“Where is my flying car?” may soon no longer be a joke

Some of you may remember the animated TV show The Jetsons about a family that lived in the future that had all manner of anticipated technological advances. One of them was the flying personal car and that particular item has become a punch line whenever people want to express disappointment that we do not have many of the amazing things that we thought had been promised to us in the dreams of science fiction writers.
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Next on the White House soap opera …

More troubling questions have arisen about Rob Porter, the White House staff secretary who resigned yesterday in the wake of stories that he physically abused his two ex-wives and that they suffered bruises because of it and had photographs documenting them. Although his title of ‘staff secretary’ makes him sound like an underling who merely typed memos, did the photocopying, and made coffee, that is misleading. The job is actually a very important one because all information to the president passes through the staff secretary. As such that person has to work very closely with the president’s chief of staff. People who have held this position before Porter have subsequently gone on to other important positions.
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But can’t you see? Your prayers have not worked!

Thanks to a blog post by a skeptic in a nearby city who goes by the pseudonym Rev. El Mundo, I heard about a school district fairly close by where they used to have prayers, this time before school athletic events. Of course, they had to have known that such prayers are unconstitutional but school administrators tend to pander to the needs of the local community and hope no one notices that they are violating the constitution. They only stopped when they received a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation to stop the prayers or face a legal challenge.
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Just the kind of person that Trump would hire

To no one’s surprise, it appears that one of Donald Trump’s closest advisors is a serial abuser of women and both his ex-wives describe his attacks on them and have provided photos of their bruises. After initially defending him as a person of great integrity and honor and trying to retain him, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly now says that he was shocked to hear of the allegations.
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Racists meet a more powerful foe – Girl Scouts

While the furor over removing the names of racists and segregationists and Confederate leaders from public buildings and getting rid of monuments and statues erected in their honor has receded from the public eye, that doesn’t mean that those efforts have ended. For example, in Savannah Georgia there is a massive bridge that is named after a former governor Eugene Talmadge who was an out-and-out racist. There is absolutely no doubt in his case that his name belongs in the dustbin of history and not on a bridge.
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A major mystery solved

Donald Trump’s weird hair has long been a source of curious speculation. Is it a wig? If not, what? That mystery has now been apparently solved. What he does is what those in the know refer to as a ‘wraparound combover’ to hide the balding that most men of his age have. There is no shame in this except for someone as vain as him. The truth was revealed when a gust of wind blew as he was climbing into his plane without wearing his cap.
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Some background on North and South Korea in the Olympics

The Winter Olympics starts next week in South Korea and much interest has focused on the fact that North Korea is sending a squad and some events will feature the two countries fielding joint teams. Given the heightened tensions between the US and North Korea, I found this article to be helpful in providing a brief summary of the 20th century history of the two countries as well as the state of their current cultural relationship.
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How the government coerces people into becoming spies

However law-abiding a person we think we are, there are myriad laws on the books that all of us unwittingly break every single day. We are all secretly felons. Most of us go through life without being aware of this or prosecuted for our ‘offenses’ but that picture changes if for some reason the government wants you to doing something for them. Then they can use the threat of prosecution to coerce you into agreeing.
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I now hate Quentin Tarantino and his films even more

After seeing Pulp Fiction I swore never to watch any more of Quentin Tarantino’s films, seeing them as vehicles for him to indulge his personal fantasies of violence and the use of racist language, especially the N-word. However I am aware of many fans of his who claimed that he was some kind of genius filmmaker and that I was just not getting it. One of these was a highly respected professor of film at my university. When I wrote about his films five years ago, some readers of this blog tried to explain to me why he was good. I was not convinced.
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