in two ways. One is by persuading the government that the weapons they already have are becoming obsolete (even if they are not) and that they need to upgrade to more expensive systems to fight future threats. The other is by having governments use their weapons in wars so that they are used up so that they make profits by selling more. So wars are really good business
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