Noam Chomsky and Amy Goodman at the United Nations

You will almost never find Noam Chomsky featured on the mainstream media in the US. Nor will you find Amy Goodman, one of the best journalists in the US, featured on their vacuous news shows. But the rest of the world knows them and Chomsky was invited to speak to a packed hall of 800 delegates in the main chamber during the United Nations General Assembly and then had a public interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! at the same venue. His talk and the interview can be seen and read here.
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Is lack of coverage necessarily bad?

Eric Boehlert bemoans the fact that the killings at a high school near Seattle in the state of Washington last Friday did not make the front pages of the national newspapers. Three students, one of whom was the assailant who killed himself, died and three other students remain hospitalized. While I can understand the reasoning behind Boehlert’s sentiment (that this lack of national coverage is a sad reflection on the US that such dreadful shootings are now seen as routine), it may not altogether be a bad thing.
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The unchurched and the post-Christian

One of the interesting things is how news items snowball. The realization that there are a lot of non-religious people out there in the US has resulted in a greater level of interest in what being non-religious means and how many of us there actually are. This has turned out to be rather difficult to do. It has not helped that nonbelievers tend to resist being pigeonholed and there has been a proliferation of labels used by them to self-identify, such as atheists, agnostics, secularists, humanists, freethinkers, rationalists, skeptics, and the like.
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The zeitgeist of Divergent and Elysium

I recently watched two films Divergent and Elysium. While mildly entertaining, I would not really recommend either of them. As with many such futuristic films, the plots are full of holes large enough that one can drive a truck through, but I am going to overlook them. What prompted me to write about them was what they said about the prevailing zeitgeist.
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“This is America, that’s why!”

This has become the all-purpose excuse for any action, under the delusional idea that freedom in America means that you have the right to do and say anything to anyone and not face any repercussions. This was again on display at the Dallas airport when one person launched a completely unprovoked verbal attack on another traveler who happened to be wearing a pink shirt. When another traveler asked him what he was so upset about, the man replied that it was all about “queers”.
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Blaming the nurses

It has become a running joke that when important people mess up in some way, they look for a lowly staffer to take the blame and be fired. The supposedly incompetent intern is usually fingered as the course of the mistake and made the hapless victim of this strategy but any underling will do. Since few care what the lower-ranking people say and thus they have no voice, this charge tends to stick.
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What a mangled metaphor reveals about its creator

George Orwell warned that when a metaphor gets mangled, that is a sure indication that the writer is not actually thinking about they are saying but is in a kind of auto-mode, not visualizing the idea but just stringing together words that sound good but don’t really mean anything. It is a sign that the writer lacks conviction or does not care. I have observed that this is true for me, that the times when I have been in the auto-mode are when I make errors or say something that makes little sense when examined closely.
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Why Ebola seems to be less lethal in the US

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been all over the media trying to damp down the excessive fear over the Ebola virus and reassuring people that it is not that easy to get the disease. In this photo, we see that he stands by his conviction, showing him embracing the nurse Nina Pham who got the disease after treating a person who died from the disease but has now been declared disease-free. I hope that photo calms some people down.
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