BillMoyers: American Women Are Still Dying in Childbirth at Alarming Rates.
Here’s a way to look at it. It’s only slightly more risky to have a baby in Iraq, than in Texas. 50 vs. 35.8 per 100,000. Sub-Saharan Africa still leads, with upwards of 300.
Slate: Shadi Hamid on Islamic exceptionalism.
“Islamism is by definition illiberal, and they would promote things that are contrary to classical liberalism, in the sense of non-negotiable personal rights and freedoms, gender equality, protection of minorities.” Another information point, for those curious.
AtlasObscura: Rebel Virgins and Desert Mothers Written Out of Christianity’s Early History.
Yes, they’ve gotten short shrift. Mary Magdalene should have become head of the apostles, really, as first apostle of the resurrection (first person to see Christ after he had risen). The troubled Paul sealed in the male authoritarianism. This article’s a bit fluffy; see “The Closing of the Western Mind.” Highly recommended. I found it a page-turner.
NY Times Mag: Fractured Lands - How the Arab World Came Apart.
Allegedly 42,000 words. Take your time.
Archaeology News Network: Human burial found in the middle of sacrificial altar at Mt. Lykaion.
Human sacrifice? More digging to come.
Civil War Memory: General Edmund Kirby Smith, Black Confederate.
“As you can see, the Hankerson believes that Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith was black. Readers will also be surprised to hear that Kirby Smith attended the ‘prestigious Southern school’ at West Point.” Smith was white, and West Point is in NY. Geez, man.
ArtDaily: At ancient Syria site, IS discovers then destroys treasures.
“ When the Islamic State group captured Tal Ajaja, one of Syria’s most important Assyrian-era sites, they discovered previously unknown millennia-old statues and cuneiform tablets, and then they destroyed them.” AAAARRRRRRGGGHHHHHH.
Public Policy Polling, latest results (PDF).
“And 33% think Clinton even has ties to Lucifer, to 36% who say they don’t think so, and 31% who are unsure either way.” This makes me believe this poll is subject to bad question phrasing. The mythical Beast, ‘666’, has been associated with every major [male] Presidential candidate going back decades. The “Beast” has never been portrayed as female, yet they ask this question. Why not for Trump?
Times of Israel: Turkey shutters dozens of news outlets in media crackdown.
The election is worrisome, but continuing events in Turkey serve to alarm.
BBC: Nice attack - Prosecutor says suspect had accomplices.
Premeditated. Not good. I wouldn’t participate in public crowd events for a good while.
The Economist: Ride ’em, cowboy!
“Mr Polhamus paints a romantic portrait of a West ‘that believed a handshake was as good as a contract, when faith was practised openly.’ The announcer is proud that rodeo scorns the all-shall-have-prizes culture: many competitors are thrown off almost at once, or fail to lasso their steer. ‘If they win, they’ve earned it,’ he rumbles.” Less negative, Economist, than I expected. The mythology of the West is still worshipped in many quarters, and that’s not a bad thing.
Guardian.UK/Opinion/Xeni Jardin: Why Muslims around the world made my tweet go viral.
Atlas Obscura: The Buddha’s Skull Bone May Have Been Found in a Chinese Crypt.
“All we have, then, is the inscription, written by someone known only as Deming, who tells a complicated tale about how the Buddha’s body was separated into 84,000 pieces after his death, with 19 of those sent to China ...” So, if you meet a hunk of Buddha’s skull on the road ... what do you do?
Hazlitt: Our Adored Cadavers.
Political Wire: GOP Lawmaker Reads Gays ‘Worthy of Death’ Bible Verse.
Well, maybe some will wake up that the Quran isn’t the only problem in the world today ...
Looking for sense in a nonsensical world.
Orlando. Everyone is dividing themselves across the ‘usual suspect’ issues. You come here for sense, I do my best to deliver. I see three problems, more than any others:
1. Acculturative stress, and the experience of first- and second-generation immigrants.
2. Military-grade weapons being available for sale.
3. Self-radicalization via internet.
The first, the stressors on immigrants and their children in the US, is significant and unrecognized in these crises. Growing up in my hometown of Princeton, we had a significant number of immigrants, first and second generations, all having a difficult time between living in American culture of the period and remaining ‘true’ to their original cultural heritage. This link is not the greatest, but it’s the best I can find in a short period of time. Dig further, if you’re interested. This time it was a gay nightclub; next time it could be a concert, a play, a sports event, a school ... anything that defies an ‘old world’ belief or custom.
