Another public cross bites the dust

The First Circuit Court of Appeals has, in a 2-1 decision, overturned a federal district court opinion that a big cross on public land in Maryland did not violate the Establishment Clause. The cross is 40 ft high and was erected in 1925 in memory of soldiers who died in World War I. The case was brought by the American Humanist Association, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and the Center for Inquiry. You can read the opinion here.
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Is there anyone in the White House who is not a pathological liar?

There were some who hoped that the appointment of general John Kelly as the White House chief of staff would bring some semblance of normalcy and order to a chaotic administration run by a pathological liar. But the recent events surrounding the telephone call made by Donald Trump to the widow of one of the soldiers killed in Niger reveal that Kelly is as much a delusional and shameless liar as his boss, perfectly willing to falsely attack someone in defense of the indefensible.
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Hugging as a protest tactic

As confrontations between neo-Nazi and white supremacists continue at various locations around the country, there was an interesting moment at the most recent one at the University of Florida where counter-protestors vastly outnumbered the neo-Nazis. For some reason, a white skinhead walked right into a crowd of counter-protestors and initially there was a fight where he was punched. But then this burly black guy enveloped the skinhead in a bear hug, holding him tightly and repeatedly saying “Give me a hug!”
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Redbaiting by neoliberals

When Samantha Powers praises an article by Cass Sunstein, tweeting it as “important and enlightening”, you can be pretty sure that it is utter tripe. Why? Because these two are leading members of the neoliberal faction that has dominated the Democratic party and is trying hard to make sure that their stranglehold is not weakened by the progressives organizing around Bernie Sanders.
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Gregg Popovich talks about white privilege

Gregg Popovich is the coach of the San Antonio Spurs basketball team who has had a very successful career. He is also someone who has progressive views and does not hesitate to speak his mind. On September 26, he spoke about the controversy over athletes kneeling for the national anthem. He spoke openly about what many people dance around, that “Race is the elephant in the room”. He then went on to speak about the responsibility of those who are in privileged positions to use that benefit positively.
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Policeman who arrested nurse fired

The policemen who went into a rage because a nurse in Utah properly refused to give him a blood sample from an accident victim, and forcibly handcuffed and arrested her (see my earlier post about it that has the video that went viral) has since been fired and his supervisor demoted. The officer had previously been reprimanded for sexually harassing a female co-worker.
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It’s all a game for these people

This Saturday Night Live clip about Anderson Cooper and Kelly Anne Conway show how these talk show are just ritualized show busness, like professional wrestling, where each player knows what role they are to play. Conway knows that she has to say wild and crazy things in defense of Trump while Cooper’s role is to feed her opportunities to do so. In this way, CNN’s ratings go up and Trump’s fans are pleased.

The rise of China

As he began his second term as Chinese president at the opening of Communist Party’s 19th Congress, Xi Jingpin gave an over three-hour speech outlining the party’s vision for the future. One thing was clear: that he is a strategic thinker who sees China playing an increasingly dominant role on the global stage. Given that it is expected that within the next five years the size of China’s economy will exceed that of the US, this is not an idle dream.
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