Misleading Polls and Bad Statistics: Do Republicans Think Education is Bad?
January 9, 2020 by

A June 6, 2018, article from ChurchandState.org titled “Propaganda Works – 58 Percent of Republicans Believe Education Is Bad” was shared on social media by liberals and Democrats, gleeful that their assumptions about conservative anti-intellectualism had been borne out in objective, quantifiable data from a respected polling organization. The widely-shared article states that “Fox News, …

‘Richard Jewell,’ Skepticism, and Media Literacy
December 27, 2019 by

The recent Clint Eastwood film Richard Jewell holds interesting lessons about skepticism, media literacy, and both the obligations and difficulties of translating real events into fictional entertainment. It’s no secret that non-police security officers get little or no respect. They’re universally mocked and ignored in malls, security checkpoints, and airports. The stereotype is the self-important, …

Misleading Memes as Cloaked Propaganda
June 21, 2019 by

Soon after a university cheating scandal recently broke, a meme declared that “White privilege is REAL,” and gave three examples presumably illustrating that premise. The first shows a photo of actress Felicity Huffman and states that “Feds will seek 4 months jail time for Felicity Huffman for bribing her daughter into college.” This is contrasted …

Just War Doctrine and Impeachment
June 4, 2019 by

I don’t typically refer to Catholic doctrine to support a point I want to make. However, even the Catholic Church can get things right occasionally—and, in this case, its doctrine aligns with common sense and political prudence. First formulated by Augustine, and subsequently reworked by Aquinas and recent Church councils, the Catholic Church’s just war …

Good Friday for Atheists
April 19, 2019 by

Just because I don’t share religious beliefs with someone doesn’t mean I think that they should be harmed in any way. Quite to the contrary. If you feel the need to kill people because of a difference of opinion, you’ve lost the argument. Validity of beliefs should rest on the merits of the arguments, not the size of the spear.

Eight Hours in a Room with the Anti-Vaxxers
March 14, 2019 by

On March 12, I went to give testimony at a hearing to support Maine’s L.D. 798, a bill to end non-medical exemptions to the state’s vaccination requirements. Little did I know, the issue has become so heated, that the office building that houses the committee room was packed to the gills with advocates on both …

Of Monuments, Christian and Confederate
March 11, 2019 by

At first glance, a 40-foot cross in a traffic circle may not have that much in common with an over 60-foot statue of Robert E. Lee in a traffic circle, but they do—I mean other than their obstructing the free flow of traffic. There are significant similarities between the recent arguments over the removal or …

Don’t Cross Us
March 7, 2019 by

But noooooo. People – even those in our supposed-to-be secular government – are constantly trying to foist their particular religion on the rest of us – and have been for over 200 years. Placing crosses and 10 Commandments on public property is no different from gang-bangers tagging buildings in their neighborhood or dogs pissing on fire hydrants. It’s simply a form of marking turf and saying we are in charge here.

‘HS Teacher Tells Students to Vote Republican’: Case Study of a Social Media Outrage Cycle
March 1, 2019 by

Last month an indignant Florida mother named Barbara took to Twitter seeking advice for a problem: “I’m really PISSED; my daughter who is in the 12th grade recently registered to vote through her high school. Her teacher told the class that they all must register as Republicans or else they would not be allowed to …

Why Roe Matters (It’s Not Just Abortion Rights)
February 5, 2019 by

The “right to privacy … is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.” So wrote Justice Harry Blackmun in 1973 in his seminal opinion in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973). By that opinion, 7 men (with 2 men opposing) determined that the federal Constitution prevented states …