From FDL, a book salon on Eric Alterman's Kabuki Democracy: The System vs. Barack Obama. The mother of all anti-Obama conspiracy theories: Obama's secret plot to bring 100 million Muslims to the US. Meet Alex Jones: The most paranoid man in America is trying to overthrow the "global Stasi Borg state", one conspiracy theory at a time. Glenn Beck's shtick? Alex Jones got there first. James Downie on the decline of Glenn Beck: What caused it? (and more and more) An interview with Thomas Frank on the nation’s toxic political discourse. Goddangit, baby, we're making good time: With a new master plan for the GOP, Karl Rove is revving up for a comeback. A review of From Bible Belt to Sun Belt: Plain-Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism by Darren Dochuk. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in U.S. history, hails not from the urban melting pot but from a Southern, explicitly Christian America. Canadian Craig Butosi on engaging with Ann Coulter and the radical right. While the large number of victories for Tea Party–backed candidates suggests electoral appeal and political clout, it seems that a Tea Party endorsement actually didn’t matter all that much during the 2010 mid-terms. Class war for idiots: Billionaire Koch brothers use their $1 billion-a-year taxpayer-funded biofuel subsidy to bankroll Republicans, Tea Party, Right-wing libertarian groups. Libertarianism and science fiction, what's the connection? The widespread popularity of science fiction is one of the factors that has helped to keep individualism at the center of American culture.


Andreas Follesdal (Oslo): The Philosopher as Coach. Philosophy is literally the "love of wisdom" — but what does it mean to love, pursue, and possess wisdom? Philosophy is supposed to be difficult: We complain about its thorny prose and technical intricacy, but should philosophy really be accessible to all? In philosophy, logic is too often considered the only appropriate analytical instrument; adding fiction to the toolkit can offer new and illuminating ways to contemplate human existence and its dilemmas. Erroll Morris on a series on meaning, truth, intolerance and flying ashtrays. What is x-phi good for? Its significance is not exactly cosmic. Hawking contra philosophy: Christopher Norris presents a case for the defence. In Turkmenistan, philosophy is more than welcomed by the authorities — so long as it's dead. A review of Do Llamas Fall in Love? 33 Perplexing Philosophy Puzzles by Peter Cave. A review of Philosophy Bites: 25 Philosophers on 25 Intriguing Subjects by David Edmonds and Nigel Warburton. The spirit of inquiry: Socrates spoke his ideas, and so brought them to life. It’s de Botton v Skidelsky: For decades, philosophers spoke only to each other, but that is changing as they once more reconnect with a wider public. Philosophy as confession: A review of Little Did I Know: Excerpts from Memory by Stanley Cavell. Lawrence Harvey gives a snapshot of the life of the German philosopher Paul Ree. Is it worth knowing about the lives philosophers led, or is their philosophy enough?


From Poroi, Kim Hong Nguyen (High Point): The Effacement of Post-9/11 Orphanhood: Re-reading the Harry Potter Series as a Melancholic Rhetoric; and Rebecca Ingalls (Drexel): The Trilemma Revised: Harry Potter and a Landscape of Moral Uncertainty. The Liberation of Lori Berenson: Freed after 15 years in prison in Peru for abetting terrorism, she is struggling to figure out what comes next. From The Atlantic Monthly, James Fallows on learning to love the (shallow, divisive, unreliable) new media; fifty years after his landmark speech calling television a “vast wasteland”, the former chairman of the FCC lays out a media vision for the next half century; and small groups of defectors are mounting a high-tech media insurgency to reach North Korea's isolated population. Harvard professor Richard Freeman discusses the history and theory of unions. The Pornographer in Winter: An article on Al Goldstein. 53.1% of you already know what this story's about — or do you? Need a hint? It's about Professor Daryl Bem and his cheerful case for ESP. What is WikiLeaks really trying to tell us? Foreign Policy asks eminent historians and scholars to take the long view on these startling documents; think Julian Assange is sui generis? He's just one in a long line of agents provocateurs, stretching back through Trotsky to the Greeks; the world of U.S. diplomacy as filtered through WikiLeaks looks an awful lot like a certain other Western imperial power from not too long ago; and what if the hidden messages in the WikiLeaks cables were less about Tunisia and Russia, more about Winnie the Pooh? A review of Awkwardness by Adam Kotsko. A review of Gay Rights and Moral Panic: The Origins of America's Debate on Homosexuality by Fred Fejes. War nerd Gary Brecher on Assassinations: Where accounting meets human resources.


