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The ticking of the proverbial nuclear clock in Iran has already delivered a blow, not to the physical land of Israel, but to its spirit and moral standing. The threat of Tehran is dire, to be sure, but that imminent potential—which is ironically entering its 10th year of existence, has diminished Israel’s vision and foresight. Jewish politicians talk about Iran as if it were simply another dark, hopeless, and eternally hostile place. Whereas Jews have more reasons than most people to be committed to the notion of remembering, Israel’s leaders all seem to be afflicted with amnesia when it comes to Iran. Hundreds of years ago, it was Persia that gave sanctuary to Jewish refugees fleeing the Promised Land after the fall of the First Temple. It was this historic displacement that moved Cyrus the Great to invent the famed cylinder, the first prototype for the international declaration of human rights. And if history is hard to keep in the forefront of the consciousness, then there are the myths we, Jews, celebrate about ancient Persia. The festival of Purim, for instance, narrates the tale of Persia’s King Achashverosh who was philo-semitic enough to choose a Jew as his queen and sacrifice an anti-semitic court advisor in favor of his beloved wife’s uncle. –“Under the Veil,” Roya Hakakian, World Affairs
Do you know what [Guy Fieri's] Minute to Win It reminds me of? This may surprise you, but this game show has religion written all over it. The word ‘religion’ literally means ‘to bind back’ – or in other words, to return to bondage. Religion is a bunch of silly rules and games made by people who look and sound like the impressive clergyman in The Princess Bride –“Mawwiage! Mawwiage is what bwings us togethew today.” Can you hear them? “Religion! Religion is what bwings us togethew today.” Do you want a million dollar relationship with God? Then bind yourself back by going to church, eating this, but don’t eat that, pray this way but not that way, and most importantly remember that salvation is a prize you have to earn by contorting your soul until you are spiritually beat down. That’s why Jesus hated religion. That’s why He came to earth and lived a perfect life, completed all the requirements, and won the prize on our behalf. He offers – not religion – but relationship. As someone once said: All religions say “DO,” but true Christianity says “DONE.” –Minute to Pray It,” Lane Palmer, The Christian Post
One day on the streets of Alexandria, Egypt in the year 415 or 416, a mob of Christian zealots led by Peter the Lector accosted a woman’s carriage, dragged her from it and into a church, where they stripped her and beat her to death with roofing tiles. They then tore her body apart and burned it. Who was this woman and what was her crime? Hypatia was one of the last great thinkers of ancient Alexandria and one of the first women to study and teach mathematics, astronomy and philosophy. Though she is remembered more for her violent death, her dramatic life is a fascinating lens through which we may view the plight of science in an era of religious and sectarian conflict. –“Hypatia, Ancient Alexandria’s Great Female Scholar,” Sarah Zielinski, Smithsonian
Only Pittsburgh still loves Mr. Rogers and other tales of the slow death of culture:
you too can be an “Executive Temp” (pay commensurate);
what if wars of global domination and mass slaughter were fought on Facebook?
For the past three years my dosimeter had sat silently on a narrow shelf just inside the door of a house in Tokyo, upticking its final digit every twenty-four hours by one or two, the increase never failing — for radiation is the ruthless companion of time. Wherever we are, radiation finds and damages us, at best imperceptibly. During those three years, my American neighbors had lost sight of the accident at Fukushima. In March 2011, a tsunami had killed hundreds, or thousands; yes, they remembered that. Several also recollected the earthquake that caused it, but as for the hydrogen explosion and containment breach at Nuclear Plant No. 1, that must have been fixed by now — for its effluents no longer shone forth from our national news. Meanwhile, my dosimeter increased its figure, one or two digits per day, more or less as it would have in San Francisco — well, a trifle more, actually. And in Tokyo, as in San Francisco, people went about their business, except on Friday nights, when the stretch between the Kasumigaseki and Kokkai-Gijido-mae subway stations — half a dozen blocks of sidewalk, which commenced at an antinuclear tent that had already been on this spot for more than 900 days and ended at the prime minister’s lair — became a dim and feeble carnival of pamphleteers and Fukushima refugees peddling handicrafts.
One Friday evening, the refugees’ half of the sidewalk was demarcated by police barriers, and a line of officers slouched at ease in the street, some with yellow bullhorns hanging from their necks. At the very end of the street, where the National Diet glowed white and strange behind other buildings, a policeman set up a microphone, then deployed a small video camera in the direction of the muscular young people in drums against fascists jackets who now, at six-thirty sharp, began chanting: “We don’t need nuclear energy! Stop nuclear power plants! Stop them, stop them, stop them! No restart! No restart!” The police assumed a stiffer stance; the drumming and chanting were almost uncomfortably loud. Commuters hurried past along the open space between the police and the protesters, staring straight ahead, covering their ears. Finally, a fellow in a shabby sweater appeared, and murmured along with the chants as he rounded the corner. He was the only one who seemed to sympathize; few others reacted at all.
Number of U.S. congressional districts in which trade with China has produced more jobs than it has cost:
Young bilingual children who learned one language first are likelier than monolingual children and bilingual children who learned languages simultaneously to say that a dog adopted by owls will hoot.
An Oklahoma legislative committee voted to defund Advanced Placement U.S. History courses, accusing the curriculum of portraying the United States as “a nation of oppressors and exploiters.”
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“He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.”