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?
[Read more…]

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.).

[Read more…]

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.
[Read more…]

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.
[Read more…]

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.
[Read more…]

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.
[Read more…]

The push to curb poor sportsmanship in cricket

The cricket World Cup tournament begins on Saturday, February 14 and will last until the finals on Sunday, March 29, ensuring that the cricket loving parts of the world will see a marked decline in productivity during that period. Australia and New Zealand are hosting the tournament. In the lead up to it, increasing attention is being paid to the issue of poor sportsmanship on the field, mainly in the form of ‘sledging’ where players on the field exchange barbs with the goal of unsettling opponents and waging psychological warfare.
[Read more…]

How global warming denialists abuse statistics

Scientists at both NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have announced that 2014 has been determined to be the warmest year since 1880, when instrumental records started being kept. In addition, they say that the “10 warmest years in the instrumental record, with the exception of 1998, have now occurred since 2000″.
[Read more…]