Way back during the Cold War, the U.S. and Soviet Union were locked in a tense face-off for decades. Both sides had huge arsenals of thermonuclear devices. But there was a doctrine of military strategy called Mutually Assured Destruction, or MAD, that kept the missiles in their silos. It became a foundation in the national security policies of both great powers that the use of high-yield weapons of mass destruction by either side would bring about immediate and total retaliation by the other side and cause the complete annihilation of both.Read More
Scotland has voted decisively against breaking from the United Kingdom and becoming an independent country. Some thoughts on the big picture logic and rhetoric of the campaign.Read More »
All kinds of questions are being asked about what will happen if Scotland votes to leave the United Kingdom on September 18. How will the national debt and the North Sea oil and gas reserves be divided? What about fishing rights? Will Scotland be allowed to keep the pound? Where will the Royal Navy base its nuclear submarines, since they are not welcome in Scotland? What will the remainder of the United Kingdom do for a flag if the white cross of St. Andrew on a blue field is ripped from the Union Jack?Read More »
There’s an early Philip Roth story about a bunch of Jewish kids in Hebrew school trying to figure out whether Jesus lived or not.
“The Catholics,” Itzie Lieberman says, “they believe in Jesus Christ, that he’s God.”
Lieberman, Roth adds, “used ‘the Catholics’ in its broadest sense — to include the Protestants.”
I confess, when I was a kid in a largely Jewish town, I was similarly confused. I think I have it straight, now. But I was confused again this week, reading about Dave Brat’s surprising primary election win over Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA)…Read More »
If you were a recent college grad or drop out with no job or underemployed or selling your mind and body as an unpaid intern, do you give a (bleep) about the Koch brothers?Read More »
Fascinating question: if X responds badly to your action and cites your action as a reason for behaving badly, how far are you responsible for what X does?
Three scenarios…Read More »
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, an agency charged by Congress with monitoring liberty of conscience around the world, has just issued a report on prosecutions for blasphemy in other countries.
Predictably, the leading offenders are Muslim countries, such as Egypt, Iran, Bangladesh, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Pakistan is cited as “the most egregious example … where blasphemy charges are common and numerous individuals are in prison, with a high number sentenced to death or life terms.”Read More »