Aug 102012
 

Citing a loss of confidence in the book’s details, Christian publisher Thomas Nelson is ending the publication and distribution of the bestseller, The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson.

The controversial book was written by Texas evangelical David Barton, who NPR’s Barbara Bradley Hagerty profiled on All Things Considered Wednesday. The publishing company says it’s ceasing publication because it found that “basic truths just were not there.”

“When the concerns came in, from multiple people, and that had weight too, we were trying to sort things out,” said Thomas Nelson Senior Vice President and Publisher Brian Hampton. “Were these matters of opinion? Were they differences of interpretation? But as we got into it, our conclusion was that the criticisms were correct. There were historical details — matters of fact, not matters of opinion, that were not supported at all.”

via Publisher Pulls Controversial Thomas Jefferson Book, Citing Loss Of Confidence : The Two-Way : NPR.

 August 10, 2012  Posted by at 7:49 am Comments Off
Mar 112012
 

By Erica Goode (NY Times) Kept in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours each day, allowed out only in shackles and escorted by guards, they were restless and angry — made more so by the excrement-smeared walls, the insects, the filthy food trays and the mentally ill inmates who screamed in the night, conditions that a judge had already ruled unacceptable.

So it was not really surprising when violence erupted in 2007: an inmate stabbed to death with a homemade spear that May; in June, a suicide; in July, another stabbing; in August, a prisoner killed by a member of a rival gang.

What was surprising was what happened next. Instead of tightening restrictions further, prison officials loosened them.

They allowed most inmates out of their cells for hours each day. They built a basketball court and a group dining area. They put rehabilitation programs in place and let prisoners work their way to greater privileges.

In response, the inmates became better behaved. Violence went down. The number of prisoners in isolation dropped to about 300 from more than 1,000. So many inmates were moved into the general population of other prisons that Unit 32 was closed in 2010, saving the state more than $5 million

via Prisons Rethink Isolation, Saving Money, Lives and Sanity – NYTimes.com.

 March 11, 2012  Posted by at 7:23 am Comments Off
Mar 102012
 

By John Avlon (The Daily Beast) Ninety-eight major advertisers—including Ford and Geico—will no longer air spots on Premiere Networks’ ‘offensive’ programs. Insiders say the loss will rock right-wing talk radio.

Premiere Networks, which distributes Limbaugh as well as a host of other right-wing talkers, sent an email out to its affiliates early Friday listing 98 large corporations that have requested their ads appear only on “programs free of content that you know are deemed to be offensive or controversial (for example, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity).”

This is big. According to the radio-industry website Radio-Info.com, which first posted excerpts of the Premiere memo, among the 98 companies that have decided to no longer sponsor these programs are “carmakers (Ford, GM, Toyota), insurance companies (Allstate, Geico, Prudential, State Farm), and restaurants (McDonald’s, Subway).” Together, these talk-radio advertising staples represent millions of dollars in revenue.

via Rush Limbaugh Scandal Proves Contagious for Talk-Radio Advertisers – The Daily Beast.

 March 10, 2012  Posted by at 6:24 pm Comments Off
Jan 292012
 

By Paul Krassner (Moronia) Politics: The electoral college will be replaced by a system where voters will choose the polling firm they trust the most. Rick Perry will copyright the word “Oops.”

Show Business: Angelina Jolie will legally adopt Brad Pitt. The Tea Party will become a popular sitcom. Capital-punishment executions will become a top-rated reality-TV series.  The Taliban and al-Quaeda will be the final competitors on The Biggest Terrorists. Hulu and Netflix will merge as Netflu.

Fashion Trends: Arizona, Mississippi and Tennessee will refuse to recognize Leap Year. Prescription drugs will become children’s names, such as Ambien and Lipitor. Combination vibrators and insomnia cures will be invented, trademarked as Dildoze.

The Economy: The Supreme Court will download all corporations into embryos. Several million jobs will be created as Unemployment Insurance clerks.

International Relations: North Korea’s new Beloved Leader will allow almost 70 McDonald’s restaurants to open; he won’t allow them to sell any food. Saudi-Arabia will outlaw laughter. Iraq will become our 51st state. Products made in China will be increasingly pirated by American entrepreneurs. The most Christmas popular gift will be cans of pepper-spray in a variety of flavors.

Read the full story on Huffington Post.

 January 29, 2012  Posted by at 8:24 am Comments Off
Dec 222011
 

By Walter Brasch (Moronia)–I am a Jew. I don’t mind receiving Christmas cards or being wished a “Merry Christmas” from friends, clerks, or even in junk mail trying to sell me something no sane person should ever buy. My wife and I even send Christmas cards, with messages of peace and joy, to our friends who are Christians or who we don’t know their religion.

I like Christmas music and Christmas carolers, even if some have voices that crack now and then, perhaps from the cold.

At home, from as early as I could remember, my family bought and decorated a Christmas tree, and gave gifts to each other and our friends. Usually we put a Star of David on the tree, undoubtedly an act of heresy for many Jews and Christians. We learned about Christmas—and about Chanukah, the “feast of lights,” an eight day celebration of joy and remembrance of the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem at a time when it seemed as if a miracle had saved the Jews from darkness during the Maccabean revolt in the second century BCE.

This year, my wife and I have a two-foot tall cypress tree, decorated with angels and small LED lights, a gift from a devout Christian. We weren’t offended by the gift; we accepted it and displayed it on a table in our dining room in the spirit of friendship. In Spring, we’ll plant the tree in our backyard and hope it grows strong and tall, giving us shade and oxygen, perhaps serving as a sanctuary for birds, squirrels, and other wildlife.

What I do mind is the pomposity of some of the religious right who deliberately accost me, often with an arrogant sneer on their lips, to order me to accept their “well wishes” of  a “Merry Christmas.” Their implication is “Merry Christmas—or else!” It’s their way of saying their religion is the one correct religion, that all others are wrong.

The problem is that although I am secure in my beliefs and try to understand and tolerate other beliefs, the extreme right is neither secure nor does it tolerate difference or dissent.

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