American nuns settle dispute with the Vatican

Readers may recall the fuss that ensued when former pope Benedict ordered an investigation into the largest organization of American nuns, saying that they were too concerned with social justice issues, too supportive of health care reform, and not enthusiastic enough in pushing the Catholic church’s anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-contraception message.
[Read more…]

Is this the future of Christianity?

Jordan Klepper of The Daily Show has stumbled on to new, hipper, variants of that old-time religion.

(This clip aired on April 1, 2015. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Nightly Show outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)

Hair apparent

In reading an article about Marco Rubio’s announcement of his candidacy for the Republican nomination, I was struck by a comment that suggested that his receding hairline might be a problem for him. My initial reaction was: What the hell? Have we sunk to such superficial levels in our political discourse that the amount of hair a candidate has matters? Besides, he seemed to me to have a full head of hair anyway.
[Read more…]

They need to look in the mirror

The Obama administration announced today that it will take Cuba off its list of states that sponsor terrorism. This will take effect in 45 days unless Congress votes to deny it, in which case the White House will certainly veto it. Iran, Sudan, and Syria remain on the list.

There is something deeply hypocritical about the US maintaining lists of countries that sponsor terrorism when it engages in acts of violence and subversion all over the world. It is lucky for the US that other nations don’t have such lists (at least none that they disclose publicly) because it would likely be on most lists. That would be embarrassing.

Self-driving cars

I tend to be swayed back and forth by the promise of self-driving cars. On the one hand, I read about how good they are and have advanced so much that one might expect them to be available for commercial use within the next decade. Then I read that that they are only as good as the latest map updates and cannot cope with the kinds of temporary changes in road conditions that are common and then I feel pessimistic that they will be a reality soon.
[Read more…]

California ballot initiative to shoot gays

The state of California has a system whereby one can put proposed laws on the ballot for a statewide referendum, provided the petition garners a certain number of signatures that this year stands at 365,000. This year a lawyer Matt McLaughlin has petitioned to have on the ballot what he has called the Sodomite Suppression Act and filed it with the state’s attorney general along with the required $200 fee, the first step in getting permission to gather signatures.
[Read more…]

The invisibility of privilege

Once in a while, you get a revealing glimpse about the nature of privilege, especially the fact that those who are the biggest beneficiaries of it are also often the most oblivious. David Brooks, the kind of person who is seen as a serious thinker by The New York Times and NPR, has a column on the new recommendations requiring police to war bodycams that is very revealing of the mindset of the privileged.
[Read more…]