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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
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To create even more enemies out of ignorance and bigotry is scary. No, it's insane.

Reza Aslan

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

QOTD: Reza Aslan

by digby

This interview with Jesse Singal is excellent:

... someone like Sam Harris or Bill Maher sees religion as defining people of faith,
their values, their motivations, and I see people as defining their religion.

I agree with Aslan. And I would guess most other atheists do as well. We know too many religious people of different faiths for whom religion is just one part of who they are and who are completely balanced, tolerant, open and often evolving in their interpretation of their faith not to. I also know atheists who take a fundamentalist point of view and are totally intolerant of any challenge to their worldview. To me, this is so glaringly obvious that I wouldn't think it had to be discussed. I could not comfortably live in this world as an atheist if I believed that all people of faith were all defined by their religion.

I guess what surprises me the most is that some atheists of all people have taken on a medieval worldview that organizes the world by religion and sees it as some kind of apocalyptic battle to the end. It's not the 14th century guys. We know more stuff now. There is more to human behavior than religions belief. A lot more. (And, by the way, I don't say that purely from an American centric point of view where we're all allegedly so pluralistic and tolerant. I've lived all over the world and traveled extensively. I've found this to be true everywhere I've gone. People's people.)

The whole interview is essential reading. To assume that the religion itself is the reason rather than the excuse for this violent extremism is to miss the point entirely. There are reasons and we'd damned well better figure out what they are and do our best to deal with this thing in a way that makes sense. Fighting the "religion" is completely daft. What are we going to do, follow Bill Maher's pal Ann Coulter's advice to "invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity?" That's what it will take. (By the way the second half of Coulter's comment is often forgotten: "We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war." Is it?)

I find this whole discussion truly disturbing. It's not only offensive, it's as dangerous as the terrorism itself. We are a very powerful country and can do terrible damage if we decide to wage a holy war like this. But we are not invulnerable. To create even more enemies out of ignorance and bigotry is scary. No, it's insane.


Credit Suisse 64 Page Report: Key Inequality Measure The Highest Since The Great Depression

You know inequality is getting bad when it's making a Swiss bank uncomfortable.

The ratio of wealth to household income in the U.S., a measure of inequality, is the highest it has been since just before the Great Depression, Credit Suisse noted in a 64-page report on global wealth released on Monday. The bank also warned that this was not good news for the health of the economy:

"This is a worrying signal given that abnormally high wealth income ratios have always signaled recession in the past," the bank wrote.


Here's a chart from the Credit Suisse report, of wealth-to-income ratios going back to 1900:

Meanwhile, the richest 1 percent in the world own 48 percent of all the world's wealth,
according to Credit Suisse -- a worrying signal for the global economy.


much more:

The only thing more scary than an unarmed black person, is an unarmed black person in a voting booth

The new University of Delaware study found that 67 percent of white Americans supported voter ID laws after the question was posed to them with text only or accompanied by a photo of white people voting. But that number increased to 73 percent when the same question is asked with an accompanying photo of African-Americans voting.

"Our findings suggest that public opinion about voter ID laws can be racialized by simply showing images of African American people," David C. Wilson, who helped supervise the study, said. "The resulting increase in support for the laws happens independently of —even after controlling for— political ideology and negative attitudes about African Americans."

The spike, from 67 percent to 73 percent, may not be huge but it's still statistically significant, The Washington Post noted. While there was an increase among white Americans who were asked about their support for voter ID laws, an accompanying picture of black people voting did not cause African Americans or Hispanic voters to show stronger support for voter ID laws.

Here's a graph of the study's findings:


Noncompete Clauses for Fast Food Workers?

Noncompete Clauses for Fast Food Workers?
October 14, 2014 | Erik Loomis
Even by the standards of the fast food industry, this is a gratuitous way to treat workers:

If you’re considering working at a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop, you may want to read the fine print on your job application.

