Let us never forget: The election result was not even close

Amid all the frenzied tweeting by Trump and the 56 lawsuits brought by him and his acolytes to obfuscate the fact that he has lost, it is easy to overlook the fact that the final result is not even close. All 50 states have now certified their election results and the Electoral College has formally cast its votes to give Biden the expected 306-232 a margin of victory. In addition Biden easily won the popular vote by over seven million with a margin of 51.3-46.9%. In short, by any measure Trump lost badly and all the protestations by him and his supporters cannot hide that fact. The only thing he can boast about is that he got more votes than any other loser before him. What he has done by fighting it like this is to die a death of a thousand cuts, with a string of daily defeats in different venues.
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Pat Robertson has a cunning plan…

I am sure that all of you have been wondering what televangelist Pat Robertson’s thoughts are on the election now that his hero Trump is on the way out. He says that he knows what can be done to keep Trump in office and that if Trump asks him, he will tell him. It can’t hurt since the Rudy Giuliani-Sidney Powell legal clown circus is not going anywhere.
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Are the monoliths part of a marketing scheme?

The appearance, disappearance, and reappearance of the triangular steel monoliths that began in one site in Utah and spread to other places and initially seemed like it was people just having fun has taken a slightly darker turn in California where another one had been erected on top of a mountain.

A group of young men claiming to be Christians have posted a video of themselves tearing down a mysterious monolith that had appeared atop a California mountain and replacing it with a cross.

The monolith had been built near the town of Atascadero and sparked huge interest after the appearance of a similar silvery metal-faced monolith that had been discovered in the deserts of Utah.
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What, you think your god will protect you from getting covid-19?

Reports have emerged of a wedding held in the ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Jewish community of New York City where thousands of people were crammed together indoors and tried to keep this violation of safety protocols secret from the authorities.

New York City officials on Monday announced that they would fine the organizers of a Hasidic Jewish wedding that was attended by thousands of people earlier this month, calling it reckless and accusing organizers of concealing it from authorities.

The New York Times reported that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said that those who planned the wedding took active steps to ensure that the thousands of participants would not reveal news of the wedding to city authorities.
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This is so cool

Some fans of 2001: A Space Odyssey are clearly having some fun.

The monolith was found in Utah where Mormons settled. The Mormon cosmology also involves worlds other than the Earth that are inhabited. Could this monolith be a sign to Earthlings that Mormonism is the one true religion?

In the second video you can see that this monolith, unlike the rectangular slab in the film, has a triangular cross-section that points to a crack in the cliff face. Maybe, like the signal in the film that told us where to go in the universe to make contact, this is telling us that the secret is embedded in that crack in the cliff face.

We need to send a mission into that gap.

Is duck kosher? It’s complicated

I was chatting with a friend of mine about the upcoming Thanksgiving and the December holiday season and I said that I was not a big fan of turkey and preferred duck. She said that while she has never heard about duck being explicitly forbidden as not being kosher, she has never seen it for sale in any of the kosher butcher shops where she gets her meat, nor are there any recipes for it in her Jewish cookbooks. We both became intrigued about the kosher status of duck and so I looked it up and, as is often the case with religious dietary rules, it is complicated.

The Torah apparently simply lists those birds that are forbidden to eat. But the problem is that the list was compiled way back by people living in one small part of the world and it is not clear what animals some of the names even refer to and what to do now that one has to deal with animals all over the world that were not known to the compilers of the lists.
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The whole sordid Falwell saga laid bare

The website Politico has done a deep dive into all the nefarious things that Jerry Falwell engaged in while president of Liberty University. It is quite astonishing. He managed to avoid oversight by his supposed bosses on the Board of Trustees by forcing out of the board and his administration those who were not loyalists who raised concerns that his behavior was not consistent with the highly puritanical code demanded by the university of its students, faculty, and staff.
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Michele Bachmann urges her god to use his iron rod

One of my favorite wackos, former Minnesota congresswoman and seeker of the Republican nomination for president in 2012 Michele Bachmann, has tweeted out a video of her praying, urging her god to bring out his iron rod and smite the delusions of the forces of evil arrayed against Trump who are trying to defeat him. It is likely that she does not have a dirty mind like mine and is thus oblivious to the double entendre.

Pope Francis snubs Trump’s attempt to exploit him

No doubt in an effort to woo Catholic voters by trying to appear as if Pope Francis was friendly with the Trump administration, secretary of state Mike Pompeo attended a conference on religious freedom organized by the US embassy to the Vatican. But Vatican officials not only declined to take part in the event held on its very doorstep, the pope declined to even meet with Pompeo.
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A nice survey of research into the origin of life

The theory of natural selection provides a way of understanding how life, starting from one or a few microorganisms, has evolved over time to give us the immense variety and complexity we see all around us now. But it does not, at least directly, tell us how the very first thing that we can call a living organism came about. Natalie Elliot provides a nice survey into what current research says about the origin of life and she says that this research has also resulted in significant changes in what we mean by ‘life’.
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