Nuclear energy 101: Boing Boing goes inside the "black box" of power plants. The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant involved multiple system failures that cast doubt on the guiding principle of the nuclear power industry: that engineers can build enough redundancy into safety systems to overcome any threat. From LRB, Hugh Pennington on the fallout from Fukushima. From The New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert on the reactor risk in Japan. Just what is a nuclear meltdown, anyway? Me, Myself, and Iodine: What's in the radioactive vapors leaking from the damaged Japanese nuclear power plant, and how dangerous is it? Japan's victims struggle to understand what's happened. Will Japan’s quake be the costliest ever? Nuclear Hubris: Could Japan's disaster happen here? Cautious reconsideration, not rejection, of nuclear energy in Washington. Trying to take in the scale of the destruction of the earthquake in Japan, Aaron Retica was reminded of what the great Japanese director Akira Kurosawa never forgot. Alain de Botton on tsunamis and stoicism. Hereafter's tsunami sequences get it pulled from Japanese theaters. The Boston Globe's The Big Picture on Japan. Want to know which natural disasters are targeting you, right now? Here's a collection of resources. Quake moves Japan closer to US and alters Earth’s spin: The unbuckling of two tectonic plates shifted Japan’s coastline by up to 13 feet, and a 250-mile-long section dropped in altitude by about two feet. Have you watched footage of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami on CNN.com? If so, you are one of 60 million global viewers that logged on to CNN to watch — that’s a new record.


Justin Alger and Trevor Findlay (Carleton): Strengthening Global Nuclear Governance. Does the taboo against the use of nuclear weapons only increase their allure? Pakistan doubles its nuclear arsenal: Is it time to start worrying? P. M. Kamath (VPM): Make No First Use of Nuclear Weapons: The First Step towards Global Nuclear Disarmament. A review of The Bomb by Howard Zinn. Ethan Porter reviews How the End Begins: The Road to a Nuclear World War III by Ron Rosenbaum (and more and more and an excerpt: "In some cases a pre-emptive nuclear strike might be moral while nuclear retaliation might not"). A look at how one nuclear skirmish could wreck the planet. Nuclear weapons: How Cold War major Harold Hering asked a forbidden question that cost him his career. Justin Nobel on 3 unique tours through U.S. nuclear history. What would end-timers do without the threat of nuclear annihilation? Mikhail Gorbachev reflects on lessons learned from the Chernobyl disaster. A political impact as great as 9/11: The nuclear disaster in Fukushima makes it hard to ignore the vulnurabilities of the technology — it could spell the end of nuclear power. A new uncertainty: A fragile bipartisan consensus on nuclear power’s promise for the United States may have dissolved.


From TNR, a liberal education: Should academics join the government? Martha Nussbaum wonders. The intellectual as courtier: That great kissing-up sound you hear? That's a scholar flirting with a despot (and more on the perils of public intellectualizing). “Equal opportunity haters”: A profile of The eXile. What the right forgets about labor history: Busting unions gave Calvin Coolidge the White House, but it gave America the Great Depression. From The Believer, the dead chipmunk: The jokiness of a joke can be explained by the Ontic-Epistemic Theory, the surprisy, and the absence of post-Chekhovian details; and the race that is not about winning: We need a certain kind of teenage antihero to remind us that we are not alone. Robert Reich on the case for a 70 percent marginal tax rate on the rich (and a response). Dana Adam Shapiro interviewed dozens of divorced people about the end of their relationships — the result is a treasure trove of heartbreak and infidelity. Finding new life as a cult classic: “An American Hippie in Israel”, the worst Israeli movie ever, includes naked hippies and machine-gun-toting mimes. The Must See Chart: This is what class war looks like. The Queer Queen: An analysis of power and privilege within queer scholarship. The fact is that white-collar criminals are, in general, incredibly good at deluding themselves that they’re good people, even when they clearly aren’t. The Afterlife of Henry James: Stylistically, he is the antithesis of our simplistic, hyperactive age — but topically, with his focus on inequality and class stratification, he's never been more timely. Russ Baker on Seymour Hersh and the men who want him committed. Your Grandpa’s Porn: Somewhere out there, there’s probably someone turned on by Jennifer Aniston plush toys — God help them. (And here is a post from last month on Japan.)


The popular uprisings in Arab nations should bury some long-standing Orientalist myths. How wrong we were: Five surprising lessons from the Middle East upheaval. Caught in contradictions: On the United States and the Middle East. Time for quiet idealism: The Arab upheaval shows that we should promote our values — up to a point. What drives anti-Americanism in Muslim countries? The Arab Spring has brought a lot of uncertainty to Washington's dealings in the Middle East — but if anyone thinks that means breaking up with Israel, or abandoning other Arab autocrats, they've surely jumped the gun. How the Arab revolt is rocking the neoconservative world. Shadi Mokhtari on George Bush and the turn to human rights in the Arab world. Is the Middle East swinging back into a new liberal period? Alain Badiou on the universal reach of popular uprisings. The End of the Arab Dream: Muammar al-Qaddafi's fall will end the Arab world's disastrous half-century-long affair with utopian governing fantasies. If Arab nationalism is dead, “Egypt is trying to revive it” came recent dispatches from the West. Pan-Arabism, which has been dormant since the 1967 war, has resurfaced with a bang. Pessoptimism: A view of the Middle East today. Without economic justice, democratic dreams in the Middle East can never truly be fulfilled (and more). Liberte, equalite, economy: After they've toppled their dictators, Arabs will need to build a functioning free market. The tyrant tax: James Surowiecki on how to fix the Middle East’s economies. Jean-Pierre Chauffour on trade as a means to consolidate the Arab revolutions.