The second I’ve discussed before. The Founding Fathers never intended citizens to own military-grade weapons. The Second Amendment talks of militia, citizens who are not professional soldiers. Howitzers were stored at Springfield Armory after the Revolution, not parked in front yards. The ‘advanced’ Charleville muskets (supplied by France) were returned to the military after the Revolution, not taken home and hung over the fireplace. Further - and I cannot find it online right now - read the personal correspondences of major political players in the Whiskey and Shays Rebellions. Washington himself felt that armed and angry citizens were too much of a risk to the new government, whereas nutty old Jefferson (isolated with his books up at Monticello) felt occasional bloodshed was a ‘good thing’. The majority agreed that citizens should not have access to the stores at the Armory. Rebels were driven off, disbanded, prosecuted.
The third is also being virtually ignored. One can’t shut off the firehose of the internet. The ability of disgruntled people to build walls around themselves to keep out reality is nearly infinite. Bad enough our crazy militias with their supposed strict-Constructionist interpretations. Elements from outside the US are not only aiming for young Muslims, but going for Black Lives Matters and other cultural protestors. Convincing them that the only way to change culture is through violence.
Bottom line: Psychological stress and irresponsibly easy access to high-powered weaponry are a murderous combination. Psychological care is, illogically, divorced from governmental health care insurance ... as if it is not a true ‘health’ issue. And guns ... well, you know my take on that. If every LGBT person in America joined the NRA (you don’t even have to own a gun), they could change the direction of the organization. NRA has ~5 million members, there are ~9 million LGBT in America. It would take planning, but it could be done. I laugh, visualizing the impact. Nonviolent political change. Imagine that.
Later: Hill and I seem to be on the same wavelength. My concern is, eliminate the threat overseas, they could simply shift their angst to the internet and continue to harry Western Civ at home.
Vox: Evangelicals like me can’t vote for Trump — or Clinton. Here’s what we can do
Johnson or abstain? Note the emphasis on local races. Dems, you’d best get your turnout armies ready. You’re going to need them.
Dazed: Why I chose to have an illegal abortion.
“Irish residents are not covered by the NHS and so have to go private – meaning that between flights and the procedure itself, you could be paying up to 1500 euros (£1186), possibly more. The abortion pills in comparison cost me 80 euros, and the fare to Belfast to pick up the pills was only 20 euros.” Not the coat-hanger variety of Texas and the rest of America. Guns are OK, safe and easy abortions are not. Interesting that both are designed to end human life, but are treated very differently. Be a good riff for a longer article.
Archaeology News Network: Influence of religion and predestination on evolution and science.
“The author notices that despite conclusions that evolution is not a linear process, biologists have never stopped seeing and contemplating ‘preadaptations’ and ‘regressive evolution’, when speculating on phenomena such as the lack of eyes in some exclusively cave-dwelling animals. Such choice of words can be easily traced back to assumptions of linearity and, therefore, predestination, common for various religions.” Western Civ permeates.
PS Mag: Can Holy Lands Become Holy Democracies?
A very good, if somewhat light, read.
Inverse: This Community in Sulawesi, Indonesia Keeps the Dead in Homes for Years.
If deceased persons and buffalo sacrifice bother you, don’t watch the video.
Archaeology News Network: Mexican archaeologists find early burial in first colonial cathedral.
Good Christian practice - reuse all the pagan works.
Dazed: Could you now be prosecuted for having a miscarriage?
Miscarriage is traumatic enough. This shall not stand.
NY Times: New Evidence on When Bible Was Written: Ancient Shopping Lists.
“... if the literacy rates in the Arad fortress were repeated across the kingdom of Judah, which had about 100,000 people, there would have been hundreds of literate people ...” Arguably more literate than today.
National Geographic: Isaac Newton’s Lost Alchemy Recipe Rediscovered.
“Newton’s 1855 biographer questioned “how a mind of such power” could take seriously “the obvious production of a fool and a knave.” And the sophick mercury recipe is only now resurfacing in part because Cambridge University, Newton’s alma mater, turned down the opportunity to archive his alchemy recipes in 1888.” Talk about the aforementioned ‘complex individuals’. Newton was the penultimate.