A Jimmy John’s employment agreement provided to The Huffington Post includes a “non-competition” clause that’s surprising in its breadth. Noncompete agreements are typically reserved for managers or employees who could clearly exploit a business’s inside information by jumping to a competitor. But at Jimmy John’s, the agreement apparently applies to low-wage sandwich makers and delivery drivers, too.

By signing the covenant, the worker agrees not to work at one of the sandwich chain’s competitors for a period of two years following employment at Jimmy John’s. But the company’s definition of a “competitor” goes far beyond the Subways and Potbellys of the world. It encompasses any business that’s near a Jimmy John’s location and that derives a mere 10 percent of its revenue from sandwiches.

Since there are obviously no trade secrets at stake here, this is clearly just punching employees. Let’s take the one thing we have trained this low-skill, low-wage workers at and make sure she can’t use it if she leaves it at one of our equally low-skill, low-wage competitors!


Cartoon: America of the future


The War On Truth

the new book by James Risen that is the antithesis of what routinely passes for journalism about the “war on terror.” Instead of evasive tunnel vision, the book offers big-picture acuity: focusing on realities that are pervasive and vastly destructive.

just a few important snippets:

*........... as trillions of dollars have poured into the nation’s new homeland security-industrial complex, the corporate leaders at its vanguard can rightly be considered the true winners of the war on terror.”

* “There is an entire class of wealthy company owners, corporate executives, and investors who have gotten rich by enabling the American government to turn to the dark side. But they have done so quietly. . . . The new quiet oligarchs just keep making money. . . . They are the beneficiaries of one of the largest transfers of wealth from public to private hands in American history.”

* “The United States is now relearning an ancient lesson, dating back to the Roman Empire. Brutalizing an enemy only serves to brutalize the army ordered to do it. Torture corrodes the mind of the torturer.”

* “Of all the abuses America has suffered at the hands of the government in its endless war on terror, possibly the worst has been the war on truth. On the one hand, the executive branch has vastly expanded what it wants to know: something of a vast gathering of previously private truths. On the other hand, it has ruined lives to stop the public from gaining any insight into its dark arts, waging a war on truth. It all began at the NSA.”

lots more here:

“The View From Sarah Palin’s Porch Just Got More Fabulous.”

Federal court rules Alaska's gay marriage ban unconstitutional, paving way for marriage equality. Featured photo: Composite (Background image with Alaska scenery)


"Done. Done. Done." Ann Romney: "Done Completely-Not only Mitt & I are done, but the kids are done”

On another matter that has been the subject of much political babbling lately — a potential third run for president by her husband — Ann Romney was happy to wave off the possibility.

“Done,” she said. “Completely. Not only Mitt and I are done, but the kids are done,” she said, referring to her five sons. “Done. Done. Done.”

Asked whether there were any circumstances under which she would encourage the former Massachusetts governor to attempt another run — or if she would support him if he wanted to run — she said she hadn't “been pushed to that point mentally,” but that they would make the decision together.

She reeled off a long list of what she called “really interesting” potential Republican contenders, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and her husband’s 2012 choice for vice president, Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin.

“We’re going to see a nice field shake out.”


"I would rather die than be in the United States Senate. Okay?"

Bonus Quote of the Day

"I would rather die than be in the United States Senate. Okay? I would be bored to death. Could you imagine me banging around that chamber with 99 other people -- asking for a motion on the amendment in the subcommittee? Forget it."

-- Gov. Chris Christie (R), quoted by Business Insider.

Hey NBC, Fire Chuck Todd Today.

Somebody's getting an invitation to the RNC Christmas party:

A new ad by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) features NBC "Meet The Press" host Chuck Todd saying Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes "disqualified herself" by refusing to say in a recent interview if she voted for President Barack Obama.

A new ad by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) features NBC "Meet The Press" host Chuck Todd saying Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes "disqualified herself" by refusing to say in a recent interview if she voted for President Barack Obama.

The stumble last week led to pushback for Grimes, who is polling neck and neck with the Senate Republican leader

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