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Apr 23, 16

"Atheism tells you, by definition, what someone doesn't believe: They don't believe in the supernatural, they don't believe in God. Humanism is broader in that it does not only give the sense of what is unimportant to the person, but it also gives you a sense of what is important to the person. Humanists aren't only concerned with denying the existence of God, but want to take the next step in light of the fact that there are no gods or supernatural forces looking out for us: What do we do?"

Apr 22, 16

"The school never pushed back, humoring all viewpoints equally. “In closed door meetings with us, they were very supportive and wanting to do the right thing,” Hannah recalled, but their public reactions to upset parents — or lack thereof — told a different story. Because no one on the board or in the administration said anything, “I think it gave these parents the idea that their discourse was important. Their dissent — their discriminatory language, in fact — was accepted. It gave them this leeway to go ahead and escalate the situation to rent the gym and invite the Minnesota Family Council.”

Parents would use the hate groups’ talking points at every open meeting and in their letters, but the school would never create any buffer against it. According to Dave, when these comments were shared, school officials would never call them out as discriminatory. “They would instead say, ‘Thank you’ or ‘I appreciate your opinion’ and go on to the next comment. And what that did was create a really hostile environment that just kept getting worse and worse and worse because the school refused to take a position.”

The school’s ambivalent approach was on grand display at a December Climate Committee meeting. A draft of guiding principles for an anti-bullying curriculum was distributed that suggested that even though Minnesota state law protected various classes (including gender identity), Nova should still find a way to placate both sides when there is a disagreement between those groups"

Apr 21, 16

… the Standards do not condemn any or all religions and do not target religious believers for disfavored treatment. And COPE offers only threadbare assertions that the Standards intend to promote a non-religious worldview. Thus, COPE’s allegations regarding adoption amount to psychological consequences produced by observation of conduct with which it disagrees.

Apr 18, 16

"This is not a new tactic. Indeed, it was used once before in a high-profile campaign against equality. Four decades ago, the Equal Rights Amendment — which would have required courts to treat laws that engage in sex discrimination with the same high level of skepticism applied to race discrimination — seemed all but certain to become part of the Constitution. Thirty-four of the thirty-eight states needed to ratify the amendment had agreed to do so. Then conservative activists organized hard against this amendment. Many of them also gave it a new name, the “Common Toilet” law.

Like the anti-LGBT activists who united against HERO, the ERA’s anti-feminist opponents offered similarly outlandish claims about what would happen if the ERA became law. Many conservative activists rallied behind a claim that a ban on official sex discrimination would necessarily forbid segregating bathrooms by gender. As the feminist scholar Jane Mansbridge wrote in her postmortem of the amendment fight, Why We Lost the ERA, “the unisex toilet issue fed the fervor of the anti-ERA forces by giving them something absolutely outrageous to focus on.” Among other things, “it could conjure up visions of rape by predatory males,” while igniting smoldering passions in a South that had recently experienced “the historical trauma of racial integration.”
False Fears

Evidence that anyone has ever been sexually assaulted by a trans woman in a bathroom — or, for that matter, by a cis man pretending to be a trans woman in a bathroom — is extraordinarily thin. In Oregon, which has prohibited gender identity discrimination since 2007, the relevant agency “has encountered zero allegations of LGBT assault related to this public accommodation protection.” Lawmakers who oppose bans on anti-trans discrimination are flummoxed by requests for examples of such an assault. The likelihood that a woman will face this kind of assault appears to be exactly the same as her chances of being attacked by a unicorn."

Apr 05, 16

"Asking the government to not promote Christianity — bringing it down to the same level as all other religious and non-religious beliefs — isn’t a form of persecution. We’ve had atheist soldiers and Jewish soldiers die in battle, too, but you’ll never hear Starnes or Collins suggest we put a Torah or Richard Dawkins book on the table."

Mar 31, 16

"The anti-abortion movement has spent decades working to counter the accusation that it is anti-woman. Witness anti-abortion laws, like the one currently being considered by the Supreme Court, that put new restrictions on abortion providers in the name of protecting women’s health, as opposed to protecting fetal life. Advocates for banning abortion entirely have argued, extensively, that in the world they hope for, only abortion providers will be subject to criminal penalties.

But even under the status quo, where Roe v. Wade technically hasn’t been overturned, women are already being prosecuted and even convicted on suspicion of having abortions. Just ask Purvi Patel, who is appealing a 30-year prison sentence for her conviction for feticide in Indiana. Prosecutors said she had ordered abortion pills online and charged her with feticide, which had been initially touted as a way to prosecute people who attack pregnant women. The prosecutor in South Bend, Indiana who brought the case told MSNBC of prosecuting Patel under the feticide charge, “A more accurate title would be ‘unlawful termination of pregnancy.’” "

Mar 23, 16

With Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio out of the running, Ohio Governor John Kasich is the establishment candidate no one saw coming. And sure, compared to the rest of the GOP’s increasingly terrifying sideshows in suits, Kasich comes across as sane. But don’t be fooled: John Kasich is just as much of a monster as the rest—he just hides it better.