Davison M. Douglas (William & Mary): God and the Executioner: The Influence of Western Religion on the Use of the Death Penalty. Brian Leiter (Chicago): The Law of Religious Liberty in a Tolerant Society. Howard Lesnick (Penn): Can Liberal Religion Ground Moral Imperatives? Zachary R. Calo (Valparaiso): Religion, Human Rights and Post-Secular Legal Theory. A.L. Samian (UKM): Pluralism and the Study of Religion: A Comparative Perspective. An interview with Thaddeus Kozinski, author of The Political Problem of Religious Pluralism: And Why Philosophers Can't Solve It (and more). From CRB, an interview with James V. Schall, S.J. on his Modern Age and political philosophy. A review of Faith in Politics: Religion and Liberal Democracy by Bryan T. McGraw. The fundamental reason we need a Christian anthropology is that a Christian anthroplogy is true. An interview with Chris Beneke, co-editor of The First Prejudice: Religious Tolerance and Intolerance in Early America. The introduction to The Agnostic Age: Law, Religion, and the Constitution by Paul Horwitz. Does atheist Michael Newdow jeopardize church-state separation? A review of Church, State and Original Intent by Donald Drakeman. A look at the top 5 myths of the separation of church and state. An interview with David Sehat, author of The Myth of American Religious Freedom (and part 2). From American History, Sarah Barringer Gordon on what we owe Jehovah's Witnesses. Expressions of Faith: Public discussion of religion can build walls at the same time it tries to bring them down.


A new issue of Surveillance and Society is out. From Evolutionary Psychology, Sunny Bains (Imperial): Questioning the Integrity of the John Templeton Foundation (and more). From The Washington Monthly, last year there wasn’t a single fatal airline accident in the developed world, so why is the U.S. health care system still accidently killing hundreds of thousands? The answer is a lack of transparency. From The Rumpus, Roxane Gay on the careless language of sexual violence. From Vanity Fair, does the anti-Facebook ethos of one of the Web’s largest active forums, represent a movement or just mayhem? Vanessa Grigoriadis peers into 4chan’s “hive mind,” a primordial soup of teenage-male angst and cute cat photos. Bill Keller on All the Aggregation That’s Fit to Aggregate: How much more of itself can the media consume? From Wired, underground caverns keep things cold, safe and secret. How sane parents got paranoid about vaccines: A review of Seth Mnookin's The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science and Fear (and more). Vaccine phobia is letting preventable infectious diseases needlessly threaten our children; according to Seth Mnookin, it’s time to get real — and get the shots. Mike Sowden on 9 life-changing inventions the experts said would never work. We’ve been misled about how to grieve: Why it may be wise to skip the months of journalling and group talk we’ve been taught we need. Jan McGuinness questions Bruce Guthrie’s motivations for writing Man Bites Murdoch, an account of his sacking as Editor-in-Chief of the Herald Sun. Blurring sexual boundaries: No fixed borders for sexual identity, means no fixed rules for sexual expression. Larry Arnold on his book Ablaze! The Mysterious Fires of Spontaneous Human Combustion.


Nancy Levit (Missouri), Nancy Elizabeth Dowd (Florida) and Ann McGinley (UNLV): Feminist Legal Theory Meets Masculinities Theory. Solange Mouthaan (Warwick): International Law and Sexual Violence Against Men. Steven F. Shatz (USF) and Naomi R. Shatz (NYCLU): Chivalry is Not Dead: Murder, Gender, and the Death Penalty. The Study of Man (or Males): An academic movement raises questions about what it means to be a man, and how to save him. An interview with Peter McAllister, author of Manthropology: The Science of Why the Modern Male Is Not the Man He Used to Be. Where have the good men gone? Kay S. Hymowitz argues that too many men in their 20s are living in a new kind of extended adolescence (and a response). Tony Porter makes a call to men everywhere: Don't "act like a man". From the Good Men Project, a blogger roundtable on the Art of Manliness; and Katie Baker on a good man’s guide to catcalling. Is there anything good about men? Roy F. Baumeister reveals the “reality of the male sex drive”. Why do we vilify male sexuality? Three myths about men and sex debunked. Tana Ganeva on the anti-male, anti-sex falsehoods that rule discussions about porn and sexuality. Do real men like to cuddle? Dave Johns wants to know. Real men don’t eat very berry cheesecake: Manly preferences take their toll. Science tells us that men’s brains are different from women’s — but that doesn’t mean we should not be equal.

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