The anti-vaxxers finally face a serious backlash

Those who have refused to vaccinate their children because of fears generated by a thoroughly debunked idea of a link between vaccines and autism have not really suffered much negative consequences for putting others, especially infants and elderly people, at risk. The anti-vaxxers are threatening the health of all of us while at the same time benefiting from the fact that the rest of us got vaccinated and thus will not pass it on to them. They are the real moochers. While scientists and the medical profession have expressed strong condemnation of the practice of not vaccinating, the public and the media have not been so outraged and celebrity spokespersons for the anti-vax movement still make the rounds of media.
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The power of Satan to frighten the religious

The Satanists have been on a roll recently in showing that political pandering to the religious is a double-edged sword and that any special privileges given to Christians necessarily means that other religions should be able to walk through that same open door. Other groups like the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster have tried to do the same thing but with less success which prompts the question of why it is that the Satanists are more effective at using this tactic to expose the hollowness of those who claim they are fighting for general religious freedom when in reality they are pushing for special privileges for just their own religion.
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The Nightly Show tackles the Bill Cosby rape allegations

The second episode of Larry Wilmore’s new show was entirely about the rape allegations against Bill Cosby, with Wilmore saying right off the top that he thinks Cosby did behave in a manner largely consistent with what his accusers claim. Wilmore is definitely not going to play it safe and this might be the distinctive feature of his show, where people can go to hear frank discussions of major topics, leavened with humor, and by people who are not the usual suspects one sees on such shows. [Read more…]

The inevitable happens

People who have advocated for the almost unlimited right to own as many guns as they want, be able to carry them around everywhere openly or concealed, and free from any requirements for proper training or registration or insurance argue that having a heavily armed citizenry actually makes society safer, using slogans such as “The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”. The catch is, of course, that when you have armed people wandering around with a vigilante mindset, how will they know who is a good guy and who is a bad guy?
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Baby steps for the US senate on climate change

The US senate voted by a margin of 98-1 that climate change is real and not a hoax

In a surprise, the Senate’s leading skeptic of climate science, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), voted in favor of the amendment — but made clear he doesn’t believe humans are the primary driver of climate change.

The GOP “yes” votes also included three of the GOP’s leading contenders for the White House: Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.).

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Huckabee the snake-oil salesman

There was a time back in 2008 when I started becoming aware of Mike Huckabee that I thought that he seemed like a compassionate conservative, someone who was religious but also cared about helping the poor. He would go on shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report and act all affable and avuncular and talk a good game, as if he was a reasonable person.
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Are these cases legally equivalent?

There were three recent court cases that tested the extent to which commercial establishments could refuse to serve certain customers because of their religious beliefs. The cases involved florists, bakers, and photographers who declined to provide their services to the weddings of same-sex couples because they disapproved of such marriages on religious grounds. All these cases are at various stages of litigation, though so far the rulings have tended to go against the businesses.
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Orthodox Jews believe the Sun goes around the Earth?

When one thinks of religious people objecting to scientific views of the world, fundamentalist Christians and Muslims immediately come to mind. Jews are less often pictured because they seem to be less committed to fixed ideas about how the world works. But there is a sector of Jews who are as bad as other religions when it comes to rejecting accepted scientific views.
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The death of an extraordinary US ambassador

There is an old joke that defines an ambassador as someone who lies abroad for his country. A country’s diplomats are usually the overseas implementers of a government’s policies however corrupt and venal, and are expected to cover them up but once in a while someone comes along who transcends that role and tries to uphold the truth. Robert White, who died on January 13, 2015, is an example of that. He was a whistleblower who, as US ambassador to El Salvador, exposed the truth about that country’s regime in the face of US complicity.
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