Mar 08, 16

"David Chalmers, in his Hooded Americanism: The History of the Ku Klux Klan, is unequivocal in placing the Klan, in all of its iterations, firmly on the right of the political spectrum:

Throughout its history, the Klan has been a conservative, not revolutionary, organization. As a vigilante, it has sought to uphold "law and order," white dominance, and traditional morality. To do this it has threatened, flogged, mutilated, and on occasion, murdered. The main purpose of the Klansmen, Kligrapps, Kludds, and Night Hawks, Cyclopses, Titans, Dragons, and Wizards assembled in their Dens, Klaverns, and Klonvokations, rallying in rented cow pastures, and marching in solemn procession through city streets, has been to defend and restore what they conceived as traditional social values. The Klan has bascially been a revitalization movement.

It's clear that the "leftist" Klan that Lord is referencing is this second iteration (in large part because his argument hinges on connecting Democratic President Woodrow Wilson with this Klan). But while the people comprising this version of the Klan may have been mostly Democrats, they also were uniformly conservative. "

Feb 21, 16

""We do not emphasize the polls," she pointed out. "I would love the media, there to be a month without polls. What is the value of these polls? If I am making a decision about a candidate, I want to weigh their record."

"Do I care what my neighbor thinks or the person next to me? I want to make an independent decision."

Goodman noted that even though the media had an "obsession with polls," they were often wrong.

"Instead, pour that energy, investigation and money into people's records," she advised. "Whether they're a businessman like Trump or they're politicians like Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. Look at their records, what have they done. Compare their rhetoric to what they have done throughout their life."

Stelter argued that there was "value" in knowing what proportion of the electorate supported a candidate's message.

"Well, you find that out with an election," Goodman replied. "You find it out with a primary and a caucus.""

Feb 19, 16

"Kasich, then, is a funny kind of fiscal conservative. On the one hand, he cared enough about balancing the budget that he helped shut the government down in 1995 to try to force Clinton to accept Medicare cuts, passed the spending cuts we talked about in 1997, and, more than anything else, made it his professed political raison d’être. On the other, he didn’t care about it enough to accept even a dollar of higher taxes if that was the only way to do it — and he still doesn’t. Just last summer, he said that he’d reject a budget deal that had $10 of spending cuts for ever $1 of tax hikes. So it’s no surprise that part of his plan to balance the budget today is cutting the top tax rate from 39.6 to 28 percent. That’s who he’s always been. He cares more about cutting taxes than balancing the budget. If he didn’t, then he wouldn’t have voted against the two bills that really did rein in the red ink in the 1990s.

The only thing Kasich was actually the chief architect of was the myth that he was the chief architect of the balanced budgets of the 1990s."

Jan 30, 16

"This is thrilling and long overdue. But it’s also a phenomenon that could easily recede, as it has many times before after periods of progress: in the early fifties, when television was brand-new; in the seventies, the era of “Roots” and Norman Lear; and again in the early nineties, post-Cosby, when black sitcoms thrived. One observer understood this ephemeral quality more than most: P. Jay Sidney, an African-American actor who built a four-decade career in television, all the while protesting network racism, in what Donald Bogle’s book “Primetime Blues” recounts as a “one-man crusade to get African-Americans fair representation in television programs and commercials.” Sidney is a footnote in history books, while other activists of his era are heroes. But he was there when the medium began, appearing on TV more than any other black dramatic actor of the time. Even as his résumé grew, Sidney picketed, he wrote letters, he advocated boycotts, he taped interactions with executives, lobbying tirelessly against TV’s de-facto segregation. In 1962, he testified before the House of Representatives. Nothing made much headway; he grew disgusted and disaffected. By the time Sidney died, in Brooklyn, in 1996, he had largely been forgotten, a proud loner who never got to see his vision become reality. “People today benefit from things that were sacrificed years ago,” his ex-wife Carol Foster Sidney, who is now eighty-seven, told me. “And they haven’t a clue.”"

Jan 21, 16

"Businesses don’t just use temp staffing agencies to add workers for short periods when they need extra hands. Staffing agencies can also serve the valuable (to crappy employers) purpose of dodging responsibility. "

Jan 15, 16

"But Christie’s entire argument is based on the persistent myth that crime is spiking under Obama, spurred on by police brutality protests.

Christie wasn’t the only one buying into that claim. Fox Business host Neil Cavuto’s question was just as misleading as Christie’s response.

