Know Your Tropes for the Political Exploitation of Terrorism

On Sunday, President Obama gave us another dull, rote speech on terrorism in which he promised to stay the course on whatever it is he thinks he’s doing about ISIS. And then lectured us about our intolerance. It was notable for only one thing: the presidential adoption of the Exactly What ISIS Wants trope. You […]

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Bill Nye the Propaganda Guy

You have no doubt come across the type of people who proclaim that they loooooove science. Why, they don’t just love science, they freaking love science. For the most part, they demonstrate this love not by actually making scientific discoveries or using science in their work, but by liking the right posts on Facebook. At […]

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It’s a National Security Election Now

This is a national security election now. That’s the upshot for domestic American politics of the massive terrorist attack in Paris. Is it too early to “politicize” this, to assess its impact on the presidential contest? Sorry, but this is what politics is for, particularly presidential politics. We’re picking the next commander-in-chief, someone who will […]

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Blame the Philosophers

After this week’s debate, Marco Rubio unveiled his newest attack ad. This video is, of course, an old philosophy joke that’s been floating around the Web for years. But it just may have a point. It turns out that the nineteenth-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant really is wrong for America (and wrong on all those […]

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Rubio vs. Cruz

The Republicans head tonight into their fourth debate. Hopefully this one will go a little better, seeing as how Fox Business will be eager to stick it to its rival, CNBC, which famously bungled the last one. And this showdown comes just as the race is really clarifying. Based on the last few weeks of […]

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Higher Ed’s Time for Choosing

Tim Wolfe, the president of the University of Missouri—known as Mizzou—resigned early today, brought down by…well, it’s kind of hard to say. A helpful timeline of the case indicates that it started with two cases in which black students at Mizzou said they had racial epithets shouted at them, and one in which a swastika […]

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The Climate Inquisition Begins

New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, has started an investigation of Exxon Mobil “to determine whether the company lied to the public about the risks of climate change or to investors about how such risks might hurt the oil business.” According to the New York Times, its sources “said the inquiry would include a period […]

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Who Is James Bond?

In the run-up to the new James Bond movie, Daniel Craig has been sent on a publicity tour that he has been turning into an anti-publicity tour. It was summed up in one report as “Daniel Craig Thinks James Bond Is Kind of a Jerk, Frankly.” You know who else comes across in this article […]

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Can We Go Back to Where No Man Has Gone Before?

So the Internet has been set afire with the news that CBS is planning to produce a new Star Trek television series that will air in 2017. That’s it. That’s the announcement. There is maddeningly little information about the premise of the new series or its creative direction, except that it will be produced by […]

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Everything Gives You Cancer

I am shocked, shocked to discover that the claim that eating “processed meats” will give you cancer is a load of bunk. The assertion was made last week in a new report from the WHO, the World Health Organization. From some press reports, you would get the idea that eating bacon is just like smoking […]

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