Gadfly

Rubik’s Cube Puzzles in the Middle East

December 10th, 2015

Who Is in the Middle East Lineup Card?

It came to me after reading Michael Gunter’s “Out of Nowhere: The Kurds of Syria in Peace and War,” his attempt at explaining what was happening in Syria, Iraq, Turkey, and two dozen other Arab and Muslim countries. Remember when we were trying to find some Syrian moderates to train and arm so they could fight Assad in Syria’s totally uncivil war? The CIA estimated there were about 1,200 “moderate” tribes or groups in Syria alone that…

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Science May Soon Be Able to List Our 7.1 Billion Relatives

December 4th, 2015


Of Toilets, Planned Parenthood, and Life-Saving Cell Research

Neil deGrasse Tyson, perhaps our most articulate spokesman of what science is, outlines what it is in two relatively short sentences in his Huffington Post blog: “Science distinguishes itself from all other branches of human pursuit by its power to probe and understand the behavior of nature on a level that allows us to predict with accuracy, if not control, the outcomes of events in the natural world. Science especially…

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Metal Detectors, Bulletproof Windows, Security Guards and Religion

November 24th, 2015

What Happens When a Woman “Sculpts Her Universe?”

Roman Catholic Sister Joan Chittister of the Benedictine Order should have been called by Pope Francis to lecture the recent Vatican synod, composed of about 400 bachelor bishops and cardinals and seven married couples, on what role women should play in the church. She is a graduate of Notre Dame, has a Ph.D from Penn State University, served as the prioress of her order for 12 years, leads a worldwide organization for peace, has…

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Are We at the End of Our Empire?

November 20th, 2015


This Is the Way Our Empire Ends—Not With a Bang but a Whimper

T.S. Eliot in his poem “The Hollow Men” muses about “This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms,” describing how men and politicians react to the end of empires. At the end of the poem he signs off: “This is the way the world ends/ Not with a bang but a whimper.” changed it a little to emphasize our empire.

We will soon enter the 227th year of the American empire, about the average length of the major empires in the…

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Does More (Or Less) Religion Mean Less (Or More) Sex?

November 11th, 2015

The Personal Question At 6 p.m.: “Are You Healthy Enough For Sex?”

I’ve been writing so much about religion and sex lately I really wanted to take a break for a week, but so much has happened to the subject in the last couple of weeks, I might spend the next four hours writing about it. It’s the most important subject in the commercials around network news at supper time. The beautiful mature women lolling on beds in breezy diaphanous gowns or football jerseys, ask if erections…

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Can the Vatican Hold Up the Entire Sky?

November 5th, 2015


14th Century Bishops Could Have Learned Something From the Wife Of Bath

Population experts estimate that about 100 billion people have been born during Homo Sapiens time—with just seven billion still alive and exercising free will. One would think that the 93 billion dead might have studied the species and come up with some answers to help us in our very short lives on this planet.

Many answers are still in the “pending” office boxes at the Vatican, Mecca, and other religious…

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A sex and marriage manual

October 30th, 2015

Bachelor Bishops And Misogynistic Muslim Clerics Conjure Up A Sex And Marriage Manual

Pope Francis and his cardinals and bishops have concluded a Vatican synod on whether the Roman Catholic Church should modify teachings regarding sex and marriage while their religious cousins, the Muslim Taliban, are busy treating women as chattel in countries they dominate. Both of these conservative, militant religions ignore and often denigrate the wisdom, experience and natural ability and brains of…

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Lower Animals Kill To Live, Uppermost Animals Kill To Dominate

October 22nd, 2015

Thomas Browne: “But Man Is a Noble Animal, Splendid in Ashes, and Pompous in the Grave”

Some scientists think there is water on Mars, although temperatures say it would be ice anyway. It might be wishful thinking. There seems to be a crowd wanting to leave Earth for safer climes.

The Uppermost Animals are back to killing, torturing, raping, and starving each other at the rate established by the First Crusade between Muslims and Christians, the Mongol invasion of Europe of Genghis…

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Best of Times, Worst of Times

October 15th, 2015


Having Everything—Having Nothing

In his novel “A Tale of Two Cities,” Charles Dickens writes of life in Paris and London just before and during the French Revolution of 1789. His first paragraph may be instructive about the differences between the rich and poor in the United States in 2015: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of…

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Animal Friends and Enemies

October 7th, 2015

From Carnivorous Mighty Mites To Vegetarian Monsters

When our spacecraft Voyager 1 took pictures of earth from four billion miles away in 1990, scientist Carl Sagan looked at the pictures and described the image in his book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space: “Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us….Every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there—on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

Just maybe we should continue to…

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