“I wonder what you make of recent statistics that show violent crime has been spiking, sometimes by a double digit rate, in 30 cities across the country,” Cavuto said, before alluding to the so-called “Ferguson effect” as a cause.

It’s an argument that Christie and other presidential candidates including Ted Cruz have also made in the past — that increased scrutiny of the police after high-profile shootings in Ferguson, Baltimore, and other U.S. cities has caused police to slow down enforcement, leading to an increase in crime. But it’s a completely unfounded argument. "

Jan 15, 16

"Then again, you’ve always got that Black guy you knew in high school – you heard he’s never had a problem with police, so police brutality must not be an issue. Or your cousin’s co-workers wife, who’s Asian and doesn’t mind questions about where she’s from. And don’t forget that Latina you once found in a YouTube comments section, who takes hypersexual stereotyping as a compliment.

The existence of exceptions to the rule is no reason to dismiss the experiences of so many others, and talking about white privilege doesn’t mean saying that every single white person has one experience, and every single person of color has another.

Once again, it’s about talking about a system that disadvantages groups of people."

Jan 10, 16

"This is a philosophy that sees absolutely no value in anything that can't be turned into a buck. The debate is framed so that the environmental movement is forced to argue from a moral high ground of beauty and legacy, while the opponents argue from an economically "practical" background.

Private enterprise cannot make a profit on something until there is scarcity. So as long as clean air is available to all, then the free market has no interest in doing anything but polluting it. The reason is because the current free market, capitalist, economic model exists to commodify natural resources and turn it into consumer goods, while externalizing expenses by doing things like trashing the planet.

However, once the atmosphere is polluted to the point that people with money can't breath, then the free market will create a solution - but only for those it can make a profit from. The poor die slowly.

You don't have to chose between the environment or jobs. Studies prove that if you chose to sacrifice the environment, you also chose to sacrifice your local economy."

Jan 04, 16

"One day before his son joined the armed invasion of the federal wildlife preserve, Clive Bundy published a press release supporting the Hammonds which explains why he believes their sentences are illegal.

The United States Justice Department has NO jurisdiction or authority within the State of Oregon, County of Harney over this type of ranch management. These lands are not under U.S. treaties or commerce, they are not article 4 territories, and Congress does not have unlimited power. These lands have been admitted into statehood and are part of the great State of Oregon and the citizens of Harney County enjoy the fullness of the protections of the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Constitution limits United States government.

As a constitutional matter, this is gobbledygook. The Constitution provides that “Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States.” Moreover, the Supreme Court unanimously held in Kleppe v. New Mexico, that this constitutional provision provides that “the power over the public land thus entrusted to Congress is without limitations.” The federal government may own land, it may enact regulations governing that land, and it may do with its own land as it chooses, regardless of whether that land is within the borders of a state."

Jan 02, 16

"Allowing certain citizens to break the law negates the purpose of having laws in the very first place."

Dec 06, 15

"Islamic extremism, like Christian fundamentalism, has a life of its own, and it’s evolving as we speak. The New Atheists’ contribution to this debate is to have taken fundamentalists of all stripes at their word and to have suggested that it is not only the particular interpretation of holy books that is problematic but the existence of holy books themselves: that fundamentalism cannot be detached from religion but is an outgrowth (or mutation) of it.

The argument may be an old one, but it’s worth repeating, and if their readers get a bit of knowledge on the way about recent developments in cell biology or genetics or the expanding fossil record or physics, well, then, so much the better….

There’s no doubt Dawkins can be a jerk. His interventions on the subject of Western feminists – whom he seems to want to indict on the grounds that they’re not living in Afghanistan – are, to put it delicately, feeble.

But my strong sense is that his real crime is to have confronted us – good women and men of the left – with a question we aren’t quite able to answer, and which, frankly, we’d rather wasn’t asked: What do we feel about religion now that it is more commonly associated with minorities subject to widespread prejudice?"

Dec 03, 15

"The only way 355 mass shootings in 336 days becomes an acceptable reality is if we accept it.

And if we do, we can no longer blame Islamic State or Al Qaeda or the axis of evil for threatening the American way of life.

We will have destroyed it ourselves. "

Nov 19, 15

"It’s time for us to acknowledge the problem with Dr. Phil. It’s easy to demonize people such as Dr. Oz, who promote obvious, quantifiable pseudoscience. But there’s another doctor in town arguably doing the same kind of harm. Psychology is also a science, and therapists are licensed for the very reason that only certain people have the knowledge and talent to do it, and even those that do need training to do it effectively. Everyone is entitled to give insight and advice, but positioning yourself on national TV with the misleading title of “doctor” is something altogether different. Something possibly sinister. "

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