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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?
In Havana, the past year has been marked by a parade of bold-faced names from the north — John Kerry reopening the United States Embassy; Andrew Cuomo bringing a delegation of American business leaders; celebrities ranging from Joe Torre, traveling on behalf of Major League Baseball to oversee an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, to Jimmy Buffett, said to be considering opening one of his Margaritaville restaurants there. All this culminated with a three-day trip in March by Barack Obama, the first American president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. But to those who know the city well, perhaps nothing said as much about the transformation of political relations between the United States and Cuba that began in December 2014 as a concert in the Tribuna Antiimperialista.
Estimated temperature of Hell, according to two Spanish physicists ‘ interpretation of the Bible:
The ecosystems around Chernobyl, Ukraine, are now healthier than they were before the nuclear disaster, though radiation levels are still too high for human habitation.
A TSA agent in Seattle was arrested for taking up-skirt photos of women in the airport, a Maryland police officer was arrested for taking up-skirt photos of an off-duty colleague, and the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled that taking up-skirt photos is legal in the state.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”