Politics

October 2014 Open Thread

Can pets contract ebola?

According to a new statement from the CDC, while Ebola is deadly to humans and animals, it is very difficult to catch. Therefore, they concluded that pets are not at significant risk of Ebola in the US. Moreover, there have been no reports of dogs or cats becoming ill in Africa. For more information, visit…

This is an endorsement by Climate Hawks Vote, which I support. Climate Hawks Vote is delighted to endorse Scott Peters in California’s 52d Congressional District of San Diego for his strong climate leadership and for taking first place in our August 2014 survey. And his approach just may break partisan gridlock in Congress. Scott Peters…

This is an endorsement by Climate Hawks Vote, which I support. We’re working our way through scoring Senate Democrats on climate leadership, using the same lodestar that we’ve used on House Democrats: who’s leading on climate by engaging the public? It’s slow going – results might not be final until mid-October or later. However, given…

Shenna Bellows of Maine for Senate

This is an endorsement by Climate Hawks Vote, which I support. We’re endorsing climate hawk Shenna Bellows to be the next Senator from Maine because business as usual is no longer good enough in the face of a local and worldwide crisis. Long-time incumbent Susan Collins admits the existence of a problem, to her credit;…

Byssinosis, an infamous booklet, and Reagan-era OSHA

In his first week on the job, President Reagan’s appointee to head OSHA ordered a booklet about the hazards of cotton dust destroyed. He considered the image and words of textile workers afflicted by “brown lung” disease “biased.”

I have written before about my admiration for Bill Maher. I think he is generally one of the funniest and most insightful commentators on American culture and politics, and I rarely miss his show on Friday night. Sometimes he goes south, as with his views on vaccination, and sometimes he goes for cheap jokes based…

More Progress For Gay Marriage

The Supreme Court has refused to hear appeals from five states on the subject of gay marriage. As a result, lower court rulings that struck down gay marriage bans have been allowed to stand, making gay marriage fully legal in those states. Among them is my current home in Virginia. The other four states were…

The Ebola Test: Civilization Fails

We really only know things work when we test them to the limit and see what it takes to make them fail, or nearly fail. All those air planes and space ships and regular shops and nice cars that usually don’t fail have a pedigree of prototypes or prototypes of parts that were pushed until…

Jews Behaving Badly

My book Among the Creationists contains a chapter called “Why I Love Being Jewish.” Of course, as an atheist, I reject totally all of the underlying theology of Judaism. I have no use for the Torah, which I regard as a nasty and often vile piece of work. Most Jewish ceremonies leave me cold, though…