A history lesson on the evangelical movement

Samantha Bee walks us through the process by which evangelical Christians in the US in the 1950s shed their deep disdain for engaging in politics to becoming a powerful political force by the 1980s especially within the Republican party, to then subsequently declining in influence. The Republican choice of Donald Trump this year over the many more religious alternatives such as Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Ben Carson who all explicitly highlighted their religiosity shows the extent of the decline, though they are by no means reduced to insignificance.
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Choosing between two devils

The problem with running a general election campaign against Donald Trump is that he is all over the place on the issues. He has made it a practice, whether by design or inadvertently I don’t know, of either speaking in broad generalities that could mean anything or reversing his previous stands and then reversing them yet again or suggesting that nothing is fixed and everything is open to negotiation. The only thing he seems to be consistent on is his claim that he can deliver on his promises, even as the promises themselves keep changing or are unclear.
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9-1-1 problems

On Last Week Tonight John Oliver talks about this emergency service that we take for granted and highlights some of the problems that it has and the improvements that are needed. He says that many states and localities do not fund and support it to the extent that is necessary, another example of how far down the road we have gone to cutting into services that serve the public good.
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Film review: Requiem for the American Dream (2015)

Thanks to reader Norm, I was made aware of this short (73-minute) documentary that consists essentially of Noam Chomsky giving a tutorial explaining the roots of the rapidly growing inequality in the US and the world, with a backdrop of newsreel footage and animation illustrating his points as he goes along. The way I describe it sounds boring but in reality it is intensely absorbing since Chomsky is as lucid as ever.
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Balancing sensitivity with humor

References to political correctness became ubiquitous during the Republican primary race and has spread elsewhere. Recently some well-known comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and Bill Maher complained that they were avoiding college campuses on their tours because colleges had become too ‘politically correct’, and audiences were sometimes booing them for jokes that were considered offensive and thus preventing them from offering up edgy humor. But John K. Wilson writes that rather than the audiences being too thin-skinned, it is these very wealthy comedians who are hypersensitive, thinking that they have a right to not have to experience a negative reaction to their humor.
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Michael Ratner (1943-2016)

Anyone in the US who is concerned about human rights would likely be familiar with the name Michael Ratner who died of cancer on May 11. He was a lawyer who served as long-time president of the Center for Constitutional Rights and took an all manner of unpopular causes, such as fighting on behalf of Julian Assange and for the rights of Guantanamo detainees, where he won an important victory when the US Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 in 2008 that detainees had the right to the writ of habeas corpus. There have been many obituaries about his life and work and I will quote from just two.
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